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