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Emmy Ranking Last Night's 'Homeland': See You on the Other Side

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | November 25, 2013 | Comments ()


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With “Horse and Wagon,” Homeland’s third season has found sure footing again. After a shaky beginning, followed by several roller-coaster dips and turns, we’re finally able to settle back into the business of covert missions and spy games. And oh how good did it feel? (Damned good) This ninth episode was the season’s best, not the least of which was due to The Return of Brody. We know how great these actors all are; Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes, Rupert Friend, F. Murray Abraham—heck, even the worst of the supporting actors are wonderful. But tonight’s shout-out has to be to the complete and utterly phenomenal performance by Damian Lewis. Anyone can writhe around on the floor and let a little drool dribble down his chin, but Lewis…he brought us right inside a broken man. Being pulled out of withdrawal cold turkey is something many couldn’t begin to imagine; Lewis transferred every bit of Brody’s anguish to us, he simply ached with desperation and pain. The guy has this magical ability to suck us right into his internal world. For a few minutes, he made us forget what we ever liked about Saul; to question how anyone could ever put another human being through what Brody was experiencing—even if it would somehow benefit and bring together two countries. Brody’s cold indifference toward Carrie was palpable; his emotions transferred directly. By the boat scene, I could almost feel myself drifting down underwater, letting go. That’s a gift. A beautiful, warped, freakish, amazing gift that made me feel like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin.

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Carrie: For once, Carrie was quiet; contemplative for most of the hour. She made a couple of questionable decisions—both times she brought Brody to see Dana—but considering the insane amount of stress she’s been under, Carrie remained in control. She lay quietly in bed as her attending physician went over her injuries and remarked on her pregnancy. She barely reacted (and it wasn’t just the painkillers) when Lockhart paid his visit, dropping the news about Saul’s trip to Caracas; Carrie realized immediately what it meant, but gave nothing away. And Carrie stayed cool and resolute when Saul came to gain her assistance. She never let her emotions take over; whether or not she felt manipulated by Saul, Carrie couldn’t deny the possibility for good to come out of his play. After her silent tears when Brody saw her and turned away, Carrie never lost sight of this shot in the dark at the future. In her silence, she sees a chance to give both herself and Brody a life…”on the other side.” It is by design she manipulates Brody by taking him to see his daughter, yet she wisely doesn’t tell him about her pregnancy— perhaps partially because she hasn’t even accepted the idea herself. But even at this early stage, a mother’s strength and instincts may have taken hold. Because, no matter the whirlwind of emotions and desires she must have been feeling inside, Carrie was able to keep it together; she deftly maneuvered Brody into position and sent him on his way, with just a little bit of hope in his pocket to carry him through.

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Saul: It was back to all-business Saul upon his return from Caracas. The acting director has a ridiculously short window—seven days—to get Brody on his feet and ready for the big play. Saul’s plan will drop Brody into Iran as a known terrorist seeking asylum. Brody will be hailed as a hero, giving him an opportunity to get close to, and to take out the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, leaving open a spot for Javadi as one of Iran’s top three people—who just happens to be working for the good, old U.S. of A. Saul watches as a group of soldiers do everything to keep Brody from killing himself while going through withdrawal, including approving the use of an hallucinogenic drug (Ibogaine) Adal suggests to speed things up. It’s hard to watch this Saul; he’s the one who’ll stop at nothing to accomplish what he believes is right, manipulate and use his closest friend or ally; this Saul doesn’t care who’s left standing—it’s the price for possible peace. Interestingly though, when Max and Virgil find the bug Mira’s French baguette (aka Alan Bernard [William Abadie]) left behind, Saul would rather let a scumball like Lockhart be confirmed as CIA Director than to bring shame on his wife or his agency. It feels like he’s making his last play. Saul’s doubling down and hoping against hope the cards to fall into place so he can take his winnings and go home. But unless the series does an entire reboot—which might just be what we all need—Saul would be the man most likely to move the agency forward.

