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Homeland S03E07: "Gerontion"


Hey everybody. Tim somehow locked himself in the conference room, so I'll be taking the Homeland reigns this week. Don't worry, we called facilities and they're handling it. I don't want to spend too much time on Season 3's failings, but I would like to give you a little context as to where I'm coming from. It's only fair right? Although Tim's reviews have been pretty representative of the general malaise that's set in with Homeland this season, I came into "Gerontion" ready to defend the show. Homeland is facing a lot of external pressures that are clearly keeping it from being its best self—the writers can't get rid of Brody, there's a sense they have to keep topping themselves with twists, etc.—but I've appreciated some of the stuff the show has done this year. I didn't even flat-out hate Dana's story in the first six episodes. But after I watched "Gerontion" knowing I'd have to write about it, and thus think about it, it's much harder to defend what's going on in this show right now.

In theory, "Gerontion" should be the Homeland episode many of us were waiting for. Last week's final moments were at least partially shocking, and they set up some interesting possibilities for where Saul and Carrie's operation could go. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: This week, there was no Brody family drama, no name-changing, no blank stares from sad Chris Brody. "Gerontion" was all spy stuff, all the time. Unfortunately, though, each time Homeland takes a tiny step forward, it launches itself two humongous steps backward. Whenever the show makes a big move, whether it's the reveal about Carrie and Saul's plan, Carrie being captured, or Javadi killing his wife, it almost immediately sucks the life out of that move. This week, the team had to deal with the aftermath of Javadi's violent rampage, but 'dealing with it' mostly meant throwing Javadi in a room so Saul could chit-chat with him while Quinn and Carrie took care of the murder scene at the now-dead wife's home. Somehow, the most interesting bits of those two stories ended up being Quinn and Carrie dealing with local detectives and not Saul talking to a murderous traitor. 


Homeland keeps trying to sell us on Saul and Javadi's history and that's fine, but the decision to use Javadi's embezzlement against him to force him to return to Iran as a double agent (or, knowing this show, a triple agent) was ridiculous for a few reasons. First, I simply love how easy it is for high-level intelligence people from foreign countries the U.S. isn't particularly friendly with to travel across our borders. Javadi drove down from Canada like a champ and flew out of here on a private jet in style. I understand the need to bring threats to the domestic sphere since the show can't—or won't—send Carrie or Quinn to different countries every week, but the way it all went down was pretty lame. Second, sending Javadi back to Iran already mostly invalidates everything that the season has supposedly been building toward. Why does Homeland insist on making BIG MOVES, only to shrug them off soon after? Carrie and Javadi's convos last week took some of the energy out of Carrie and Saul's master plan, and this week's events only further deflated it. Saul burned Carrie in front of a congressional committee, she went to a psych ward, and Quinn was ready to admit to a double homicide just so Saul could convince an old friend/murderer—one who might not even keep his word—to flip on Iran. Not to go all Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, but REALLY, Homeland?!

Worst of all is what the show clearly wants us to take away from these developments, as we saw in the aftermath of Javadi's luxury flight back to Iran. On a thematic level, Saul and Javadi's deal and the whole surreptitious scheme was meant to reflect Saul's old-school approach to spy tactics and the kind of impact those tactics have on the people carrying them out. The show has explored this kind of territory before; almost repetitively so. We've seen and continue to see what the job has done to Carrie and Saul, and this episode hammered all that home yet again. Saul couldn't even begin to get mad about his wife sleeping with another man, perhaps in his home, because he was so engrossed in the Javadi op. Carrie began to experience nausea from her pregnancy, and the baby is surely Brody's. And most interestingly, Quinn started to realize that his job is kind of awful—so much so that admitting to two murders he didn't commit just to clear his conscience a little was the best feeling he's had in a long time. All this stuff was fairly strong, particularly in the context of Season 3's big questions about what is the CIA does and whether or not it should continue to do those things. 


Less strong? Saul and Dar childishly trolling Senator Lockhart in the name of restoring the CIA to its Cold War-era, long-game-style espionage. Lockhart isn't so much a character as he is an obstacle for Saul, and although it's interesting to think about Saul as sort of the hero of this show, his tete-a-tete with Lockhart has turned him into kind of a douche. The show kept Dar out of the secret op, which made me think he was going to turn and help Lockhart in the battle for the CIA's mortal soul. But nope. After Saul filled Dar in, Dar helped Saul close Lockhart in a conference room and turn out the lights. I didn't realize that the CIA was basically an uncreative college fraternity house. LIGHTS OUT, BRO. It was smart of the show to start asking questions about the value of the CIA in the aftermath of such immense attack, but the problem is that it hasn't created any real conversation about how to move forward, and in the process, that has damaged Saul as a character. Saul, Carrie, and Quinn are kind of awful at their jobs. Yes, Brody was framed, but their work still indirectly led to the CIA bombing. Saul should be fired. But Lockhart is such an empty vessel for lame rhetoric about change, and the show has positioned him as such, so it's almost as if Homeland is still suggesting that Saul's way is the right way. We're supposed to celebrate Lockhart getting hazed by the Greatest CIA Prank Ever. That doesn't make sense. 

