Homeland: A Red Wheelbarrow Review

We finally see Brody again while Carrie confronts her baby drama when a mole is discovered. The show must be working again if despite all that, this feels like a "slow one."

Tonight’s episode of Homeland marked a sort of comedown from the previous four weeks of twists-and-turns meant to rivetingly make up for what a wash the first three episodes were. However, I’m not sure if I’m ready yet to put the brakes on Homeland after so much wasted time, unless of course it serves a purpose. And it just might… Brody’s back. In a cliffhanger that I think everyone saw coming from a mile off, it was still effortlessly satisfying to learn that Saul—not Carrie—has been the one keeping “care” of Brody in the Tower of David, which makes perfect sense in many respects. Whatever favor Carrie may have done for Brody’s Venezuelan keepers in years past, it seemed unlikely to be worth killing an Imam and local police over. But if the CIA Director of the United States is paying you untold millions to babysit that bundle of exposed nerves? Then it is time to pull out your pacifier…or in Brody’s case apparently copious amounts of life-ruining heroin…. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Most of this week revolved around the aftermath of Saul turning Javadi into an asset, as well as locking a sitting U.S. senator and incoming new boss in a conference room. Last week, I mused that Saul gave a terrific resignation. However, I do not really believe that he will be soon departing Langley, as that would make it far too hard to keep Mandy Patinkin on the show. And before you think they’d find a way, ask yourself have you seen Brody lately? Thus, I was waiting this week to see how Saul would carve his way out of turning the incoming director into a political and professional enemy. We may have gotten our first hint of it when he convinces the White House Chief of Staff into siding with Saul—if for the time being—in handling Javadi.  When the cards are laid on the table, the White House seems to be throwing in with Saul’s decision to keep Javadi as an asset in manipulating Iran to the point of regime change. At least until his purported nine remaining days of leadership are up (for now). It is a tantalizing prospect and makes some sense in theory: They feed Javadi phony information or send a sacrificial lamb to be placed in Iran’s sights, and then sit back while Javadi gets promoted. Eventually, he could reach a position where he can effect actual political change. Could we be seeing a reverse Manchurian Candidate? I believe that is the intent, however I remain skeptical of it ever actually working. But it intrigues the White House enough to banish Senator McSnooty away as the hatch the next step…which involves Saul going to visit Brody? He does leave very abruptly afterwards and more intriguing still, it appears that Dar Adal knows about it, as he is curious if Carrie knew where Saul was headed. “She doesn’t have the slightest clue.” Unfortunately, this is all troubling for Saul’s wife, because she has again chosen to stay with Saul after he finally declared that he does have claim on her and spends the night in her bed for what could conceivably be the first time in years. But after she is ready to throw her boy toy away the following day, Saul is gone again. I suppose we are meant to wring our hands in fear that he is once more jeopardizing his marriage, but I remain apathetic given how cold she has been to him even in Season 1. They may have decades of love, but we haven’t seen it. However, I must praise the show has done an excellent job of making them feel like a real dysfunctional married couple with their own issues, as opposed to walking clichés. But the biggest issue this week may be Carrie finally having to face her pregnancy. We are also given the guarantee that it is Brody who is the father and not the stand-in ginger she saw in the Season 3 premiere and once more in the fourth episode. This is comforting, save that we witnessed Carrie knowingly ingest alcohol in the first episode and Lord knows how many drugs while in the psych ward. As her doctor suggests, this baby is coming and she cannot keep pretending it doesn’t exist. To Danes’ credit, Carrie’s maddening ability to compartmentalize personal issues feels authentically frustrating. Despite we seeing that she was pregnant two weeks ago, we also saw her file it away for the last episode and a half while going about her job. She just isn’t hiding it from her superiors; she’s hiding it from herself. Eventually though that little red-headed terror baby is going to come out, and when it does, even Saul will notice precious Carrie is different. His wife notes that he dotes on Carrie, but that doesn’t mean he is ready to be a proverbial grandpa just yet. Still, even Carrie’s compartments begin to flood when her sting operation with Dar Adal flushes out the real mole who placed the bomb at Langley last season. Could he also be the mole teased since Season 1? It’s all very vague, because we do not spend a lot of time with him. The lobbyist firm that is working for the Iranian government decides to severe ties the bad way this week when their Mr. Fixer, who I wished they got Burn Gorman to play, caps the mole. And Carrie, realizing that the first real lead to exonerate her baby daddy is about to be silenced forever, threatens to blow the whole operation, and thus let the Javadi asset evaporate when she goes rogue by attempting to stop the murder. Instead, Peter Quinn SHOOTS her in the arm while the mole takes an acid bath into evidence oblivion. I’m not even sure that the CIA will be able to figure out that was human residue next week. And as Carrie is carted away with a bullet wound, I also think any chance of this baby coming out normal and healthy is about as likely as Carrie and Brody’s happily ever after.  To the show’s credit, we also finally see some of the home life of Fara Sherazi this week, and the show gives a passing, but crucial glance at the suspicions placed on an American of Iranian descent (or likely any nation with a predominantly Muslim background). She also proudly states at the end of her subplot that “I am an American.” On most shows, it could feel very PSA, but considering the politics of Homeland—which just featured an Iranian that Saul seemingly respects slaughter his wife with a broken beer bottle—it is refreshing and very necessary. One can imagine how often Arab-Americans are treated with distrust, never mind the CIA checking on you if you decide not to go to work. It becomes all the clearer now why Fara wanted Javadi put on trial for his crimes. Perhaps, she could have told her father with pride that she does work for the CIA, and they captured one of the men who forced them into exile and ruined their country. Instead, she must reveal her profession with shame to a malcontent patriarch who has nothing but disdain for the danger she has now placed on her family. Nonetheless, this was a “rebuilding” episode focused on setting us up for the final four episodes of the season. With only so few left, my only hope is that they manage to be as entertaining as the previous four, because while this week’s Brody reveal is nice—which also simultaneously places the spotlight back on Saul as being a mole (but he’s NOT)—it feels like we’re spinning our wheels at the moment. Den of Geek Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!


3 out of 5