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Tension Ranking Last Night's 'Homeland': The Quinn, The Saul, and the Ugly Crying

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | October 7, 2013 | Comments ()


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Bravo, Homeland. Under the gun over just how it can go on without Brody and having to endure our weekly complaining about the travails of a family left behind, the poorly titled “Uh…Oh…Ah…” found a way to shut us up. It was a tight episode filled with tension, emotion and enough nervous feelings about Saul to be truly upsetting. Yes, Dana snuck away and did her thing with pretty boy Leo on the laundry room floor, but she also faced down both her mother and her own feelings in a refreshingly realistic way. The girl has a way with cutting to the truth. Do we care? Maybe not right now, but if we follow the possibility trail, these moments of trying to find a connection between her childhood memories and the man she now calls psycho dad—what if they document the beginning of Dana following in her father’s footsteps? Gansa and Co. are sensitive to the Season 2 criticism, and yet Dana had a serious presence this episode. Call it a longshot, but perhaps we’re seeing the birth of a radical. On to more interesting things…

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Quinn: He’s been intriguing from the moment we met and over a short period of time, has evolved into one of the most interesting characters. Rippling off the Carrie/Brody explosion, he’s sidled right up next to Saul, but moves in his own unpredictable groove. We wanted to label him the cold, black-ops killer without a soul; Quinn’s not having that shit. He’ll do his job, but like the best of his kind—like Breaking Bad’s Mike—Quinn has his own lines, and he’s not happy when forced to cross them. We’re not surprised when he shows up at the psychiatric ward to warn Carrie to be careful; he’s worried she’ll get hurt. We’d expect him to deliver a threat to the banker who won’t cooperate with the CIA. But when he drops by to tell Saul he’s not comfortable with the way things are being handled; that he’ll be leaving after the mission is completed—that? That was a delightful surprise. Quinn is the guy you want next to you in a bunker, and he’s also the guy you don’t want to piss off. You hear me, Saul?

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Saul: The moment I crumbled to the floor came too soon—my reaction to Saul’s response to transactions specialist Fara Sherazi’s (Nazanin Boniadi) assertion that the bank records she’d gone through provided no connections to Iran: “You wearing that thing on your head is one big fuck you to the people who would have been your co-workers, except they perished in a blast right out there. So if you need to wear it, if you really need to—which is your right—you’d better be the best analyst we’ve ever seen, and don’t tell me that means there’s nothing.” We’ve seen Saul under pressure a few times, but we’ve never seen him like this. Last week we could rationalize him being backed into a corner and guiltily throwing out Carrie as the obvious scapegoat. This time around, Saul barely blinks when Dar Adal informs him Carrie’s gone to the press, and Adal is going to stop her. Just a terse nod, and we’re onto the next thing; bringing in the bank heads who continue making wire transfers for Iranian trading companies after being ordered to cease and desist. Though it was at first unclear whether or not Fara had uncovered real information (rather than merely answering Saul’s demand for an Iranian link to the money trail), Saul’s nastiness got him what he wanted. The question is, who is the real Saul (and are we sure we really want to know)?


Th Ugly Crying: Bitch all you like about Carrie’s broken, twisted countenance; I’ll keep throwing Emmys at Claire Danes. The fact of the matter is that if there ever was a situation like this—if it could happen—this is how it would play out. The CIA would do everything being done to Carrie; her mental illness would be exploited, she would react just as she did, it would look like a psychotic episode to anyone outside the situation, and the whole fucking mess would be as heartbreaking as this episode was. To its credit, Homeland explores both sides of a coin so well, we can’t pick a side. Without standing on a soapbox and not having experienced anything worse than cold or allergy meds that make me feel spacey, I can understand Carrie’s dilemma. She can’t think the same way when she’s on her meds. Thorazine might wrestle her bipolar demons but she loses the clarity she needs, the sharpness of her senses—everything that makes Carrie good at her job. And while as an audience we’re able to see that, it’s also completely clear how off the wall she looks to everyone else. To the authorities, to the doctors, even to her family, Carrie is out of control; the decision to medicate is out of her hands. That bit at the end, when Danes couldn’t get control over her facial muscles to say “Fuck you” to Saul? That right there was all the motherfucking Emmys.

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Episode Tension Level: Code yellow (7 out of 10)

Other thoughts:

Those photos of Damian Lewis (the hair!) Dana was looking over toward the end of the episode…hysterical.

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To expand on my idea about Dana; it’s clear from the last scene that she’s trying to find a connection to the father she used to know. She sees him in the photos, but doesn’t understand who he is now. The only link—physcial or otherwise—she has to him now is his prayer mat. So, perhaps she seeks out his religious beliefs as solace, and as a way to feel connected to him, and perhaps that leads her somewhere she never intended to go.