And of course, we can't forget the REAL reason why Javadi had to come to America and then immediately leave: So he could tell Saul and Carrie that it wasn't Brody who moved the bomb. Brody's been the specter hanging over this season, and if you weren't convinced before "Gerontion" that the show was simply screwing around until it could logically get back to Brody's story and the fated love between he and Carrie, you have to be now. In that regard, Homeland set up a half-season's worth of plot that involved breaking Carrie down even more, plus a couple of iffy twists, just to circle back around to something we basically already knew. I wouldn't necessarily call it stalling, but it's damn close. Maybe the writers have something cool in mind for how Brody gets more directly involved in the current stories, or how Carrie and Quinn go looking for him. However, it's hard to have any confidence in Homeland at this point, especially because it seems so dedicated to making everything about Brody (and Brody and Carrie), even when it's not. Could Carrie clear Brody's name, bring him back to the U.S., and set him up as the true new leader of the CIA? Why not. 

Above all else, this season of Homeland is proof that making TV isn't easy, even when there are a bunch of great writers, producers, actors, etc. involved. "Gerontion" is the midpoint of Season 3, and it could have served as a catalyst for some interesting stories. Unfortunately, it seems like it served as a catalyst for a whole lot more of the same. 



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

– Thanks for having me this week. Hope it wasn't too painful.

– Be honest, you missed Dana in "Gerontion." She's probably doing something so cool with Angela right now.

– Another problem with the show: Doesn't it seem like the only people working at the CIA are the characters we see? If Lockhart does take over and decide to clean house, he and that secretary Saul spoke to at the end of the episode will be the only ones on the payroll. At least they'll save money. 

– Nice little guest spot for Clark Johnson as the frustrated detective. He's directed two episodes this season, so it makes sense that he would jump in front of the screen as well.

– I didn't see the preview for next week, but how quickly do we think Brody is back on screen? And is there any way that story plays out in an interesting fashion?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/20/2015

Season 5 : Episode 12

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What are we going to watch now on Sunday nights?
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Actually I think this episode was the most important so far in season 3. Why ? Because it was the first that shed some light into Saul's deepest motives.

All along the first 2 seasons there were clues littered about that pointed to Saul being the "mole" inside CIA who helped Abu Nazir. But it wasn't consistent with the character : he's a driven man, a freelancer, but certainly not a traitor or a terrorist.

But now think about what Saul said to Javadi : the way he talked about his frustration with the endless cycle of violence, and the incompetence of those at the top that will always repeat the same mistakes. "For years we toiled, while shallower men held the stage. Waiting for our time to come. Gradually understanding it never would". Until now, that is, because a twist of fate has just propelled him, if only temporarily, to the top.
What if this wasn't a twist of fate ? What if this was the goal that Saul has been pursuing all along : effectively decapitate the CIA, finally put himself and a few trusted agents in a position when they can change things, end the cycle of violence. What if that is the reason he was helping Nazir ?

Think about it : the whole point of this season so far (apart from the Brody episode and Dana's storyline) has been to show us how ruthless Saul can be, the extraordinary lengths he can go to to achieve his ends. The point is being driven home, again and again : Saul is capable of anything. This has to be leading somewhere.
In any case, if I had to bet I'd say we'll very likely be hearing about "Nazir's mole" again this season.

Or, i could be wrong and the show really has become as pointless as everyone says.
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Our true enemy has yet to reveal himself...
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Tim Surette's Reviews on Homeland were annoying, he jsut bashed it and told us how horrible it had become. I mean being an editor, if you despise the show it might be time to move on. So I am glad to see someone new writing here.
I kind of enjoyed this episode, would just like to see a bit more of Brody ... maybe if they had blended in a bit "earlier" in his timeline replacing a lot of his daughter screentime I'd have preferred that ... until his timeline catched up with the "real time".
Had to chuckle about Saul this week, how he locked up Lockard (?!?!) int he bureau.
I don't trust Saul's secretary, she did not like the plan on how to treat Javadi and they did not show the scissors for no reason ... hmh ....
So far there is no reason to trust Javadi's redemption of Brody ... after all he is a manipulator ... and that is just great, you still do not know who the bad guy is ... after season 1 I suspected Saul, you know the razor on the prisoner, Saul abandonded the lie detector test at exactly this question ...
Then, rewatching season 2, I think it might be Quinn. Estest, etc wanted Brody dead, it was Quinn who went into Estes' Room to warn him not to harm Brody ... Ah well ... I enjoy the show, even if it might have been not the greatest season. It may even step up ... Saul locking up Lockard (hope that is his name, forgot it) was hilarious ...
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Liked your review, but I still disagree on a couple of points:

  • I think in the times of all those NSA-capabilities we just learned about in real-life, it is a valid story to discuss different approaches to intelligence gathering. On one hand the NSA - tech reliant - Lockhart way and on the other hand the CIA - human reliant oldschool - Saul way.
    That seems to be the overlaying issue at the leadership level. And as far as Lockhart beeing a phrasemonger - to me it seems like he is supposed to be a typical career politican. It's not that he is incompetent, but he is an outsider (to the spy world) and has little experience wat it means to collect intelligence, even though it seems like he is used to getting the results.
  • To me the issue that was raised with those US-bankers that helped transfer the money will come back front and center highlighting maybe a domestic angel to this whole CIA-bombing-plot. That would also agree with the whole "Brody didn't move the bomb" speach that Carrie got.
  • No Dana - yay, no Brody - hm. It seems the show is not sure how to get rid of some high profile actors (Lewis and Baccarin). Maybe ask Shonda Rhimes how to best kill of main characters :D
    I think it would free the show up to move into new story terretory. Also: why always terrorism? Isn't there something else compelling to come up with in the spy world? Maybe China, Russia? This whole Axsis of Evil, trerrorism - Iran thing is getting old - not just on this show.
  • And REALLY? Morning sickness too??? Damn. They are really going for the stupid Carrie is pregnant stroy. At least it seems like it. I still hope they are not and she just threw up because.....she had bad clamps for breakfast and her tests are positive because of the looney-pills.
    Like I said bevore: Carrie + baby = bad drugs in the writers room.
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You asked why always terrorism. That's what Homeland Security is all about. Preventing terroristic attacks within the U.S. Perhaps you're thinking the show should be called CIA.
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No, I was thinking apart from it beeing called Homeland, why not give them an enemy other than terrorists. After all they DO all work for the CIA.
Continue to call it Homeland, make it about some domestic aspect, but find some other backdrop not always terrorism. There are bound to be other threads to the "Homeland". Come up with something original. Who hasn't done the "middle eastern state sponsored terrorist " plot..... After all according to the DHS-homepage there are 5 other core mission goals:

