Homeland: “Alt.Truth” Season 6 Episode 8 Review

Photo Credit:http://homeland.wikia.com/wiki/Alt._Truth

The beginning of season six, while not the best the show has ever been, did a nice job laying out exactly what issues this season would be tackling. From Quinn’s struggle as a veteran to Carrie fighting Islamophobia, Homeland had a fresh new set of ideals that both fit the show’s basic premise and expanded it into new, occasionally reflective territory. The episodes since the amazing “Casus Belli” seem to have abandoned some of these ideals in favor of being a spy show and focusing in on Carrie’s personal struggles. When season one was airing, calling Homeland a spy show seemed almost insulting. But that’s what it always comes back to now, even if it occasionally wants to position itself otherwise. “Alt.Truth” is a strong example of this, as well as how Homeland loses its unique touch when it strays from headline mirroring storylines.

As far as season six’s arc is concerned, this episode was primarily in place to get Saul in the know about Dar Adal’s nefarious actions and start to move Quinn back to the central plot after a few episodes away. For the former, that means the first few extended scenes between Carrie and Saul all season. These, disappointingly, didn’t feel like the reunion they should have. Sure, Saul comforting and reassuring Carrie about her daughter in foster care had some nice elements, but it was difficult to swallow how quickly Carrie jumped back into the game with Saul, especially as she’s trying to prove to child services that she’s fit to be a mother.

All of this was leading to the inevitable showdown between President-elect Keane and Javadi, as orchestrated by Carrie and Saul. The scene itself wasn’t very well constructed, with little build up to the informational bomb Javadi was about to drop. Whether Iran is working with North Korea or not is naught for the time being, at least according to what Homeland puts the focus on. Keane is baffled by the entire meeting, and blames Carrie and Saul. Again this season takes massive global issues and turns them into small character drama. Director Lesli Linka Glatter and writer Patrick Harbinson are focused Carrie’s disappointment in losing Keane’s support instead of Iran’s nuclear activity. It really makes Homeland as a whole feel arbitrary.

Then there’s Quinn’s showdown at the cabin, which leaves Astrid dead so soon after being brought back into the series. But the long, drawn-out action scene that ends “Alt.Truth” feels like something out of another show. Quinn is shot into the river, but hides underwater dodging bullets until his attacker decides to leave. It’s a very silly sequence, even if it’s purpose to get Quinn back with the rest of the characters has some promise.

So “Alt.Truth” moves us further away from the aspects of season six that seemed so exciting in the beginning. It still feels like the fallout of Sekou’s death hasn’t been fully explored in the ways the show looked to be setting up. As we enter the end of the season, Homeland is going to need to get itself more together to form any kind of satisfying resolution. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougerty

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