Homeland isn’t getting a lot of press with shows like Dexter and The Walking Dead being on everyone’s lips all the time, but it has been a pretty solid new show, and I wrote a post that said as much a few weeks ago.
But after the past few episodes, and the one this week, I’m starting to get the feeling that this show doesn’t have any idea what it’s doing, much like The Killing on AMC. While The Killing got stupid after about two hours, Homeland has taken about seven to get there. In order to understand what I’m talking about, let me set the scene for you here.
The central premise of the show is that a CIA Operative named Carrie (Claire Danes) is informed that an American POW has been turned, and is now a spy for Al Queda. So when Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) is rescued after eight years of captivity in Afganistan. She thinks he’s her guy. She starts spying on him, and though she has no definitive proof, her suspicions are raised. We, the audience, get a front row seat to Brody’s guilt as we see him praying to Mecca in his spy camera-less garage, having converted to Islam. Through flashbacks we see that he was coddled by Abu Nazir, a known terrorist leader whom he lied about meeting to the FBI, and we watch him beat his fellow POW to death on Nazir’s orders.
Carrie is not your typical CIA operative, and by “typical” I mean “sane.” She is quite literally taking crazy pills which keep her from being psychotic, a fact she has somehow hidden from the bureau. When spying turns up nothing, she goes off book and tries to get Brody’s secrets the best way she knows how, by sleeping with him. It’s a bizarre turn of events, but after hooking up, two episodes later, she has Brody in her remote cabin. I was excited to learn what her master plan was to finally get him to reveal himself, so I waiting in eager anticipation to see her hidden brilliance unfold.
“I think you’re working for Al Qaeda!”
Um, what? After letting it slip that she knows Brody’s favorite type of tea, Brody realizes she’s spied on him, and calls her on it. In a matter of seconds, she proceeds to spill everything she’s been doing in secret the last few weeks. The spying, the purposeful seducing, how she’s pinned him as a terrorist from day one. There was no master plan. She really just is this stupid, coming out and asking a man she suspects of being a double agent, if he’s a double agent, not to mention supplying him with a loaded gun.
Brody could storm off, and we could still be left wondering, but no, the show goes to a new level of simplicity as Brody goes point by point and lays out why he did everything he’s seen. He admits to being a Muslim, meeting Nazir and being comforted by him, and even beating his friend to death. Again, NONE of which Carrie knew, but he explains it away for the audience’s benefit, so much so I’m surprised he wasn’t looking right at the camera. He says that he’s “weak” and when Nazir offered him comfort and religion and the option to live over his friend, he took it. But he’s not a terrorist.
No, the terrorist would be his POW buddy whom he supposedly beat down, but is back in the States and trying to assassinate the President somehow. What a twist! What a stupid, stupid twist!
And that’s how Homeland jumped the shark. Lazy exposition and a completely absurd twist that negates the first seven episodes we’ve seen. Where the show goes from here, I have no idea, but I’ve stopped thinking it’s all that great after this week. I’m not sure if anyone out there is watching, but I think if you are, you would agree with me.