It’s become a bit of an accepted view amongst most critics that Homeland has lost its edge. The first season’s excellence is universally acknowledged but many criticise the second season for shedding the veil of ambiguity which had kept viewers on the edge. As the third season reaches our screens, has the show recovered its standing as smart, nuanced thriller, or is it slipping further into dumb whizz-bang-shooty fun?
The 2012 finale left us on uncertain footing: Brody was prepared to commit terrible acts for the benefit of a terrorist, even though he was working for the CIA. The troubled relationship he had between the CIA and Abu Nazir who he had an emotional bond with sustained the series’ enigmatic storyline. The third season so far retains this great plot. It begins with the CIA in the dock, already shattered by the “second 9/11” which killed over 200 Americans at its Langley headquarters. In response the CIA organise the assassination of six targets in a very short time window, which goes too much into 24 territory.
Claire Danes is still what is best about the show. Her character may be off her meds, but her one tremendous outburst in a restaurant proves the series has incredible kick to it. We see her display the full works through just this one episode right up to the final moments where Saul delivers a stinging blow to her at the Senate hearing that shows why Danes’ two Emmys are fully deserved. Carrie Mathison is a great female television role and, like her counterpart Nicholas Brody, a reason the show stands tall.
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