The Show Formerly Known As Homeland "Game On" Review: Haha, Joke's On Us

The show formerly known as Homeland S03E04: "Game On"


HAHAHAHA! HAHA! HA! Way to go, Homeland. We'll get to Dana Brody dating a murderer in a second, but how about that "FUCK YOU, AUDIENCE!" of an ending that "Game On" just whacked us over the head with? Just look at Saul in that picture above, laughing at you. The moon-sized balls on this show, I tell ya! My head is swimming in an ocean of emotions, and they run the gamut from homicidal rage to curious excitement because the reveal that Saul and Carrie secretly planned all the garbage of Season 3's first four episodes is both good and bad for the show. But let's be clear on this: It's mostly very bad. I'm pretty peeved right now, so writing in complete sentences will be difficult, and I apologize in advance for any blue language I might use. For now, I'm going stick with bullet points until I cool off. 

WHY SAUL AND CARRIE'S PLAN OF INSANITY IS BAD:

– It's Homeland's way of validating the sloppy first few episodes of the season. "But it was all a trick, see? Totally worth it!"

– It makes a large portion of those first few episodes completely worthless and a waste of our time. It also killed the show's credibility. How many people have already stopped watching Homeland because of this little game? If response on the internet is any indication, lots of people hated the first three episodes of Season 3. And according to TV.com ratings at press time, "Uh.. Oh... Ah" (7.4) and "Tower of David" (6.8) are the lowest of the series by far. 

– It went on wayyyyy too long. It shouldn't have taken four episodes to reach this point. 

– It screamed "Gotcha!" and expected us all to appreciate the ruse, as though there's nothing wrong with purposefully airing nearly four hours of television specifically designed to deceive us. I don't know if I'd call it a true red herring, but it sure did stink.

– It was a reveal that served the writers and showrunners instead of the audience. Can't you just picture them twirling their 'staches and gleefully giggling about how badly we were going to be burned? 

– Having Brody return in Episode 3 only delayed the fake-out, losing most of the show's audience earlier than it should have. Homeland could have prevented a lot of headaches if Brody had come back in Episode 4 and Saul and Carrie's secret had been pushed up to Episode 3. Since there was no Brody in "Game On," Episode 3 now seems even more pointless.

– We can't trust anything Homeland tells us now.

– The reveal wasn't anywhere near worth all the frustration of the beginning of the season.


WHY SAUL AND CARRIE'S PLAN OF INSANITY IS GOOD:

– Finally, we can get on with the fucking show. 


And now I can get on with this review. All the time spent painting Saul in a bad light and strapping Carrie down to gurneys and witnessing Senate hearings and sitting through meetings about Carrie's release led up to this supposed supernova of a surprise. Saul purposefully had Carrie committed and discredited in order to set a trap for the bad guys to come knocking on her door in an attempt to get her to spill C.I.A. secrets. And Carrie, wacko Carrie, agreed to at least part of this somewhere off-screen, certainly at some point during the six months that passed between Season 2 and Season 3, which we didn't see. Fine. But the biggest problem with Saul's plan, from a story perspective, is that it was a total Hail Mary entirely dependent on the bad guys taking notice of Carrie being outed in the media and springing her from the psych ward to exploit her for their own evil plans. Javadi had to fall perfectly into Saul's trap, and dammit, Carrie was going to remain in captivity until he did. This entire plan was a stretch that even a Grandmaster Yoga Champion couldn't've made. But in the magic world of television, of course it happened.

And worst of all, it came at our expense. Now, when I say "our expense," I completely understand that watching television is optional, and that it's just television. "If you don't like it, don't watch it!" has been repeated in comments sections of TV reviews since the internet was invented. But for some people, time spent watching television is a serious investment, and in this case they have a right to be pissed. We spent three hours and fifty-something minutes watching the show go one way, and all along we were being duped by a secret cabal of tricksters. This kind of trickery works very well in one episode of television. It can work well enough in two. It can even help beef up a sagging side plot. But four hours of television just to set us up for one big PSYCH moment? That's just cruel and unnecessary. If the ride leading up to the reveal had been fun, we would be having a different conversation right now. But the first four hours of Homeland's third season were not fun. The reveal came too late. Homeland waited too long. That's why this didn't work.  


ANYWAY. The good news is that even though getting here was terrible, Saul and Carrie's plan to infiltrate Javadi's organization from the inside puts Homeland in a much better place than before. For the first time this season, Homeland feels like it's about C.I.A. shenanigans and stopping terrorism rather than mental illness and grudges. I'm going to pretend that Season 3 of Homeland is starting now, with a shortened eight-episode run, because I definitely don't want to remember Episodes 1 through 4. 

However, there was a hint at this covert pact between Saul and Carrie, back in Episode 2, when Saul told a pissed-off Peter Quinn—Quinn was upset about how Carrie was being treated—that "We're onto something, and if it leads to where I think, it will all have been worth it... just have a little faith." That was the line that made me doubt Saul's evil actions up to that point, and gave me reason to think he had something planned. But then Saul also uttered that dick line about Fara's headscarf, which seemed so out-of-character for him that it made me think Homeland wanted to take his character in a different direction. I still don't see the point of worldly Saul taking umbrage with Fara's headscarf. Has he gone anti-Muslim, or was it just another trick to get us to believe that he broke bad?

