Homeland: “A Red Wheelbarrow” Season 3 Episode 8 Review

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Oh Carrie, what are we going to do with you?

This week’s Homeland was very discordant. There were moments of tense excellence and some great character work, but they were thrust alongside moments of operatic ridiculousness and some unnecessary character work. Things managed to come together in the end with yet another big reveal, but I’m not sure if the mystery has intensified or if I’m just confused.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the show’s quieter moments amongst all the chaos that ensues. Between all the unpredictable twists, there are short scenes that exude a tenderness to stop you in your tracks. Saul and Mira have had a handful of these moments this season, only being allowed small fragments of time to work on their broken marriage. Every scene between them is great because it feels like there are layers of pain under every line of dialogue. Their relationship has achieved a live-in quality without spending too much time dwelling on their history.

Yet this week the writers stumbled, throwing a needless wrench into an already complex situation.  As it turns out, Mira’s lover Alain is not who he seems. After Mira curtly breaks things off with him, we see Alain sneaking into her and Saul’s house to bug their computer. Call it a hunch, but I doubt he’s so filled with spite that he wants to spy on Mira. No, this seems to once again circle back to Saul Berenson, and brings up a slew of questions. Who is Alain working for? Was seducing Mira all a ploy to get closer to Saul? Most importantly, why is this crucial to the plot? Isn’t there enough going on already?

All I can say, thank god for Fara. In a subplot that was miles away from the goings-on at the CIA, we see the newbie analyst retreating home to take care of her ailing father. Of course, she’s not just home to make him soup. She’s really too jolted from Javadi’s release back into Iran to continue with her work. More interesting is the fact that she told her father she works at a bank because any connection to the American Government could potentially harm her family back in Tehran. I liked this slice-of-life look into Fara’s background. Sure, it was a little disconnected from the main plotline, but I have a feeling it will come into play later. Fara is certainly one to watch, and Nazanin Boniadi turned in a great performance this week.

Now onto the main event. Carrie and Quinn devise a plan to use Dar Adal in baiting Javadi’s organization. They hope this will lead them to the actual Langley bomber, and of course Carrie is hoping this will prove Brody’s innocence. During a brief scene in the hospital, we learn that Brody is indeed the father of her unborn child. This scene was intriguing, as it proved just how unmotherly Carrie really is. After hearing her say that she heavily drank and took lithium when she initially discovered she was pregnant, I sincerely hope she either gives the baby up for adoption or terminates the pregnancy all together. Let’s be honest here, there is no way that “Carrie Mathison: Super Spy and Super Mom” would make a good show.

Anyway, back to the mission. Once Dar Adal plants the seed in Leland Bennett’s head that the CIA is onto his dealings with Javadi, things really pick up at an exhilarating speed. Everything from Carrie’s meetings at the church to the stakeout in the van is exciting to watch, and it’s great to see these group of agents work as a cohesive team. Unfortunately, Carrie ruins it all by almost blowing their cover when she finds out the bomber is going to be killed instead of extradited. I can’t tell if it’s my skepticism of her actions or my dislike of Brody, but as soon as she ran out of the car I started shaking my head. Dar Adal warns Carrie that she’s undoing everything they’ve been working for. Seriously, Carrie went into a mental institution, took lithium while pregnant, and had her affair with Brody outed to the Senate Select Committee–all so she could fool Javadi into trusting her. Now she wants to throw that all away so she can bring Brody back home?  Girl, it’s time to move on.

Carrie was right about one thing, though. After being shot in the shoulder by Quinn, she mentions to him that something doesn’t seem right and asks where Saul is. Though I don’t think she should have gone against orders, I also don’t see why everyone was willing to let the bomber be killed. This goes back to my theory of Dar Adal being untrustworthy. I doubt Saul would have applied the same strategy had he been there.

So where was he? Well, after spending most of the episode hinting at a mysterious trip he has to take, he finally lands in Caracas. If you weren’t already able to guess when he arrives at the Tower of David, the show’s final moments see him staring at a severely distraught Brody surrounded by  a pile of needles. The doctor seems to have finally broken him. My guess is that this is all part of Saul’s grand plan for a regime change in Iran, but really who knows at this point. I’m excited for what’s to come, but also nervous that the final four episodes are going to be more of a disjointed mess.  Grade: B

By Mike Papirmeister

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