9   +   5   =  

homeland-season-s3-e2‘Uh… Oh… Ah…’

“Fuck… you… Saul” whispers a sedated Carrie at the end of an episode that gave us nothing new, just more of the same; Homeland’s writer’s seemingly happy to just weather the storm until Brody finally returns next week.

Naturally, having been betrayed by Saul, Carrie’s facial contortions have reached crisis point. Determined to have her side of the story told, she sits down for an interview with the journalist that published the article about her relationship with Brody last week. Determined to stop her tarnishing the CIA’s name, Saul & Adal have Carrie sectioned under the grounds of mental instability and she’s carted off to hospital before she can give away too many details.

Despite Homeland having mainly centered on the relationship between Carrie and Brody, the bond between Carrie and Saul has always been one of the show’s most interesting elements. Carrie’s frustrated outbursts mean that, like Saul, we are struggling to truly trust her at the moment. However, as Quinn pointed out on our behalf, the disregardful way she has been treated as a consequence does not sit well either. The scenes of Carrie harnessed and held down while a doctor administers the drugs that she is convinced weakens her as an agent were certainly distressing to see; Danes capturing the horror of the situation with a chilling wide-eyed terror.

Similarly terrifying was the amount of time we spent with Dana and the Brody family this week. Formulaic teen angst continues to be the order of the day with Dana running away from home in order to see and sleep with the far too handsome Leo. Dana’s outburst to Jess about Brody and what he did felt misjudged, especially when followed with a scene of her kneeling on her father’s prayer mat, unfathomably still sitting on a shelf in the garage.

Over at Langley the investigation in to the bombing continues with the arrival of Fara, a new transactions analyst described by Saul as “a kid in a head scarf”. The frank and honest exploration of the complex relationships between non-Muslims & Muslims has always been one of Homeland’s greatest strengths, but here it felt as if the writers were laying it on too thick. Fara arrives at the CIA with all eyes watching her suspiciously, while both Saul and Quinn’s mouths dropped open at the sight of Fara, in a moment of clearly unintentional hilarity.

It’s frustrating, as what was so fantastic about Homeland’s first season was the way that the persecution of Muslims by the intelligence services was shown to be both immoral and wrong, yet here is passed off as completely justified. Saul’s outburst to Fara that wearing a headscarf was like giving all those that perished in the blast the finger felt tonally unbalanced with what we have seen in the past from Homeland.

Such an unpleasant eruption from Saul did, however, give us more of an opportunity to see the darker side of his character that is gradually developing. Like David Estes before him, the pressures of running such a secretive organization is starting to turn Saul into yet another tortured soul. An interesting idea certainly, but unlikely to help a show that’s running out of characters we can identify with.

★★

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