I'll admit that there's potential involving the story of how the C.I.A. treats its agents, and that's the only way I can see the first four episodes of the season having any merit. At the very end of "Game On," Carrie told Saul, "You should have gotten me out of the hospital, Saul. You shouldn't have left me in there." Carrie's frequent pleas to see Saul while she was in there carry a different meaning now that we know she'd been locked up partially of her own volition, but didn't want to be there any longer. Maybe she'd reached her limit, maybe she was hoping that Abby had seen Saul so she could end this daring undercover exercise because she couldn't take it anymore. Maybe Carrie's kicking and screaming wasn't an act, and she was in the psych ward for much longer than she thought she would be. Maybe she really was trying to get out. Maybe Saul did go too far, and maybe her experience will be a major part of Carrie's story going forward. Maybe when Carrie told Saul, "Uh... Ooh.. Aww..." (lithium speak for "Fuck you, Saul"), she really meant it, and maybe Saul was actually sorry. But she had to know this was part of the risk, right? Or maybe Carrie is just so all-in that she was willing to spend however long she spent in that care facility, getting forcefully shot up with drugs, just to have a slim chance at infiltrating the enemy when they came to pull her out. Maybe! But then why did she so intensely refuse to meet with Franklin's client Leland Bennett, if that was the big goal of her entire painful ordeal in the mental hospital? Playing hard to get at a bar is one thing, but in a high-stakes game of cloak-and-dagger espionage? Those kinds of chances don't come along all the time. And so again, it smacks of purposeful audience deception. 

The rest of "Game On" wasn't much better than the three episodes that preceded it, but as I said before, at least Homeland has some direction now. Carrie is on the verge of double-crossing Javadi as a C.I.A. insider, and Homeland has a shot at making the rest of its third season more like what we're used to seeing from the show. She's getting close to Javadi, a man using the name of a national soccer hero as a pseudonym while making shady transactions with Venezuelan banks. You'd think that if you didn't want to draw attention to yourself, you wouldn't name yourself after a famous athlete. There's a reason Johnny Depp checks into hotels under the name of Mr. Donkey Penis and not Brett Favre. But thanks to Saul's extensive knowledge of Iranian Olympic soccer teams, Javadi is toast. Okay, sure. And how did Fara come up with the name of the goalie anyway? She just blurted it out as a suspect with no backing of how she came up with it.  


And then there was Dana, who helped her crush Leo bust out of rehab. She stole her mom's Subaru Outback and smoked the dope while listening to awful music in the countryside and then traded the car for a Toyota Camry, and as a total car moron, even I know that's stupid. But Dana and Leo are so in love from their weeks of knowing each other in rehab that breaking a few laws and getting financially pillaged at an auto body shop is no biggie. Then Dana read Leo poetry while Leo drank champagne at his little brother's grave because that's what normal teenagers do. Then Dana drove Leo to the base where Brody deployed to Iraq, and told Leo that "goodbye" was the last honest thing Brody said to her. This was probably Dana's best scene in a while, except for the fact that two pot-smoking teens would never spend their time as fugitives visiting military bases. 

Meanwhile, Jessica was taking grief from Leo's parents because they said Dana and her terrorist ways were a bad influence on Leo. While Jessica pouted, Mike came back like an angel and reminded us of why he'd make a much better father to Dana than Brody (sandwiches!), and later he dropped the soapy bombshell that Leo may have murdered his brother instead of his brother committing suicide like Leo told Dana. Was it a suicide pact gone wrong? Did Leo kill his brother? It's not clear, but it was kind of implied that Leo was a stone-cold killer, and in the next scene, Leo and Dana were off in the woods by themselves with no phones or anything. Homeland apparently learned nothing from its Dana storyline in Season 2, because even while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, it feels compelled to follow the adventures of a misguided teenage girl.  

Homeland has dug a hole four episodes deep this season, but at least there's a light at the bottom of this downward tunnel now that Carrie is making an inroad with the bad guys. However, that doesn't excuse the waste of four episodes that we were put through. The show is still spending an inexplicable amount of time with Dana, and Brody's story may as well have not started at all. I'm sorry for being so upset, but I haven't felt this angry about an episode of television in a long, long time. The feelings are magnified because I used to love this show so much. Remember "The Weekend"? Remember "Q&A"? I don't know that I've ever seen a series go from such high-quality material to a such mockery in this short of a time period. At least the acting is still good.  



WACKO SCRIBBLINGS FROM CARRIE'S "I HEART BRODY" DIARY

– I can see both sides of the argument regarding whether or not showrunners owe anything to the audience when it coms to their product. They're artists, and we're merely observing their work. But we're also the ones who keep them in business, and their success is often tied to our opinion and dedication to their work. Add to that the fact that Showtime is a pay-cable network, and looking at their lineup, most people are paying money for Homeland and not Polyamory: Married & Dating

– Can I admit that I was excited by the idea of Carrie turning on her country and those who wronged her by working for Javadi? THAT would've been a wrinkle that could've been fun. Carrie following in the footsteps of Brody and working for the "bad" guys? Why not? 

– The possibility that Javadi's dealings with Venezuelan banks will lead the C.I.A. to Caracas in order to intertwine Brody's story with the main story is a cosmic coincidence that will be harder to swallow than chalk. 

– Great to see Virgil back, but he's under watch by the Feds. Of course, that doesn't really matter now that we know Carrie and Saul have their own little thing going on.

– As usual, more excellent work by Martin Donovan as Leland Bennett. Why this guy isn't a bigger star, I don't know.

– This must be what it's like to have been a fan of Dexter. Can we even trust Showtime at all anymore?


Comments (319)
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Nov 10, 2013
Am I the only one who noticed the baby bump on Jessica? From the moment she walks into the room to talk to Leo's parents and when she sits, about to have some sandwiches Morena Baccarin's pregnancy is hard to ignore.

