Tag Archives: Showtime

HOMELAND Season Two Finale Recap: “The Choice”

There’s no denying that the back half of this season of Homeland started sliding off a cliff, and likeBoardwalk Empire (which also just finished up a shaky run) many Homeland fans were looking for this finale to right a lot of the wrongs elsewhere in the season, something Boardwalk Empire did a few weeks ago with aplomb.  Promos for the finale teased high drama and emotions, and conversations this past week among friends, fans and even strangers in line at the grocery store all had the same conclusion about where the series was “clearly” headed.  But in “The Choice,” Homeland reminded us why we should never take anything for granted … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “The Motherfucker with a Turban”

One thing lately that Homeland has had in common with Sons of Anarchy is that even when the plot lets you down, the show does a damn fine job of giving satisfying “feels.”  Last week’s Homeland left viewers and critics alike in a quandary: was it a great episode?  A ludicrous one?  Had it turned intoPrison Break? My stance was essentially that it was pretty ridiculous, but as others pointed out, we’ve bought into a pretty ridiculous world here anyway.  Why not believe that terrorists could be using Skype or that a normally subtle character went off the rails screaming a terrorist’s name in the Vice-President’s house?   But “The Motherfucker with a Turban” righted many of those wrongs, and focused almost entirely on the emotional.  It also blew some of the show’s conspiracy theories out of the water, possibly, but hit the jump to get into the specifics … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “Broken Hearts”

Homeland‘s greatest success may be its complete and utter emotional manipulation of its viewers to the point where only afterwards and after much consideration does one realize how completely ridiculous what just happened was.  Does anyone get through episodes of Homeland without getting close to hyperventilation?  The suspense, the jump cuts, the unsteady cam, the music — everything builds to an unholy tremor of excitement and emotion, and we’re whipped around from place to place without time to even finish a game of Hearts with Chris!  It’s all too much. But hit the jump to look at some of the cold, hard truths of Homeland once that emotion starts to wear away … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “Two Hats”

The middle part of this second season of Homeland has helped me remove my rose-colored glasses, and stopped me rather blindly and emphatically praising the show’s every move.  I’m still not used to really criticizing the show’s choices though, and “Two Hats” left me confused.  It was a greatly entertaining hour, with a ton of twists.  But in many ways felt like a completely different show from last week’s “I’ll Fly Away.”  It reminded us what is supposed to be important (that Carrie’s main target is Abu Nazir, not Brody, and that Brody’s loyalties are always questionable), and opened up a few new plots that seemed to come out of nowhere.  Was this genius or a desperate move?  Hit the jump for the many sides of “Two Hats.” … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “I’ll Fly Away”

Since everything Homeland-related is pretty spoilery this week I’ll talk for a moment above the cut here about the surveillance van in Brody’s neighborhood.  CIA, you don’t have a better, more discreet idea?  An unmarked van with blacked-out windows sitting in front of a house for days would certainly cause curtains to flutter.  I guess I’m just used to the presumption that the CIA is smoother than that, and yet here they are camped out on Brody’s lawn and sending Carrie to do all of his related errands (which I predicted would backfire).  Omnishambles.  In any case, hit the jump for the details of what has been the first truly heart-pounding Homeland in a few weeks … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “The Clearing”

Last week fellow critic Tim Goodman said of Homeland that he hoped his fears of the series turning into24 weren’t coming true.  Yes, “A Gettysburg Address” did have the distinct tone of a show turning from a complex emotional drama into a CIA spy fest, and admittedly that episode was not the series best (not to say it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t quite to the standard to which we’ve grown accustomed).  “The Clearing,” another strange episode, didn’t feel like 24, but did feel for the first time like Homeland is just buying time.  There’s a difference between a building-block episode that starts moving key players into place and a filler episode, though “The Clearing” seems to belong somewhere in between — some interesting general points were raised, but our characters remained fairly stagnant … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “A Gettysburg Address”

This week’s Homeland was mostly the payoff from last week’s emotionally explosive episode, where alliances seemed to genuinely change and create a new trajectory for the back half of the season.  And then, orbiting out on its own, is Dana’s story, a terrible tragedy that has to be kept a secret.  Dana, who has always seemed to share more with Brody than Jess (including his ability to lie) has found herself a little too close to things that Brody knows — like what it’s like to take an unexpected car trip and end up killing someone.  Yes Finn was driving the car, but it was at Dana’s behest that they do something reckless.  Ultimately the fault lies entirely with Finn, but Dana simply being there and witnessing and being able to do anything (or rather, choosing not to do anything because of other factors) weighs heavily upon her.  Hit the jump for more on what went wrong in Gettysburg and elsewhere in Brody’s emotional Civil War (see what I did there?) … READ MORE


“Q&A” may be the quietest Homeland episode yet, but it packed a powerful emotional punch.  I’ll admit, my attention span is not what it used to be, but for the full hour of “Q&A” I was riveted, unable to look away, and not once tempted to cast a stray eye to my nearby phone.  If Claire Danes‘ acting tour de force this season so far was in “State of Independence,” Damien Lewis certainly came close to matching it in “Q&A.”  Brody’s spectrum of emotions as he went from standing firm, to being incredibly frightened (but still lying) and finally to the immense relief of telling the truth was captivating stuff.  It was calm (for the most part, minus Peter’s Bad Cop routine, which was brilliant — he really is a great interrogator), but there were turgid rivers of emotion underneath everyone’s skin, and moving forward, things will only get more complicated.  For more on that and why you are drowning in lies! … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “New Car Smell”

Finally it was a quieter week on the Homeland front, which more or less equates to me having two or fewer strokes during the episode. “New Car Smell” was the payoff for this season’s biggest revelation (which I will discuss more after the spoiler jump).  Aside from all of the Carrie and Brody action, we spent a lot of time this week with Dana, who is probably one of the most (if not the most) naturally portrayed teenager on TV today.  Her circumstances can be extraordinary (like going up to the top of the Washington Monument at night because you’re flirting with the Vice President’s son), but her character somehow remains grounded.  She’s sulky and petulant, but she’s also sincere and mature.  Her relationship with Xander is, naturally, crumbling as she gets to know Finn better, and strangely that storyline remains interesting despite everything else going on.  It also is a reminder that Brody is not disposable as a character, because we have too much invested in not only him but his family … READ MORE

HOMELAND Recap: “State of Independence”

I didn’t take as many notes for this week’s Homeland as I usually do, probably because my hand was tremoring more than Claire Danes‘ chin.  After “Back to Beirut’s” jaw-dropping final moments, it seemed inconceivable that the show could — or would — do anything but back off of the action and take another route before coming back to what Saul had discovered in the bag.  And yet, Homeland did not shy away from addressing that issue in the opening moments at all.  Then to top thing off, it then pulled a twist that made the action double again.  How is it possible that in only the third episode of the season I’m already needing to consider blood pressure medication?  There are so many episodes left in front of us, yet Homeland continues to keep things amped to the maximum drama at all times.  For more on this and why every time you have an argument you can bet Dana is creepin’ in the shadows listening, hit the jump … READ MORE