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A quarter of the way through Homeland Season 3, the drama’s fan base has been split into warring factions as a result of questionable storyline decisions. Now, unless you’re MTV Road Rules, this is never a good thing for a TV show. Viewers should be in a perpetual state of wondering what just happened and what might happen next, as opposed to where the hell the show is as a whole.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear at this point whether the show’s creators even know the answer to the latter question. Two years ago, Homeland broke onto the scene with a daring, compelling drama that gave TV watchers a fresh protagonist and (what seemed like) a show determined to explore the tricky, yet ever-prevalent themes of privacy and paranoia in a post-9/11 America. Carrie Mathison was a complex, unreliable character—because of her mental illness, viewers couldn’t fully get behind everything she stood for, but also knew how smart and good at her job she was. The perfect Golden Age “hero.”

Beyond Carrie, there was tight writing behind Nicholas Brody, a POW returned home with ambiguous loyalties to both America and the Al Qaeda terrorists that held him captive for eight years. Back in Season 1, grappling with whether he was “good” or “bad” was a powerful driving force for viewers. The show had all the makings of an award-winning drama, and the 2012 Emmys validated that notion.

However, looking back on that incredible first season, the cracks are in plain sight. Carrie and Brody’s star-crossed-lovers plot was initially strange, but viewers went with it because it was sexy and added another layer of thought-provoking obscurity onto an already murky situation. That’s all it was ever supposed to be though: another layer. Not the foundation of the entire series. Which is what showrunner Alex Gansa essentially framed it as in interviews like this one. That revelation threw fans into a loop. Instead of a much better 24, apparently this was a higher-stakes Romeo and Juliet. It goes without saying that the Al Qaeda and CIA make horrible Montagues and Capulets.



Now, all of this romance nonsense could have been overlooked if Homeland Season 1 had ended with the bang it was supposed to. Brody’s vest-jacket bomb in the bunker would have eliminated one of the show’s leads, but it also would have given viewers the impression that anything was possible, as HBO’s Game of Thrones strongly asserted with its Season 3 Red Wedding (spoilers). Instead, whether by the writers’ shaky pens, Showtime’s dominating hand, or both, Brody was saved by his teenage daughter—who has always been aptly portrayed by Morgan Saylor.

Save for some stellar interrogation sequences in the early part of Season 2, the show has been all downhill from there. The writers should have listened to their creative gut and axed Brody when it felt right. It’s felt very much like those in charge of Homeland aren’t sure what to do with Brody now, given that he was never supposed to survive this long. Granted, Brody’s delayed Season 3 appearance in ‘Tower of David” was intriguing, because it offers up the possibility of a completely new storyline in a new setting. But really, hasn’t the damage with this character already been done? What purpose does he serve anymore?

Beyond the Brody troubles, back on the mainland there’s a crazier-than-ever Carrie and an uncharacteristically gruff Saul. Claire Danes is being asked to take off with her superb volatile acting skills and see what happens, while Mandy Patinkin has been given an uncomfortable turn for his character. Previously, while Carrie and Brody launched blow after blow into the show’s foundation, Saul always stood as the calm, bearded rock everyone needed. After his outburst at newcomer Fara, a Persian American CIA employee in Episode 2, viewers were left confused as to why he’s suddenly exactly what they thought he wasn’t.

That leaves us with the long-suffering Brody family. This season, the writers have sexed up Dana Brody and given her an equally troubled, brooding counterpart to get naked with. It’s hard to say which is more disturbing—that serious time on a show allegedly about Homeland Security is being devoted to an even younger, mentally unstable relationship than Carrie/Brody, or that the show’s creators had blatantly circled the date on their calendars when Morgan Saylor turned 18.



It’s discouraging to see a drama that once captivated its viewers repeatedly trip over its own shoelaces. When the smallest bit of doubt in the writers’ ability starts to creep in, it’s hard to stop the bleeding. Just look what happened to Showtime’s former crown-wearer, Dexter.

This isn’t to say that Homeland is forever doomed, but the show’s got its work cut out for itself. There are still nine episodes to go in Season 3—plenty of time to pick up the pieces, place them back on the chessboard, and get a solid game going. Let’s just pray the hands moving the pieces have a brilliant strategy we aren’t seeing yet.

Victor Beigelman is a writer for Thelma, an online pop culture manifesto. Follow him on Twitter @vbeigelman.
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Homeland is based off of the Israeli show Prisoners of War. Maybe they ran out of plot points to copy over and are now on their own and are just not good at it.

