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Reducing the Absurdity of the Entire Third Season of 'Homeland' Into Ten Bullet Points

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | December 3, 2013 | Comments ()


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You could perform this exercise with almost any show, honestly, and arrive at a similar conclusion. Reduced to its barest elements, the storyline for most shows probably look preposterous. Consider the series long Breaking Bad arc: Mild-mannered science teacher turns to meth manufacturing in order to raise money for his family after his death and in a matter of years, he works his way up to brutal murderer and one of the biggest distributers of meth in the country. That’s ridiculous. The trick, however, is to take an implausible scenario and make it believable.

With Homeland, if you reduce the plot to its barest form, one of two things is going to happen: Either it’s going to validate your feelings about how absurd this series has become, or it’s going to confirm your feelings about what an amazing show it is because it has managed to make an implausible scenario completely believable. Personally, I am of the opinion that Homeland has stretched its storyline beyond credulity (and I am not alone), while others believe that the season had not only been good and that it’s back to its old self.

Different strokes, of course, but I think we can all agree that, after distilling the show down to its barest plot elements, that Homeland should not work. The difference of opinion comes in whether you believe it does, or it doesn’t.


1. During a Congressional hearing following the bombing of the CIA, in which 238 people perished,, Saul outs his case officer, Carrie, as having had a relationship with Nicholas Brody, the man purportedly responsible for blowing up Langley.

2. In retaliation, Carrie attempts to reveal CIA secrets to the press. To prevent that, Saul has her institutionalized in a mental ward.

3. While in the mental ward, Javadi — the man who financed the bombing of the CIA headquarters — arranges to offer Carrie a consulting position, in which she would exchange CIA secrets for money. Carrie — presumably miffed with Saul and the CIA for institutionalizing her — agrees.

4. It turns out, the institutionalization was all part of Saul’s master plan in order to lure Javadi out of hiding. Once Javadi figures this out, and before Saul can bring him in, Javadi kills his ex-wife (and daughter-in-law) because they left him nearly 30 years ago.

5. Instead of arresting and putting the man responsible for the Langley bombing on trial, Saul turns Javadi into a double agent and sends him back to Iran.

6. Meanwhile, the man who physically placed the bomb that blew up Langley is killed by an agent for the middle man that arranged the bombing of Langley. The middle man, who connected the financier to the bomber, is not arrested, though the CIA knows who he is and where he is. However, Carrie is shot in the shoulder by her CIA colleague for attempting to prevent the middle man from shooting the Langley bomber.

7. Elsewhere, Nicholas Brody — who had been wrongly accused of bombing Langley — fled to South America, where some people inexplicably took him in, locked him in a cell, and gave him an endless supply of heroin. He spent weeks injecting the drug, and nearly died.

8. Saul locates Brody in South America, pulls him out, and using a drug not allowed in the United States, completely rehabs Brody for a near lethal heroin addiction in a matter of days, with the intention of sneaking Brody into Iran and using him to assassinate Iran’s military leader, which Saul plans to replace with Javadi, the man who financed the bombing of the CIA.

9. During a covert operation that nearly goes awry, Nicholas Brody manages to get into Iran, where Javadi finds him, and presumably plans to assist Brody in assassinating his boss.

10. Carrie, who has been institutionalized, who has been taking a steady diet of medication, who went on frequent alcohol and sex benders early in the season, and who was shot in the shoulder, is pregnant with Brody’s baby. It appears that she plans to keep the child.

So, to sum up: The acting director of the CIA, Saul, is using the father of Carrie’s baby — who is also a recovering heroin addict accused of blowing up the CIA building — to assassinate the Iranian military leader, so that Saul can install as the new Iranian military leader the man who actually financed the bombing of the CIA.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Boothy K

    I've asked this before: is it Brody's baby or the guy from the liquor store's baby? So confusing!

  • Stephen Wong

    The absurdity of not reviewing Oldboy.

  • No. 11: Dana too much fracking Dana.

  • sourbob

    YES. How does a show about terrorism and the CIA end up spending 30% of its screen time on the personal problems of a teenage girl?

  • Devin McMusters

    Mandy Patinkin's beard. Just saying. I mean. Jealousy.

  • lowercase_ryan

    seems legit

  • dizzylucy

    It is ridiculous, and definitely not as good as it was in season 1, but I still watch it and enjoy it.

  • childerolandusa

    Yeah, this is basically Alias without Rambaldi or the lead actress doing martial arts. Just enjoy it as ludicrous fun.

  • As a person who watched '24' in its entirety, I'll say this--it's more convincing than '24.' That said, of course it isn't believable! The entire premise, including the idea that the CIA wouldn't know Carrie is bipolar, is ridiculous. But for the most part, 'Homeland' is well-paced and entertaining--and the actors are phenomenal.

    And if we're talking 'Breaking Bad,' let's not forget the train robbery, and the absolutely hysterical and wonderful magnetic destruction of the evidence room. I had a lot of trouble with the train sequence, but because of the thrill of the ride, I went along.

  • It sounds so much crazier on paper than it seems when you're actually watching it. The show has always been absurd. At least it's back to being entertainingly absurd.

  • Cowtools

    The first season wasn't really absurd. The reason I fell in love with the show was its verisimilitude. I still enjoy it, but only because of the acting now.

  • John W

    I still love the show. The acting has never been better.

  • Guest

    So, to sum up: The acting director of the CIA, Saul, is using the father of Carrie’s baby — who is also a recovering heroin addict accused of blowing up the CIA building — to assassinate the Iranian military leader, so that Saul can install as the new Iranian military leader the man whoactually financed the bombing of the CIA.

    That sounds about right for the C.I.A. / American intervention and foreign policy agenda over the past 100 years.

  • mrsdalgliesh

    Well, I've been curious about what was happening this season (no premium cable for me) and now I know. I think I was better off before.

  • The only thing I do find ridiculous about the show is the doctor who just ignored the fact Carrie had been taking lithium and Thorazine while pregnant and didn't recommend terminating the pregnancy. Those drugs are not compatible with pregnancy.

  • Jiffylush

    Thorazine is obviously something a pregnant woman shouldn't be taking, but lithium is a completely different matter.

    "Lithium

    For many people, lithium is a mainstay of their treatment for bipolar disorder. The decision to continue taking lithium during pregnancy can be life saving to the mother. Other women might switch to lithium because it has fewer risks to the developing fetus than their current medication. While taking lithium, it is important that women stay hydrated to prevent lithium toxicity in themselves and the fetus. Careful monitoring of lithium levels, especially during delivery and immediately after birth, can help prevent a relapse in the mother and will also show if there are high lithium levels in the infant.

    Lithium is the only drug proven to reduce the rate of relapse of illness from nearly 50 percent to less than 10 percent when women continue or begin lithium treatment after giving birth. Women who choose to breast-feed should know that lithium is secreted in breast milk. Breast-fed newborns whose mothers take lithium should have their blood monitored for lithium."

    http://www.nami.org/Content/Co...

  • I guess you have to weigh the risk of a potential heart defect in your child, and not going off the rails. Being mentally ill and pregnant would suck.

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