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Homeland Season 3 Review: Carrie & Brody Go Global
Events in season 3 of Homeland pick up in the aftermath of Brody escaping the country after the bombing of the CIA and Carrie having to figure out how to prove his innocence, while Saul attempts to use the whole situation to his advantage in an audacious plan to control Iran’s political fate by infiltrating the ranks of their military with a spy of his own.
Homeland has always managed to be a subversive show, yet it usually pulled its punches when it came down to crunch time. It’s not been afraid to paint the heroes as ambiguous and constantly shifting in allegiance, yet has been hesitant in having the characters fulfil the potential of the storylines they’re embroiled in. Season 3 manages to strike a nice balance between these two aspects, whereby we get moments that repel the viewer in their viciousness, and characters reach the logical end of their destinations.
The season still has the same pitfalls as ever, with Brody’s family slowing the pace down. Morgan Saylor as Dana Brody gives a decent performance as the devastated teenager trying to live a life in the shadow of her infamous father, but her antics feel like they belong in another show entirely. Her suicidal tendencies and runaway boyfriend suck the life out of every episode, but thankfully they’re discarded towards the latter half of the show.
Another segment that leaves the viewer perplexed is a drug-infused interlude in Caracas where Brody is shacked up in a slum drugged out of his head, which is both bizarre enough to be entertaining, but stretches on longer than it needs to, before pulling Brody back into the same circles that Carrie and Saul reside in.
Periphery characters get some attention, with the inclusion of Shaun Toub as cool and calm Javadi. Saul’s spy in Iran, this character is both a suave manipulator when he needs to be in one moment, then a bloodthirsty maniac in the other. Great casting. In fact the acting is consistently good throughout, with Claire Danes and Damian Lewis continually doing outstanding work each episode.
The last three episodes save the season, with episode 10 perhaps being the best of the bunch. It’s an infiltration into Iran, which is tense and feels authentic in a Kathryn Bigelow Zero Dark Thirty kind of way, as Brody is thrust into danger on a dangerous mission of redemption.
There’s night-time excursions, checkpoints, gunfights, chase scenes, dead-drops and all manner of spy stuff, all leading to a last episode that feels like a series finale. The fact that there will be a 4th season is indicative of the biggest problem that’s plagued the series, which is that it stretches a premise to breaking point, and doesn’t know how to end.
Despite that, the writers manage to bring things to a logical conclusion at the end of this season, doing things that should have been done seasons ago in some aspects. Where Homeland goes next is a question that will be answered one way or another next time round. The original premise of the show has long since been abandoned, so they will need to justify why the show is called that, beyond the obvious fact that these characters are protecting their country.
The finale changes everything, but one thing will hopefully stay the same, which is Carrie continuing to survive all manner of jeopardy with a defiant chip on her shoulder.