  1. Prevent terrorism and enhancing security;
  2. Secure and manage our borders;
  3. Enforce and administer our immigration laws;
  4. Safeguard and secure cyberspace;
  5. Ensure resilience to disasters.
As long as they make it interesting I'm ok with it. That was more a general comment on the state of TV-stories. Same thing goes for other shows that are not called Homeland and have nothing to do with the CIA.
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Let's face it: you missed the most significant moment. Oh, wait, no, that was last week. The ecstatic look of Javadi when he bit into that great American hamburger. Was that intense, or what?
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You're right, that was one of the best moments of the past two weeks. Plus, Toub is kicking a lot of ass as an actor.
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Gotta hand it to a show that can have a devastating blow to the CIA killing hundreds and a hamburger moment! The casting in Homeland, yeah, another huge thing bout the show.
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I think you've hit on why I seem to enjoy Homeland so much more than majority of people at the moment, Cory, with this comment: 'Why does Homeland insist on making BIG MOVES, only to shrug them off soon after?'

I completely understand how people are frustrated that the show does this, and I think it's because of my taste in unconventional television that makes me okay with it. There are endless possibilities Homeland could have taken with Javadi's interrogation/ capture in this episode, as there generally are with any big plot developments in Homeland, and having him return to Iran as a double agent was definitely one of the more surprisingly, albeit ridiculous ones. Does it deprive the audiences of some pathos as the show continues to throw in one twist after another? Obviously so if people are so upset about the direction the show has taken. But for me, while the show isn't at its best, I still really enjoy watching it because I'll never know where Homeland will take me, and it will continue to be an enigma of a show that I just must keep watching to find out what happens next until it ends.
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I agree. It's the unpredictability that has me hooked.
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I'm totally fine with you enjoying this kind of twists that erase what happened in the last few episodes, but I think you are wrong about this having to do with a taste for unconventional television. That is extremely common in bad television, you know, cheap soaps, bad horror movies and things like that. It is basically outdated television. Like, you know, the character waking up and realizing that the whole season was just a dream and none of it really happened.
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I can't really see that this is the case with Homeland. I find the intricate plot with hospitalized Carry to be genuinely intriguing and that it adds weight to the whole spy scenario. I simply cannot compare it to someone waking up from a dream.

And all this complaining about the show fooling its viewers and keeping us in the dark!? What would Homeland (or any spy thriller) be if we could trust that the current and naively obvious direction of the plot would correspond to the underlying "truth"?? I like the twist so far. I find them intelligent.

However, I also agree with some criticism - the Dana-part is/was oh sooo annoying, what in the world will that lead to which would balance the airtime it has received?

Most annoying though - I thought the Langely bombing was Abu Nazirs master piece - in practice he committed suicude to lure the CIA to let their guard down, as a part of his plan. But suddenly Javadi seems to be master mind behind this bombing. Which would make Nazir an idiot dying alone in a factory … However we might not have seen the last of this ..
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I get where you are coming from, but I don't know any show that's rewritten it's basic plot as much as Homeland by constantly using these twists. Maybe them not paying off is a sign of bad television, but if they worked as intended no one would be saying that.
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We're assuming he actually leaves for Iran sometime soon, if at all..
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My bad, just remembered they got that call in confirming the aircraft had left US Airspace... Assuming it's going to Iran..
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Javadi was obvioudly planting the idea in Carrie's head that Saul knows more on the Langley bombing and might even be behind it. She obviously bought it. Why, she is supposed to be an experienced agent who knows that Javani might be playing with her. I really do not hope that Carrie, with the help of Quin, is going to chase Saul for this. It would give the show another level where it cant cope with what its dealing with now.
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I expect that that seed will motivate her to looking into who moved the car and thus hopefully moveing the story foreward. And I don't think Saul will be the target of that investigation.... but we'll see...
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Javani said it was 'the man that brought us together', but not the lawyer.
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Remind you of another show where they threw tons of stuff up on a wall, hoping they'd stick, only they slid down the wall into a morass of shit?

Yup, Dexter.

Meanwhile, I wonder if Brody is going to wear a red and yellow cape when he returns, singing these words?



More apt to Homeland:



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Ouch, that idea hurt my head. There is still a little bit of hope they do not go exactly the same way Dexter went. Although we haven't seen if Brody now has a beard.

