Homeland S3E8 Review, “A Red Wheelbarrow”


It really isn’t that hard to inject intriguing plot developments into a TV show, especially one that has shown close to limitless promise in the past.  But with the third season of Homeland, it’s been as difficult as dragging an unwilling and unmedicated Carrie Matheson through the door of another institution.

Holy shit, this week, things happened!  An amazing concept.  After sludging through last week’s swamp of boring (how can an episode in which a rogue element of the CIA turns a murderous son of a bitch of a high level Iranian government official into a double agent be so mind-numbingly boring?), which was so nondescript and uneventful that I didn’t even think it merited writing about, just about anything would feel like a reprieve.  And the show’s creators finally delivered something resembling watchable television.  This show won fucking Emmys for chrissakes.  I shouldn’t have to wait to Ep8 of the new season to get decent storytelling.

We now know that the man who delivered the bomb to CIA headquarters in last season’s finale is not only American and still at large in the country, but is also connected in some way to the bank that Saul has tied to financing Iranian terrorist operations, including the bombing itself, and in the same episode that this is confirmed the bomber is murdered by the bankers.  All with the knowledge of our CIA freinds, who can’t intervene without blowing their recently placed spy in the Iranian government.  If that’s confusing, good, it’s supposed to be, and I love it.  But that on its own probably isn’t a big enough development to finally get this season’s ball (balls?) rolling.  It’s the multifaceted and impossible to completely follow or connect series of storylines that come with it that hearkens (do people actually say hearkens?) back to the previous seasons.  In no specific order:

  1. Carrie is pregnant, finally sees a pediatrician, is still in the field for active and dangerous operations, and gets shot by Quinn with a high powered rifle trying to intervene against a direct order from F.Murray.  Oh, and she seems to think that the father is Brody.
  2. The dude that Saul’s wife was fucking is also spying on her or him through their home computer and was probably put in place by an agency or other interested party, possibly by the Iranians, the terrorist bank, F. Murray, the Evil Senator, or maybe he’s just super jealous and wants to find a way to get her back.
  3. Saul still seems to either be one step ahead of everything or one step behind everything, or completely playing a different game, since he set up an operation, has it in play, then skips town to go find Brody in Caracas and doesn’t seem to give a shit what happens.  And Brody is full blow junkie now, holy shit is he full blown junkie.  Awesome shot to close the episode.
  4. Fara’s every move is being tracked by Saul, who must be super-paranoid, but is also proven to be correct.  I’d think the fact that this was thrown into the episode has to mean something in the big picture, but…

Why in the hell did it take so long to get here?  If the show dedicated that much time to the Jessica/Dana nonsense at the beginning of the season, and the entire storyline added absolutely nothing to the narrative, how am I supposed to now trust that Saul having Fara followed means anything at all?  The problem is that it doesn’t even seem like the Dana bullshit was a red-herring, it was just 100% filler because there was 47 minutes to fill and there were no new characters.

All of the pieces listed above could have been introduced three, four, five, even six episodes ago, and we might have actually gotten somewhere this season.  As it stands, I still don’t really feel like I can trust the show from week to week.  In the back of my mind, I still think that at the end of next week’s episode, there’s a good chance that I’m going to ask myself, “Still watching this?  Haven’t given up yet?”  At least they got back to the breakneck pace and seat-edge-ness that constantly took my breath away in season 1 and 2.  It’s still a bit of a parody of itself, but that’s a thousand times better than the Dana and Jessica Brody Hour.

That being said, doesn’t this play out with Saul tracking down Dana and bringing her to Caracas to coax Brody down off the Horse?  Please tell me that isn’t happening, Saul.  I’d rather spend an hour or so combing Mira’s rain forest bush.  C’mon, you know it’s thicker than Saul’s beard, you know it is!