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'Homeland' -- 'Tin Man Is Down': I Hide the Truth Behind a Lie

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | September 30, 2013 | Comments ()


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Say what you will about whether or not a series can successfully carry a storyline over multiple seasons; the fact remains that we’re starting Homeland’s third, still not completely sure where Nicolas Brody’s loyalties lie. For that matter, Tin Man Is Down left us looking sideways at more than one character, at times staring slack-jawed as Carrie Mathison, hoping things aren’t what they seem. Do we know who the good guys are anymore?

Two months after the Langley bombing that left 219 people dead, the physical destruction outside CIA headquarters remains and Saul Berenson is frozen in inaction, seemingly afraid to make the wrong move. F. Murray Abraham returns as Dar Adal in a more prominent role, re-channeling his inner Salieri and easily manipulating Saul.

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Though it’s strange to see him so unsure, it’s not difficult to understand Saul’s shell-shock. After David Estes’ death, a ranking Saul now stands as Director of the Counterterrorism Center with the the agency’s future resting squarely on his shoulders. The President and all of America is waiting for justice, and Saul has to decide whether they should get it rare and bloody. It’s a contemplation he doesn’t make lightly; “We’re not assassins, we’re spies.” Intelligence has located six high profile targets who are part of a network presumed to have been involved in the attack, and there’s a mind-bogglingly short window of opportunity to take them all out at once. Saul would rather go after Iranian mastermind Javadi, aka “The Magician,” but he’s also the only one who believes Javadi is still alive (Saul thinks, therefore, so do I). Advised by Adal, the team of agents and his wife, Mira (Sarita Choudhury), Saul works his way toward making the “right” choice. Meanwhile, Carrie faces the Senate Intelligence Committee wolves, headed up by Senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts). Under intense questioning by the aggressive chairman, unmedicated Carrie lets loose with a few things better left unsaid, leaving the door to attack her credibility wide open.

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Homeland is at its best ramping up the tension and Quinn delivered the goods beautifully; first with his opening bomb building scene—oh how the writers love to play with our ideas about each character’s intent and motives—and again, when he’s sent after one of the six targets. Given the opportunity to take out his guy, Quinn balks when he sees a kid in the car, forcing him to have to go after the target at a more secure compound. Of course the kid gets it anyway; a sly reminder of how we got into this whole mess in the first place.

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Damian Lewis’ Brody was nowhere to be seen this episode, and yet his presence was felt throughout. Carrie defended him as she testified, and mapped Brody’s movements across her wall. The after effects of his actions rang out at his daughter’s group facility where Dana recovered following her suicide attempt and then again, at the family home. A photo quickly found its place in a drawer, two mothers stuffed their feelings all the way down, and worthy scapegoats met their ends to nobody’s real satisfaction—it’s Brody that everyone wants. And perhaps because no one knows this better than Saul Berenson, it’s rather shocking when at the end of this hour he does what we never thought he would; what his protege couldn’t believe he could: he served up Carrie on a plate.

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Additional thoughts:

It seems all too obvious for Adal to have leaked the documents and information to the Senate committee, so once again, we’re left wondering about a mole. Then again, this show seems above the whole mole thing.

There are no words to express the thrill each time Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham appear onscreen together; I have to fight an urge to cheer.

I’d like the name of Carrie’s alternative medicine physician. I mean, tequila is way cheaper than prescription drugs and goes better with chips, salsa and a good staircase f*ck.

It was surprising to hear and still makes no sense that Carrie could ever have been officially reinstated, but Homeland (as with many great shows—even Breaking Bad) has always required some suspension of disbelief.

Nobody gives a shit about any of Dana’s boyfriends or her antics—her first five minutes home from the hospital and already she’s sending the topless photos? Did Kim Bauer teach us nothing?

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On the other hand, James Rebhorn is so good as Frank Mathison, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more of him.

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I’m guess I’m okay with targets being labelled Wizard of Oz characters, but if I hear one peep about a Von Trapp, I’m going after Gordon and Gansa.