Andy Kaufman was a genius, wasn't he!
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"Carrie began to experience nausea from her pregnancy, and the baby is surely Brody's."
Why do you say that, how do you know? The whole Brody escaping to Canada thing happened 6 months ago, if that was the last time she saw him, and it is his baby, she should be well showing by now! (Of course, we don't know what happened in the six months that went by between the last episode of S2 and the first episode of S3, maybe they had some secret rendez-vous before he took off to South America? But still, that's very far fetched)

ps: I want more Quinn! (preferably in or just out of the shower :-p )
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I think the point of that drawer of positive pregnancy tests was to show us that it's been some time since she realized that she's pregnant, and that there's something about the pregnancy that makes her especially obsessive about it. So I think it's pretty clear that the show was telling us that Brody is the father.

Was it really six months? I think they mentioned the number of days, but I don't remember the number. I think it was something like 90 or 100. I assume that a few weeks has passed this season, so she would be about four months pregnant. But as I said, I'm not sure about the number. Maybe someone can remind us.
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It's been 4 months after bombing CIA. So it could be Brody's baby.
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you're absolutely right, for some reason I thought in Ep1 they said it was 6 months after the bombing, but it was 2 months... so she would be about 4 months preggers now (and starting to show probably)
Still doesn't explain how this wasn't caught in the hospital, surely a woman in her thirties would be checked for pregnancy before administering shock therapy and heavy drugs. Then again, the whole hospital thing was part of the plan, so maybe... aaaaaah, overthinking much?
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Great review Corey. You pointed out exactly why this show is broken right now. I agree with everything you say and there's no point in me even commenting any further as I'd just be doing what Homeland is doing this season: repeating and dragging out everything you already said.
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I liked this episode. Your review is another matter. It dragged on forever, pointlessly. :-{
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Great episode and 7 episodes in I could care less about Brody or his story even if he is Carrie's baby father. Unless, this is a 22 episode season I don't see how he or his family can become relevant this season. Pretty good expisode though.
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no dana brody bs, that's an a plus in my book, keep the dana less episodes coming....they had to have planned this didn't they? the homeland writers, make us hate dana so much, so they could have nowehre to go but up after they removed her from the show, or atleast we can only hope she's gone for good
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Oh yeah, locking Senator Dicky Bird in the office for a couple hours was hilarious. Good stuff from Saul!

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Not sure what the bitching is about. This was the best episode this season without a doubt. Homeland has though killed some pretty big developments in short order rendering them insignificant. We'll see how Javadi plays out, but I like it so far, I like how Quinn got off by explaining to the DC cops.
No Dana, another plus. Keep it going Homeland.
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I agree. The show is definitely picking up.
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Glad the suggestions got through in regards to the Reviewer. Right decision.

Yes, this was an awesome episode. But so were the others. It's one of the best series ever in terms of story-line, relevance to the real present day, delivery and intelligence.

I think the actor who plays Quinn could have his own series, if he could be matched with the same quality of writers. He's that good.
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"It's one of the best series ever in terms of story-line [...]"

Kudos to you, if you're able to say that without laughing out loud.
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I actually liked this episode a lot. Maybe it was only because I hate Senator Lockhart so much that I got a lot of joy out of seeing him locked in a conference room. I didn't even care that Saul's plan was horrendously stupid, as long as he "won." Also Quinn continues to be the best character on the show, finally realizing that the C.I.A. is just a complete disaster causing far more problems than it solves, good for him, and badass of him to take the fall.

I'm even a little bit curious to find out who the inside man was. So, not a bad episode.
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Totally in love with Quinn
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I'm impressed Homeland is actually historically correct. Instead of making off some terrorist attack somewhere in the world, Saul mentioned the bus bomb in Burgas last year. Nice detail.
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I agree that story wise the season has been terrible. But I don't reckon the spy or intelligence stuff is silly or stupid. The steps towards the recruiting of Javadi make sense to me, at least in that perspective. Now, whether blowing Carrie's cover too soon, or sending Javadi back to Iran are helpful to the story or not, that's another thing.
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Homeland is digging bigger holes for itself each week. People were supposed to be shocked, along with Saul et al., that Javadi popped open his bucket list and killed his ex/family members. What did they expect really? Saul's admission of "I didn't see that coming" this week further made him look weak and inept. Also his being replaced and not seeing that or being in the dark over his cheating wife who, must've smelt like a perfumed whore about being freshly squeezed by Monsieur Slimy.
Brody. Poor sweet Brody. I can't see how he ever gets back now. Even if he's proven innocent, there's still going to be people who'll doubt it and want to do him harm. Innocent people get accused of far less and never recover. Dana's been outed as nuts and Quinn is now the James Bond of the piece; who may as well declare his name in every casino and to every villain he meets. Saul though, can easily be written in to save his title if the far fetched Iranian scam bares fruit. Though that wouldn't be suspect would it. So Mr Javadi, you met with an American agent and now the US seems to even know when it's 2 for1 night at your local mosque..?
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No Dana: That was a plus. Quinn got some screen time: Also a plus, even though it was sort of a filler-story. Carrie and her "I miss Brody" eyes: That's a minus. Saul doing whatever the hell he wants without telling anyone: That doesn't seem plausible, minus. Lockhart getting locked in a room and dropping that "WTF" that we as viewers could connect with because we also feel we're locked in a dark room with no direction: Plus.

Guess this episode comes out on the positive side somehow? (insert "stay positive" joke here)
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Saul doing whatever he wants goes along with his character. He's always been like this and that's why Estes wanted him out.
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This episode you got to see the clear difference between Saul and Javadi. When speaking to Saul Javadi says he wishes he could have stoned his wife for her unfaithfulness while after killing her with broken glass shards, although she was not with Javadi for years. Saul, on the otherhand walked into his wife with a man and knows his wife has feelings for another man, but did nothing and just ended up forgiving her for his lack of interest. Javadi would go that far for revenge, what makes Saul believe that he won't turn in full swing of revenge toward Saul even with the threat of the blackmail?