Will she last 8 more episodes with that or will they try harder to hide it?
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Nov 09, 2013
What happened to Dexter was far, far worse
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Oct 29, 2013
1978's World Cup, not Olympics. This makes Naser Hejazi world cup team's goalie.
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Nov 09, 2013
Americans probably can't believe there's a World Cup entirely about 'soccer', my friend
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Nov 13, 2013
ha ha... :) good one! But from the realistic view and for tv show at this level, you expect not to see a flaw like this. cuz you know, amazingly so far every thing about Iran and Iranian culture has been so in line with reality in the series, saying this as an Iranian, thanks to casting a group of Iranian-American actors and actresses,
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Nov 15, 2013
But in the show they said World Cup, didn't they?
I think the review says Olympics, correct me if I'm wrong though. Cheers mate!
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Nov 15, 2013
Fisrt time Saul mentiond "1978 Olympics" but later I realized someone else on the show said "World cup team". Maybe these comments really work!
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Oct 28, 2013
Help! I'm trying to watch this episode now. I'm writing here just to distract myself from it. How bad can it get? Why am I even bothering to let it get to the end? Any of Carrie's drugs lying around? I'll think I read some spam here instead!
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Oct 28, 2013
At least Dexter turned out 4 excellent seasons before going off the deep end!
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Oct 27, 2013
(Also, I doubt that Carrie had been involved in Saul's "plan" all along. She might have only put all the pieces together shortly before she decided to meet with him. - Because: why should she have been so shocked when hearing about Saul's "bipolar" speech on TV? If I remember correctly, she had been alone - and why should she have faked that, then?)
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Oct 28, 2013
(Too bad the most recent episode proved me wrong in the first few sentences between Carrie and Saul. ;) )
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Oct 27, 2013
I don't know what happened to your patience, guys! - I have to admit that HOMELAND sometimes stretched the "leap of faith" thing quite a bit - but I am quite curious why you won't trust the producers and writers to tell their story at the pace and with the twists they chose. I agree with you that parts of those four previous episodes seemed far-fetched and also sometimes pretty annoying. But life is, as well.
Is it because we have been spoiled by the rather perfect season one? Of course, the notion of wishing for HOMELAND to keep following this path is perfectly understandable - but maybe we should be a bit more patient and cut the creative core of this show some slack.
And in regards to Tim's "why... is bad": who says that all the introduction of Brody's pains, Dana's confusions and all that won't come together in the end and provide us with another season of intriguing storytelling?
Okay, I admit that I may be a bit pie-eyed (and probably trying to bite my own butt if everything goes down the drain in the end ;) ), but I am thinking of a little balance. Yun and Yang (or so), ya know? ;)
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Oct 30, 2013
Totally agree. We are getting to lazy. Buck up! You don't give up till the end. Surprise!
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Oct 26, 2013
I've commented with : "...and I also think Saul is up to something" on an earlier review so I was right and I am no genius. I just don't get why you are so mad about this twist. I guessed it right, because it wasn't unexpected, it was actually how it should be like. This twist is very Homeland-y!
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Oct 26, 2013
"Homeland is bad" & "Revolution is awesome" ~Tim Surette
Yeah, sure ... and we can't believe anything they say in homeland now ... OK ... I just don't believe anything you rant about Homeland and laugh at your defense of Revolution ... Revolution should be the unit you measure bad taste in ... Homeland isn't perfecting, but I find it quite interesting nevertheless.
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Oct 24, 2013
While the first three episodes of this season were trying at times, Danes' acting is so good that any scene with Carrie in it is compelling for me, so I quite enjoyed everything that went on at the institution. And I just wanted to point out that episode three, "Tower of David", pretty much focused on Brody entirely, so you can't blame the main plot of this season for that particular episode being average.

From that perspective I don't think a large portion of those first few episodes were completely worthless and a waste of our time. Regardless of whether or not Carrie initially agreed to be admitted, it was quite obvious she wanted out, and it definitely wasn't an act the entire time. Who knows whether she was actually on or off her medication (I guess she would have had to be, to maintain the ruse and keep her state of mind to go through with the plan) but the claustrophobia and paranoia Carrie portrayed definitely demonstrated an unstable woman.

Like Carrie often thinks, you mentioned Tim that a problem you have is that we can't trust anything Homeland tells us. I don't know what series you've been watching, but ambiguity had always been a huge part of Homeland as a whole, Brody's character especially is still in question as to where his loyalty lies. I just think to make this point about the show now in completed mute,

In regards to Saul's character, the reveal doesn't present him in any better light. He used Carrie as a pawn in his plan, and while she may have willingly agreed, and possibly even thought of the plan herself, the fact that Saul was willing to let her mental state deteriorate so much to get what he wants shows that he's void of any morals.

I've been pretty lenient with Dana's storyline, going so far as to defend it as a sort of escapism to the heavy subject of the rest of series' major plot, but this episode is my limit. I now have no idea why the writers think Dana's story in relevant to Homeland. I may even enjoy her storyline as the plot to a C-grade horror movie, but as a subplot in Homeland? It's completely jarring and confounding.
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Oct 24, 2013
I agree to a certain extent. I was extremely disappointed by the first four episodes, so when the big Carrie/Saul reveal happened, I think everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. Thank god this isn't going to be the next 6 episodes (we hope?)!

I wish they had dropped a few more clues. I think big twists like this need to maintain a perfect balance -- a little clue here or there to make you think that MAYBE everything is not exactly as it seems, to cast a little doubt, without making it completely obvious where the writers are going. I agree that the writers barely gave ANY inkling that a plot between Carrie/Saul was occurring. Because Carrie's descent into madness and recovery were so believable, it's hard looking back to know what was planned/acted and what was genuinely Carrie's mental breakdown. I know that's the point, but some clarification looking back would make the writing less lazy.
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Oct 24, 2013
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
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Oct 23, 2013
I am not really against the twist in itself even if i had preferred if they had gone with another storyline and stuck with this setup. The thing that pissed me off was that the twist was badly written and the audience did not even get vague hints at any moment that this was a con. The characters and the show shall not be aware of the audience, we are watching them without them knowing. We are not there. So, even if the characters are running a con, it is to con other characters. Not the audience.