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • d's mom

    Quinn had been a great addition to this show. And when I saw Carrie get all indignant in the end, I was saying Carrie you did this to yourself and Saul. What did you expect. I can't imagine Brody could survive the season and if he does not survive how does Carrie? I do think showing his family does shoe how little he thought about the effect his actions would take on them. But they are not very interesting in the absence of Brody.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Good recap Cindy. My dimes worth:
    - the touch about how and why nothing had been cleaned up at the blast site was off the charts crazy awesome, details man.
    - not so sure adal is manipulating Saul.
    - I don't think we've met the mole
    - I still don't care about Dana, but I don't care in a much nicer way now. I think the joke did it.
    - I loved the sextuplet hit, something about the atmosphere in those war rooms just makes for good tv.
    - Quinn is cool, I like that we really don't know shit about him.
    - it continues to be true, Carrie is the smartest dumbass, like Saul said (paraphrasing).
    - more thoughts and words

  • Dominic

    yes they've made the Adal character a realistic politician of sorts , to play off Saul .
    Trying to remember how long it was before the Pentagon repairs started . That may be key to this CIA part ( YOU Shoulda Known !)
    If ur in a "Situation " room , then there's a SITUATION getting taken care of . Or Not . Easy drama for a writer . Guess it's like sports when the only thing u can do is heave a Hail Mary and hope & pray ....... ...

  • lowercase_ryan

    When they ran through the list of carrie's faults and failures, and Saul confirms them, the shot of indignant Carrie had me up in arms "BITCH YOU MIGHT BE!! All of those things"

  • alwaysanswerb

    If the rumors are true that this is Brody's last season, can we please be done with his family too? I audibly groan whenever the scene cuts from something interesting (i.e. everything involving the CIA) to the Brody family crying and bickering around the dinner table. Could not care less about The Tale of Dana Brody and Chekhov's Topless Sexts.

  • Dominic

    you and MarcGreene sound like Kids wanting all action and no dialogue in movies ... I think you will be hurting this season , because it's apparently about the human effects of the past events ( brody uncovered headquarters bombed ) not just about killing terrorists .. nothing's wrong with showing how the family of a traitor is treated , even when it's just SUSPECTED . It's called fleshing out a story .. And I'll watch any scene with Morena Baccarin in it !

    Miss Saylor is just playing a typical teenager today but with real issues/demons driving her
    And If u like Rebborn u should like next episode considering the trailer shown . Also showing the family effects with him ...

    Not sure if it was so last season , but did you notice that Danes is now the Exec Producer ? with 5 underling producers ........
    They'll leave on some violent act , and Next Season should have all the gore u want ....

  • alwaysanswerb

    Your comment is entirely based on a false supposition, so I'm not really going to respond to the bulk of it. I find it really surprising that when I say that I enjoy the parts with the CIA, that gets translated to violence in your mind. There is A LOT of human drama within the CIA that I find infinitely more interesting than the teenage angst that plays out in Dana Brody's story. I'm not saying there's no place for that on television (and indeed, I watch a few "teen angst" shows myself) but I think it absolutely detracts from the wealth of more interesting possibilities on Homeland.

  • Dominic

    (shrugs ) they've given you what u want already ,gauging by the love for Season 1 here . NOW so u don't say they just are doing the same stuff over again , they go a to different type of story .. Danes HAD to sign off on the recommittment. , so I doubt this wasn't planned from the moment they finished writing Season 2

    I think they'll get to what u guys want , eventually .There should be revenge plots in the works ... AHH just Thought of something . Saul's wife is also the wife of the guy Quinn shot . So she'll find out that Saul basically ordered her son killed ( not so but she'll be too emotional to listen ). She could be the mole ....

