‘Homeland’: An Abusive Love Affair

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It’s no secret that I love Homeland, or at least I don’t keep it a secret. Well, I guess the more apt phrasing is that I used to love Homeland, a torturous relationship we have had. I can still remember my reaction to the pilot, mouth agape, something seemingly ripped out of a great film and a twist that kept me wanting more. The episode and the entire first season was a mix of all my favourite things in a TV show. Action, conspiracy theories, good acting, drama, dark humour, twists, spy shit and probably a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting. Season one was pretty perfect for me, except for one small part, Brody’s fate. If I had my ultimate way, I guess, I would’ve loved to see Brody die at the end of the season, detonating the bomb and completing one of the best mini-series of all time. On the other-hand, I wanted Brody to survive, because I wanted the show to continue, granted he could have died and the show still continue (as it will now…), but Lewis was such a fantastic element that losing him so soon felt disastrous.

I was apprehensive for season two, mainly because I had no clue where they would go with everything and possibly how they could ever top it. Of course, they weren’t able to top it, but I was favourably content with the season, and more so than a lot of people it seems across the Internet. The first half of the season was incredible, burning through plot and revelations that it seemed it would take them seasons to get to, but within a matter of episodes, everything was coming down. There were stand-out episodes like “Q&A”, one of my top two or something episodes the show has produced, along with some not-so-great ones later on in the season. Brody was still an integral part at first, but his mortality increasing got in the way, and seemed a detriment to the series that everything always had to be linked or go through him in one way. I was hoping for his death at the end, we didn’t get it, instead he went into seclusion, and out of our minds, but of course always primed for a return sometime in the third season.

Going into season three I was pretty concerned, Brody was still around in some capacity, and again it looked to be a slog having to always rope him into the action. Surprisingly, the show kept Brody out for an increasingly long time, and only made him of any real on-screen significance near the latter part of the season. This year, though, I felt there was not really much to grab on story-wise and nothing to adamantly keep me engaged. The villain was really aimless and Brody’s play in everything, we knew he was going to fit in somehow, was murky at first, and relatively quick to resolve when we did find out. I still enjoy the show, but on a completely different level than I did before. Where season two was overall pretty mediocre, it also had some fantastic stand-out episodes and some propulsion to it. With season three it was all just a through-line of average material, where I couldn’t pick out a great episode for you, nor a terrible one (although it’d probably have some degree of Dana in it). Where I used to enjoy a smart, thriller with calculated twists and turns in the first season, has gave away to an oft dumbly plotted show with finicky motivations. Where before it was an interesting, character and thrilling drama, now it’s more of an action-y globe jumping spy series, while still cool and enjoyable on the surface, it isn’t what I originally signed on for.

What happened in turning the show into this action-type jaunt is something that I feared could happen, with the big brain trust of 24 behind it, but I didn’t think it actually would. See, I love 24, it’s honestly one of my favourite shows of all time, but because of it realizing what kind of show it was. 24 was a straight-out action movie spread over a TV season. Action, twists and turns that sometimes made sense, and often didn’t, with ridiculous characters and happenings, but it was fun and rarely dis-interested you. When Howard Gordon and such moved onto make Homeland I thought “Awesome, they’ll bring the addictiveness and twists and turns of 24, but ground it in a more real-world and consequence driven story against terrorism in our current world and show how it has permeated into our culture.” I got that for a bit, but as we’ve seen the rope started to unravel from its fixed point, slowly devolving into the show we have now. It’s like Gordon and co. held this show up as high as they could, only to feel their arms slowly weaken, gently letting the show down as they became weaker and unable to hold it to the level they once could, and eventually see it fall down around them. Now I don’t even know if a show like the first season could ever be retained for numerous following seasons, hence why the first one was so great, maybe a need for this change in action was needed for the show to run, like, eight years like Showtime will almost certainly demand. Maybe, with Brody dead, the show will find new life, with the strings cut from his character (and his family) and the promise of building new off this burnt land.

I would say that Brody’s death is too little too late, but that’s kind of ignorant on my part, not really knowing what next year will be like. Who knows if seasons two and three would’ve been any better if Brody had died in that bunker in season one. All I know is that I’m happy that they seemed wise enough to finally let Brody go, and invested enough to see how this show will and can change without him. It’s a new challenge and something I bet the writers especially take to and run with, and I’m pretty sure they will. That’s something great about Homeland that seems different from a lot of other series. They always write to a new challenge having to be faced in the new season where it’s hard to figure out where they will go. I’m again, and as always, apprehensive about season four, but yet again, there’s something to be excited about in the possibility of new waters once the anchor has been shed.


2 thoughts on “‘Homeland’: An Abusive Love Affair

  1. I have just blogged on season 3, but my favourite was season 2. I loved the tension, the relationships, the way the plot with Finn’s hit and run working out over several episodes, the way Brodie killed the VP- my sympathies were with Brodie then, which shows skill in writing. Season 3 is far too black and white for me, with any setback for the CIA quickly sorted, and the good guys clearly identified and always winning. Therefore there is no tension.

    • I agree, one of the show’s strongest suits is blurring that line between disliking Brody and his actions and being sympathetic towards him as a character.

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