Carrie acted in a lot of ways that did not make sense after they revealed the twist. Saul too actually and that hitman boss-dude whatever his name is. Even if you run a con you drop that act in very private moments or when nobody is watching you. We did not get one hint at any moment that this was the case. Either they should have hinted and made it possible for us to figure it out, or they should have left out any scenes that did not make sense after the twist was revealed.
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Oct 23, 2013
Loved it. Laughed at the end. Maybe I am just more patient than other people.
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Oct 23, 2013
You definitely are, it pissed me off, seemed like the perfect excuse for the shoddy work the show's done this season.
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Oct 23, 2013
Spot on.
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Oct 23, 2013
Seems like people are ALWAYS looking for something to complain about whenever a show doesn't do what they want them to do. I had no problem at all with the first 4 episodes. I was still glued to the tv like I was during the first season. Great show still!!!!!!
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Oct 23, 2013
So much hate here.
I liked the episode, but totally see where Tim is coming from.
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Oct 23, 2013
– This must be what it's like to have been a fan of Dexter. Can we even trust Showtime at all anymore?

Multiply it times 1000, and you get the feelings of being a fan of Dexter. At least this show seems to be righting it's wrongs during this season, rather than screwing it up for 4 seasons.
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Oct 23, 2013
This is typical Howard Gordon, "24"-esque nonsense. Great first season (at least the parts that were planned out), and then gratuitous wallowing in the notion of "writing without a net" and making things up as they go along. And it always results in what we're getting now: season after season of undermining all the strengths that initially made the series unique and worthwhile.
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Oct 23, 2013
Showrunners in the US (comparing to the UK) seem to be afraid to make big casting decisions after the cast has been decided upon. Or other types of big changes.

Why can't Beckett and Castle move to D.C.? And, more to the point, WHY CAN'T BRODY'S FAMILY GO AWAY? Without Brody there, who gives a shi*?

Is it the contracts? Is it ineptitude? Why the fear of change, showrunners?
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Oct 24, 2013
I agree. If anything, I'm much more interested in Jessica as a character than either of Brody's kids. Why do they have to keep pushing Dana down our throats when the writers AND actors know we hate her? Morgan Saylor was asked on a recent red carpet about her character and how she's so adamantly disliked by the Homeland audience, and she responded "yeah I think that's the point."

??!?!?!
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Oct 23, 2013
Why the fear of change, showrunners?

Money.

And more money.

Is it ineptitude?

Oh yeah, and that too. Dexter was written by idiots.

Without Brody there, who gives a shi*?

No one.
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Oct 23, 2013
And I couldn't agree more about Dexter. What the hell happened??
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Oct 23, 2013
Thanks for the answers and support! ;)
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Oct 23, 2013
Coming into ''Game On" I couldn't believe how far we'd strayed from Homeland, so at the big 'reveal'at the end all I can say I felt is relief, and a little peeved it took almost 4 hours to get there. Kudos to the showrunners for pulling it off. They had seriously convinced me we were about to suffer a 12 episode arc of Carrie's mental health crisis and Dana's bad taste in boys. So if completely fooling the audience was the goal, then congrats. But did it have to stretch out for 4 LONG episodes? Homeland better have some crazy shenanigans up their sleeve to make up for this.
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Oct 23, 2013
They had seriously convinced me we were about to suffer a 12 episode arc of Carrie's mental health crisis and Dana's bad taste in boys.

I know, audiences are ready now to accept a little shit over a lot of shit.

That's the Stockholm Syndrome, isn't it? They stop the beatings/shit and we're (not I) grateful.

Meanwhile, it's still shit.

Time will tell.
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Oct 23, 2013
I really hate that this show is distracting us from all this CIA and terrorist nonsense when it should be using that valuable time to focus on the show's real protagonist, Dana Brody.
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Oct 23, 2013
Yeah, and she's SUCH a great actress, isn't she? As good as Carole Lomboard........or better.

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
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Oct 22, 2013
Granted the episode was mostly boring as hell like all episodes of season 3 so far, but i dont get the outrage about the twist. At least now we have some direction and some forward progress with the story.

Otherwise it would have been just another boring episode with stupid side plots and not much to look forward to. Carrie "undercover" should bring some surely missed excitement back.
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Oct 23, 2013
Because Carrie in a room, alone, making one of her scrunchy faces at Saul at the hearing was one of the stupidest red herrings in the world.
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Oct 22, 2013
Here comes the KB Syndrome. I have tried so hard. Really. Everywhere you hear/read not so nice things about Dana, how she p*sses some people off, maybe even becoming a liability for this show. I tried to stay away from all of this, mainly focusing on the show itself. But now, as I got the feeling that Homeland is slowly taking the “Dexter” road, I’m losing focus; and I start to see what Dana really is: she’s a Kim. This show is victim of what I would call the KBS. No not the Klüver-Bucy syndrome (although it could almost apply here for her) but the Kim Bauer Syndrome. Anything she does (mainly poor choices) or says (mainly stupid things) or the way she behaves, even if she does nothing at all, makes me ask myself: why is she here again? And then I fell like slapping her face hard. I know it’s unfair, I know that she might have some good scenes, good things to do or say but that’s it, it’s broken. Slap time.
I hope the show will catch my attention back from now on so I’ll be able to move on and go back to tolerating this character (and not actress. I have nothing against Morgan Saylor… yet… don’t push me Homeland)
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Oct 22, 2013
as I got the feeling that Homeland is slowly taking the “Dexter” road, I’m losing focus

Good point. Thanks to the showrunner, they are definitely taking the Dexter road.

Happily, I am not invested in Homeland and can either marvel at the way the Dexter jackass pulls this out of the hat or enjoy loving to hate it.

What IS with writers, having seen what the Dexter showrunner did to Dexter? Are they REALLY that stupid?

On Dana? Oh heavens no, I want her dead. She has no reason to stay in this show. She sucks as an actor and is written by morons.

