December 16, 2013

Homeland: Season 3 Review



            Let me start off this review by saying I’ve never been that much of a fan of Homeland.  I thought the first season was a solid thriller that was ultimately made out of recycled parts of greater shows (24 and Rubicon) and not the excellent examination of United State’s foreign policy that many others saw it as.  Meanwhile, the second season had some great moments but ultimately came across as a season as ridiculous as the worst season of 24 with some odd soap opera moments mixed in.  So it should be no surprise that I hated season 3 of Homeland as the soap opera elements only increased.  With character decisions that almost never made sense and a storyline that stalled for the first-half of the season, there just wasn’t much fun to be had despite the ridiculousness going on in this series.
            Season three of Homeland picks up with the aftermath of the Langley Bombings.  While both Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) are grilled by a Senate Committee, the CIA begins to realize a connection with the bombing and Iran.  Meanwhile, Carrie begins to search for Brody (Damian Lewis) after he was forced into hiding after being accused of being an international terrorist.  Alex Gansa continued as showrunner although it seems previous co-showrunner Howard Gordon did not have much involvement on this season.  The directing team was led by Leslie Linka Glatter.
            The format of Homeland and shows like it means that there is always going to be a period of each season that stalls for a bit (season one of Homeland and season five of 24 are two of the only exceptions to this role).  That being said the amount of stalling that went on in this season of Homeland was inexcusable.  Nothing substantial happens until the eighth episode of the season, and of the first seven episodes only “Tower of David” (which was co-written by the late Henry Bromell and features the return of Brody) was an interesting episode.  Yet even with the added momentum in the later episodes there were too many illogical decisions to even care.  Why was Carrie always getting promoted by the CIA despite constantly disobeying orders and lying to anyone that will speak to her?  Why did the security of Iran come and go as the plot warranted it? Why did Carrie make a big deal about Brody deserving a star when he was a known terrorist that never was employed by the CIA as an official agent?
            It would help if the acting was still as strong as it once was on the series, but now many of the actors are just now playing caricatures of their characters.  The most glaring example of this is Claire Danes, who just overacts every single line she gets.  Sure, all of the subtlety in the writing for the character is gone, but an actress as good as Claire Danes is supposed to be should be able to find something to make the character work.  Damian Lewis is fine, but there is rarely a moment where Brody is doing anything other than moving the plot along outside of “Tower of David” (which Lewis does some series best work in).  I guess Mandy Patinkin looks great in contrast to the craziness going around him, but it is too much for him too completely ground the series by himself.  Meanwhile, former standouts (Rupert Friend, Morena Baccarin, Morgan Saylor and F. Murray Abraham) and newcomers (Tracy Letts) are almost completely wasted.
            With season three the downfall of Homeland is complete.

4/10

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