Homeland: Secrets, Lies, and More Lies

"Clean Skin," the third episode of Showtime's new series Homeland, was a make it or break episode for me. I'm already sold on the idea that the show is about nutjob FBI agent Carrie Mathison imposing her gut feeling on everyone else that a decorated prisoner of war is actually the newest, greatest threat to national security and a sleeper agent for terrorists. But when Homeland leaves that path to shed some light on its other characters (the show can't just be Carrie vs. Brody for 13 episodes), it had better hit and hit hard. And "Clean Skin" left bruises on me.

The truth about Brody—the show's backbone—may have only moved forward a micrometer, but the stories of several other characters moved miles, and in various directions. That's going to be a determining factor in Homeland's success, as some viewers are already questioning the sustainability of the series' premise. If the fallout from Brody's return and Carrie's pervasiveness continues to be this engrossing, then Homeland has some legs.

Aside from Lynne—R.I.P., darling—Carrie got hit the hardest and from the most angles. Obviously the biggest blow was Lynne's death, which is without question Carrie's fault. Would Lynne have participated in these spy games if she knew she was alone out there? I don't think so.

Carrie had been tempting fate by doing and saying anything and everything she needed to in order to get her way, and her fib about Lynn having a security detail came back to bite her. That's a near impossible thing to live with. I love Carrie as the insane, everything-at-all-costs agent, and I can't wait to see how she responds to the guilt. Will she ease up? Or will she push harder as she convinces herself she's getting closer to the truth? I suspect she'll take things down a notch for an episode or two, but once a psycho FBI agent, always a psycho FBI agent.

Saul's scolding of Carrie in the hallway was almost as painful for her as Lynne's death. We're only three episodes in, but Saul's verbal smackdown coming through the TV and making me feel so crummy really says something about how far the show has come. Lots of credit goes to Mandy Patinkin's performance here, as he's a perfect casting choice for the sagacious Saul. (We may as well start the Emmy discussion now.) But, as disappointed as he is, Saul is the ideal mentor for Carrie. He's probably the only person who knows how to handle her and rein her in. He told her there's an "us" and a "them," and at the end of the episode, it was decidedly "us" as he comforted her during her toughest ordeal to date. What a great scene—Carrie completely stripped herself of any walls she put up. I love the portrayal of their relationship because it's unforgivingly one-sided and broken. Real-life relationships aren't perfect, and TV relationships shouldn't be, either.

As for Brody, well, I just don't know what to think. Two weeks ago we saw him beating his fellow Marine to death, and last night we saw him playing Father of the Year. He bonded with his daughter Dana because they both feel alone, and she responded with the greatest character arc of the episode. Initially prepared to embarrass her family and possibly tell the world about her mom's infidelity (I can't be the only person who swallowed my gum when that possibility was implied), she ended up saving the interview. Is it just me, or was that a ridiculously sweet moment?

Meanwhile, Jessica helplessly watched Dana bond with Brody while her own relationship with their daughter remained strained. She and Lori from The Walking Dead ought to form a support group for wives who thought their husbands were dead and coped by boning their husbands' best friends. Dana sees her mother as the enemy, but that's only because Jessica is having a hard time ignoring her crushing guilt. And when Dana called her out on it, it was a slap in the face and a sign that her house of cards is about to crumble.

Homeland is a show that's essentially about lies, truths, and the foggy area between the two, and "Clean Skin" made it clear that the consequences of both honesty and dishonesty can be grave. The episode detoured from the essence of Homeland, but in the meantime showed us that the series has some great characters who show us a lot by hiding so much.

Notes:
– I used to do a sophomoric "Boob Count" for True Blood, but Homeland is giving that a run for its money.

– I'm still undecided about Morena Baccarin's performance. Sometimes she's really good, other times she fizzles out. Claire Danes is still great, and Damian Lewis is keeping things wonderfully mysterious. Can't wait to see him blow up, though.

– Okay, what was the deal with the homeowner at the end of the episode? We'll find out soon, but I want to know NOW!

