“I Can’t Help But Feel I’m Missing Something”
Homeland TurboWatch Episodes 3 and 4
Oh, man, Carrie Matheson, I like you maybe too much. Maybe there’s something about that name, “Carrie”, that makes fictional televised bearers of it somehow endearing, to the point where you get so lost in the woman that the show she’s in feels too real and you have a reality problem.
Because there are moments when I wonder about Homeland, and whether it’s pulling one over on all of us. This is gripping TV, but it might not always be excellent. Right? Like for example, how are we feeling about some of this clunky dialogue? Embarrassingly on the nose is one thing. I can get down with Carrie bleating that “I’m all alone out here”, sure, but would she really say “We’re three weeks behind the bad guys”, or is that just for our benefit?
There are a couple of places where this dialogue awkwardness is noticeable – in particular, when that poor actress playing Dana had to say “f*cking”, meaning the act of, you know, f*cking, and she was so uncomfortable she raced through it –(although I do like that she says “Ma”). Some of this could be due to the adaptation from the original Israeli version of the show, or it could just be watching to see if we’re paying attention. Like, I’m not sure if this new guy doing double duty on Carrie is a great actor or a terrible one...but I love him anyway.
Here’s who I don’t love: Jessica and Mike. Together, hiding such a big secret but both of them so…hapless. Their words are so useless to deconstruct the mess they’ve gotten themselves in, and Mike may be higher up than Brody, but he’s not very smart, is he? He has zero game for how to play any of this, and I get that they weren’t expecting Brody to come home, but then when he does, PICK A STORY, fast, guys. It’s the only way to do it. At this point I have bets with myself over who will last the season, and here’s a spoiler – I hope neither do.
Because there are far more people I want to see more of. Like on the one hand, I love everything about who Saul is and what he does. I love that he’s the one who has our girl’s back, at least when he thinks it’s warranted. But then, if he’s such an experienced unflappable guy, why is he so completely enraged by Carrie? Like, dude, either get over it or don’t, but stop pulling your fatherly affection out from under her. You’re gonna give the girl whiplash, which she doesn’t need, because have you seen how her temperament swings into the red zone?
And David? I just want to point out that anyone can be a threatening dick in a suit. It takes someone special to be a threatening dick in a gigantic pickle-green golf shirt. I love that he disarms Carrie so easily. I don’t want to believe she’s that naïve. She laughs SO easily. She so clearly wants him to like her again. She turns into a petulant child when he’s upset with her, and they’ve done a really nice job with the reveal here, because it was hinted at but could as easily have been something else.
I don’t know yet about Carrie with men. I don’t know what I think, except that she likes them – maybe despite herself. She was so skillful, getting around Brody, giving him that coy charm, and knowing exactly that he was going to pick up what she was putting down – and then, all of a sudden, she’s in it for real, maybe when she said it was hard to talk to anyone who wasn’t “there” about anything; she lets her own smile get the best of her when it’s not for his benefit. Over Brody. It’s not that I think she lost her focus or anything, it’s just that I’m not sure I was ready for what button it would push in Carrie when Brody was so unexpectedly charming.
Terrifying, poor, wounded Sergeant Brody. If I have a criticism of the way they’ve been showing us his progress, it’s that it’s been all upsetting moments and awkwardness – shooting deer, sexual dysfunction, gritted teeth – such that it took too long to show any humanity, and even though they want us to wonder, I might not care enough about his salvation to really teeter on the edge of “is he or isn’t he”. He’s a terrorist? Sure. He’s just wounded? Okay. No number of sweet Dad talks are gonna make me care, so they’ll have to show me more of him, maybe less controlled.
But as careful as Brody is, Carrie is reckless. The gloriousness of Carrie ransacking the house as the hymn at church gets louder is amazing. Carelessly, fingerprint-y, just damn determined to find something – this woman is missing a fear gene. Or one of the ones that teenagers don’t have, where she can’t project forward to future consequences. It’s why she has no cramp in the pit in her stomach that made her afraid for Lynn or slightly concerned with SPYING from her car like a …oh man. Like a grown-up Veronica Mars.
Oh. Oh, wow. Now I know why I love this show. And all of you Homeland devotees who have never popped in “Veronica”? Go see what Carrie was like at 17.
Okay, I’m back. This show is almost silly, it’s so fun. It’s convenient sometimes, and there’s the wayward couple of Youth And American Flag Alerts to contend with, and I know that, like in a horror movie, there are many more ways for Brody to terrify me but even though I can see some of the pipe they’re laying, I don’t care. I just want more. Am I gonna get worse?
Attached - Claire Danes in New York this morning.