The season should have had two major plot points: find out who bombed the CIA and find Brody. Instead we have part one done before the season even started and part two is Dana Brody: Teenage Adventures. They also redid the Carrie is crazy mental hospital thing, which was ok to set up an undercover operation but took too much screen time.
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Agreed, Brody should have been killed off. One of the reasons I fell in a love hate relationship with "The Walking Dead" (well season one anyway) However, even now, on that show you still do not really know who could be next....
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"where the hell the show is as a whole?"
- The last episode was depressing to watch, which wasn't the best way to makes us empathize with Carrie and Brody's current similar situations, but at least for now, that question and the doubt about where the show is headed, only makes me even more curious to see what's going to happen next, to see how will they, both the characters and the writers, get out of their current predicament. But maybe that's just me...
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Spot on analysis. I think all but the biggest kool aid drinkers in the fan base are wondering what the hell is going on with this show. Really meandering 1/4 of the season down and frankly quite boring. Not really interested in guessing where they are going with it just hoping they realize they've gone astray and get back on track soon.
The fact is Abu Nazir should not have come to the States and gone out as he did and Brody probably should be off the show. I assume the Mole was behind the CIA bombing and I'm curious who it is, but good God it's moving at a snail's pace towards some kind of interesting story line.
So many things reminding me more and more of the craptastical final season of Dexter.
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This review was on-point! Season 3 has been disappointing. While I liked Brody's character, I feel that he has overstayed his usefulness; and his relationship with Carrie, that the show chooses to focus on is just weird now. The teenage sex scene was just off-putting.

Where are the guys who wrote the first season of the show because, clearly, these are impostors.
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Matthew Weiner

and now Alex gansa ....

fucking pedophiles ...

I'm done with Homeland...
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Very good article. Exactly what I feel about the show now. I am a big fan but just as disappointed now. Still there are many who still feel it is good. I hope it gets good but last 3 episode was really BAD !
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I've seen some brillant episodes in season 1 (very few though) and in season 2 as well but to me Homeland remains an over-rated -and sometimes simply boring - show with a main actress who thinks that talking fast while moving your eyes like a crazy person is the defintion of good acting (and since she wins awards for that, it seems that she's unfortunately not the only one to think that).
As for not knowing what it is about, well that's not new. Season 2 had some storylines that were completely irrelevant to the plot (Dana and her boyfriend involved in a hit and run for instance...) and I've never truly understood how Carrie could find it normal to sleep with someone she suspected of terrorism, it never actually fit the character considering how dedicated she is to her fight against terrorism.
I don't think Season 3 is very different, I simply think that the abscence of a clear storyline this season simply make all the flaws of the show more and more obvious.
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Oh and to watch a good spy show that knows where it goes and does a perfect mix between spy-stuff and romance I strongly recommand to watch The Americans.
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agree with you on the Americans, but not on your comments regarding Homeland S1 especially and even some of S2. So far S3 has sucked though I agree.
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I've heard great things about the Americans, definitely going to catch up on the first season before it comes back.
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I'm sorry but I'll never get tired of saying how over rated I think this show is. Ever since Brody didn't die in season 1 I knew this was no Breaking Bad.
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Right now, you're right. Unless this show pulls a rabbit out of the hat, and fast, it won't be on my MUST WATCH list for long.
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well the show is bipolar. we went from the manic phase to the depression phase. Maybe the writers should take some lithium.
or maybe some heroin ? i still watch though.
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Good one.
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exactly my thoughts what the heck is going on with homeland...its completely off the track.
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Does TV.com even know that it's existence should not be solely based on criticising? Or if you already are criticising, not have multiple, basically the same posts about the SAME show? Yes, we get it, you don't like this season, which has just started, now we don't need a new post every day about it.
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You're free to ignore the post
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Same goes to you.
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Did you know this site and America are the land of the free and the home of the brave?
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Someone's posting screen caps of nekkid people and it's not Price? WOW.
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I am enjoying the hell out of the fact that there are more articles wondering what the F is up with this show, than about the show itself.

Great fun.
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There certainly are quite a few articles asking what's wrong. Hopefully the writers check this site and realize their show is sinking and a change needs to be made...
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I really doubt that since the shows almost finished filming for this season. Maybe next season? Or maybe this show really is just a family/romance drama that got caught masquerading as a political thriller.
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That's what I meant, for next season hopefully there's a change. Cause I honestly don't see the quality getting better this season. I could be wrong and it would be cool if I am but I see season 3 as the lost year... lol
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If this season drags on in it's current state I won't be around for a Season 4. Dexter me once shame on you, Dexter me twice shame on me!
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