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Homeland
's third season has been pretty roundly criticized, not only around these parts, but also across the Internet. From a bold, but ultimately deceitful twist that invalidated much of the first three episodes to a super weird pregnancy test obsession, the glory days of season 1 and early season 2 appear to be behind us.

Before the early season twist really threw a wrench in the show's logic, I tried to identify what exactly had gone so wrong, so fast. While I could expand on that initial list now, I'm still sticking with the show in the hope that it will find a focus to end the season on a satisfying note. So let's kick around some ideas, if Homeland could accomplish one goal by the end of the season, what would you like to see?



1. Give Us More: Day to Day CIA

Carrie's car ride to end "Gerontin" told us where this season is ultimately headed - to South America. To find a drugged out Brody, shockingly alive, and probably innocent. Do you want to see Carrie clear his name and have his baby? Count me out.

As an alternative, give us the boring day to day of spy work coming to fruition. The paper trail to Iran was rushed quickly to a conclusion, but I'd have gladly watched Saul piece things together over time. I'd have even watched a flashback to 1970s Saul if that's what it took to give us context. I'd watch Carrie lose her calm trying to file paperwork for a wiretap. I'd watch her argue with Dar Adal over the legality of the CIA's actions. I'd even watch dead ends and red herrings before we return to the sure to be heartbreaking romance of Carrie and a Brody she won't even recognize.




2. Give Us More: Cloak and Dagger Action

While Homeland has always put our heroes in a position of operating without much information, the past two seasons have seen terrorists fall into their laps twice - first Abu Nazir, and now Javadi. As a rule, protagonists should be pro-active. Carrie was pro-active in season 1 when she insisted Brody had been turned. She was pro-active in season 2 when she put Brody back into play as a double agent. That positive motion has largely been lost in a season full of congressional hearings and off-screen secrets. We want to see some action. So much so that Carrie's "yoga play" was perhaps the most thrilling ten minutes of the season to date.

So far we've been told that the explosion at the CIA was funded in Iran, with Javadi, our new double agent headed there to work for Saul. It's my hope this gives us at least a scene or two overseas, with Peter Quinn or even Carrie on the streets, monitoring a target, finding physical evidence or interrogating a suspect and moving the plot forward as a result. Even Carrie's habit of making rash decisions is far easier to swallow in the stress of a war zone than it is in an office building, and feels far less contrived as a result. Put the show in the field and let's see what results.



3. Give Us More: Saul Berenson vs. Dar Adal

The battle for the soul of the CIA is a very interesting theme this season. The problem, however, is that season 2 set up a fascinating internal battle in Saul and Carrie's semi-on-the-books operations vs. Dar Adal and Quinn's completely off the books operations. And then, it disappeared. Did Quinn lose his purpose when Brody left the country? Is he solely Carrie's mopey friend now? Surely there's a greater purpose to both Dar and Quinn that's still to be revealed and I'd love to see that card played.

The alternative? An increasingly childish battle between Saul and his eventual replacement, Senator Lockhart. There's talk of old school spies in the field vs. a future of unmanned combat via drones, but we've yet to see those competing ideologies be tested on screen. Until that day, I'll take the promised battle between two old-school CIA frenemies, each working quietly to wrestle control from the other. Otherwise they'll just be sharing scotch while the Senator tries to find his way out of that Langley conference room. Slightly less cinematic, I'd say.

What do you think? Am I way off base in my desires for the second half of season 3? What would you like to see the show pursue? (Aren't you glad I made it this far without mentioning the Brody family?)
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