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Oct 22, 2013
Homeland has been renewed apparently; well, that sounds promising...
It also means something important: more Dana, people!! Wou-hou!! -_-
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Oct 22, 2013
Its funny when Carrie told Saul she was not followed. Its no secret where Saul lives. If there is any double agent thing going on they will watch Saul's house as well as tailing Carry. They should have met at somewhere else which both lost their tails. Carrie's behaviour is idiotic in my opinion. She slept with the enemy even she was sure Brody was dirty and even helped him after explosion now she says I won't betray my country, never. What!!! never??? You already did and all the world knows that after your trial on TV. Talking like this is super suspicious I don't think anyone will buy that. We'll see what will happen next episodes but Homeland is not going good. They should remove Brody's family at all, they are not interesting or relevant.
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Oct 22, 2013
Hmm... I don't know.... I think I like the ending, I think it was well played by the writers, and well executed. The big mistake was to air (the Brody parts of) "Tower of David" before this episode...
I don't mind a good mindfuck, and even though I'm glad the first episodes of season 3 is behind me, I don't consider it wasted time. Of course it remains to be seen if the final 8 episodes deliver, but, yeah, I'm still on board. Just bring Quinn back, and let Carrie regain some strength and courage.

Most of all, though: Homeland is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO AS AMAZINGLY BAD AS THE FINAL SEASON OF DEXTER!!! Not. close. at. all.
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Oct 22, 2013
Give it time... Dexter was great in the beginning.
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Oct 22, 2013
Nope, not even close to being good. The internet is divided on the mind fuck, I'm with the camp who thought the writers took the FU way out because they don't know what the hell they did in the first three episodes and had to backpeddle their way out of it. Oh, and 98% of the internet wants Dana gone, gone, gone (Zach, remember what Dexter taught you), as do I.

I'm also with the camp that doesn't like being played, and given the HORRID red herrings - no, Carrie would NOT have reacted like that in her home, alone, bullshit on all the rationalizations - this was one big lazy ass piece of unplanned writing by the Dexter showrunner staff. Looks like they never read an iota of Christie in their lives.

No matter. It will EITHER be:

a. fun to hate;

or

b. suddenly wonderful and exciting.


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Oct 22, 2013
It's so nice to have a troll tell me what to think.
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Oct 22, 2013
Poor baby. Duck Dynasty fan are you?
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Oct 22, 2013
While I agree with a lot in this review I think it presents things in the wrong way. Rather than "Homeland is ruined & awful but there is hope" I'd say an objective assessment of the first 4 episodes of the season is more along the lines of "Homeland continues to be one of the most interesting shows to watch but it is not without flaws". Most obvious flaw is Dana and generally the Brody clan (although I believe Dana's road trip to hell will link back to Brody's story, it is painful to watch) and yes, Tower of David was an ill-advised, self indulgent mess of an episode (it tried to do a Breaking Bad with the harsh stage that is a Caracas favela but it failed miserably). Still, comparing these flaws to the mess that Dexter became is too harsh, in my opinion.

I strongly disagree with the idea that Homeland toyed with viewers to get a "gotcha!". There were signs for those who wanted to see them that Saul was playing a part and there was more to his plan than just abandoning Carrie most notably in his conversation with Peter Quinn when Quinn stated his disagreement with how Carrie was being treated. It was obvious from Saul's response and body language that Carrie was not being left in a lurch. And it makes sense that to get someone who is a known CIA agent under cover collaborating with the Iranians, Carrie had to go off the reservation. So I think Homeland did good here because it had to be convincing to the audience if we are to believe the Iranians and their lobby are to be convinced. What I liked most about this scenario is that Carrie is still quite out of control which is what makes sense rather than be a cool agent under cover (like say, Jennifer Garner in Alias). Carrie has always been a great "asset" but also a bit of a wild card...

I was sad not to see Peter Quinn but we saw Virgil even if too briefly... Hopefully he is part of Carrie's undercover team...

So I for one think that there is more good in Homeland than there is bad certainly compared to the average piece of trash TV show out there...
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Oct 22, 2013
I agree that this twist was too long in the making, and I too was excited by the prospect of Carrie betraying her country out of desperation, BUT I do admit that I like that this twist will kick start a new venture in CIA operations. Also, I don't think that it's unreasonable for Carrie to play hard to get like she did. The greatest asset that double agents can have is trust, so Carrie built some trust by not giving in so quickly. If she had just immediately gone 'OK, I'll come by and betray my country', the other guys may have realised that something was up, and may have suspected that they were being duped. Overall, the plot needs more Brody and Quinn, because they are awesome, and I suspect that the connection to Venezuela feels coincidental now, but will probably be revealed as pertinent later in the season...
PS Mike is back! Yay!
PPS Can someone please get Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor better jobs please?
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Oct 22, 2013
Walter Walker? Are they just randomly using names from AMC shows now?
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Oct 22, 2013
It's passing absurd to think that a Leland Bennett would have strings to pull to spring Carrie from confinement and so conveniently at that. Classical deus ex machina.
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Oct 22, 2013
Maybe someone will do a fan cut of this season - excise Dana's plot, move Brody episodes later in the season, trim the fat. And while they're at it, remove the last scene of the Dexter finale
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Oct 22, 2013
I so agree on excising Dana though she may become relevant later... For now I mute them whenever she and creepy boy appear on the screen...
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Oct 22, 2013
I don't think any Dana story will have enough payoff for this much setup. Basically, Dana only worked well against Brody.
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Oct 22, 2013
Bingo. It was only just tolerable with her muted (that scrunchy face of hers makes me bilious, she's a suck actor) - the rest of the episode was idiotic and no amount of rationalization by the dimbulb fan boys and girls could explain away this moronic episode.

