Homeland

January 19, 2016


A lot can rest on how a TV show handles a death. Shonda Rhimes kills off her characters with such regularity on Grey’s Anatomy that she simply flashed forward a year rather than deal with the aftermath of a principle players demise, resulting in that continual bland-ification of a series that was once the perfect blend of quirk, passion and professional antagonism. 

Homeland, however turned Carrie’s tragedy- watching her one true love hang in Iran, into plot gold, providing the character- and the scriptwriters, with a furious new lease of unbalanced life, turning their fourth season into-not only the series best, but the best television that graced the small screen in 2014. 

And it continues to surprise. Season 5 started last Sunday on Channel Four, and while the first two episodes feature two bombings, an assassination and an assassination attempt- with computer hacking, kidnapping and torture thrown in for good measure, there’s a distinct change in pace.

Out go the much maligned jazz and pill freak outs, the nefarious Middle Eastern boogeymen and paranoid prophecies, and instead we have a repentant, redemptive Carrie, taking communion in Berlin and trying to live a normal life…or as normal a life as someone who has code word clearance can. 

But her calm is shattered when the ambiguous businessman she provides security for decides to take off on a goodwill mission to a refugee camp in Lebanon, where she needs to bribe Hezbollah to insure safe passage, and scorn former CIA colleagues who push her for information on her new boss.

Timed with an Edward Snowden-type leak, Carrie either falls- or is placed, under the suspicion of her old friend, new foe Saul Berenson, who is himself (once aain) the target of political scapegoating, when said leak reveals that the CIA has been spying on German citizens for their Government.

Meanwhile, Quinn fresh from tracking terrorists in Syria, is now stalking ISIS recruiting agents in Europe, a mission that is compromised when the German’s cancel their arrangement with the CIA, leaving him off books- yet again, to deal with those who have brought terror back to Europe.

Is Carrie to become a target?

The hysterical, breath stopping thrills of season 4 take a back seat in the opening episodes to a Carrie who must deal with the aftermath of her professional past, as she stalked LeCarre style, by memory and malevolence.

It’s not edge of your tweet plotting just yet, but considering how the seeds planted early in series 1 & 4 bloomed to such volatile beauties, I have every hope that 5 will reward the patient.

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