– Can we definitively rule out Amir as a co-conspirator? He was awfully convincing in his interview with the D.C. police, so I'm going to go ahead and believe what Homeland wants us to believe, which is that he's just a filthy rich playboy who wasn't involved in Lynne's death. Note to self: Do whatever it takes to become a Middle Eastern prince. That life looks pretty sweet.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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WTF Tim You Suck at this. I told you to quit. You should heed my advice. Also, you need to watch a show you are reviewing. You mentioned we are 3 eps in and you still think she works for the FBI. You are an idiot
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Ummm FYI, Lynn died not because they made her, but because the prince's guy needed the necklace. So it wasn't anyone's fault. It WAS just a "mugging" of a very high caliber, and that was the uber twist of the episode :)
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the homeowner scene was kinda of lame ! it was a clear for anyone that there is something wrong about this deal and the home seller didn't see it ? "plane noises / ya we kinda want it near airport"

but come on , we can't blame her ......bad economy!
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Can we definitively rule out Amir as a co-conspirator??

You are kidding right?? As soon as he put that on her neck I knew she was dead woman walking!!
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Yeah but his bodyguard or assistant or whatever was the culprit. So I don't think Amir is guilty at all.
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I got $100 in email bucks says Amir knew all along. You don't give the "help" 1/2 a mil to wear cuz she rolls over!!
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Boobs on Showtime? WHAAAAAT?
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Lol, the boob count is definetely what keeps my husband watching >:) M Baccarin is great, didnt watch V, but her role as an alien princess in Stargate SG1 was awesome, been a fan ever since, Claire Danes is beyond greatness and Damian Lewis aswell, I think the casting ppl on the show did a pretty great job witht everyone, even the boyscout little son is quite cute; the thing with the home owner at the end is obvoiusly some laundry money, the fact that he clearly is middle eastern didnt do it for me, it would be epic if the guy was some american reject who wants to hit the system instead, but the wife suggest the latter so we'll wait and see, anyways looks like we just found the new headquarters of operation contact Brody; I also thought the prince was shedding honest tears, the twist in making his right hand the killer is awesome, not unexpected but still awesome, kudos to Homeland, a really really great show \m/
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Tim, I usually share your thoughts, but in this case..uhum... I seriously dislike Daness character, and I wished her mentor condemned her.

I also found the daughter-father scene very cheesy, sentimental or whatever words you english speakers use for it. I didnt like it at all.

I am wondering about Brodys sexual issues, and what is the point showing that?

greetings from Spain!
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I'm dying to see this show, but it's not airing in Canada....so far. If it doesn't get picked up by a Canadian network soon, guess I'll have to wait until the entire series comes out on DVD to see it....(sniff, sniff).
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Yeah just download it, thats what I do (also in Canada). Sux not having fx/ showtime/ tnt up here but thats why torrents were created.
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eztv & utorrent... <3 doesnt get any better for US outsiders meee223!!!
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Ii just like watching the V queen constantly undress. The rest of the cast are crazy, so it keeps me centered. Like Hooter's, just without the chicken wings. Maybe they'll have her doing gymnastics next. What was the show about again?
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To me it was implied that the homeowner was the recipient of the necklace cash in order to be able to pay cash for the house. So he, or HER maybe (would be cooler plot twist) is a terrorist and will do something in the future at the airport.
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i dont want to be an asshole or something but get your information right!

middle eastern prince ? saudi arabia is not in the middle east , it is in the Gulf .
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Saudi Arabia is in the middle east
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God , how can you put saudi with lebanon in One category . that sucks!

btw i know it is in the Middle east!
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heartzkidnapper : "saudi arabia is not in the middle east"

heartzkidnapper : "btw i know it is in the Middle east!"



???????????????????????????????