Remains to be seen what the idiots behind these four episodes do with this show.
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Oct 22, 2013
This episode was a massive improvement...I'm so pleased Saul did not turn into a 100% dirt bag. ....yet he is obviously willing to use her in ways she isn't completely happy about or able to handle.
Second what is up with Brody? I am starting to not care about him AT ALL, as for his family there is potential there, but not impressed yet. All in all pretty good episode. Please keep up/speed up the pace.
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Oct 22, 2013
You magnificent sons of bitches!! Well played Homeland, well played.
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Oct 22, 2013
For what? Duping the audience?
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Oct 23, 2013
For duping the audience brilliantly.
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Oct 22, 2013
Hopefully they will clear up the gaps in the story, so everything will add up.

I do agree that Carrie's and Saul's whole "act" should've been divided into 2 and not 4 whole chapters, B -U -T , I am willing to look forward and anticipate the next stretch of episodes, if they move faster. Fix this pacing and identity problem, Homeland ! WTF :) lol

:) It has to be said again : This really really shouldn't have taken 4 episodes. Homeland went lazy and don't get me started on Dana's character ...the actress is indeed very stellar, though.

... I wouldn't mind seeing Saul's character slowly but surley becoming something like Homeland's Walter White ...
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Oct 22, 2013
Oh! And because I see many people taling about Carrie's reactions to things... you guys... think about it for a sec! It is, indeed, justifiable! She had to act like that 24/7 because she could never know if and when someone's watching! Cameras, bugs, a nurse, a doctor, another patient...
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Oct 22, 2013
She wasn't in the nut house when Saul threw her under the bus at the hearing. She was home.

Next?
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Oct 22, 2013
That's why I mentioned "Cameras, bugs..."
They had to plan this months ahead because they had to make it convincing! Nothing is left to chance in such situations. When this whole thing started, with Carrie in front of the senate, apologising etc, they all had to act as if they were being watched...

Next?
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Oct 22, 2013
Oh please. Cameras, bugs in her house and she knew it?

You fan boys and girls will go to any extent to rationalize away this crap writing, eh?

So sad.

Next?
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Oct 25, 2013
I didn't say that she knew it. I said that she had to act as if there were bugs and cameras just to be safe. Operations like this one take months (even years) to prepare for. You really think that they would not expect something like that?

Just because I'm a fan of the show does not mean that I 'm not going to recognize any flaws. And I have done so, if you haven't read my whole review...

As for you, my dear little troll... keep on trolling!

Lots of kisses! Go watch your duck dynasty or whatever you said in your other comment! :p
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Oct 22, 2013
Those were some really *strong* feelings you had there! And this is coming from someone who started shouting at her TV when Eddard Stark’s head fell off!

In my case, when the season started I honestly wished that all this was a ruse! I kept telling my sister (with whom I usually watch the show) that I couldn’t believe that Saul turned on her like that! There, as you mentioned, very vague hints here and there but eventually we all fell for it!

I can’t say that I’m mad nor that I’ve missed 4,5 hours of my life! I like Homeland and I like the writers’ ideas!

I’m going to start from Dana. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why everyone’s so upset with her! The show, surely, is political *but* we all fell in love with it because of its amazing way of depicting human behaviour! When Brody was still back in Iraq, he was determined to take revenge for Abu Nazir’s son. When he actually set foot on american soil we saw (and felt, through Damian’s incredible acting) the brutal conflict within him! We saw Carrie’s intelligent, yet flawed character not only understand him but make him see things from a logical perspective and finally accepting his actions and regretting them!

Dana was always the more sensitive in the family and she was Brody’s favourite (as we all know) so isn’t it completely logical for us to be seeing the trauma Brody inflicted on his family with his actions? I mean... it *is* a show that is based on psychology 100%!

One thing that made me cringe and be like “seriously?!?!?!” was the third episode’s final scene with Brody as a potential junkie. Really? Really?!?!?!?! Seriously?!?!?!?! Ugh! I don’t think I’ll get over that any time soon.

As far as the ruse’s duration goes, I think it was brilliant! Why? Because Leland Bennett, and whoever is in charge of the “bad guys”, will have certainly looked into Carrie’s past and found out how hard core she was about protecting the agency and her country. So *of course* she had to play it hard to get! What was she going to do? Just tell them “Hi, I’ve got all the info you need! Just give me cash!”. That’s why I mentioned Brody’s internal conflict earlier. It is very basic psychology that people like these two (Brody and Carrie) do not give up just like that. No matter how strong the betrayal of their superiors/country is. And don’t forget HOW Brody’s conversion happened...

I wasn’t sure this was, all, going to be a master plan but I sure as hell enjoyed it! When Carrie appeared on Saul’s house I was like “WTF???” and when the dialogue started I was stunned! And that is what I like about this show! It never fails to deliver!

Yes, Saul’s knowledge of Iranian Olympic soccer teams was too much but I’ll forgive them!

Yes, Dana’s poetry recitation was too much! And I do like her character, and I do understand the whole trauma but... REALLY? Stealing the damned car and just going on a trip to... where, exactly? Whatever... I wouldn have expected something better from the writers on this one! Oh, what happened to her father’s praying mat? She found it... isn’t she going to do anything about it?

The thing that is starting to bug me most about the show is that in the beginning it felt (and was) more objective to political agendas. From early on in season #2 I’ve felt like they’ve been defending the actions of the US and blaiming everyone else, thus justifying their actions. Something they didn’t do in Season #1 when Estes told Saul about that the drone strike that killed 82 children, which was deemed to be acceptable collateral damage in their attempt to kill Abu Nazir.

Anyway... let’s see what the future holds!
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Oct 22, 2013
Good for you.

Pathetic, but good for you. You live in the right country. Duck Dynasty fan, are you?
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Oct 25, 2013
Keep calm and troll like a little b***h, honey! ;) Have a good day!
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Oct 24, 2013
OMG, ur saying that to everyone and so much that i'm starting to believe that your the fan of Duck Dynasty! Still in the closet are you? Not that i i've anything against that but get over with it allready will you!
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Oct 23, 2013
Why don't we leave this place for thoughtful discussion, instead of pathetic insults.
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Oct 22, 2013
Death to Dana.
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Oct 22, 2013
I like Dana, both the actress and the character, but I didn't like her part of this episode.