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Actually, i think Saul's latest reaction to his wife has been directly affected by Javadi killing his own wife and his explanations about it.

On the other point, I am also not very sure that Javadi back to Iran as an asset is such a great idea.
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I'm just too close to done with the show to care. The fictional CIA is a pathetic organization that can be unraveled by something as stupid as a camera and some cops that seem better qualified to keep the country going properly than all of our main characters combined.

Saul has been awful at his job since the beginning of season 2, and his ways and ideas are outdated and stupid. You SHOULD NEVER WORK WITH ESTABLISHED TERORRISTS IN ORDER TO FIND OTHER TERRORISTS... Or whatever is happening.

I know I'm not supposed to think Brody killed all those people, but nothing that guy has ever done has convinced me he's not a .....Quadruple? Agent, and this entire plotline with them clearing his name irritates me so much because of that, The Carrie/Brody storyline is stupid and I don't care.

I'm 95% sure I'm done after this season, the only thing that could save it is a bigger boom, a bigger war, or a dead Brody.
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I agree with Saul's move. No one said that it was desirable to let Javadi go but what other way would they be able to get a mole inside his organization and someone that is so high up in the organization to actually make a difference. You can't expect to be totally by the book when you are dealing with people who are not going by your rules. You have to think outside of the box and take big risks in hopes that it will pay off in the end.
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Couldn't agree more on a lack of interest in clearing Brody's name... time to move on.
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The only way that all of this Brody's absence is going to be totally worth it, is if Carrie can prove his innocence. Because that way Brody could stop hiding and return to the USA, and that would change everything for everyone.
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It's not that simple. They can't realistically argue that everything he did was part of an undercover operation. So everyone will still view him as the guy who at some point wanted to do a terrorist attack. This will prevent him from ever having some kind of career. So if they clear his name, and bring him back, what is he going to do? Is he going to be Carrie's stay-at-home husband?
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Even he can't have a career he could still find some kind of a job to do. And the fact that everyone still views him as the guy who at some point wanted to kill the Vice President and everyone that worked for him, for revenge not because he wanted to be a terrorist, will create great tension and drama when he interacts with other people. Other things the writers can have him do: trying to reconnect with his family, especially his children; reconnecting with other people he knows; making new friends; taking care a possible son of him and Carrie; and punctually help Carrie with something related with her work at the CIA.
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Good post, I agree with most of it. The things you're talking about could certainly be turned into interesting TV. But it would be hard to connect it to the main theme of the show, which is Carrie fighting terrorists.

I don't think that the failed suicide bombing can be considered an attempt at revenge, since there were so many people there who had nothing to do with the drone attack.
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(continuation)
But I wonder how will Carrie and Saul prove Brody is innocent of blowing up the CIA, and how will that fact will other people's perspective about him. I'm extremely curious to see what the writers have planned for all that.
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Yes, but the main reason was to revenge the death of his "adopted son". But yes, it's understandable that everyone sees him as someone who wanted to be a terrorist, even though he couldn't blow up himself when he had the chance (no one stopped him, he stopped himself from doing it), and never actually committed any terrorist attack.
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that would make for a happy end, IF he manages to get away by himself. even without bounty on his head i think the tower guys still want something in exchange for his freedom.
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"the writers can't get rid of Brody"
My biggest problem with this season is the lack of Brody. Brody's character was one of the main reason's I loved so much the 2 first season's of Homeland. I think the writers are making a mistake by focusing too much on Carrie and Saul, because they alone can't carry this show for more than 3 episodes, IMHO. I understand having Brody more absent because he's on the run, but making him a prisoner to have an excuse for him to not appear onscreen is just lazy and boring, IMHO. I loved Carrie and Saul's elaborate plan and how the show kept me guessing until the reveal in the end episode 4, but now the show desperately needs Brody, and my interest on the season's plot is declining with each consecutive episode without him in it. And if the writers get rid of Brody or kill him this season, I probably won't watch the next season. Peace!
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Apparently Brody isn't going anywhere with the show. He's just in the background so far. Not a pretty picture imagining him hooked on heroin in South America... that sucks after everything he's been through. A person can only take but so much before they break.
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Hi Cory, so glad you are filling Tim's shoes while he is locked in the conference room. Were he supposed to fill in for you for TTP when you were locked in the conference room last Wednesday. He did not do a very good job cause there was no review for that.

This episode is finally a little exciting but story wise still very bad.

Saul is banking the death of so many of his CIA colleagues on his plan. There seems so many things that could go wrong with that plan. Even if his plan was really good, could Javadi really just stay as his pawn? Would he not try to think of something to get out of it. After all he is supposed to be a super spy for the last 35 years.

He would just let the murderer of all those colleagues get away so as to make this plan work? This guy must have a really BIG self confidence and ego to believe his plan. The writers must have too to believe the audience would just buy the story.
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Finally this Season is getting better. Had big concerns after the first 5 Episodes but the last 2 were decent and an improvement int the end.
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"Is there anything you guys have ever done that didn't make things worse?"

Peter Quinn; no response.

Lockhart, "Open the door!"

Saul, "Make me!"
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Well, at least this week it was about spies stuff. And Peter Quinn took a shower.
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I don't know if I will continue to watch it , I don't like to drop in the middle of a show , especially when it's a good show , but now the episodes are boring and nothing makes sense.

