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Rebound Ranking Last Night's Homeland: Saul Interrupted

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | October 28, 2013 | Comments ()


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With an ever increasingly finicky audience—myself included—I’m still surprised at how quickly Homeland has been deemed dissatisfying to many viewers and critics. Perhaps after sticking with 24 until the very end, I grew accepting of the format that includes an unbelievably thrilling and unexpected first season, followed by “good” years that could never hope to match the first, so brilliant and shiny new. Am I too forgiving, or is it unjust and unrealistic to expect a series to maintain that newlywed high? Is it cynical to realize nothing can ever be the same as it was when we first met Carrie, both of us flush and stuttering over our words? Some have walked away, unyielding over mistakes; some stay behind, only to berate and criticize this thing, once beloved. But not unlike the waves of relationships we ride, don’t our television affairs deserve better? The best of them rate a chance to recapture that dating phase glow—for us to rediscover those bits we loved, and for them to get their feet back down on the ground. After last week’s glorious twist, I didn’t feel cheated or used or tricked; rather, I was reminded of what I loved in the first place. “The Yoga Play” was a solid return to form. It stepped gingerly; didn’t follow the big play with another shock that might have been interpreted as trying too hard. Instead, the tension slowly ramped as we waited to see pieces fall into place, albeit, with some landing where we hadn’t expected. And that’s the beauty of Homeland.

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Hello, Javadi. (Say it like this) The Iranian mastermind aka The Magician aka Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) easily entered the United States at the Vermont border (thanks Canada!), posing as a businessman who needs to visit his Albany clients. So much for Homeland Security, eh? Javadi switches cars, turns down a weapon, and sets up watch outside the home of a woman with a small child—probably his, and probably future bait (to manipulate Javadi). The Magician quickly acclimates, enjoying a greasy fast food burger, and dripping said grease all over his shirt like 97.3 percent of American businessmen do every day. He then proceeds to his secret mansion headquarters where he asks to see a tape of Carrie’s interview before changing to a clean shirt.

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Hello, Quinn. Quinn pops over to Saul’s house where Saul is dressed foolishly; he’s going duck hunting with a bunch of bigwigs who are supposed to talk to Saul about a permanent job as head of the CIA. Saul wonders how he looks (foolish) and Quinn tells him, “If I were a duck, I’d be worried.” Quinn is as incredulous as we were when he hears that Saul and Carrie had planned all along to “dangle” her—Quinn’s reaction is “Fuck me,” and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a moment to consider the proposition. Saul just keeps tying up his duck killing boots, and doesn’t seem to notice how hot Quinn is.

After Carrie is visited by a frantic Jessica and convinced to help her find Dana, Carrie sets “The Yoga Play” in motion with Virgil’s brother, Max (Maury Sterling). The much used scheme allows for Carrie—who is under surveillance by the Iranians— to walk into a yoga studio and disappear out the back for as long as the class lasts. But first Quinn surprises Carrie in her parking garage and warns her that the idea is not a good one. Of course Carrie won’t listen; she’s off her meds again—whee! Carrie thanks Quinn for visiting her at the hospital when she was down, and takes off with Quinn now tailing her too. If people would just listen to Quinn’s instincts, they’d be a whole lot better off. Later on, when Saul also refuses to listen to him, Quinn’s instincts rightfully tell him something is up at Carrie’s home and Quinn ignores Saul’s commands to keep back. And that’s when our Quinn discovers Carrie has been taken; her clothes left in a pile on the floor, her phone broken. When Quinn alerts Saul, concerned that Carrie is on her own, Saul seems pleased and ever so strangely and matter of factly tells Quinn, “She’s always been on her own.”