They have already spent a lot of time on her, so this would have been a good time to focus on someone else for a while. Quinn would have been a good choice. Also, the stuff we saw before had a valid purpose. It showed the effect of the events at the end of season 2 on Brody's family. It would have been really weird to not include something about that. But the necessary part of that arc was essentially complete when Dana told her mom that her new boyfriend makes life tolerable, and Jessica seemed to accept it. That would have been a good time to back off from the arc, and perhaps revisit it in a month or so.

Instead they're pushing her arc into the unnecessary and irrelevant territory. This is a very strange choice. Isn't there something more directly related to terrorism that they can show us? I really don't like the whole "the boyfriend is crazy in a serial killer kind of way" nonsense.

Helping the boy escape from the loony bin is one thing, but to give away her mom's car? What did her mom do to deserve that?

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Oct 22, 2013
Well obviously the alien cast of The Neighbors did not get memo about not naming themselves after famous sports figures to not draw attention to themselves
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Oct 22, 2013
Now there's a show that shouldn't have gone off the air.
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Oct 22, 2013
The Dana storyline is really saddening... I mean, it's so cruel to make us believe she's about to get killed, only to make her survive somehow destroying all hope left for this show
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Oct 22, 2013
HAH!
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Oct 22, 2013
i don't get why were you so pissed, when the show did what it's famous for - giving audience 'the finger'... this sort of thing had been happening always in 'homeland' (i vividly remember watching season 2 with friends, and as always, commenting something like "don't do that carrie, don't be stupid, come on, there's no way that's going to happen, omg, she's not really going to do that, is she??" - and BAM! she would do it :) ) yes, it was slow, but looking back so were the first several episodes of season 1 :)
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Oct 22, 2013
You just answered your own question - you didn't get why.

The rest of us did. Brilliant review.

This show will either improve or the rest of us will love to hate it.
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Oct 24, 2013
oh, but, it was rhetorical ;)
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Oct 22, 2013

I usually defend Dana, i simply tolerate the character as a part of this show, even if I don't really see how she ties in so substantially like she does now.

With that said...after this episode I think i pretty much hate the little bitch. She is the most ungrateful character EVER. Her mother has done nothing wrong to her, yet she keeps running off with killers, stealing her mom's car and then selling it? She has this huge ass chip in her shoulder and is so self-involved that she hasn't thought about her mom or her brother. Yea, her dad was a terrorist, but your mother was married to the guy and had his son too! She acts like she's the only one suffering and allowed to tell the world to eff off. Sheesh. Selfish as hell.
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Oct 22, 2013
She is a teenager. Teenagers are selfish. That's all they are.
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Oct 22, 2013
But isn't she too selfish, though. I mean her brother is completely different. it's like he wasn't affected at all. It's weird as shit.
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Oct 22, 2013
Thank you. it is the weirdest.
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Oct 22, 2013
The problem with "so it was all a ruse" is all the small reactions characters have when they are alone. So they mean when Carrie saw Saul on TV telling in the Senate hearing that a bipolar agent was responsible for that mess she showed true concern and disappointment, and she was alone. And when she got to Virgil's house and saw a "Flowers By Irene" truck (Simpsons reference meaning Virgil was being monitored) she was pissed, when she should've accepted it as part of that difficult plan.

OK, so Carrie was conflicted, that makes it less bad. When I read the title of Tim's review (and peeked to know what the joke was), I was expecting Saul and Carrie grinning and rubbing their hands and saying "hee, hee, hee, our evil plan has worked and those bumbling terrorists are as good as caught". Instead, she was demanded to her limit. But considering she got into this on her own volition, that doesn't make all her reactions entirely believable.

Ha, ha, ha! Bennet said "nucular facilities".

And since "it was all a plan," wouldn't it be so cool (and by so cool I mean a very stupid coincidence) if Carrie and Dana ended up committed in the same institution? And then in the end we'd all find out it was all Saul's plan (including Dana's suicide attempt) which Dana accepted to redeem herself from her father's terrorist reputation? And all that because Leo is in fact working for Al Qaeda?

By the way, of course Leo is a murderer. As I said before, his real name is Zach!

Hey, isn't Dana's mom working, like two jobs to make ends meet, and now she goes and trades down the family car? How stupid does she have to be? And then she wishes that would never end. Does she mean she wants to grow up and spend her adult years on the run? Living just out of love? How stupid are teenagers supposed to be?

So the show got the actors who play Virgil and Mike out of the fridge. I mean, their commitments with other shows. I wish Virgil could stick around longer, but I don't care for Mike. And as usual, Dana's brother was a non-entity.

"I'll betray my principles but I want to see the big, untouchable crime boss personally." Ha! That's TV undercover work 101. The hero always says that and the bad guy always falls for it. What's next? She'll pretend to kill a fellow agent using blank bullets?

I agree with what Tim said, but I haven't abandoned the show yet.
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Oct 22, 2013
So they mean when Carrie saw Saul on TV telling in the Senate hearing that a bipolar agent was responsible for that mess she showed true concern and disappointment, and she was alone.

Yup. Imagine there are people ready to excuse this? TPTB screwed the pooch on that one.

Ha, ha, ha! Bennet said "nucular facilities".

Yup! I caught that too. Guess he learned how to pronounce 'nuclear' from the George I Killed 4500 Soldiers W. Bush School of English Language Mutilation.

I haven't abandoned the show yet.

I thought I had, but it's too much fun to hate it if it continues down this path. Perhaps if I were an optimist, I'd believe it will get back on track now that it fucked us over.