I watch dexter until the end , but homeland ? I have a week to forget that episode and maybe see the next one
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What was wrong with the past few episodes? I agree the firs 4 were pretty snooze inducing, last 3 though? I thought pretty good. I have to jump on any comments comparing to Dexter, since that show was pure, 100% Grade A Dog Crap its final season! Terrible stuff
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Locking him in that room wasn't a prank or a gag. Granted it was funny, but he was getting ready to compromise a top secret and very important operation. Saul had to keep him quiet until Javadi left US Air Space so he couldn't be intercepted.

A lot of negativity toward a scene that was very impactful on a number of levels.
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Heh. I know it's not a prank or gag, but the fact that THAT is supposed to be such a triumphant moment is telling.
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It was a good spy biz episode esp. with the absence of Dana or any of the Brody lot and the time we had to spend with Quinn, his shower and what not. Quinn's the new tragic hero of Homeland and if the writers know what's good for them, they'll concentrate on him and avoid the Brody family issues...
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Finally an episode worth calling it an episode of Homeland.
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Clark Johnson made me miss the show Homicide.
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Always. Even when he is behind the camera, directing.

Fontana and Levinson did to Homicide at the end what the idiots in charge did to Dexter. Only worse, because Homicide was magnificent television, Dexter was 85% crap.
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In retrospect I agree with most of what you've written up but this still was a very good episode. Maybe it wouldn't have been in Season 1 but it was in Season 3. An episode about (mostly) Quinn? Give me some more! I want to get to know that guy.
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I love Quinn. He's the best part of the show.
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The noise we can all hear? That's the writers desperately trying to reverse back out of a plotting ditch, what we're hearing is wheels failing to get grip...just going round and round...
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Yup. But why? Because Bromell died? Seriously? There are NO other talented writers left in the U.S.? Granted, the asshats from Dexter are polluting Homeland, but is everyone really too stupid to see what we the intelligent are seeing, a show that is going down the shitter?
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I'm sorry, that's way above my paygrade. There are, I would've thought talented writers- witness Breaking Bad obviously, but maybe writers get caught out when the network demands more product- remember how Lost turned out
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"Saul should be fired. But Lockhart is such an empty vessel for lame rhetoric about change"

i do not agree at all.
i can't clearly say that to me saul is doing it the right way but he is definitely doing the right thing. plans were never drawn quick in this show, there's always something bigger behind what we seeat first, that's one of the things i like most about homeland.

lockhart instead appears to me basically like any (military) high ranked dumbf*** (not only in the US). he is furious and he wants to actively "change" things which we all know means something like killing even more people or just going to war again "because we need to show strength here!"-style. he surely does talk the real bullshit but i'd say he is dangerous. if he really becomes head of the CIA then our little group of heroes finds itself in the middle of two evils.
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Oh Lockhart is the worst. But Saul and Carrie's op on Brody didn't go well and it certainly had some impact on what happened at the CIA. Doing the right thing is running this whole op just to get an untrustworthy dude in Iran? Really? After everything that's happened?
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True, it really doesn't seem like a good move at all, but i am confident of saul's brilliant mind here, again and again :)

what i'm not sure of is saul's motivation behind the operation. does he want him to just suffer from the constant risk of being uncovered and sentenced to death and see this fear and betrayal as the punishment he deserves, while at the same time getting intel from him?

or does he really trust him and hope that he will appreciate it and stop his terrorist activities? very unlikely to me.
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"Thanks for having me this week. Hope it wasn't too painful."

It was kind of painful to be honest, but probably no more than it would have been with Tim. This was the best episode of the season, and probably the best episode that any show aired this week, and yet almost all your comments are negative. No one is denying that this season has problems, but this level of negativity doesn't make any sense.

"Whenever the show makes a big move, [...] it almost immediately sucks the life out of that move."

I don't know how you can suggest that this episode is an example of that. What they did was to turn a top-level Iranian terrorist into their slave, while sacrificing their careers to deal with two major problems that could have completely ruined the operation. If you think that is to suck the life out of Javadi's capture, then I really wonder what you expected, and what you would have approved of?

"Javadi drove down from Canada like a champ and flew out of here on a private jet in style."

It's not that hard to believe that a fake passport is all it takes to get across from Canada to the USA. The private jet was kind of weird, but what was weird about it isn't that Javadi got to fly out. He was escorted by the CIA and had the permission of the director of the CIA. What was weird about it was that this move could tip off the Iranians that he's got some kind of deal with the CIA, at least if the plane flies directly to Iran. But for all we know, he could have taken the plane to Greenland, killed all his goons, and then arranged another ride from there. It's also possible that he can convince his people that one of his spies helped him get that plane cleared. So if this is a plot hole, it's only a minor one.

"Second, sending Javadi back to Iran already mostly invalidates everything that the season has supposedly been building toward."

No, it doesn't.

"Quinn started to realize that his job is kind of awful"

He was already refusing to carry out his orders last season, and we got clear indications that he didn't like his job in the first episode of the season. So no, he didn't start to realize it just now.

"childishly trolling Senator Lockhart"

Really Cory? You're complaining about Saul hitting the light switch? That's the strangest complaint in your entire review. Lockhart was going to do everything he can to destroy Saul anyway, and we have all wanted to punch him in the throat in every scene. It was quite satisfying to see the lights go out. It was one of the best scenes in the episode. But apparently nothing on this show is good enough for you.

"Saul, Carrie, and Quinn are kind of awful at their jobs."

Based on what exactly? The fact that Abu Nazir's plan B worked? It wasn't exactly easy to see it coming.