Did i miss the irony ?
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there is no irony , i was drunk yesterday :P
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About the cast: Patinkin, Danes and Lewis are great, but I would like to give special mention to David Marciano (Virgil). What a wonderful supporting actor! (I love the small exchanges between Virgil and Carrie. I wonder why he is so nice to her although she treats him like s... all the time.) The only questionable choice is Morena Baccarin (as Tim wrote in his review) but the judgment is still out on her.
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seems like the Prince isn't really in on it but the guy who works for him and killed the girl is.. and the homeowners at the end are the terrorists, they got the money from selling the necklace and used it to buy a house near the airport..
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To the above writer, you have the institution of sorts wrong. Carrie works for the CIA, not the FBI. Look back to the pilot episode.
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Love the show, loved this episode. I assume they're going to have a lot of episodes that don't further the plot much, and I'm fine with that. I almost always do, but for this show, I'm going to try and not jump to conclusions or make my own predictions. I guess it's partly (or mainly) because my predictions are never right.
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A b00bage count (retroactive to the pilot) is definitely needed. It's getting kinda ridiculous.
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You need 500k (400k after haggling) to buy a home close to an airport for the new terrorist neighbor cover. Morena is a miscast imo. Didn't like her in V either although she was better fitting the skinny "reptile" role.



Can't rule out anything, Amir might be broken up about losing his f.ckmeat but at the end of the day, that's what she was, he has more. He will have his demons to showcase, too.
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This is my fave new show. Excellent.

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I love how flawed every character is here.... and how amazing the acting is, esp. danes and lewis... and i agree the sex scene was amazing as it showed how frail both characters are... you can't blame him after 8 years of hell... and you can't blame her for being ... say underwhelmed...
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How many times do you need to be told that she works for the CIA and NOT the FBI? The show has made that perfectly clear in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE, not to mention the comments, which I'm starting to realise you don't read!

Anyway, another great episode, the acting was again fantastic, although I agree with you about Morena Baccarin, she seems to be a weak link in the cast. I think it's obvious now that the Prince isn't involved but his right hand man is. Liking the scenes between Brody and his daughter, they were very well done. Will Homeland be fighting The Walking Dead (and possibly Game Of Thrones) for the Best Drama Emmy? It doesn't matter as it will probably go to Mad Men!
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At the end of your post... you forgot one other drama. What's that show called? Awww I forget. Oh well.
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the sex scene was so funny , sorry it was not a sex scene maybe we can call it a mast*** scene :P

I sympathized with the wife atm but then i said what the hell , she has been banging his friend for the last 3 years when he was tortured .
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This show is really doing a great job in making us paranoid. Almost every scene can be read in multiple ways and there have already been some big surprises. I really hope the plot stays as multilayered as it is. I would like to mention some scenes that got no comments so far. For example, I wasn't sure how to interpret Carrie's strong reaction to the "bedroom scene". Was she just disgusted at what she saw or was she also disgusted at her own voyeurism/the job she has to do? Observing family life probably reminds her of her own loneliness, too. I also loved the almost funny scene when Virgil tells Carrie that there has been an important development and we learn that what Virgil (and probably most of us) deems important slightly differs from what Carrie does. I realized that we really get drawn in by what Carrie dismissively calls a "reality show". So is she right to keep the eyes on the price and just look for "bombs" or will her disregard for personal/psychological developments make her miss some important (even crucial) points? Talking about personal stuff, I think that Brody at least strongly suspects that his wife "cheated" on him (I don't know if it's fair to call that cheating). When he was talking to Dana I somehow had the impression that he was indirectly and gently trying to make her understand and also cut her mother some slack on that issue (a lot happens in eight years). I think his anger will primarily be directed at his Marine buddy Mike. But I'm really not sure about that
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Yeah Brody has his suspicions on his wife and Mike. He saw them in the kitchen the night of the barbecue in the pilot (or the second ep).
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"what was the deal with the homeowner at the end of the episode?" Duh, that home is what the proceeds from necklace purchased. They are two people in the terrorist network. They have some kind of plot involving airplanes, either to hijack one or to bring one down with a surface to air missile or some such thing.
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Love this show, so complex. And I repeat myself in that Mandy Pitinkin is amazing. I'll leave Morena Baccarin the benefit of the doubt, as her character probably has about as much clue about what to do in her current situation as I would if I had to present Congress with an environmental summary of the USA's current status (i.e. less than none). I'm with you on ruling Amir out, the guy not only seemed to be convincing with the interview, but actually seemed to believe Lynne when she was "just getting dressed". His right hand man, and the "new homeowners" though I look forward to getting to know.



