Homeland: “Good Night” Season 3 Episode 10 Review

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The season’s most suspenseful episode yet is marred by previous missteps.

Was anyone else underwhelmed by this week’s spy mission? It had all the elements of a thrilling action movie: tense control room negotiations, plans gone awry, and a shootout scene straight out of Zero Dark Thirty. Yet, Homeland isn’t Zero Dark Thirty. In fact, it isn’t a movie at all. The main reason “Good Night” didn’t work for me is because I kept thinking of the show’s previous decisions, and how they affected everything that was transpiring onscreen. As a standalone episode, this week’s outing was very effective. As part of the season-long arch, however, it worked merely as setup for what’s to come. It was nothing more than a means to an end and, at this point, I just wish the end would come so we can be done with it already.

I will give this episode some credit, though. It was very focused on its endgame. The entire plotline shifted between the CIA control room and Brody’s operation on the ground. This risky phase of Saul’s plan involved getting him safely into Iran so that he could ask for asylum. Of course, things don’t go accordingly, and Brody and his team of operatives are forced to make some tough decisions while Carrie and Saul watch with bated breath. Carrie, in particular, has a personal investment in this mission’s success. Claire Danes did another phenomenal job this week as she kept Carrie’s emotions visible, but contained. I could have done without Quinn’s soap opera-style interrogation of her pregnancy, but I was captivated by her nonetheless.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder where Carrie’s pregnancy plot is going to go. I’ve been happy with its subtlety so far, but with only two episodes left something has to be done. It seems to only be there to give added emotional weight to everything she does, which feels unnecessary since Carrie already has enough on her plate. I hope they’re able to come up with some kind of conclusion for her unborn child, and I hope that it isn’t ridiculous.

Brody got a lot of screen time this week, and it appears the writers are trying to make him into a venerable soldier again. I’m not really sure why. As I said last week, his character has more than worn out his welcome and it worries me that the show is trying to give him new life. Perhaps I’m letting my personal distaste for Brody get in the way, but I didn’t quite buy his transition from scared recruit to bold rogue agent over the course of several minutes. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes every time he shouted, or cried, or disobeyed orders. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, though. The show could simply be building him up for one last moment of greatness before his demise. Either way, my patience is wearing thin.

I’m also growing restless when it comes to Dar Adal. I really hope they reveal some new facet about his character soon, otherwise I’m not really sure of his purpose on the show. If he is truly untrustworthy, as I suspect, then I think his turnaround will be an excellent twist for Saul. If not, then he’s nothing more than another CIA drone who occasionally pops up to give advice. His scenes with the President’s Chief of Staff were jarringly dull compared to everything else going on, so I’m really not sure why he was even in this week’s episode to begin with. Homeland already has so many great characters in its wheelhouse. There’s no need to bring in another one if he’s not going to be utilized properly.

All in all, this week was a blunt hour of drama that pushed the narrative closer toward its end. This season has been working tirelessly to undo the wrongs of season 2, and I just hope the final episodes can provide some sort of salvation. After this episode, however, I won’t be holding my breath for too long. Grade: C+

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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