"Their work still indirectly led to the CIA bombing."

There's no reason to think so, unless you mean that they might have been able to delay plan B by not thwarting plan A.

"the show was simply screwing around until it could logically get back to Brody's story and the fated love between he and Carrie"

This is like complaining that there are zombies on The Walking Dead. Of course they're going to get back to Brody's story. (More about that below). But I hope that you're wrong about the "fated love". I have a feeling that they might be pairing her with Quinn instead, and I think I would prefer that. She hasn't shown any interest in him yet, but it's clear that he likes her. I think she's just having problems seeing what's right in front of her because her baby daddy is falsely accused of being the worst terrorist in the world.

"Homeland set up a half-season's worth of plot that involved breaking Carrie down even more, plus a couple of iffy twists, just to circle back around to something we basically already knew. I wouldn't necessarily call it stalling, but it's damn close."

I sort of agree. They tricked us into thinking that we don't understand what the season is about, and then they revealed to us, in the form of "twists", that it's about the exact thing that we all thought it would be from the start: Carrie needs to clear Brody, and it's going to be difficult because everyone else is convinced that he did it. It would probably have been better if they had sent us down that path right away.

"it seems so dedicated to making everything about Brody (and Brody and Carrie), even when it's not."

Here you sound like the gun nuts who are convinced that Obama is trying to take their guns. Brody has been in ONE episode so far. ONE. It's like the writers are trying as hard as they can to keep him out of the story, even though that doesn't make sense. They're doing the opposite of what you're suggesting. He's alive, the main character is in love with him, and he's falsely accused of being the world's worst terrorist. Those things make him an essential part of the story whether we see him or not.

"Another problem with the show: Doesn't it seem like the only people working at the CIA are the characters we see?"

I'll give you that one. But other shows aren't doing this better. Take a look at Agents of SHIELD for example.

"Nice little guest spot for Clark Johnson as the frustrated detective."

I agree. He's good at this sort of thing.
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"Probably the best episode that any show aired this week".

You guys should really start watching The Good Wife. They are juggling three times as many plotlines as Homeland and they're brilliant at it. Absolute superb television.
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I'm watching it, and I agree that it's one of the best shows right now. I would rank it as the second best non-cable show after POI. Last year I moved Scandal up to #2 for a while, but I think TGW has reclaimed the #2 spot.

Still, it suffers a bit from being on CBS. It's a bit constrained by the procedural format, and the censorship rules. So it could certainly have been better. But it's impressive that they've managed to make it as good as it is on a non-cable network.
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To be honest, I have no idea what this whole cable and non-cable thing means as I am no American, and I think it makes no sense to group shows into categories depending on where they are broadcasted.
On a side note, is POI really that good? I stopped midseason 1 because it seemed like a case of the week type show. For me it was nowhere near #1, so how would you personally justify it's spot on your list? Maybe I missed out on something... :)
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There's a huge difference between cable and non-cable networks and the shows they air. The non-cable networks are constrained by very strict censorship rules. They can't ever show a boob, no matter how weird it is to avoid it. And they literally can't say shit. These rules make a lot of scenes very strange, and a lot weaker than they could be.

For some reason, non-cable shows are also much more likely to have the episodes consist of clearly separated blocks that go between the commercial breaks. I don't really understand why, because it's my understanding (I'm not an American either) that the cable networks AMC (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Mad Men) and FX (Justified, Sons of Anarchy, The Americans, Terriers) are financed by commercials as well, and episodes on those networks don't have that block structure.

Non-cable shows are also much more likely to be case-of-the-week procedurals. I don't fully understand that either, but it's a fact.

As a result of these differences, cable shows are on average much better. Try to make a list of the top five or top ten dramas in recent years, and see how many of them are cable shows. For me, it's something like 80% cable.

I don't like the case-of-the-week stuff in Person of Interest either, but the number of episodes that are completely isolated from the rest have been getting less and less frequent. Only one of the (so far) eight episodes of season 3 has been like that.

The show has evolved a bit since the first half of season 1. It picked up a few recurring characters. We got a glimpse of how the government is using The Machine in a great episode that was very different from the rest and eventually gave us a new regular character. We have met an awesome villain/heroine/antiheroine, who is now one of the best things about the show. But the most interesting development by far is that The Machine has been doing some self-improvement. I can't wait to see where they're going with that.
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You missed a lot.
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Have you seen any of the other shows this week? That's a bold statement, One advice: check this week's Walking Dead and see for yourself what's good TV.
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I watched this week's TWD after writing this post, and I agree that it was very good. Probably the best TWD of this season. Was it better than this week's Homeland? Maybe.

However, the other episodes of TWD this season has been worse than this week's Homeland, and none of them got the kind of negative review that Cory wrote here, or the ones Tim wrote before him. That zombie rain a month ago was far stupider than Carrie's drawer of pregnancy tests or anything else we've seen on Homeland, and it was praised by the reviewer.

It irritates me a lot that all other shows get a free pass when they do something really stupid, but Homeland is torn apart for every little thing that isn't Q & A awesome.

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That's where we disagree. The Walking Dead has been surprisingly good (all episodes, not just the last one), while Homeland has just been the opposite. It hasn't dropped from A to B. It's more like C or D. The last season was so good! How can a show fall so quickly out of grace? It boggles my mind. I just hope this also doesn't happen with The Americans.
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Its like you had been getting straight As for the last few semester and then you drop to B for this semester. Everyone will be asking you why. The kids sitting next to you will not get a second look because he has been getting Bs all the time anyway.
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Yes, when a great show turns into a good show, it makes sense to ask why, and to point out the things they're doing wrong. But that's not the situation here. People are saying things like this:

"I couldn't bear the torture anymore"

"The first five episodes were complete horse shit"

"It's nearly impossible to top last week's Carrie story in terms of stupidity"

"painful train wreck".

