8   +   3   =  

Episode 305‘The Yoga Play’

This week’s Homeland served as a timely reminder of just how great the show can be and how muddled it has become.

The central storyline, finally revealed at the end of last week’s episode, continued to gain momentum with our first glimpse of Javadi, the man almost certain to be behind the Langley bombing. Shaun Toub’s performance was joyfully enigmatic; this is a terrorist who has a great love for American burgers and insists on not using a gun. Of course, the power of Javadi has been subtly built up in the few small scenes between Saul & Fara (missing once again this week), meaning that he is still an accountable threat despite not having a weapon; the episode’s final moments leaving Carrie in terrifyingly dangerous situation.

Before Carrie found herself being abducted and manhandled by Javadi’s men though, she had other problems to sort. To start with the Iranians have surveillance on her, meaning her movements are fairly limited. The last thing she needs is for someone to turn up and ask her for help finding their daughter…

Enter Jessica Brody, hair and makeup still eye-bogglingly perfect despite the growing stress of Dana’s disappearance, showing up at Carrie’s door pleading for help in finding her daughter. While what followed had little bearing on Carrie’s overall narrative, it was a cracking example of cranking up tension. Carrie’s use of a “yoga play”, essentially allowing her a small window of opportunity to evade the Iranians and seek help with Dana’s disappearance, was tightly played out and allowed for some of the first real excitement we’ve had this season.

Likewise, the scenes of Saul duck hunting with DC’s bigwigs were also well scripted. Having arrived dressed in his finest hunting gear – “if I was a duck, I’d be worried” deadpanned Quinn – Saul was humiliated by the slimy Senator Lockhart, who informed him and then the rest of the hunting party that he would be taking over watch of the CIA in the following weeks. The look on Saul’s face was agonizing, perfectly played by Mandy Patinkin, and underlined the relentless pain and uncertainty that comes from working in such a profession; the discovery of his wife having dinner with a young French stud no doubt souring his mood further.

It’s a shame this satisfying mixture of tension and drama was dampened by Dana’s tedious sub-plot. Having finally discovered that Leo is not the knight in shining armour she perceived him to be, Dana decided it was finally time to call it quits and go home. Her insistence to her mother and brother that she was fine was a clear plea to be left alone; here’s hoping the writers were listening!

★★★

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