Homeland: “Enemy of the State” Season 7 Premiere Review

Photo Credit:http://tvline.com/2018/02/11/homeland-recap-season-7-premiere-enemy-of-the-state-showtime-mcclendon-dies/

Has any series of the golden age of television had a longer, stranger path than Homeland? I personally feel like I’ve been tuning into Carrie Mathison’s espionage adventures for 12 weeks every year of the last decade. To be fair, that is absolutely in part due to the show’s ornate ability to adapt the precise political zeitgeist of the past couple months into a usually pretty competent television season. Homeland premiered in 2011 not even six months after the death of Osama bin Laden. That is to say the show started while the country felt like it couldn’t escape the War on Terror. Seven years later and you have to give the writers of this show credit: after a couple middling seasons in the middle of President Obama’s relatively sunny second term, the world delivered President Donald Trump, and now Homeland has found something to talk about again.

Perhaps the most remarkable narrative aspect of the show’s sometimes brilliant, sometimes maddening sixth season was how it took a would-be Hillary figure and spun the story’s wheels to turn her into a would-be Trump figure. Season seven is the first since the show’s third to directly carry over the plot of the previous season rather than hitting a reset button of sorts. President Keane has all but thrown democracy out the window, having locked up 200 people who she believes conspired against her and carried out the assassination attempt that served as season six’s climax. Among them is Saul Berenson, a character who remains the show’s greatest emotional secret weapon and yet who the writers can’t seem to figure out what to do with when he’s not sharing scenes with Carrie.

Keane’s tyranny has only fueled her broadcast war with Brett O’Keefe (with the underrated Jake Weber promoted from a recurring player to the main cast this year), and she’s winning at least until it appears his “resistance” broadcasts have won him some allies in the right places.

Carrie, meanwhile, while jobless has taken it upon herself to broker what information she can to take Keane down. Carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders as usual, it’s not long before we get the feeling that her eyes are already bigger than her stomach. She says she’s taking her meds to her sister, but Carrie makes some pretty big blunders this episode while trying to play the spy game without the resources of full-time employment. “Enemy of the State” is full of big, pulpy espionage I might add, with Carrie donning wigs, following people, and fighting to use so-called spy gear. While this does play into Homeland having gone off the deep end many a times before, there is something to be said for this show keeping up the crazy while the real-world headlines it steals for its subplots just keep getting crazier.

But again, Homeland is a show conceived for a very different period in American history. The cultural paradigm shift that occurred amidst Obama’s second term and lead into the 2016 election has left a number of high-profile shows to pick up the pieces as the world changed under their feet. Figuring out what Homeland looks like in the era of Trump is more a matter of waiting to see how the show pivots to whatever shit the real world throws at it. But I will say, the suspicious death of a general battling the president in court wouldn’t be all that eye-raising in 2018. Yeesh, what a horrifying thought that is. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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