7   +   9   =  

homeland-game-on-1‘Game On’

What’s that coming over the hill… is it a plot development? Homeland’s writers have shown many times in the past that they have a talent for creating big reveals when we least expect them and the last 5 minutes of this episode was no exception. Given the unrelenting sluggishness of the first 3 episodes, a twist was needed to breathe life in to this evermore-tired thriller.

When we begin Carrie is still in hospital, being kept awake at night by the bloodcurdling screams of another patient on her floor. The horror of life on a psych ward is nearly at an end though, as today is Carrie’s hearing to determine her release. Her progress is clear to see and all members of the psychiatric committee recommend her for release. However, Adal is still determined to keep Carrie where he can see her and forces the judge to withhold her release. A few hours later though, Carrie is released anyway by Paul Franklin, who insists she meets with his client.

For the first 35 minutes this was another wildly uneven episode, with Carrie’s story interspersed with incoherent scenes of Saul and Fara’s hunt for the 12/12 financers, and yet more tedious teen angst from Dana and her, now possibly murderous, lover boy. It all dragged the pace of an episode that was clearly trying to (finally) go somewhere and mercifully the writers found focus for the final 12 minutes to produce, for the first time this season, a cliffhanger that really did leave you wanting more.

Carrie’s meeting with Mr. Bennett, an effectively mysterious Martin Donovan, reveals that the man who wishes to speak to her is an Iranian with ties to the Langley bombing. Bennett’s carefully chosen words seem to convince Carrie that her only option is to work with his client to feed information about Saul and the CIA back to them, in return for compensation and the promise that she will be kept out of hospital. Clare Danes brilliantly emphasized Carrie’s vulnerability in this scene to convince both Bennett and us that she had indeed turned; an excellent piece of acting that set up a brilliantly orchestrated final scene.

Carrie turning up at Saul’s house was an unexpected twist in itself. Her comment on how she took over 5 hours to get there, utilizing all tricks to ensure she wasn’t followed, showing that both of them wanted to ensure no one else (including Adal no doubt) knew they had met. As Carrie looked up and proclaimed, “it worked Saul”, the reason behind the lack of development over the past 3 weeks revealed itself. Bennett’s client is Javadi, the man they suspect of financing the Langley bombing and between them, Saul and Carrie have been working together to set-up a top secret sting operation to bring him down.

It may be a plan as high up on the ridiculous meter as Silva’s in Skyfall, but it immediately breathes new life in to the show and left you thirsty for more. Game on indeed!

★★★

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