This is about Homeland, season 3. If you haven’t seen it, then you should probably quickly avert your eyes.
The theme of the season was redemption: Carrie’s for being right about Brody all along and Brody’s attempt to atone for some of the bad things he did in the past.
The entire season can be summed up simply: Saul and Carrie concoct a plan to turn a high-ranking Iranian official so that he can influence internal policy and open the country to the west. They will insert Brody into the country as an asylum seeker so he can remove an obstacle to this official’s advancement.
Of course, nothing is simple on Homeland. To get the Iranians to take the bait, Saul has to leave Carrie hanging after she has another meltdown. She has to seem vulnerable, and it has to be more than just a cover story. Saul keeps this plan so close to the vest that no one else in the agency knows what’s going on until the plan kicks into high gear. There are two catches. 1) Saul thought he was going to become the agency director, but it turns out that a senator has been picked for that spot, so Saul is something of a lame duck, with little power or leverage. 2) Carrie is pregnant with Brody’s child, a fact she does not reveal to Saul.
I was aware of a lot of muttering and murmuring about the third season on Facebook and Twitter as it was airing, but I didn’t look into it at the time. Binge-watching a show is a different experience. If you think things are going too slowly or that side plots are taking up too much air time, you only have to wait an hour for it to change, not a week, or weeks. Few people seemed interested in Dana’s story, which did take up a lot of the first several episodes and ultimately didn’t go anywhere meaningful, even after Brody gets to talk to her one last time. Might the season have gone better without all of the Brody family drama? Perhaps, but Brody was back on American soil and to totally ignore the family would have seemed strange. So I didn’t mind.
The scenes in Caracas were interesting. I visited that city a couple of decades ago. I didn’t get into lawless areas like the Tower of David, but I was warned after the fact that I hadn’t been terribly smart in wandering around the city on my own. I didn’t run into any problems but I guess I might have. I liked the ambiguity of Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham). I didn’t trust him for much of the season, and in truth it would be wise not to trust him as he operated with his own agenda, which sometimes aligned with Saul’s and sometimes it didn’t. I loved the scene where he and Saul locked Lockhart in the conference room so they’d have time to get Javadi out of the country. Despite Lockhart’s smug overconfident demeanor, he wasn’t often wrong. Seen impartially, his views usually made sense.
Javadi was a fascinating character. Not entirely evil but far from good, too. He was willing to murder two women to settle an old score but more importantly to stick it to Saul in the only way left to him before the boot came down. I liked him, most of the time. He was one of the few sane people amidst all that madness—certainly saner than Carrie most of the time. But, speaking of Carrie, don’t you think Saul would lend her theories a bit more credence after a while? After she’d been proven right time and time again?
There were some dropped ideas. Quinn’s angst and intent to leave the agency, inspired by his accidental shooting of the boy in Caracas withered on the vine. He’s still there four months after the operation ends, and all that stuff with the police over the Javadi murders had no real impact. I also thought they missed a huge crossover opportunity with the homicide cop, played by the actor who was Meldrick Lewis on Homicide: Life on the Streets.
What about the law firm that was acting on Iran’s behalf? What became of Fara, who clearly had issues with some of Saul’s measures? And what happened with the Mossad agent after he was arrested for spying on Saul (and sleeping with his wife)?
And it is rather incredible that Carrie’s baby is healthy after all the drugs and alcohol she consumed, not to mention the constant state of stress. Plus, I never really bought her as a pregnant woman in the last episode. She certainly didn’t walk like one.
I’m glad they decided not to rescue Brody at the eleventh hour. His death made sense. His earlier misdeeds “cast a long shadow,” and he himself realized that redeeming yourself for murder by killing someone else was twisted logic.
There were some really great tense scenes, although I guessed in advance that there would be a false scare with Brody and his ID card after he killed Akbari. By the end of the twelve episodes, the slate is wiped clean. The Brody mess is over, once and for all, and the show can move on. With or without Saul? That’s an open question. Dar Adal (he of the “old school” breakfast) thinks he’d come back in a heartbeat if asked, but I can’t seem him working with Lockhart. Carrie is moving on to a new opportunity to handle Javadi, with or without this daughter.
I was expecting a train wreck of a season, but it wasn’t bad at all. Glad I saved all the episodes and watched them in a few sittings. It’s no Breaking Bad, but that’s okay. Few shows are.