There were many problems with "Game On" as an hour of television. The boring escape by teen lovers, Carrie's personality reaching new heights in how grating it can be, and the babbling that Saul continued to spout about money and Iran all made up a less than outstanding episode of Homeland.
It was the show's idea of misdirection or "tricking" the audience that was the real issue though.
Before even thinking back about all the ways the reveal at the end of the hour didn't make sense, the more pressing problem was that when Saul and Carrie reunited to cheer about how their master plan worked, my reaction was no more than a shrug.
If you're going to spend four episodes worth of story building up to a reveal that at some point along the way the two leads who were being shown as antagonizing to each other came together and pulled the wool over everyone's eyes, then it better garner a better reaction than a simple shrug.
I wasn't thrilled, I wasn't angry, and I wasn't shocked. The story wasn't interesting enough to earn a more emotional reaction. The past four episodes (except for much of the Brody stuff last week) have been unable to captivate.
That is all on top of the fact that this trick felt completely off. Carrie and Saul got together at some point in order for her to get in with the Iranians? So at some point she started acting her way through everything in order to get into a spot where this could all happen?
Yeah, okay. So much of it felt forced when looking back at what happened. When did she start acting? When she was acting all nervous in front of just her lawyer and the hospital workers? When she called her father angry that he didn't show up? How about when she called Virgil and then picked up on his code?
I understand it could have been an elaborate plan that she had to play step by step in order to make it all work, but it didn't feel like a plan that they concocted to get her on the inside. It felt like what would have actually happened...and then they just made up that she and Saul had it as a plan at the very end.
To be honest, it felt very reminiscent of the horrid Dexter story line involving Eddie Jimmy Olmos.
What they did was have the main point of the story occur off screen and then throw it in our face at the end. When Homeland was good (see: season 1, first third of season 2) it would let us see all conflicts and brilliance of the characters.
Now that all of that is over, however, maybe they will get back to something that works. Hopefully Homeland gets back to its bread and butter.
For now, it's struggling.
But what did you all think of "Game On?" Did you enjoy it much more than I did? What were your favorite parts? What didn't you like most? How have you been enjoying season three? And are you missing Brody again?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.