Homeland: “Uh… Oh… Ah…” Season 3 Episode 2 Review

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Carrie suffers a meltdown and Dana begins to confront her demons, in a chilling episode filled with top-notch performances.

When most television dramas end their seasons with a cliffhanger, they take some time to deal with it when the show starts up again in the fall.  Then they quickly move on to their new overarching plotline.  They allow the characters to pick up the pieces of their lives, they tie up any loose ends, and then they start fresh.  Homeland is smarter than that.  It doesn’t just offer a brief recuperation period for its characters, it revels in the aftermath of trauma.  It knows that things don’t go back to normal so quickly.  In fact, sometimes they never really do. Tonight’s episode, though strangely titled, proved that Homeland is back on track to doing what it does best: exploring its fascinating personalities.

Things pick up rather quickly after Saul’s betrayal on live TV.  Carrie is furious, and when she can’t get in touch with him directly, she goes straight to the press.  Claire Danes gave another impeccably unhinged performance tonight as Carrie begins to wildly lash out at those around her.  It’s a sad thing to witness.  To the world, she appears to be regressing back into the more severe stages of her disease–especially since she’s gone off her meds–but we know she’s only going crazy because people are making her crazy.  Saul is leaning far too much on the reliance of Dar Adal, and doesn’t realize what he’s done until its too late.  The  near paternal relationship he has with Carrie was a focal point of the last two seasons, so it’s uniquely unsettling to see him sell her down the river.

It’s clear Saul is more than a little stressed trying to find Javadi, which brings me to the one low point of this episode: his irrationally racist spat at Fara (Nazanin Boniadi), a bright new Muslim operative who comes aboard to help analyze the computer files Quinn retrieved in last week’s episode.  When Fara is initially unsure of herself during a meeting with Saul, he responds angrily, remarking that her religious head scarf is an insult to those who died in the bombing.  Okay, we get it.  Saul is under a lot of pressure, and he’s nervous about the future of the CIA.  But not only is that no excuse for his discriminatory comment, it also comes completely out of left field.  If Saul had even one racist bone in his body, wouldn’t we have already known that by now?  He deals with Middle Easter terrorists for a living, so I’m pretty sure it would have come up beforehand.

This minor annoyance aside, the rest of the episode went along smoothly.  While Carrie was tragically carted away to a mental health facility, Dana was trying to sneak back into hers.  She runs away to see Leo, the boy she met while in treatment.  The two spend the night together, but their romance is short-lived once they’re caught by security guards.  This leads to what was probably one of Dana’s first honest moments in the series.  She tells a shocked Jessica that her suicide attempt wasn’t a ploy for attention.  She really wanted to kill herself.  Why? Because she truly couldn’t handle the news that her father was a liar and terrorist.  Everything about this scene was done perfectly, from the jarring camera angles that amped up the intensity to Morgan Saylor’s spot-on delivery.  The Brody family is dealing with a lot this season, but Dana gets right to the root of the problem.  Her father ruined their lives.

And just where is Brody?  That still remains to be seen, as the writers smartly kept him out of another episode. Not only does this build suspense for his inevitable reveal, but it allows for the show to breathe a little since it’s not dealing with so much at once.    As always, I’m left wondering about how everything will turn out.  But unlike last season, I’m optimistic that I’ll love what I see. Grade: A-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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