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Brody, Brody, Brody: Just hand Damian Lewis his Emmy, people, he earned another one tonight. Between screaming and crying out for his needle, dry heaves, being dragged delirious and dirty to the shower after having “shat himself,” and doing everything he could to kill himself, Lewis took going through withdrawal to just the right believability level. Whether slack-jawed and incoherent, or returning to his first scattered moments of coherence, Brody suffered through this unwanted return to a state of consciousness, only to be slapped in the face with the harsh reality of who he really is. As Saul reminds him, whether or not he’s the guy who did the Langley bombing doesn’t matter—Brody’s still the guy with the suicide vest, the guy responsible for the death of Elizabeth Gaines, and the Caracas Imam and his wife. Brody doesn’t care. He’s lost the will to live—the only thing left for him is death—and he’s ready to speed off on that journey any way possible. Saul makes a misstep by testing that theory and after he’s quickly proven wrong, realizes Carrie is the only one who might be able to bring Brody around. And look how fast that happens when Carrie goes right for Brody’s heart—not (as the writers teased the entire hour) by telling Brody she’s pregnant with his child—rather, by bringing him to see the one person who could get through. Brody goes insane with anger and emotion when he sees his daughter; of course a million questions about why she is where she is, and not at home, run through his brain. And suddenly, Brody has a will to live; we see all the lights in a soldier’s head turn back on.

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Standout Moments:

What the ever-loving fuck? Did they just throw in a random shot of Carrie smoking to drum up drama, because I don’t think we’ve ever seen her with a cigarette before. Why now—just because she’s preggers? Stupid.

Brody hallucinating and reliving his time held in captivity by Abu Nazir was almost too cruel. Lewis brought us right back to the time when his hell began. It’s gotten so easy to demonize Brody, we needed a reminder of how all this history began. A Marine…a man systematically broken down. It’s not unlike the way soldiers are broken down when they go through training; the show mirrored that beautifully in the scenes with Brody singing the Marine’s Hymn and picking himself up after he falls running.

Max and Virgil tracking the baguette—our tax dollars were duly earned—and giving Virgil his best line: “I think I buried the lead,” and Saul the ever-so-satisfying moment of pushing past Lockhart’s secretary, plopping into a seat and scoffing at Lockhart’s excuses. Unfortunately, making a deal with the devil isn’t really what any of us wants. Here’s hoping Saul (or Carrie) finds a better way to take down Lockhart.

No matter what good we see in anyone, these “good guys” (the CIA) are happy to disappoint with just how low they’ll sink in the name of their country. Last week, Quinn shot Carrie. Saul and Carrie are both willing to destroy Brody, physically and mentally. Both Carrie and Saul have convinced themselves their methodology is somehow better than an enemy who captured and would use Brody to their own ends. Are we not equally despicable, just as willing to sacrifice anyone in the name of what we believe is “right?”

I’ll say it: The scene with Dana and Brody was great; Morgan Saylor was excellent. This was appropriate and useful, albeit heartbreaking, family time.

Keeping them apart does Brody and Carrie good. The tension between them was all the stronger because they never really touched (just that once, Carrie), held each other or kissed. Let’s keep it this way, shall we?

Carrie has a point: “Have a little faith, Saul. Two weeks ago there was no operation. Now there is—because of me. I really need you to get that. Because in order for us to pull this thing off, we’re going to have to find a way to trust each other again. Or at least come up with a really great plan for faking it.”

Emmy Ranking: 10 out of 10, code green. Just throw all the Emmys this way.


Other thoughts:

Brody has to die, right? He’s a goner. And poor Carrie will be forever sad she couldn’t tell him she was having his baby. That works. Again, I think it’s best if Carrie leaves at the end of the season as well.

Adal is so deliciously wicked; I love the way he had that whackadoodie drug up his sleeve. And he has none of the mercy his fellow agents sometimes suffer. Oh, to sneak a peek into his backstory.

Why oh why was Rupert Friend promoted to series regular, and we don’t get to see him regularly? I need Rupert every single week.

Speaking of which, Virgil and Max are delightful every time they show up—spinoff, please?


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Boothy K

    Okay. I'm not dumb...but...it's not Brody's baby, right? I thought it was the guy from the liquor store that looks like Brody's baby. Are we just calling it Brody's baby to keep it straight? Guh.

  • Jenn Hamm

    Yes, I mean...I thought this was obvious. I feel weird that everyone just assumes it's Brody's baby.

  • Ghjklo

    I enjoyed this review and I agree with many, many things apart from the statement that it would be best if Carrie goes at the end of this season: this show makes no sense without Carrie.

  • MontroseMama

    This show is stupid. But you know what show is not stupid. Luther. I am in the middle of season two. If Luther showed up in one of these episodes, he would immediately call bullshit on Saul's stupid plan, give Brody the asskicking he deserves and make Carrie forget Brody ever existed. Then he and Quinn could team up to form an international squad of awesomeness. A girl can dream.

