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[This review continues spoilers]
“She’s alone.” “She’s always been alone.”
That’s Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Quinn (Rupert Friend) discussing Carrie, after Saul explains that she’s been acting as a double agent all along. Quinn’s reaction to finding out that the first four episodes of Homeland Season 3 were all one massive ruse? “Fuck me.”
It’s a pretty accurate response for a show that has gone from ridiculous to just plain silly – but Homeland’s run of dubious plots isn’t quite over yet. This week, after jeopardising her mental wellbeing and freedom for her country – all to secure a meeting with the enigmatic big bad Javadi – she does the exact opposite, putting the whole operation at risk just to help find Dana.
It’s an odd move for several reasons. Firstly, even if she’s off her meds, Carrie’s determined loyalty to the CIA (and Saul) has survived a lot worse. Secondly, if it goes wrong and Javadi’s meeting is scuppered, we’d have to sit through the equivalent of the first three episodes all over again. And thirdly, who would want to find Dana anyway, especially when she’s starting to rival Carrie’s cryface skills?
The excellent Morgan Saylor continues to be woefully underserved by the show’s script writers, who this week reveal that her boyfriend is a dangerous, unstable suitor – in case the fact that they met during group therapy wasn’t a big enough clue. While they continue to run away in a car, Dana’s mum, Jessica (Morena Baccarin), turns to Carrie for help. Carrie’s solution? The Yoga Play.
The set piece is a nice moment in a daft subplot, but it doesn’t mask the suspicion that this is all just padding to keep us busy while the show’s real dramatic legs are stretched on the other side of the CIA. There, Saul is off duck hunting with a bunch of suits and Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts) – the evil guy from the opening episode – in an attempt to play politics before they select the agency’s new head.
Guess who they pick.
Their decision rescues the whole episode, giving Mandy Patinkin the chance to rant at the whole room about the importance of the CIA. “The old games are proving less and less effective,” argues the Senator. “They’re the gold standards of intelligence,” retorts Saul. Amen to that.
It’s a glorious exit speech from the bearded one – even his facial hair bristles with anger – and one that, after several awkward weeks of power crazy antics, repositions Saul firmly on the outside of the CIA. He returns to his post just as Carrie’s foolhardy 45 minutes pay off with a nasty kidnapping scene… and Javadi is finally unmasked.
“She’s alone,” frets Quinn. Saul frowns. “She’s always been alone.”
He’s right. And it’s exactly where we want her to be.
Underdog spies? Carrie behind enemy lines? Last-ditch efforts to save stupid scripts? A starring role for Saul’s beard?
It’s taken five episodes but finally, Homeland is back. Here’s hoping Brody doesn’t return next week and mess it all up again.
Homeland Season 3 is available watch on Netflix UK as part of a £7.49 monthly subscription.
Where can I watch Homeland Season 3 on pay-per-view VOD?