Homeland

Sundays 10:00 PM on Showtime
Homeland
TV Fanatic Works Better with Prime Instant Video
40,000 other titles are available to watch now.

Homeland Review: Slow and Steady

by at . Comments

Slow and steady wins the race?

Unlike the highly anticipated second season premiere, the first episode of Homeland Season 3, "Tin Man Is Down," had a more methodical pace, hopefully leaving room for the stories to grow as the fall moves forward.

A year ago everyone and their mother couldn't wait another second to see what was going to happen next on Homeland. I was one of them, and the start to season two was thrilling and surprisingly interesting.

Testifying On Terrorism

Unfortunately, the season sputtered down the stretch with unreasonable story lines and character turns that made Carrie, Brody and the gang so much less interesting than they were in the show's first season.

So this September, after not nearly sweeping the Emmys like it had the year before, Homeland opened season three with manageable expectations from this viewer.

Just be better than how you ended last year.

"Tin Man Is Down" did that.  Was it the most exciting hour ever?  No.  What it did, though, was give me confidence that the writers have a better plan for where the main story is going this season.

Could it get botched somewhere along the way?  Sure, but I have decent hopes that Carrie being put on trial, trouble for the CIA, and an absent Brody to start things off are story telling going in the right direction.

I like that Carrie is being put on trial and the CIA is being looked down upon for what happened.  This was a colossal screw up and someone needs to be looking into it.

The whole thing felt eerily similar to when Jack Bauer was on trial for his past at the start of the seventh season of Homeland's sister-show, 24.

As opposed to Jack, who was getting consistent results time and time again, saving the country a million times over, Carrie Mathison hasn't done much to save the United States.  Even what she has done, nobody knows about.  So while I was complaining that Jack was on trial way back when, I'm glad that Carrie's behaviors have been put into question here.  And in fact, I kind of got excited every time the committee chair talked down to her.

Just because there wasn't non-stop action in this premiere, it doesn't mean that the action scenes the hour did contain weren't awesome.  I loved watching Quinn in action as he completed the impossible task that allowed Saul to carry out the rest of his mission.

However, the end result didn't have quite the effect on me that I think they wanted.  The connection between these Wizard of Oz code-named individuals and the stories we've been watching over the last two seasons was near zero.  You can't just say these are the dudes that were involved in Nazir's plans, and expect us to care more than just a little.

Although it didn't hit on the emotions, the whole operation was obviously vital to the story, and it led to Saul's statements during the trial.  Those certainly did get me in my sweet spot.

He threw his girl right under the bus.  I mean, Saul picked Carrie up, waited for the Greyhound to come speeding by, and chucked her into the street.  I understand that no one person is more important than the entirety of the CIA, but Saul, my man, have a heart.

Am I missing something here?  Does he have something else in mind when revealing all of that about Carrie on trial?  Or is it just as simple as that's the truth, and he's saving the CIA's butt?

Either way, it was great television, and I can't wait to see what happens the next time Saul and Carrie interact.

What wasn't great television was the entirety of the Brody family story line.  Did they not get the hint that the Dana arcs aren't working?  She's a screwed up teen who attempted suicide and is sexting a boy?  Nobody cares.  If Nick Brody isn't involved in the story anymore, why should this family still have a part?

Overall, I thought "Tin Man is Down" was a good start to Homeland's third season.  What did you all think?  What were your favorite parts?  What didn't you like about it?  And what the heck is Chris Brody's deal?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.1 / 5.0 (55 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

Tags: ,
Avatar

Ok, does anyone else find Dana the most annoying character on this show? this last episode was straight from the twilight movies. All season 2 she wore those damn winged shoes everywhere, now in season 3 she goes to the asylum, meets the guy they wake up in the laundry in perfect light? please, who cares. she's troubled? great, who cares..... Shes a self centered teenaged girl and if thats what i wanted from a show i'd watch girls or any one of several teen angst shows. Oh, I went out in the rain without a raincoat or umbrella, still could have gotten there but wouldn't have looked like a drowned water rat.

Avatar

Saul likely had no choice but to throw Carrie under the bus. He couldn't say he was responsible for the "flaw," although he was the person who had faith in Carry, and the CIA wanted her involvement at the beginning of season 2, when she was clearly still re-cooping from her mental breakdown at the end of season 1. Carrie has always had a Sixth sense of what might happen, and her bipolar personality reflects her commitment to her job. After the season premier, I think now it will be Carrie against the CIA, and she obviously tries to find Brody. As for Brody's family subplots ... you kind of have to show that. Wasn't Dana the one who stopped Brody from blowing himself up and the President?

Avatar

Dan, I agree with a large sum of your review. Except, I personally loved season two. The start as you rightfully said was thrilling and surprisingly interesting. However, I also loved the rest of the season. Thought I'd get that out there. That said, I really do agree with a large sum of your review for "Tin Man is Down". It was a more orderly start to the season and you're right, it may not have been the most exciting hour we've seen of the series, but to see how a broken CIA deals with the aftermath of the 12/12 bombing and must deal with the ramifications of its own actions was engaging. It is also true that Carrie's own actions and conduct in their operations needed to be called into question by the Committee. I felt these scenes were wonderfully executed. It must be said that the leaked documents and Carrie's personal involvement with Brody added more intrigue to the ongoing question of "who the mole in the CIA is?" A question I definitely look forward to have answered. Peter Quinn's action scenes were great. Although, I do feel more impact was needed, especially when he mistakenly and recklessly killed the young boy. I didn't really feel like it had taken a big enough toil on him. Finally, I am in complete agreement about your comments regarding Saul's statement to the Committee. He DID throw Carrie under the bus, whether strategic or not, he could have been more considerate. That should definitely prove interesting for the Carrie-Saul dynamic as we move forward. Needless to say, it puts great strain on their relationship. lol :P THIS WAS GREAT TELEVISION INDEED! So, I do agree with your review. However, what I don't agree with were your concluding remarks about the 'nonessential' Brody family storyline.
Granted, Dana's car incident storyline last season might not have bore much fruit. But following the events of last season's finale, I feel it is essential to see the effects it has had on the family. Reason being: they've had to contend with the fact that Brody was a terrorist all along, since his suicide tape was leaked to the media. That sort of revelation/realisation would have immediate psychological impact on the family and as such you need to view personally how it affects them. Such an event CANNOT be simply dismissed in the writing. Dana's attempted suicide and sexting (and from promos, her possibly adopting Brody's faith) is a more suited storyline given how last season ended. It illustrates that she's not necessarily of a right mindset as she's tried killing herself and is now taking topless selfies. All due perhaps to her inability to accept the reality that Brody (at the time when his suicide video was made)is a terrorist. What you're saying that "nobody cares" seems like a generalisation, because some may care about what happens to the family. Apart from that, thanks for the review Dan! :-)

Avatar

How long till Mandy quits this show