VOD TV review: Homeland Season 3, Episode 8 (A Red Wheelbarrow)
Ivan Radford | On 26, Nov 2013
What happened in this week’s episode of Homeland? We really couldn’t tell you. Is there a mole in the CIA? Haven’t a clue. Is Saul’s beard still awesome? Yes, it is.
It’s business as usual, then, for this most absurd of TV shows. With Javadi shipped back to his home country, Saul is left stitching together the aftermath – namely, an investigation led by Senator Lockhart who can’t wait to get his hands on the agency. Carrie, meanwhile, is back into her double-agent role, probing the mysterious Bennett for information on the Langley bomber without raising alarms. All the while, Brody’s, well, who cares?
That’s the point we’ve reached in Season 3 of Homeland: the show is so good at playing the spying game that there’s no need to worry about Damian Lewis’ will-he-won’t-he terrorist. He’s quite simply superfluous.
After all, there’s enough drama already going on. There’s Quinn, who has to deal with the dilemma of not taking his clothes off this week. There’s Carrie, who has a visit to the doctor to check on her condition. And there’s Saul, whose marriage is barely functioning, try as he might to hold it together. Homeland continues to spin those personal plates alongside the professional ones in the kind of exemplary manner more associated with Spooks. In fact, with its twisting, turning, hour-long escapades, which mostly consist of not very much happening save for a whole lot of espionage, Episode 8 could almost have come straight from the BBC series.
The show knows certainly where to milk its entertainment from: petty confrontations between Saul never fail to amuse. The rest is a moral haze and a ticking clock; Javadi trying to smuggle his Langley bomber out of the country, while Carrie meets in hushed churches and Dar Adal drinks at his local golf club. They even manage to introduce an entire back-story for new recruit Fara and place her in jeopardy without derailing the episode’s pace – proof of just how lean the series has become.
Everything climaxes in a surprising display of ruthless protocol – an act that proves Dar and Quinn will stop at nothing to protect America, and that Carrie will put anyone else’s life before her own. (The unspoken problem is, of course, that in a few months, she won’t be able to do that any more.)
Saul’s beard steals the show once again, though, as he skips the country and plonks himself down in Venezuela. Do we trust him? Do we not trust him? In this gripping minefield of uncertainty, one thing’s for sure: he’s there to see Brody. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing we don’t want to happen. Here’s hoping Homeland’s on-form writers have enough stamina to add that extra spinning plate into the mix. Because it would be a shame to send them all smashing into the ground just as things get really good.
Homeland Season 3 is available watch on Netflix UK as part of a £7.49 monthly subscription.