Entertainment Magazine

Catching Up On Homeland

Posted on the 08 November 2011 by Lucasmcmillan @LucasMcMillan


Sweet Hosanna! Quality programming is back on pay cable, folks: Showtime’s Homeland is straight-up crack-cocaine television. Its sixth episode aired this past Sunday, so I’m a little late to the party. But I’ve been taking a lot of shots to catch up.

Homeland concerns the return of a POW American sergeant from Afghanistan named Nicholas Brody. He has been held prisoner by Al Qaeda for eight years but is suddenly rescued by American troops. CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, played brilliant by Claire “Forget That I was the Star of Terminator 3 Soon, Please” Danes receives information from a soon-to-be executed terrorist informant in Iraq that a terrorist cell has supposedly turned a captured American against the United States. She immediately suspects that the rumored plant is Brody. Let the games begin.

There are many different layers working for this show. First and foremost, Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison is a complete crazy. She pops pills, wears a wedding ring to scare off men, and has the wild, flashing eyes of a genuinely unhinged person. It’s a great performance. Damien Lewis, who plays maybe-terrorist Brody, is equally fine. He’s most recognizable as the stoic and moral Lietenant Winters from HBO’s classic miniseries Band of Brothers, and here he turns that performance on its ear. Brody is a lot like Lieutenant Winters, if Winters had severe PTSD and (maybe) a little Manchurian Candidate-esque brainwashing.

Another extra layer Homeland has in its favor is the role surveillance plays in the show. Mathison is closely observing Brody at home after illegally installing wiretaps and cameras everywhere. We see Brody’s story unfold as Mathison sees it, outside of some flashbacks to his captivity that divulge little. Is Brody actually a terrorist or is Mathison a certifiable nut? Or a little of both? We’re watching her watch him, and the way that interplay works is brilliant. We’re not really sure which one of them is crazy. I just hope the crazy one doesn’t end up being, well, the viewer.

I have two concerns with the show thus far (full disclosure: I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but I will catch up before next week’s episode and start writing weekly reviews.): Rubicon and the plight of the single-season mystery. This show, despite being on Showtime, is strongly reminiscent of AMC’s last two stink bombs, Rubicon and The Killing. Rubicon was all about government intrigue within the bureaucratic system as intelligence analysts tried to deduce whether a wealthy cabal of businessmen was behind an impending terrorist plot. It was hard to understand, and also super boring. Homeland has more than a little of Rubicon in it. (One episode this season has even been written by Rubicon‘s former show-runner. Uh-oh.) As for The Killing, the comparisons are even scarier.

How can you expect to milk an entire television series out of resolving one mystery? The Killing did it by exploring every pointless dead end and cul-de-sac in the mystery, and then ended in an insanely stupid twist. It left the viewer no closer to knowing who committed the titular killing than they were while watching the pilot. And that show was renewed for a second season. So has Homeland. Gulp. I hope this doesn’t mean what I think it means, but I’m not optimistic. We may not have any answers to Homeland‘s mysteries by the end of its first season.

Still, Homeland is better than everything else on TV right now. Watch it for the mystery, the intrigue and the solid performances. It’s too early to rush to judgment, but please steel yourself for what could be a season-ending letdown of Killing proportions. But that’s six weeks away. For now, glass half-full it and enjoy the premier thriller on television.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Frank Turner, Sam Coffey, and Bad Cop / Bad Cop Takeover Toronto!

    Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls played the middle show of a three-night takeover of The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on Thursday night, and things... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Phjoshua
  • Our Favorite TV Shows of All-Time

    Even though we live in Los Angeles where the weather is nice most of the year, during the fall we sometimes just want to stay in, prepare a cup of hot cocoa... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
  • Finished Boys Bedroom Makeover: Ethans Blue, White And Red Big Boy Room

    Finished Boys Bedroom Makeover: Ethans Blue, White Room

    Our little boy Ethan's, bedroom makeover is now finished and it feels so good to finally be able to say that! If you've been following our renovation journey,... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Alex_bumptobaby
  • Will Our Inventions Make Us Irrelevant?

    Will Inventions Make Irrelevant?

    We have the tools to redesign life to fulfil our wildest dreams. But do we know ourselves any more, asks Yuval Noah Harari in his latest book 21 Lessons for th... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Thinkibility
  • House of Indya

    House Indya

    The festive season is already knocking on the door. Am sure many of us including me obviously is active in binge mode searching for ethnic collections like... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Chayanikarabha
  • How to Worsen Diabetes: Follow the ADA and CDA Advice

    Worsen Diabetes: Follow Advice

    If you have a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, or have been dealing with the condition for years, where's a natural place you might go for support and... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Dietdoctor
  • Safely Stored Away

    Safely Stored Away

    A bit of a panic today when I saw that temperatures might go down to 3C tonight and tomorrow night.  Whilst I had started to move some of my tender plants... Read more

    The 23 September 2018 by   Patientgardener