Homeland: “The Return” Season 6 Episode 6 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/homeland-recap-season-6-episode-6-the-return

After last week’s phenomenal outing, Homeland does what Homeland does best: overdo it. “The Return” is the point in the season where the show tip toes around jumping the shark, never quite committing to doing so but heightening things to a point where the show is somewhat stripped of its realism.

The best example of this is President-elect Keane’s ploy to get out of her safe house. To do so, she sneaks off with a neighbor, somehow avoiding all the secret service around her. The purpose of this, of course, is to get Keane alone with someone who didn’t vote for her so they can discuss why. It’s a noble idea, but also one written as if it were on a far less intelligent show. This scene is also not even trying to hide that Keane is meant to be Hillary Clinton. I’ve said before in my season six reviews that Keane is sometimes meant to embody various characteristics of both candidates, but not even Homeland could predict what Trump would be doing. The disconnect between the show and our reality is hardly one to blame the writers for, but there is some damage done to Homeland‘s basic headline-stealing premise.

Carrie’s portion of the episode fares a bit better, but still delved into the preposterous. Convincing Conlin to join forces with her to uncover the truth that Quinn started to reveal, there is a more cohesive feel to season six’s various plot threads. Conlin visits a seemingly normal looking office building, but then he’s greeted by a receptionist and some job interview candidates that all seem like they came from The Stepford Wives. This radical shift in tone once again felt like a completely different show, even if it was entertaining. Conlin is quickly shoved off after going a little too far into the office.

And that’s the last we see of him. When Carrie goes to his home later in the episode, Conlin has a bullet in his head. Having the shooter still in Conlin’s home was a bit excessive, though intense. It just felt like the writers were trying a little too hard to keep up the momentum from “Casus Belli” and felt they needed a game of cat and mouse with guns. Regardless, Conlin’s death certainly spiked the intrigue for the season, as does Quinn’s capture at the very end of the episode. What could Astrid have to do with all this anyway?

So for an episode that had an impossible job in following up one of the show’s best in a long while, “The Return” fared okay. There were some narrative stretches that didn’t quite fit in with the show’s appropriately quiet tone this year, but also some key developments to keep us invested. Halfway through and season six still has a lot of untapped potential. Grade: B-

By Matt Dougherty

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