Teenagers on a F*ckfest
(Sorry, Jacek, I had to)
Homeland Season 3 Episode 5 recap
Other than two very delicious uses of the F word this week, Homeland has now firmly constructed itself – this season, at least – as a show that might be smarter than you and is determined to keep you guessing. This is either immensely appealing or intensely annoying, depending on how you live. I don’t mind it, as the layers of how Carrie and Saul constructed the last few weeks come into view, but I feel like it’s distracting us from the main point of the season, which Saul articulates about halfway through the episode. “Iran is our biggest enemy” is fine, but we took a damn while to get there, and the threat seems somewhat ephemeral when compared to, say, season one’s Brody who was actually on the inside.
Saul’s new boss is determined to upend things of that nature so we don’t have those problems. He plans to remove the “human” from “human error”. This is of course repugnant to Saul and is the reason why he’s not getting the directorship and the reason why he might be unglued. I mean, his wife is doing whatever she does all day AND NIGHT, WHAT GIVES, MIRA? He’s the protector of Carrie but also kind of her puppetmaster these days, and while Homeland has asked us for years to check and recheck ourselves where Carrie’s sanity is concerned, how do we feel about Saul’s?
I am thrilled, obviously, that Saul’s back on our side. I had no interest in watching him be The Man. And if he’s a little off-kilter as a result, if the only people in his corner are Carrie and Quinn, well, then all the better. We’re not going to have good adventures if Saul’s popular and well-supported.
And speaking of adventures…I don’t know, you guys. Characters on TV are necessarily more interesting, more special, more unusual than the rest of us. Otherwise we’d have to watch shows about average idiots like ourselves. And Carrie is special. I get that. This show couldn’t exist if Carrie wasn’t totally unusual. But – two things here. First of all, I want to know where the cracks will be. She’s off her medication again, which either means everything or nothing. Whether Carrie – who is, now and for the foreseeable future, going to have to be undercover intelligence, since her reputation is ruined – is going to be able to make a new story for herself, and be anyone other than the “committed-to-hospital-again” agent, is something the show wants us to keep guessing at.
Then there’s the uncomfortable feeling I got during the Quinn & Carrie scenes. I don’t know. Call me crazy, but I feel like even though they’ve had scenes together before, these ones were spent looking into each others’ eyes much more than in the past. The look of consternation on his face when he had his sixth sense that something was wrong – tell me it was just professional concern. Right? It’s not anything else that would make him follow her so closely – this show isn’t that. Please say it isn’t. I don’t need anyone else to be falling in love…
And on that note, the less said about Dana Brody the better. To me, it played out as though Morgan Saylor, who is by all accounts a good actress, started reading internet commentary that said they don’t want to see any more of Dana (or Chris!) and started playing it that way. Everyone else has complained about this storyline, so the less I say, the less I repeat myself. At least Jessica also got to say the word “f*cking”.
But this relatively “light” episode, in addition to making me want a yoga doppelganger of my very own, showed off why Claire Danes earns all those acting awards we roll our eyes at. Her performance is consistently surprising and energetic, like this week, where being back in the field turned her back into a proactive optimist – at least until the admittedly dramatic end of the episode. I might think Carrie’s nuts at any given time but I’ve never wanted to stop watching her. Like the moment when she smiles into the phone when inviting Max to yoga? She knows you have to look happy in order to sound happy on the phone. I kind of loved it. So she’s as solid as ever - but in the face of the show playing around with our expectations, is that enough?