    I just think the plot holes get so much bigger with each episode. It is one thing to have plot holes in a show that does not take itself serious, but this one does. 16 days from junkie heroine addict to special forces marine? And why in the world does Brody think the CIA would let him come back. The whole thing is crazy. But I will keep watching. But the start of Justified and Sherlock can't come too soon for me.

  • Dominic

    No after THIS buildup Brody can't die . Besides they can milk his triumphant return as a cleared man for EPISODES . Reunited with the family ...... the baby HAS to die , so the cig smoking was highlighting her indifference . Really , to put it cruelly , it's in her way . And would be a liability as a target .if she REALLY wanted to leave the show then keeping the baby is the out . But I doubt she's passing up this moneymaker . actors like to NOT be pounding the pavement for jobs...
    Shaky start ? only in SOME opinions . Obviously NOTHING happening now would have the drama it does without the prior events specific to this season ( starting with the CIA building bombing from last season ) I had no problem with them focusing on the PEOPLE and how they were affected , before they really show you the revenge for it that they are building to i.e. , Brody killing the 2nd in command so Javadi is put in his place . Funny actually ; I think a lot want to keep this back-and-forth war footing with Iran in real life , while Obama is playing the game the other way . The way that won't keep making MORE enemies . Lockhart is obv. the classic Repub blowhard scared of the brown people , keeping war viable AND profitable ; tho I don't think they've stated his party .
    Yes we are "equally despicable" because we HAVE to be .You don't need Homeland to show u that . NSA anyone ? ( tho I bet if ANY other country had our tech , they'd be eyes-deep into it too )

  • lowercase_ryan

    ok I calmed down. thoughts:

    - Carrie is 13 weeks pregnant. The bombing was 6 months ago I thought? Am I wrong? I forget how long ago it was when Dar Adal and Saul talked about it in the beginning of the season.

    - There is no extraction plan. Brody is on a suicide mission. He knows it. Carrie doesn't want to know it.

    - Saul has no intention of ever letting the Senator take over. Saul's plan is going to work which will get him the permanent job. And then he is going to have the Senator in his back pocket for the rest of eternity. He owns Lockhart.

    Brody was good. Dana was good. Carrie was good. Needed moar Quinn. I love this Saul. He took a lot of shit for the first couple of seasons, from Carrie, from his bosses, from his wife, he's had enough and I'm glad to see him taking life by the balls.

  • John W

    I'll say it again, I love this show.

    Carrie is the best character on TV right now. She's like Wolverine to me, she's the best there is at what she does but what she does isn't very nice.

    What I love about this show is that it is more realistic than your typical espionage show, unlike say 24, where every other person was a double agent working for some other government. Which is why I also don't hate Dana, because she's behaving exactly like someone would if they discovered one of their parents was a major terrorist. Which is definitely a lot better than being caught in the mountains being chased by a puma.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I want to participate but I watched the finale of Boardwalk Empire immediately after this and AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH FEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

  • Bananapanda

    "Buried the lede" not lead. You new media people!!

    I have to disagree on Carrie - I thought she entirely out of line with Saul and far too mouthy. He's the GD Director of the CIA and doesn't owe her (one of many many agents) an explanation every five minutes.

    Is Carrie trying to induce a miscarriage 'by accident'? She was definitely smoking. She's been drinking, psychotic drugs, shot at, and driving like a maniac most of the season. Even the doctor has to say "in case you care..." to remind her she's pregnant.

    Saul has been masterful in his planning, manipulating and motivational nudges. This is a man with well developed skills who sees an opportunity to finally affect major change (or be utterly crushed by failed hopes). I love it.

  • Gabs

    Getting rid of Carrie is crazycakes.

    I'm in the apparent minority that likes Dana more often than not, but damn. I LOVED her tonight. Morgan Saylor usually holds her own fairly well, but she was top-notch in that scene.

  • Dominic

    Morgan's been excellent all season . Ignore the haters

  • Art3mis

    I guess I'll dissent. I'm happy to see the show focusing back on spycraft, but this was just too ridiculous for me. The training montage was straight out of Rocky, except with more guns and radio tuning. (Speaking of -- the guy was repeatedly trying to kill himself last week, using things such as a broken chair leg. You're seriously going to let him play with an automatic weapon just because he's stopped vomiting long enough to run a few miles?) I want to kill the Carrie-is-pregnant plot with fire. And Saul's plan -- to have an American assassinate the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard so that their plant can convince the Iranian regime to enter peace talks with America, because that'll be a super popular idea -- is so dumb that I can't even suspend disbelief enough to enjoy it (it also relies on the Iranians thinking Brody was responsible for the CIA bombing, and they would know who the perpetrator is because they orchestrated it. And even if Saul thinks Brody did it and is gambling on that, Carrie doesn't -- so why is she going along with this nutjob idea?).

