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What Is Homeland Doing?

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I’m a big fan of premium cable television shows. Game of Thrones, Dexter, Weeds, Boardwalk Empire, The Pacific, Band Of Brothers, The Wire, I could go on forever. Homeland had entered that pantheon high quality televised programming, or so I thought. Season one was fantastic. The tension in that season could go up against any season of Breaking Bad, and the acting, the writing and the story…my god, the story. Abu Nazir seemed to be a worthy opponent to Gus Fring for TV’s top villain. It was the ultimate psychological gauntlet of sympathizing with a terrorist and a crazy person and every episode took a toll on my psyche. It was all so perfectly put together. The words “Previously on Homeland…” still make me break out in a cold sweat.

Season two was pretty great too, even though it was a little scattered and disorganized. Carrie’s craziness seemed to be reigned in and in the end it really seemed like her and Brody would end up together, against all odds. Then, it was blown to hell, literally. It wasn’t meant to be.

Now we are into season three, where shows usually distinguish themselves, and can go from good to great. Brody was assumedly on the run, although it took them THREE EPISODES to tell us what the hell one of the show’s central characters was doing after being framed for the biggest terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11, OR WAS HE? The first episode of this season was pretty awesome, I’ll give them that. The montage of them taking down six high priority terrorist targets in the span of 15 minutes was badass. Outside of that, it’s been a pretty flat season with a ton of questions still hanging out there. Where the hell was Brody before he got to Venezuela? Why is he strung out on heroin? How the hell does Carrie know these people? Why would she send Brody to this kind of hell hole? Fill us in. We’re three episodes in. Come on now.

My biggest gripe with the show is that it has lost its ridiculously fast pacing from the first season and second half of last season. There’s still a lot going on in this season, but the stakes don’t seem to be as high, despite Brody being kept in the Tower of David in Caracas, Venezuela, seemingly being prepped to be sold into male sex slavery with the way they’re loading him up with narcotics. Also, the weird, creepy doctor?

Please don’t get me started on Brody’s family. Please don’t. Because Dana Brody is one of the worst characters ever. It’s a completely unnecessary storyline that should’ve been killed off last season. I know it sounds calloused or harsh, but I really don’t give a damn about Brody’s family anymore. We get it. His family is disgusted by him and his wife was boning some other dude while he was presumed dead and then she boned him again when Brody was in line for a vice presidential nomination. They aren’t critical to the story anymore. I’ve never disliked a TV family so much. Wait, scratch that. The Lannisters. They carry that distinction.

Then we come to Saul. Saul has always been in Carrie’s corner. He’s her ride-or-die companion and now that he’s the interim CIA head honcho, he can’t protect Carrie as much, which is why he had to out her as a total crazy person in front of a congressional committee. Then again, this could all be a ploy by Saul to have Carrie lead them to Brody. I don’t know, just don’t take THREE ENTIRE EPISODES AND COUNTING to tell us what the hell your plan is for this season.

I’m not a television expert, by any means. I’m just a guy who can tell when some shows have obviously run out of gas. I knew it right when LOST ran out of gas. I knew it when Weeds ran out of gas. Dexter, too. Maybe it’s a symptom of the disease that plagues Showtime. This is now the fourth show that has completely imploded after a few seasons. Weeds was great, an all-timer for several seasons, and then just died. Same with Dexter and Californication. I don’t know what the direction of the third season of Homeland is and I don’t know what the plan is for the rest of the series. Deep down, I always kind of wished Carrie and Brody would turn into an awesome terrorist fighting power couple, taking down terrorist cells across the world as husband and wife, in tuxedos. Well, maybe not, but that’d be a pretty badass turn.

It’s a shame that Carrie Matheson is taking the same stroll down the same road that Nancy Botwin, Hank Moody and Dexter Morgan all did. Tremendous actors that built incredible characters that got shat all over by the producers at Showtime. Let’s go, Homeland. Get your shit together and let’s make some GD television magic again.

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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