  • Dominic

    the CIA scenes while compelling were also about a lot of violent actions . David manipulating Saul was great ; sorry they killed that guy off . BUT the major scenes of the CIA was the attack on the room of agents < which Quin barely survived >, the torture/ questioning of Brody in the safe house , and the bombing of Headquarters . Brody getting the Arab out before the CIA swarms in and then killing him goes there too . As well as them teasing Quinn killing Brody. .... lotta blood spilled ...

  • alwaysanswerb

    You're setting up a lot of false dilemmas here... because they "already did" one thing in Season 1, now they HAVE to do Dana drama because I'll be bored if they repeat a theme from S1? Is that what you're saying? Never mind that they "already did" Dana drama as well in S2. And why the conviction that I need a revenge plot? Ugh, you're kind of frustrating, dude.

  • Dominic

    You're debating like a radcon , putting words in my mouth ...
    there's no dilemmas ur are only THINKING they are in one . Writers know they can't bang the same drum . Characters have to evolve , or DEvolve ....

    they have to do something different yes ; focusing on a betrayed Dana is only one potential ( now fact ) story .

    YES u will be bored and u'll come on sites like this to bitch about them boring u with the same old stuff

    it's not the SAME Dana drama now; they already did the rebellious teenager now it's SERIOUSLY wounded teenager acting out maybe Fatally . Can u not see that's that's a DIFFERENT Dana than before .??
    Last Season's acting out cost somebody ELSE their life. Now it's her life on the line . Not hard to see or predict that would happen . .And that behavior "evolution " is standard stuff happening for/to us humans
    You frustrate yourself , with not understanding why this exploration of Brody's family NOW must happen . I'll anticipate the next question : the boy won't act out cause he's been scripted as still loving Dad . And he's not the teenager YET . Dana was already disillusioned so this blow CAN send her spinning out.
    Jessica had her acting out already ( sleeping with Mike )

  • alwaysanswerb
  • Dominic

    Tracy Ullman ?

    Yes u have been sounding like she looks ..

  • Artemis

    If they want to show the human effects of things, how about we spend some time with Carrie's family? They actually seem interesting, and so far we've seen very little of them reacting to her illness, her obsession with Brody, her being kidnapped by Nazir, her being presumed-dead-wait-she's-fine-just-suspiciously-missing-after-the-bombing-of-the-CIA. Or how about some more time with Saul and Mira? I'm glad they brought her back, but the first episode was so busy with Brody-family drama that she got about a minute of screen time.

    I would actually prefer less action than last season, which had too many ridiculous action sequences. Season 1 did an excellent job of showing the CIA investigating things, pursuing leads and questioning people, and having fights about what it all meant. Now the show seems to swing between things involving bombs/car crashes and people crying or screaming about their personal drama.

  • Marc Greene

    Exactly. Carrie and Saul's personal relationships can have impact on how the primary characters deal with plot developments. Brody is so removed from his family (both personally and geographically) that their actions seem to have little to no consequence on his existence. Time with them seems wasted which is never a good sign for a show.

    Though a much different show, Shameless at least makes the tangential plotlines of the members of the household important to the overall focus of the show: the family's survival.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    They really do seem like they're just running out the contract at this point, don't they?

  • Dominic

    Cindy noted that Carrie's father is compelling , entertaining to watch

    And yes this season is less action more human reality . Like Carrie getting thrown under the bus . And Saul helping , to save his own job ...

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Carrie runs under that bus and goes off her meds.

  • Marc Greene

    Surprisingly I'm not interested in just gore; I'd just like plot threads to have a substantial point. Brody's family and his reacclimation to nonPOW life was ridiculously important in the first season as they stood as a foil to his Nazir agenda. That paid off with his daughter's phone call in the season 1 finale. Season 2? His relationship with Carrie was more important than that of his daughter or wife (who he bailed on to run away and apparently never contacted again). At this point, I don't see how this ancillary storyline involving them has any pertinence to the primary plot. It smacks of Masuka's daughter storyline from Dexter - it means nothing.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Exactly this.