Dana is probably my next favourite character for the show. That girl had an awesome story to play, and did it quite well. Also, I'm fine if the show moves on from the Brody storyline (not immediately in the next episode, but over time). Let's not forget that any great TV show we love moved on from its main storyline. Especially season to season. "Breaking Bad" used to be about a high school chemistry teacher who had cancer. It's now just flipping awesome about drug cartels and crazy chicken men (or at least, that's how the season ended, who knows for the future). As long as the characters stay consistent with themselves and the story hangs together, I'm good. Who knows, Brody could be innocent and be her next "asset" for next season? Wouldn't that make an interesting twist?
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I disagree a bit with what you said about Breaking Bad. At the end of the fourth season, the show is still about a former shool teacher chemist who cooks meth to provide for his family due to his cancer. He still having his secret like (even though his wife knows now) with his historical partner. The things got a bigger proportion and the characters have grown but the main storyline is still the same.
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It's interesting to read your comments when I have a much different take on the show. For instance, you say Lynne's death "is without question Carrie's fault." As I see it, Lynnes death is not Carrie'f fault at all. Lynne's death had nothing to do with Carrie. There is no evidence that Lynne's connection to the CIA was uncovered by the terroritsts, and so far it only appears to be an unfortunate coincidence that she was the victim of the plot to hand over the money by the appearance of a robbery-murder. If it had been any of the other girls acting as the sacrificial mule no one would have noticed at all and the money transfer would have gone without a hitch. BTW, it looks like the prince's munber two has not even said anything to the prince about the limo company subtrafuge so no one (including the prince and the local cops) knows why she was in the alley except the killers and CIA. The writers haven't told us yet if the CIA even told anything to the local police about the limo company.
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"There is no evidence that Lynne's connection to the CIA was uncovered by the terroritsts"

There is not evidence of the opposite either. All that we see is the official statement of the prince and his number two in the pawnshop with the jewelery. Until we see a private conversation between those two, we'll never know who's fully responsible. That's quite the strength of the show to make us interpret the every detail that they give us.
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Best episode of the season so far. I'm hooked.
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hmmm... what to say about the new episode. well first of all, the show is gettin better and better from episode to episode. If you ask me the first two ep were a little confused cos the writers didnt know where to go with the show. Now that they know they re bringing out some great stuff.Carrie sooner or later will just freak out, sgt. Brody will save the nation as he did in WWII :) actully I have no idea what is going to happen... hopefully Person of Interest will learn smth from Homeland, and improve.
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Homeland and Person really set a positive and a negative example of how it's done. The shows are hard to compare, though.
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One is a CBS (network) procedural when the other is a serialized drama on cable. Quite impossible to compare.
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I was not comparing this two shows... is just that I thik person of intrest has a great potential... but is unexpressed. Homland started a bit confused but now is growing... in acting, story, quite anything. Person of interest is not... is quite the same as at the beginning
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I wonder when Australia will get this
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She is a CIA nutjob, not FBI..Great episode!



I have done the "He is " no "He is not" game for what seems like a long time, so i have decided to choose one path and be proven correct or not.



I think his friend was the terrorist one, and Brody is NOT A TERRORIST. They told him and made him kill his friend, hoping they will use the guilt to turn him. I got a soft spot for Damien Lewis, considering Dana was mad at the dead friends wife for moving on then she ended up doing the same thing, am hoping her affair blow up on the media and she get all thats coming to her. Maybe Abu Nazir can recruit her!



......BTW, am not a Morena Baccarin fan.
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..i meant Jessica not Dana
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Not even the strength of my dislike for Claire Danes can keep me from loving this show. So far so good!
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Claire Danes makes this show even better than it already is. :S
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Yeah, she's a CIA agent, not FBI.

