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Homeland: When in Doubt, Speedmetal Works

Showtime's new series Homeland just keeps getting better and better, and I keep getting more and more paranoid, almost as if someone was constantly alternating between flashing bright lights in my face and blasting thrashmetalcore in my ears. "Blind Spot" hit all its marks perfectly, simultaneously delivering fantastic tension through plot and emotional depth through characters, so that it was impossible to look away. On multiple occasions I actually sat up on my couch and leaned in toward the screen, something TV reviewers will tell you doesn't happen that often beyond the first day on the job. Point is, Homeland is fantastic and a must-watch. Quick, someone at Showtime put that quote in a commercial!

The episode-long interrogation of the lone survivor from the compound where Brody was held captive was absolutely enthralling, and more than enough to carry the weight of the entire episode. It's not often we see interrogation scenes that actually follow the rules of the Geneva Convention. Usually, we see some cowboy agent slam a prisoner's head into the table and mutter something stupid like, "That's for Bobby! He was a firefighter in da Towers! Now his boy can't go to Yankees games!" Instead we saw government-approved psychological warfare, and it was nasty. It also offered a great parallel for Homeland's strength as a psychological drama and a showcase of how the War on Terror is about intelligence acquisition and not Black Ops clearing rooms with a flashbang.

The device of not letting us into Brody's head but giving us plenty of time with him is working spectacularly for the show. We all suspect Brody of being a terrorist, but we also still harbor an ounce of doubt in the back of our minds. So when he got to see his old guard, a man who once forced him to take a Golden Shower, not only did we not know how he was going to react, but we couldn't trust his reaction because it could have been a ruse. All we got was what we saw on the surface, the same thing Carrie saw. And we can't totally trust Carrie, either, because she's a nutcase. So can we even trust our own perception of what's going on? I know I've said as much before, but it bears repeating, because it's what really stands out about Homeland and makes it such a fascinating show. It's messing with our minds, and that's awesome.

Estes is the one who let Brody into the room with the guard, and while it seems stupid in hindsight, Brody is such a valuable asset from a political standpoint that bending the rules for him is something that will pay off tenfold if Estes ever needs it down the line. It was a questionable decision, but one that made sense for Estes. Once Brody got into the room, he and the guard either orchestrated an elaborate charade or scrapped like an old guard and prisoner should (how many bodily fluids was the guard going to leave on Brody's face?). After the guard-turned-prisoner slit his wrists with a smuggled razor blade, we were left to believe Brody provided it, and it's the most damning evidence we've seen yet that he's a good guy gone bad. Carrie sure believes it. But don't forget that Carrie is taking little green pills to keep her brain between her ears. We just don't know what happened. Heck, I'm almost beginning to believe Saul had something to do with it.

Carrie used the suicide as proof to get Saul to tighten the screws, leading to a difficult confrontation between the two. Saul was in the dumps, his job negatively impacting his personal life as his wife, just back from visiting family in India, said goodbye to him. He was completely crushed and not willing to fight. Carrie came into his home like a tornado, making demands left and right, and it really wasn't appropriate. She called him a pussy, then stormed out raining a cloud of expletives. To quote Sex and the City fans, that's so Carrie!

Carrie sought refuge at her sister's place to let off a bit of steam and a few liters of tears. Sis, fully aware that Carrie's a bit of a headcase, took care of her because Carrie really didn't have anyone else to turn to. It seems like this is a semi-regular occurrence; Carrie has a dustup, ends up staying at her sister's house, and things go back to normal. Eventually, while surrounded by her nieces, Carrie realized that the job that troubles also helps keep her family (especially those nieces) alive, and that it's her place in the world to do it. The episode ended with Carrie alone on the stairs, accepting the fact that she can't leave the CIA. Or maybe deciding whether or not she wanted a ham sandwich. Who knows what is really going on in that bizarre head of hers.

Notes:
Claire Danes is at her sexiest when she's cursing. "Fuck this shit!" You melt my heart, Siren from the heavens!

– Damien Lewis was marrrrrvelous in this episode. He's played Brody perfectly from the get-go, but he's only now able to layer the character with nuances as Brody gets out into the world more. Same goes for Mandy Patinkin, who wears grief with such pain. And, of course, Claire Danes, who continues to be fantastic. I loved the non-verbal exchange between her and Brody when they saw each other at the interrogation spot.

Morena Baccarin looked like she was about to eat a hamster! Her new 'do really makes her look like Queen Anna from V. I'm still trying to decide with style I like better.

– "I'd say you owe me dinner, Carrie. Possibly even sex." Keep trying, dude. It shouldn't be too hard.

– The tension between Mike and Brody is getting pretty uncomfortable to watch. It's pretty clear Brody knows about Mike and Jessica. How long 'til those two have it out?


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

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I've only just watched this episode (WHY am I taking so long?) and wow. Every episode reaffirms how freaking awesome this show is. The acting is phenomenal.
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Love this show! Claire Danes is great and I am so happy to see Mandy Patinkin again!
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Great show! I'll keep watching not just because Morena has beautiful tits.
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Just got around to watching this; what a great episode. The main reason I love this episode is that, at least for me, there's now a bit of suspicion towards Saul. There's nothing concrete -- it's still more logical that Brody gave him the razor -- but I can make a decent argument that Saul handed it to him. Of course, it really could have been in his shoes. Whatever. I doubt I'll get it right.
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It's official "Homeland" is the new boss in town. You can cancel the rest now.
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"Morena Baccarin looked like she was about to eat a hamster! Her new 'do really makes her look like Queen Anna from V. I'm still trying to decide with style I like better. "



- can go wrong with the style that has no clothes on! lol
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wouldn't be nice to see Brody under the window of Agent Mathison singing Carrie (by Europe)
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One of the best new shows. It's intriguing how much tension can be drawn from a single scene and Claire Danes does draw it beautifully.