  • Dominic

    You simplify too much to make this criticism valid .
    Is not the "second season" Brody an understandable turn ? Specifically the 1st season was reunion and solidification of the family . but that couldn't last . More like Brody's PTSD finally reared its ugly head in season two . Since he was never OUT of Nazir's control or agenda in the first place consider the happy family of season 1 an aberration , and a lie ( i think if a reporter asked , a show rep would say that ) A family learning its dad MIGHT be a terrorist fractures . That is better reality and better drama than holding his family together . So of course he would turn to Carrie ;cause he can't stomach lying to his family any more . AND he doesn't have the guts/ mental stability to spill the truth to them

    . But come on if you never saw them again you'd be asking " what happened to his family ? Why aren't they telling THEIR story " . The producers ( Danes among them ) are telling you that the family DOES mean something . When Carrie rescues him watch ; he'll go back to THEM not her
    The practical TV show reason., of course , is that they've got 55 minutes to fill - 60 this show.. And 11 more episodes ...Write Something .

  • Marc Greene

    You are right; they are just writing "something" to fill time. Should we just shrug our shoulders and be happy with that? Is it wrong that we expect more from a show that had a dynamic, dramatic, and exciting first season, touching on the balance of our defense state with that of the nature of the wars that are fought in our name by faceless individuals, than a storyline about a teenager's tits? I'm not saying the family needs to be abandoned entirely, but perhaps somehow making them a practical component of the plot (which could still happen, I guess) would definitely be better storytelling. Maybe they track down Brody because he contacts his family after seeing his daughter's boobs in the internet. That is a mess, but it at least gives PURPOSE to the plot point. Saying "well it is a soap opera" is not really a valid defense. If the writers do not care enough to do something other than "fill time" than I'll make a point of not filling my time with their laziness. I made that mistake with Dexter and now I can't even enjoy the good seasons of Dexter because all of the tension and drama added up to nothing. I have a bit of faith in Game of Thrones as it is based in a finite timeline for the arc of the characters and conclusion of the story. Homeland doesn't seem to have those same limitations or vision and I hope they don't take that freedom for granted by just throwing plotlines at a wall to see what sticks.

  • Dominic

    that is always ur perogative I have done that with "Falling Skies" , just stop watching MAYBE catch it on demand in a few days rather watch the True Blood repeat ...
    U may be onto the plot of having Daddy see her boobs . But It;ll also be because he finds out Carrie's been committed again ... tho , he's got a lot of scenes with Arabs he's running to and from yet to be seen ( the preview at the end of epi 1 shows this )..
    'This is what soaps do " isn't a defense ; it a FACT .
    Yes Primetime TV ought to be better crafted ; have you WATCHED PT TV lately ?? it's not hardly done better . The Bridge is OK but they went to the stock crazy blonde and the stock Mexican who cheated on his wife for their two main cops ....
    I think it's just what I've already said : they feel they have to concentrate on the human damage done by the CIA bombing . And not TOO much of killing terrorists . The plot of Quinn killing the boy gives HIM his human cross to bear/ reason to snap ..only we worry about the innocents ...
    . Everybody COULD snap ( that head of the committee sure has ) . Maybe that is an appropriate focus for the drama of the season . How crazy were we after 9/11 ??.

  • Dominic

    lol stock crazy blonde here too

  • Artemis

    I find this show so frustrating because Season 1 showed how good it could be, and since then the writers have seemed absolutely determined to steer towards the least interesting, most contrived bits. I want this to be a show about Carrie and Saul, but the writers want it to be about Brody. Which means that even when he's not onscreen, everything revolves around him -- Carrie's career and mental health, Saul's work and his relationship with Carrie, the boring family drama, the increasingly implausible terrorist plots.

    And I'm not really sure if it's deliberate, but the show has managed to turn me against Carrie. Saul should be throwing her under the bus. She is unstable and unsuitable for CIA work at this point. She's having an affair with a suspected terrorist and tossing out conspiracy theories during congressional hearings and screaming about classified information in restaurants and hid a mental illness she now refuses to medicate and spirited the #1 suspect in the destruction of the CIA out of the country because she just loves him so much. I just don't believe she could possibly be enough better than all of the other CIA agents to justify all of that eratic behavior.