Regardless of whether Gansa and Howard have big plans for Dana, we don’t need any more laundry room scenes. That was just stupid.

F. Murray Abraham continues to be brilliant as the cold and calculating decision maker Saul struggles to be.

In case you hadn’t heard or caught it, Carrie’s notebook scribbling had a Princess Bride reference: “You killed my son—prepare to die.”

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Cindy Davis, (Twitter)


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Dominic

    " no more laundry room scenes that's stupid "
    Well who ELSE is going to have a sex scene this season ? considering ....

    And where else could Eric (? i forget ) take her ?
    ( i guess you would vote for Quinn to be next . ....)

  • Artemis

    it would look like a psychotic episode to anyone outside the situation

    It would look like? It WAS.

    I feel bad for Carrie that she's so ill right now. I do not feel that she's in the right. She snuck the main suspect in the CIA bombing out of the country and is now running around having crazy outbursts at congressional committees and in crowded restaurants and to reporters. About classified information. She needs medical attention and to never, ever have a security clearance again.

  • I don't know that I can agree with that. I think she's having major difficulty reacting to this situation because she's not stable off her meds. At times she clearly acts paranoid and loses control of her emotions, but I don't think Carrie had lost touch with reality--especially now. She's actually assessed the situation correctly, but because of her disorder (and taking the particular course of action against the CIA she did), her illness is being exploited to the CIA's advantage.

    Of course, Carrie has been unprofessional and acted foolishly at times, but plenty of people (without mental illness) have made horrible decisions because they fell in love with the wrong person.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Agreed -- this situation is so gut-wrenching for me to watch unfold because on the one hand, it's classic gaslighting, which is always so hard for me to watch, but on the other hand, Carrie's mental disorder is legitimately a problem.

  • Dominic

    Horrible decisions , with National Security implications ?? Not so many .. It's funny cause she's right ( drugs are dulling her) and wrong at same time . Could that NOT contribute to psychosis ? also she LET Brody go ; that has to weigh uncomfortably on her as Agent of My Country , when everyone is blaming Brody

    Danes plays Blonde Crazy so well
    Gee a 180 turn on the show in one week Cindy .

    Can we all understand why Dana's story is so important NOW ?

    Altho I think the mat and faking the prostration were just teases ; they won't do it . That would be some psychosis . to turn , her as a radical Islamist sympathizer , when Brody being that is what made her think of suicide .....
    As I explained last week for those who seemed to want them just to kill terrorists , This season is about the Human effects of the CIA bombing , and who can handle it . This may be the 1st TV show doing a story which resonates with the reality of the governmental aftermath of 911 . How many CIA lost their jobs before Christmas 12 / 11 ???( esp anyone who admitted they didn't see it coming ) Who leaked THAT the CIA didn't see it coming , and what happened to THEM ? What happened to the military analysts working in the Pentagon then ? ? ....

  • Three_nineteen

    Carrie is both right about what the CIA is doing to her AND completely out of control. She didn't tell her family what was going on, and her reaction to her family's concern when they found out and accusing them of being complicit shows that. F. Murray Abraham having her temporarily committed just sped up the process of her losing it after quitting her meds.

  • PaddyDog

    That Saul thing pissed me off no end. We're supposed to believe this is the same guy who reverently prayed over the body of Abu Nazir when they buried it at sea, making sure he had an appropriate Muslim burial?

  • Bananapanda

    I read it as Saul using what he could to get the best of his new agent. They mentioned in her intro exposition how there was no time to train up the newbies. So Saul goes for the jugular - says what's probably in the back of her mind, or should be, that others in the building are thinking. Time is of the essence and he has no time for hand holding.

    He grew up a lone Jew (Season 1 driving episode) and can feed on her isolationism. I don't think it was a religious thing. Maybe I'm wrong. But given everything we know about his childhood, his wife and his life, I don't see him being that provincial.

  • Dominic

    No u have nailed the reason . Plus either him or Quinn HAD to say it . Even tho it was in all the eyes she passed it had to be vocalized Maybe from Quinn she would have dismissed it , but from her BOSS , no

  • Marc Greene

    Watching the episode I said outloud to my wife, "Why do we need this laundry room sex scene? What does it add to the plot? Do they think we wouldn't be able to figure out that the kids were going to/have had sex between the passionate kissing and waking up naked beside each other?"

    To which my wife said, "Shut up. Not every show can be Breaking Bad."

    So I shut up.

  • Devin McMusters

    I don't get Showtime, but that guy from Criminal Minds sure has a hell of a beard. I wondered what happened to him.

  • I barked out a laugh, and then had to rewind so husband could see the Princess Bride reference, too. And, this was just after we watched the HIMYM episode where they kept talking about Mandy Patinkin.

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