Catch up TV review: Homeland, Electric Dreams, 24 Hours in Police Custody, Married at First Sight
James R | On 04, Mar 2018
Homeland Season 7, Episode 2 (All 4)
Warning: This contains spoilers for Episode 1 and 2 of Homeland Season 7.
It can normally take Homeland a few episodes to click into gear, and Season 7 is no exception, as the many tangled threads from the opening episode are slowly woven together. But for the first time, that messy confusion feels both intentional and apt, as the show becomes about the shifting truths and sense of reality that is currently taking place in America. At the heart of that this week is Saul (the ever-brilliant Mandy Patinkin), who accepts Keane’s offer to become her Security Advisor, in exchange for the release of the 200 incarcerated CIA agents – a deal that’s overseen by Linus Roache’s wonderfully slimy Chief of Staff, David. There’s talk of moving on and presenting a united front, but Keane admits to Saul she’ll never be able to get over the distrust and anger of the secret service’s betrayal – even though Saul assures her it was only a small faction within the agency that tried to oust her.
O’Keefe, meanwhile, adds to the muddying of the water, as he continues to broadcast (perhaps correctly) messages of warning that Keane has gone too far in its powers, using the suspiciously convenient death of McClendon (last episode’s heart-stopping climax) as evidence. Next to that excellently ambiguous double-track of disorientation, Carrie’s storyline could easily seem irrelevant, as she randomly finds her computer hacked and, when Max can’t fix it, seduces her hacker via webcam so that they must meet in person – and she can attack him to within an inch of his life. It’s a disturbing, unexpected detour, but one that is deceptively insightful, less a reminder that Carrie is unstable and more a demonstration of how she can lose a sense of boundaries when she doesn’t have a cause or a guiding hand. With the 200 now freed and Saul in the enemy camp, Carrie has all the conviction in the world, but where can she put it? The next couple of episodes, as the main thrust of the season emerges, will give her, as well as us, the answer.
Electric Dreams: The Father Thing (All 4)
Help, my dad’s an alien! That’s the crux of The Father Thing, the episode that marks the return of Electric Dreams after several months away from our screens. With such a tale as old as time, the show has a lot of work to do to find a new twist on the set-up, but it never quite manages to put in the effort. Jack Gore is a strong central presence as the young Charlie, who finds people in his Chicago neighbourhood behaving weirdly after a meteoroid shower – including, most notably, has dad. Greg Kinnear is also excellent as the otherworldly father figure, drifting between warmth that may or may not be real and a chilling detachment that certainly is. But with a script that doesn’t give them much to do, or find any new thematic depth to the quiet horror of a household fracturing, The Father Thing offers disappointingly little to look up to. We’d recommend checking out Electric Dreams’ other story of potential alien possession, starring Bryan Cranston, instead.
24 Hours in Police Custody (All 4)
Channel 4’s 24 Hours in Police Custody is such a strong documentary series that the broadcaster has built it out into a full-on franchise, with 24 House in A&E. But the BAFTA-nominated cop show is the original and best, and reminds us why with its return this spring. Taking us into the workings of Bedfordshire police, it’s a nice chance to go back to the slow, methodical procedure of real investigations that contrasts with the hyper-dramatic presentation of police-work we see in most TV shows. And yet there’s more than a touch of drama to this cracking opening episode, which sees detectives track down and a arrest a corrupt officer embroiled in sex and blackmail. Who needs Line of Duty when you’ve got real life?
Married at First Sight: Season 3 (All 4)
Would you marry someone you’ve only just met? Channel 4, somehow, manages to find people willing to say yes for its returning reality series, which follows couples who walk down the aisle on the say-so of some experts and the promise of being followed constantly by TV cameras. Now in its third season, the result is as morbid, moving and amusing as ever, as we see Benjamin and Stephanie and Carrie and Wayne get hitched. Things start out with the excited nerves of doing something recklessly romantic, and Benjamin and Stephanie find themselves cutely (and acutely) matched, even unknowingly enjoying the same songs on their respective stag dos. But the series works because it continues to follow them as they move in together for a set period of seven weeks – and it’s here that Harriet and Richard start to find things more difficult, as the pressure of domestic proximity begins to build. Can you make a marriage if you don’t even like your other half? From giddy highs to awkward lows, this show is a rollercoaster of emotions – exactly as it should be.