    As for Lewis: I don't know, I'm just not enamored by his performance anymore. I liked him a lot in season 1, but he spent all of season 2 chewing the scenery so hard I'm surprised he didn't break a tooth. It's not his fault that his two episodes (thus far) in season 3 have called for him to be ridiculously over-the-top a lot of the time, but I'd be a lot more impressed by a quiet, restrained performance from him at this point than a sweaty, shaky, screaming one. He doesn't seem to have any volume but 11, and it makes the times he's appropriately freaking out--like here--a lot less powerful for me.

  • I don't know; I've seen a lot of people mentioning the Rocky thing, but I thought they did a good job of putting a Homeland spin on it. Carrie gave Brody the one thing that would renew his will to live, and we know the dude is sort of cockroachy...he came back from being a POW, he can probably make it through pretty much anything if he has that will.

    Saul admits his plan isn't perfect, but as he says, it's something "different." Sometimes that's the only first step a person can take toward making change.

  • Dominic

    also you bothhave forgotten about the scene describing the drug they would give him to dry out . It was explained so u have an incorrect reaction .... RUNNING is not as easy as it sounds . esp on grass and over tree trunks . It's a perfect exercise to rebuild stamina , body sense , and confidence
    If there can be a disconnect that allowed Javadi to embezzle 45 Mil , then the disconnect can be used to get Brody in . Someone will trip his cover I'm sure . REMEMBER ! the Iranians wanted no direct connection to them over the CIA bombing so maybe they DON'T know the plan . Once u farm it out u lose operational control . We know the BANKERS had the guy ; it's not been defined that Iranians know
    Art u ask for the IMPOSSIBLE ! what detox patient u ever heard of that was "quiet and restrained " ? and that would be BORING .Your complaint is not valid in story-telling terms

    Pars he's been BROKEN by one side and another . He doesn't have much time left and he KNOWS that . So no time for distrust . Where else can he go ? ... Again nothing in this episode has the same punch without what happened in prior episodes , whether u liked them or not . ESP. the Brody-Dana scene

  • Parsnip

    I felt this was the season opener I was waiting for, but I do agree with you about the Iran plan. Other than that, I liked Brody's detox regime (I could feel his Emmy acting emanating from the screen), his military montage, but the 16 day jump threw me a bit. For some reason I'm finding the Brody/Carrie situation doesn't ring true for me, not sure why, it was just my reaction when he said he had a reason to return while glancing over at her. And shouldn't Brody be exhibiting some emotion about being manipulated, first by one side and then another? Even some morsel of distrust? Having said that though it does seem to be notching up and, holes permitting, I'm starting to enjoy the ride.

  • RilesSD

    Loving this season. I was on Saul's side (still am, mostly) about Carrie's actions, until she reminded him there would be no mission without her.

    I thought for sure she would use her pregnancy for added motivation for Brody, and I'm sure she still will eventually.

  • Marc Greene

    I'm really hoping you just happened to forget that Bryan Cranston is up for one more Emmy in the same category. Otherwise your statement borders on sheer lunacy.

  • Didn't forget, and much as I love Cranston, he doesn't rip my guts out from the inside like Lewis does. Sorry!

  • Marc Greene

    Apology accepted.

  • Ha!

  • Guest

    What about Hamm? They gotta give him one for Don Draper, there's only 2 more chances left.

  • Not until he starts wearing proper drawers, I'd say.

  • kirbyjay

    I agree, my HammLike ( don't really LOVE him) has been questioned when he started whining about his cock and it's lack of privacy. That cock is a typical Hollywood celeb. It's all out there, and when it get's the attention it commands it's all " leave me alone, don't look at me, where's my right to privacy?" It's just another good looking cock playing the Hollywood game.

  • Jelinas

    I am so glad I stuck with this show.

  • ellie

    Homeland is Claire Danes' show.. would they really write her out of it?
    Also, Quinn was in one scene. ONE. Don't they know what the audience want? More Quinn all the time please.

  • corbydjk364

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  • Wallace

    No fooling? Wow that is a lot. Sounds good. 70 an hours. Is she still taking the bus or did she go out
    and find a nice car for sale http://zautos.com/used-car/for...
    The volvo is one of the best cars for sale on the market for being safe I
    would get one

  • anthonylast

    I like the Volvo a lot

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