Homeland: “Geronition” Season 3 Episode 7 Review

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm497736960/tt2916308

Saul interrogates Javadi while Quinn tries to cover his tracks in a well-paced, compelling, and surprisingly humorous episode.

Homeland has become an increasingly tense viewing experience this season, and not just because of its flashy twists.  Everything that’s happened so far has been a relative improvement to the mess that was season 2, and it’s very exciting to watch.  Still, I have a lingering anxiety every Sunday night that the show will slip back into its old habits.  There have been some small moments–mainly involving Dana–where I thought this was going to happen, but since nothing has reached the level of “Skype time with Abu Nazir” I’m willing to overlook them.

This week there were several moments that, though intriguing, had me worried about the season’s future.  They all involved Nicholas Brody.  Thankfully, the writers decided to omit any and all scenes of the Brody family from this episode, allowing for a more streamlined plot involving Saul and Carrie’s plan for Javadi.  Brody’s presence, however, was strongly felt as he was all anyone could talk about.  Both Saul and Carrie have a scene with Javadi where they ask him whether or not Brody was the one who activated the bomb that destroyed Langley.  At the end, we get a tiny clue as to who the real culprit might be.

This seems to be how the show is going to bring Brody back into the fold.  So far it’s promising, but it could easily go awry.  I think maybe because I’m so over Brody as a character, I’m not really looking forward to his return.  The past few weeks we have seen what a Brody-less Homeland would look like, and I really have liked the results.  I know it’s unrealistic for me to think they’d never bring him back again, but a part of me was hoping that his scene at the end of “Tower of David” would be his last.

I shouldn’t knock the Brody storyline completely, though.  The scene between Carrie and Javadi in the car was effectively tense and gave Claire Danes a chance to do some great eye acting.  She’s forced to remain calm when Javadi confirms that Brody wasn’t involved in the bombing, but her eyes light up with hope.  Now that she’s (potentially) carrying his child, there’s an added weight to her wanting to prove his innocence.  Speaking of her baby, I’m glad that the show hasn’t made an overly big of a deal about it.  They relegated a quick morning sickness scene to it early on, and then didn’t bring it up again.  It’s much more of a pragmatic plotline when it’s kept in the background.

Other than the all the Brody talk, this episode was pretty perfect.  The pacing felt just right, allowing for the characters to breathe in between the more thrilling scenes.  Saul dominated most of the hour, and boy did he deliver.  Mandy Patinkin was incredibly on-point throughout, whether he was dealing with Javadi or his troubled home life with Mira.  The interrogation sequence wasn’t on the level of last year’s “Q&A,” but it was still very impressive.  We also got to see Saul exercise his funny bone, something I’d never thought would come from an episode of Homeland.  His fight with Senator Lockhart that ended in him locking him in a conference room was a winning, chuckle-worthy moment.  It also made one thing abundantly clear: Dar Adal cannot be trusted.  One minute he’s berating Saul for not clueing him in on his operation, the next he’s congratulating him.  This flip-flop was interesting, and I’ve definitely got my eyes on him now.

In subplot territory, Quinn tries to rectify the chaos of the police investigation of the murder of Javadi’s ex-wife.  It worked fine as an auxiliary story, and gave him some nice character development as he grapples with the ethically shady work he’s had to do at the CIA.  There was also a small, but potent moment between him and Carrie when she asks him to help prove Brody’s innocence.  He seems upset, and it’s obviously about more than having to do extra spy work.  Call me old -fashioned, but I’m still rooting for those crazy kids to get together.

Your English Lit major friends will tell you that the episode’s title is a reference to a T.S. Eliot poem of the same name.  It is written in the voice of an elderly man who cynically contemplates his own life and the world around him.  This could be implying dark times ahead for Saul, who’s just had one of the best days of his career.  It could also be referring to Quinn, who’s grown weary of the CIA’s clandestine operations.  Either way, I’m looking forward to see what’s next.  Even if it involves Brody, there’s a good chance it could still be great.  Grade: A-


By Mike Papirmeister

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