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Hello, Saul. Saul has a lot to deal with this episode. Not only does he have to dress foolishly, he has to go hang out at a hunting lodge with a bunch of insufferable fuckheads, including White House Chief of Staff Mike Higgins (William Sadler) and smarmy Senator Andrew Lockhart. Even after I’m as freaked as Quinn by Saul’s unemotional “dangled” comment, I still feel badly when Lockhart visibly knocks the wind out of his sails, telling Saul that he—not Saul—is about to be nominated by the President as Director of the CIA. Lockhart has all kinds of plans that don’t involve real people or espionage, and honestly, we all know spying is where the action is. But Saul’s not the kind of guy to go out without a fight, so he makes a snide comment about the new Director’s qualifications, and wishes the Senator luck before ducking out (sorry) early. On top of the ambush career letdown, Saul comes home to find a surprised Mira dining with a handsome gentleman; Saul dashes upstairs to catch his breath alone.

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Goodbye, Carrie! After the yoga play nearly goes awry, everyone wonders if the Iranians caught on. Carrie tries to convince Saul and Quinn no one made her, but it’s obvious she isn’t sure, herself. Off her meds and drinking again, anything can happen with Carrie, and it does. Perhaps it really is disadvantageous to watch the next week’s preview segment, because as we neared the end of the episode, I was prepared for the Carrie-nabbing (though not that terrifying strip search). But what I really wonder is, how long were those two guys inside Carrie’s place? Did they hear her conversations with Saul and Quinn? It seems only logical her place would already have been bugged, so isn’t it foolish of her to discuss anything at all over the phone or at her home? Still, I jumped right alongside Carrie as she realized she wasn’t alone and ran for her gun; we all knew it was too late. “You’re in good shape,” Javadi says, greeting Carrie, “must be all that yoga.” She’s in a hell of a lot of trouble, kidnapped with no trail or tracking, and I can’t wait to see how she gets out.

Rebound Ranking: 8 out of 10. Yellow. Everything is tentative, just how we like it.

Other thoughts. Dana, Leo…blah blah blah. For a minute there at the gas station, I thought they might actually fulfill Dana’s “We’re natural born killers” declaration—the kids didn’t have much money, so maybe they’d just start robbing and killing. But instead, Dana heard a newsflash, confronted her whacko boy-toy and begrudgingly caught a ride home with the cops. I did honestly feel badly for her, sobbing alone in her room, realizing she can’t trust any man.

Mira, don’t you know saying “I didn’t expect you back tonight…” is probably the worst, most incriminating thing you could have said?

It really, really bothers me that Quinn was so unnerved by the word “dangled” being used in reference to Carrie, and it doesn’t seem to bother Saul at all. His ever-changing moods are worrying me so very much. The Saul we’ve come to know and love seems blinded by and monomaniacal about this mission of getting Javadi; nothing and no one else matters. There is something personal about Saul’s drive…

Carrie isn’t sure she likes being watched by Quinn, but as Saul has clearly and emotionlessly stepped away from Carrie, I think she’s going to be more and more glad Quinn is on her side. I’m also willing to bet he saves her life.


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Dominic

    Cindy once the audience is 'shocked' once It's REALLY hard to reproduce that . esp in every episode . Look what they had to do to set up the Carrie-Saul swerve ..... So stupid people think the show is bad , instead of in a slower phase of the story . Some endings are boring not dramatic , as dana's was here . Of course that leads to more dramatic possibility tho ..
    People won't let themselves be satisfied with just the basic plots working themselves thru ...It's like the kids that want all action and boo the character development scenes . But you GOTTA have those or the action is meaningless ...

    this episode was to set up the drama of her meeting with javadi . Esp if she can't lie better . I though she played this( writers wrote this) wrong anyway as acting nervous is going to tip them off . did she forget SHE ASKED for this meeting ?? should been happy to get the ' Magic Wand ' treatment ... but it's TV.; they had to tease the rape possibility

  • The_Ghost_of_Bo_Crowder

    There's significantly less stupidity for plot reasons going on this time around than last season so I'm on board with it a lot more.

  • Dominic

    everybody's emotional but the thoughts and feelings are progressing very logically yes
    what's an example of the stupidness ? From Season two or one ?