People who think Homeland is that bad probably shouldn't be watching TV at all. This season has problems, but there's no show right now that's much better. The best ones are at most slightly better, and there's not even a handful of them.
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As for the other shows, I personally think The Walking Dead is stronger than it's ever been this season (perhaps with the exception of the first and three episodes, the rest has been spectacularly good). And people have a tendency to forget about Boardwalk Empire, for me, it's episode last night was probably better than any episode Homeland or The Walking Dead has produced this season.
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I haven't been enjoying all the Homeland hate this season either, and yes, it's a harder fall for a show when it was distinctively top quality at some stage. When that quality isn't maintained, it's a shame people become so judgemental towards it so quickly.

That being said, I think Cory had some very valid points (more so than Tim has had recently) on why he thinks the show isn't as good as it could be, whereas you are enjoying it fine just as it is. All in all though, it's subjective and comes down to taste.
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I have to agree this is the most entertaining episode so far this season. Story wise, it is really hard to buy.
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I appreciate the detailed thoughts. It's pretty easy to see this episode as another example of the anticlimactic storytelling. I don't expect anything in particular, but every week the show builds to something they want us to think is IMPORTANT, only the following week to reveal that it wasn't actually that important to begin with. The stuff between Saul and Javadi was just fine, but it's hard to me to really think those moments were worth what everyone put themselves through. If anything, as I said, it kind of proves that Saul deserves to be fired, not praised.
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Well, at least you're consistent.

Consistently wrong. The show sucks.
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I have been defending this season quite vigorously in the past few weeks, but I was thinking similar thoughts watching this weeks episode to the review here. My problem isn't with the "plausability", Tim's reviews and a lot of the comments seem to think season 1 was some kind of docu-drama in to the inner workings of the CIA. If you think this you should review the first 2 seasons, there was nothing vaguely realistic in any of the events nor the overall narrative.

I think the difference is in the writing and that we have had big pre-ambling build ups, then a total anti-climax. Carrie's commital, Dana's storyline and now, especially the capture of Javadi. This episode should have been a really tense two-hander between Saul and his captive, the viewer should have had insight in to their history, their conflicting views and most of all the turning of Javadi should have taken more than one 5 minute chat. It took, what 6 episodes to get here and then that's it done and he's back on the plane in the space of 45 screen minutes, the pacing is all wrong and the opportunity for real drama has been wasted
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Yeah, plausability doesn't matter to me at all. Brody took a bomb vest into a bunker with the VP in S1. Not particularly tethered to reality.
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"I'm calling the president" Nanananana
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Saul burned Carrie in front of a congressional committee, she went to a psych ward, and Quinn was ready to admit to a double homicide just so Saul could convince an old friend/murderer—one who might not even keep his word—to flip on Iran.

And Carrie never even asked Saul why he couldn't do this via Skype.


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Saul Berenson, Acting CIA Director, Practical Joker, and Cuckold.
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Homeland Alone. Two adults playing a Macaulay Culkin style prank on a senator and future head of CIA.
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It wasn't about playing a prank. It was about keeping that dumb f*ck of a senator from ruining the plan of the century because he doesn't understand the bigger picture.
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And is there any way that story plays out in an interesting fashion?

I hope so. This show has come to a dead stop without Lewis.

Who knew.

Good review. This episode blew.

With the exception of the excellent actor man who knows best how to wear a pork pie hat, Mr. Clark Johnson, who himself worked on a show that was sliced, diced, and shatted upon, in the interest of ratings. Isn't that right, asshat Tom Fontana?
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It's a shame such a great show has come to this, after watching the first episode and about half of episode 2 of season 3 i had to stop. I couldn't bear the torture anymore so all i have been doing every week is read the reviews and wait for the right time to get back into the show. Clearly i might have made the right decision not watching every week, I have decided to Tvo the whole season and if it turns out any good then watch it all at once maybe that way I might enjoy it. For now I will stick with reading the reviews! :(
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Bottom line: plausibility, or the lack thereof. Season three with all the lame story lines isn't back on solid ground, yet. To endure the uber long-shot of Saul's grand scheme, Brody's drug addled prison sentence in Caracus, and droopy looks from Dana Brody, or whatever her name is now. This has sucked the urgency out of the core story of a soldier turned Muslim zealot and it's truly horrible consequences. Well, not to say the consequences we're dealing with aren't horrible in another way. Note to writers: Please return to the excellence of season one and fast or Peter isn't the only one who is leaving.
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I'm slowly getting back in on this show. The first five episodes were complete horse shit, but the last two were pretty good, stupid pregnancy notwithstanding.
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I thought it was solid, and Saul locking Lockhart in the conference room was hilarious. The scenes with Carrie were dull, but not stupid, so that's something. She was the B plot this week anyways.
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Agree. It's nearly impossible to top last week's Carrie story in terms of stupidity anyway, so everything will seem good in comparison! (Nice try Homeland writers??) but yeah I agree, I think this wasn't too bad.
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If (and only if, which I am skeptical about) they can maintain and build on what worked in this episode, Homeland will be back in track. I'm worried that Season 4 will be entirely on the set of the Maury Povich show or something.
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