Homeland Season Three: Thomson v Riley

“Javadi, coming after Nazir, ends any hopes that Homeland is prepared to find depth in Islamic characters; he is one more razor-lipped, saturnine terrorist, whispering Arabic threats (the kind of guy Hope and Crosby met on the road to everywhere). Magically brought to America to meet Carrie, the all-wise Jivadi finds time to slaughter his ex-wife (who happens to be nearby!) and his daughter-in-law. Just keep a low profile, Jivadi. This raises more problems because surveillance footage catches Quinn coming in on the murders (but not Carrie—are pregnant women blurred in surveillance?). Quinn then has to lie to the local cops about the “security-cleared killings” (one of which is the nastiest use of a broken bottle since Marty Augustine in The Long Goodbye, 1973). Which prompts Quinn (Rupert Friend) to wonder what the hell he is doing in this awful, ill-written CIA, and how does any secret operation think it’s doing anything but damage?” — David Thomson, Homeland Season Three Review: Showtime Series Is Falling Apart | New Republic.

My brother-in-law sent me this, so I responded:

I’m sure I’ve mentioned Thomson remains one of my favorite critics an any genre. Think I disagree with him here: although Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) spews villainy, the show does feature a very sympathetic Iranian Fara Sherazi (Nazanin Boniadi) who works under Saul, and her research leads directly to the flipping of Javadi. Lots of serendipity in that episode where Quinn gets caught on surveillance camera but not Carrie, sure. But I’m drawn into the longer game Saul plays, and adore that self-righteous Senator (Tracy Letts) who aims to succeed him. He’s got that smug Cheney petulance just curdling away at his ambition.
Even more, though I disagree that Brody’s daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor) falls anywhere close to “deeply uninteresting.” One of the pluses of Homeland lies in the way it deals with the life of Brody’s children, the direct effects of his attempts at terror. Saylor has Big Career written all over her. And Martin Donovan wreaks of sleaze in the most casual gestures.
While I think that first season may stand as a remarkable achievement, for me every episode successive episode atones for what I initially think of as oversights or errors in the previous. Carrie’s pregnancy seems ominous, ironic and at risk now that Quinn has shot her, the question of who its father turns secondary. And how does Saul find Brody? We haven’t seen Carrie reveal this to him. I’m still curious why Carrie still wants to exonerate Brody… after all that’s happened, wouldn’t she simply want to know the truth about who killed hundreds of her colleagues? She has to have considered by now that Brody has been playing her all along. The reveal with Saul’s wife’s lover sent me into chill zone, but then I saw another comment about how could Saul’s own home security system fail so spectacularly… and wouldn’t he suspect his wife’s lover of being a spy too? 
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  1. Joan Walsh says

    Hi Tim. I can’t agree that the series is falling apart. I like the long game of several episodes to reveal the trap of Javardi, but a bunch of the backstory is really weak. Where is Carrie’s family now that she is sprung from the hospital?, why is she off her meds AGAIN, why is hunky dude the only one on the security camera? But these seem to be the cost of doing business in a detailed plot…some times you need some magic to make fiction work. But I have to agree that the sideline with the achingly boring teenagers was wrongheaded. The Mom (oh, how far we have come from Firefly) is so badly written I want to put her in the car with the homicidal teenager. But really, the flat affect daughter with the name change and the moving after weeks after the suicide, I am not buying it as plot enhancing or strengthening.

    But, back to hunky guy…..