  • Bananapanda

    Everything Brody the Congressman did - disappearing for days, wandering the Vice President's house, etc. I also love when he's texting the Middle East from super secret bunkers.

    Also you can't just carry classified information around DC, let alone create a wall of it in your house - ahem Carrie.

    Scandal is more realistic for a DC drama than Homeland most of the time.

  • Dominic

    :o) you can if nobody knows you've done it . made a copy obviously

    I don't really think BRODY was stupid . Traumatized and schizophrenic ( which was why he's such a perfect match for Carrie .) one minute he hates what Nazir's making him do - other times , bowing to pressure , he does it . Yes he EASILY could have told the VP to disconnect the wifi of the pacemaker and hid the family somewhere . But then there;s not much of a story , huh ? drama can't be boring ....
    Bo , you describe EVERY TV show . In making decision that APPEAR stupid to us living in reality , just for the drama of it ( why have Dana go suicidal , as an example ) So i don't think this is a valid complaint .. Of any show much less this one ( why did they have Danes strip and be scared of Arabs she ASKED to meet , except to tease the rape drama as I mentioned below stupid as it was )

  • The_Ghost_of_Bo_Crowder

    Season One was fine. Season Two just seemed to contain a lot of characters making stupid decisions for the sake of drama than for any logical reason.

  • Bananapanda

    Am I the only one who thinks Carrie is an asshole? She yells at Max while asking for a favor, berates Virgil every chance she gets and is nasty to her yoga double. I get that she's off her meds and is a mess but is that how recruiters work? I can't believe that she could convince anyone but Brody (who she was sleeping with and who may have used her) to do her bidding.

    Also the loud exhale / spit takes are getting to be a bit much.

    I hope we see a lot of Dar and Saul running circles and Senator drone strike.

  • Dominic

    hmmm you could say that after what's she's been through , her ego needed to be able to yell at a subordinate , as Max is . IDK if you've noticed but this is her STANDARD personality Type A self-possessed and driven .. easily asshole on occasion . She only plays nice and sweet when she wants something , i.e.. the 2ND hookup to get a place to sleep ( and some money as we saw) and getting Brody to open the door to his hotel room last season
    Virgil's technically under her too . the double she wasn't really mean to just curt .

  • Dominic

    That was a favor for Jessica remember ? so she needed to be an a-hole to light a fire under Max ..

  • Samantha Schltr

    I think everyone needs to let up on the Dana story line. The Brody family, esp. Dana, is the real world side of the story, the side effects of what all this spying and terrorism can do. You can show all the politics and spying that you want, but you have to remember that real people are touched by these things. It doesn't stop once the good guys have the bad guys.

  • Dominic

    THANK YOu SamS . exactly the reason . and it's standard soap opera stuff to do that as mentioned in previous forums

  • Sean

    I know I have said this before...but can we get rid of Carrie and the Brodies next season? Saul, and the politics involved in the spy business are much more interesting.

  • Art3mis

    Worse idea than running away with your teenage boyfriend who probably killed his brother: buying bottled water at a gas station when you're down to your last $30.

  • Three_nineteen

    Please, please, Homeland writers, don't have Quinnn fall for Carrie.

    I think Saul looks obsessed with this mission partly because we didn't see the discussion with Carrie that started the whole thing. Since Carrie has basically gone over the edge, it's in the back of my mind that Saul talked her into this, because she couldn't possibly want what happened. But it's equally as likely that Carrie talked Saul into it, and now he feels so bad about agreeing to it that he needs the plan to work so it was worth it. If Carrie goes through all this and they DON'T get The Magician? Saul will never forgive himself. Plus now he's tied the success of the mission to the future of the CIA.

  • Marc Greene

    but...but men and women can't work together without having the sex; that's a science fact!!

  • Dominic

    Tho Carrie was talked into it by Saul , as referenced by the Swerve scene last week

  • Dominic

    Also , MandyPat ain't the Exec Prod . It's much more likely that Saul goes to the back burner after this . Or is killed off , than Danes going anywhere

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