The homeowner at the end just bought that house with the money from the necklace, so they're working for Amir's creepy chief of staff or Abu Nazir or both. That could still (and will) be cleared up a bit.
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I thought it was obvious that the house was bought from the necklace money. It's a bit thick, though, to make the buyer a Middle Eastern type. Racial profiling, anyone?
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I was screaming at the TV when Dana was yelling to her Mom of how she knew she was was with another man while her Dad was a prisoner and how fake it all is when they have to put on this show in front of millions of TV viewers RIGHT AT THE DRIVE THRU SPEAKER!!!! The writers left that wide open for the dude on the other end of said speaker to go the press about it (or go to Brody himself). It would make one great scandal! I could definitely see this happening.
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I was thinking the EXACT same thing. ''Would you like fries with that scandal?''
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Me too !
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I second that. It happens far too often that somebody spills a secret with the door wide open (e.g Ringer a short while back). These people need to watch more TV!
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Yeah I agree, it was coincidental. The guy who works for the prince was behind the hit to get the necklace, in order to, apparently, be able buy that house (conveniently near the airport) for whomever he's working for.

I think Lynne was gonna get killed no matter what, maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong; but the funny thing is that it doesn't matter what WE think, it all happens in a way that makes Claire think it IS her fault.

So, I believe we can expect this to affect her. Affect her decisions and her behavior going forward, or else the writers wouldn't have gone through the trouble of establishing that plotline.

I REALLY wanted for the daughter to tell Brady "Hey, guess what mom did?". But I also believe, Brady already has an idea that at the very least something happened between the two of them.



TV is teaching me that if I'm ever thought dead I should assume my wife and my best friend did it while I was gone, thanks for the tip!
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Brody figured out they had a relaitonship when he saw them through the kitchen window and how they are acting the night of the barbeque.
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Yeah that's why I said that he must have at least an idea. But I doubt he knows how long they were together or that they seem to have strong feelings for each other.
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Great episode. I think the family focus on Brody is to make us like him a bit more in order to really confuse us when some clues leaning toward his culpability will appear. Patinkin is really good in this mentor role and make me think of Dead Like Me where he was so good.

What I could deduce from this ep is that the right-hand of the prince (the dude we saw at the pawn shop) is the guy funding terrorism. The prince did seem sincere to me in his statement and therefore seems innocent. I think that the money from the necklace was used to by this house which is conveniently close to the airport which could be a possible target. But again, the show plays on our assumption and first impressions so let's see. That being said, the prince could be in the scheme if we consider that buying the necklace then fake it's thief is a great way to transfer money without a paper trail... but that would mean a lot of escort-killing to mount a whole operation ! So my guess is that the prince is not on the loop. About if she was made or not... I still wonder.

I really loved the us-them interpretation of trust and relationship.
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My prediction: Carrie's big success will be when she turns the Prince into a CIA asset by telling him what really happened to Lynne and that she was killed only so money could be stolen from him. This is what will give the Prince the "Grow up" message.

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Seconded.
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Nice !
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Technically speaking, Lynne's death isn't Carrie's fault. The guys who killed her had no idea she worked for the CIA. They just killed her to pawn her necklace for cash. It was petty theft to fund terrorism. Nothing more.



That said, would she have gone with them if she knew she had no back-up? I don't think so. I think her gut would have set her straight and she'd have run for the hills. So, in that way, it is Carrie's fault.



More than anything, I'm just pissed they killed Lynne so soon. I really liked her and they could have done more with her, rather than just predictably killing her off.



Plus the actress who plays her is really good. Why get someone so good for a character that's gonna bite the dust in 2 eps?
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"Why get someone so good for a character that's gonna bite the dust in 2 eps?"

Because starring good actors is a good thing maybe ?
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Yeah but you wouldn't get Alan Rickman to play Snape if Snape dies in the first 2 chapters of Harry Potter.



Good actors help to really establish a connection with the viewer. Getting us to really like Lynne, just so she can die an ep later is just annoying, more than anything else.
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You obviously haven't watched Game of Thrones :p
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She's not an FBI agent...
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