However, I feel suspense can be held for so long before it becomes monotonous. I think the plot ought to move forward. It's just that, ever since the pilot, the only thing we know is that Claire is good at her job, but never catches her man; and Brody was turned, but nothing can prove it. I hope it won't take the last episode the plot to yield. All in all, a very engaging show, nice.
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There was so much tension that I had to stop the recording and go pee as if I were getting ready to take a test LOL! Danes, Lewis and Patinkin are just bloody brilliant!
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Damn, what a great episode. Really captivating stuff. Plus how good does the next episode look? Awesome stuff, best new show by miles.
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Definitely a hit this show. What a pleasure. Can't wait for next episode !
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I watch it for a comedy because besides the good acting, the well placed turns and twists, the atmosphere etc , I just have to laugh when it comes to organized, international muslim terrorists - I mean come on , REALLY ?!!
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Claire Danes is so good in this show. All of the women in ABC's lineup of Sunday shows could take a lesson on how to act from this pro. This show and "Revenge" have been the two best new shows of the season and they both have female leads which is a good sign that writers are starting to realize there are more good actresses than actors on television and they don't have to play traditional female roles. Showtime has again created a female character for the ages. Mary Louise Parker, Laura Linney, Edie Falco, gotta give Jennifer Carpenter some props, Claire Danes, the recently exited Billie Piper and Toni Collette, and coming soon Kristen Bell. Not a bad place for women who can do more than look pretty at all on Showtime.



Danes and Damian Lewis are thus far your Emmy winners for best Actor/Actress next year, hope we get some challengers soon.
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Homeland just keeps getting better and better. 1. I continue to believe that Brody isn't the bad guy/sleeper agent. already in the comment of the second or third episode, I said that Saul is not what we believe and this episode just prove it. And maybe Carrie will start to suspect something. Or maybe I just want to think that Brody is not a terrorist. Brilliant
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I'm just going to repost this in every comment of mine until I see a change (which will probably be never...): you're exaggerating Carrie's mental illness for your own dramatic effect. She's bipolar, which affects her personality/mood, but she's not insane. Yes she probably is suffering from some tunnel vision from her illness, and it certainly messes with her social interactions (poor Saul...), but her brain will stay firmly between her eyes.



But yeah, this show is amazing. I love Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are fantastic. It's almost a shame that there are so many good shows on television: it's making it harder for Fringe to get Emmy Nominations!
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You really don't know a single thing about differentiating between the different genres of metal do you? That was some kind of grind/noisecore. Pft..'speed metal' he said...some people...

More on point; great episode, Saul is very suspicious.
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What to say. This show is definitely the best new show of the fall. That interrogation scene was just awesome. It really was psychological warfare and brilliantly explained by Carrie.

As I predicted few weeks ago, each clue that we get is bi-dimensionnal. Everything can be explained two different ways. The fact that Brody needs closure is undeniable but would he have missed his son's event for that ?. Did he have a secret motive to get in that room with that prisoner ? We can argue either way and that's the beauty of the show. We'll be kept in the dark till the end.

Danes, Lewis and Patinkin are without the shadow of a doubt at the top of their art. I'm so waiting forward to know the whole truth. And we"ll probably get to see Brody and Carrie getting close.
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"It's pretty clear Brody knows about Mike and Jessica" I think Brody knew about his wife and best friend even before he was found. The terrorist might have used video, pictures or whatever about them to torment him convince him and turn him.
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Good review for an excellent episode! And I also experienced "lean-toward-the-screen" which doesn't happen to me very often either. The scenes with Saul were very moving - man, he really had the definition of a bad day. - And I wondered why - from the moment the Agency grabbed the terrorist - they showed us his shoes all the time. Now we know - or not? I love it how they screw with our heads. I just wish I had done as with "24": record the whole thing, wait till the end of the season and watch it all in a few long sessions with some friends. I can't wait to see next week's episode!
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what a great show ! everytime it changes my mind about Brody , the last episode it was totally innocent in my opinion and now he is totally working with terrorists .God it is so manipulating and that what makes it good . oh , wait and of course the cast members are perfect .
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Just AMAZING. This show is easily my number 1 favourite new show of the year.



-Agreed. She is not bad looking, and the fire of anger really brings out the best in her.

-I only ever really watched like 2 episodes of "Life" so I didn't really know him, but Damien Lewis is THE MAN. Fan-freaking-tastic. What an actor. And I've already mentioned my love for Mandy Pitinkin.

-Give her long hair again like in "Firefly". But that's just me.

-And if I were that dude, I would keep trying.

-I hope they have it out in the next two episodes. Realistically, the tension has to be near the boiling point.



This was by far the single best interrogation I've ever seen. Even with the Geneva convention going, fantastic. I cannot wait for more of this show. Great.
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