  • Dominic

    Ok so Season 1 is basically about Carrie , with a little Brody thrown in at the end .. Season 2 is DEFINITELY all Brody , and everyone's reaction to him . This Season i think u will see equal concentration on the whole gang ..

  • I've read a couple of interviews with Gansa and Co., and think it's important to note that he takes the Season 2 criticism seriously and to heart. He seems to understand where and why things went off the rails and has the desire to make the show better.

    And I agree, Carrie would realistically be thrown under the bus. Politics is all about scapegoats. Also think it's natural for Carrie to freak out and react the way she does/will.

  • Marc Greene

    Agreed. The drunk driving-VP's son-Dana-dead pedestrian storyline helped kill my enthusiasm for this show. The same thing happened for me with Walking Dead's Season 3 finale: a big build up to a war that lasted 8 minutes... and nothing is resolved. I used to be chomping at the bit for new Homeland and Walking Dead episodes. Now I watch them because I am still trying to find better shows to watch in that time slot.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    EXACTLY. I've never seen Walking Dead (wuss alert), but you and me have that moment in common and I'm sure others did as well because you KNOW what kind of crap will follow such a leaden contrivance. And it did. So I left. I thought about watching it this season but I see that the show keeps missing opportunities to kill Dana and that's just wasteful to me. Has Brody's dishwater nagging wife been axed (she asked, literally and figuratively because both are appealing prospects)?

    Similarly, call me when this 'Schmidt loves two women' garbage is over. because I'm not sitting through that trite dross. How many frigging times are they going to dump each other and moon over it for four months?

    I'm sympathetic to the demand of writing and it probably feels like every story has been told, but when they lean into those mouldy old tropes...ugh. Is someone going to get hustled by a pool shark? Is anyone going to say, 'I'd like that' or 'If you never want to see me again I'd understand'?

    I think it's time to bring scaphism back.

  • Dominic

    yeah bring it back for the TERRORISTS not the Writers
    and WHAT is ' Schmidt loves two women ' ? from

    you guys don't understand dramatic form . Please remember that , at its base , this is just another soap opera ; all those forms apply . . so yep ur gonna get some trite dross . Deal with it or don't watch ..
    TV sucks in general . ur lucky Homeland was/is actually good ...
    ..

  • Dominic

    "loving two women " is a standard soap plot ....

    Matter of fact , once u get to three 'potential suitors " you know ur a top star ..

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Just because something has been done, doesn't mean that others who do it later don't have to do it well. Season two was weighed down with shenanigans where season one had drama--there were just too many irons in the fire this time. I have no idea what 'for the terrorists' means, but I also don't know why you're taking all of this so personally. Since it seems that you're only here to go off insulting the intelligence of several posters who are doing nothing more than semi-seriously discussing a television show, I frankly don't care. That said, I don't think it's a coincidence that everyone who isn't you has the same issues with the show. You will live.

  • Dominic

    lol hardy personal i didn;t know Pajiba had a forum for Homeland that's all .

    I actually DIDN't like what saw of 1 . I personally am tired of the "terrorist as villian " plots . BUT i like Season 2 Precisely for the concentration on the human stories ( Brody breaking down Family disintegrating Carrie stupidly gets involved again Quinn and Saul getting irritated with her two kids who don't live in the real world much both Carrie and Brody getting played by Nasir etc .... )
    i reacted to u guys not understanding the drama form u see . Just because YOU don't like something on a show doesn't mean the whole show is not being scripted well . . You just aren't impressed ... and read closer others are not complaining artemis lowercase ryan and d's mom are liking it
    u can;t shock and enthrall people with the same stuff u had in the previous season . So I don't think 2 went off the rails Cindy . it's the logical outcomes of the games Brody's playing .
    Your torture unto death alone on the ocean , should be for terrorists . Not the writers as u intimate by ur comments

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