Did Dexter win any Emmys early on? I can't recall. If yes, maybe it's the Emmy wins that are the kiss of death for shows? They stop trying? Time will tell.
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Oct 23, 2013
Yep, we often see many alumni of the aforementioned School of English Language Mutilation on websites such as this. (I loved that part!) And you may have a point about the awards. Homeland has won a bunch of them. Take a look here.
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Oct 22, 2013
When Carrie said "Fuck you Saul." She meant it. Every word. He was so remorseful that he had to leave her in there, all the while she was suffering and desperately wanted to get out.

Yeah, the plot twist could've been an episode shorter, but it's finally here and it still works. I wonder what wouldve happened had they continued with the deception up until midseason, and allowed Carrie to get in deep in her role and convince viewers she had turned traitor before the big reveal? Would viewers be just as pissed off?
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Oct 22, 2013
Disagree. Loving this plot twist. You can take your opinion and put it someplace where the sun does not shine.
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Oct 22, 2013
Duck Dynasty viewer are you?
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Oct 22, 2013
I get why people think Brody being in Venezuela is way to convenient. But think about it this way: How do we know that Carrie sent him there? Did I miss something? The druglord-guy just said "you know Carrie", he didn't say "she told me to help you". He got shot while being a fugitive and somehow got to Caracas. Maybe Javadi and his Iranian buddies got him there? Why should Carrie make him "spend the rest of his life" there? I think there's way more behind the Brody storyline and the writers will it stick it all of you who think it is just a "cosmic coincidence"
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Oct 22, 2013
Very astute. That could definitely come into play somewhere down the line
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Oct 22, 2013
I don't think this was a set-up from the beginning of season 3. I took it that Saul laid out this plan to Carrie when he visited her at the end of episode 2. Either way, I mostly agree with the review, but that was what I took from it and it's a pretty major distinction to make. Maybe I'm wrong though?
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Oct 22, 2013
I disagree. I think this was set up in the months before season 3. You see Carrie getting badgered by the senate committee, and you hear more and more about a certain "mole"leaking information to them. Saul and Carrie had to be that mole. They knew Saul would have no choice but to string her around in public, although without dropping her name because she was still an asset, a CIA operative going undercover.

But she clearly had no intention of staying in there as long as she did. That part sucked.
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Oct 22, 2013
That's entirely possible. I won't lie, I've been so bored by much of this season that I spend most of the hour reading twitter posts and catching up on news or sports. It's entirely possible I missed something. Carrie's hatred of Saul at the end of episode 2 when Saul HAD to go and see her, and Carrie saying, essentially "fuck you Saul" as the episode ended sort of lead me to believe that was where Saul hatched this plan, as the second half of last episode and the entirety of this episode suddenly had Carrie changing her tune, and we met the lawyer. So that's my timeline.

However, I don't think we can argue that either way, while I'm happy that the show is on this course now, it was a misstep how they got there, however long they planned it.
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Oct 21, 2013
when a friend of mine told me that there was a major twist in this episode and that it was the first episode in this series he actually enjoyed i couldn't even imagine how much of a relief it would be for me to finally find out that it's all good and none of the good guys went evil, even if it's just for now.

the dana side story line doesn't bother me much, she doesn't act very unnaturally to me.
that also goes for most of the wonderful characters. i wouldn't even have a problem with saying that it's all unpredictable human reaction somewhere, so i think i don't get turned down or get mad at all just because of the way they do what they do..

i loved this episode and i'm feeling as excited as ever about what's going to happen.

questions that come to my mind after this:

- does Fara, now that it's "game on", become more important in any possible kind of way ? i could imagine her becoming a very clever and tough member of the agency (or "team carrie") or instead bringing the agency on false tracks and being revealed as a mole. the latter wouldn't come quite surprising though

- does peter quinn join saul and carrie or will he stay in the shadows (but he definitely has chosen sides, has he? ) ?

- how will it all connect with the brody-storyline? somehow i had a bad feeling when they mentioned venezuela for the first time in this episode

- how evil is dar adal and if he is, how is he connected to the bad guys? is he into something bigger? i think when i first saw him he was one of the few characters in this show i had a bad feeling about.
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Oct 22, 2013
I think Dar Adul is an ambitious man who enjoys power more than anything else. He has gone from running the CIA's Black Ops group to the #2 guy running the CIA behind Saul, so he is one degree of separation from running the entire agency. That should never have happened, and it has seriously scary implications. The only thing I can say in his favor is that he is predictable; Saul knew exactly how he would react to Carrie and factored Adul into his plan seamlessly, so at least Saul has his number. I don't like his level of enmity toward Carrie despite how much respect Saul and Quinn have for her, and I don't like that Saul doesn't trust his #2 guy with the details of his plan to have Carrie infiltrate Javadi.
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Oct 22, 2013
reading through some of the other comments, i think i could imagine dana having to make a bigger decision somewhere later on which might not have to do with leo (actually i think he doesn't make it very long), but much more with her father. i'm pretty sure that if the whole brody family is alive at the very end of the show they are all fine with each other
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Oct 21, 2013
Anyone remember Season 3 of 24? The first 4 episodes were all a red herring in that as well.
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Oct 23, 2013
Actually, the writers had set up a particular plot arc for the third season, but changed things when the audience response was so negative to the opening episodes. There are plenty of articles from that time period where the producers openly admit it.
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Oct 22, 2013
Yeah, this made me think of that. That was probably my least favourite season. The manipulative aspect of it didn't annoy me 'cause that's par for the course for 24. What annoyed me was that where the twist led was less interesting to me than what had happened before.
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Oct 21, 2013
And '24' became crap.
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Oct 22, 2013
Only in Season 6. Rest of the show was very solid.
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Oct 21, 2013
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a new show to love to hate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Oct 21, 2013
I actually liked this episode (minus Dana, as usual) but I do agree with you. The reveal was a huge 'wtf?' and made me question how bulletproof this plan of theirs could impossibly be.
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