‘Homeland’ Review: “Uh… Oh… Ah…”
‘Homeland‘ continues examining the psychological fallout of the previous two seasons in this week’s all-new episode. It also introduces us to Fara Sherazi, a young middle-eastern CIA expert analyst who comes in to help Saul track the money back to the mysterious Magician mentioned in last week’s premiere. There’s not a whole lot of action this week, unless you count Carrie’s continued meltdown.
Carrie can be incredibly exhausting to watch, which is a real testament to Claire Danes’ ability every week, though at times she does go just a little too far — but isn’t that the point? This week, Carrie and Dana represent two sides of the same coin: on one side, we have manic Carrie, who insists that she’s okay, just wants to be left alone, and refuses to rely on anyone else for help. On the other side, we have Dana, who also insists she’s okay and just wants to be left alone, but she’s relying on at least one person for help — Leo, her new boyfriend whom she met in the mental health facility. Relying on one person for your happiness and stability is never a good idea, but as she defends herself to Jess, she’s defending herself to the audience too, and she gives one hell of a closing statement. Dana is happy, for now anyway, she wants to be alive, and she found someone who understands her. She gets it now: she’s not crazy, her mom’s not crazy; Brody was crazy. Brody ruined their lives. Morgan Saylor does incredible work this week, as does Morena Baccarin, and the interaction between them toward the end of the episode had so much depth and emotional power that it moved me to tears. This plot could have easily skewed into after school special territory, but these actresses find something so genuine and pure to tap into here that it’s a great illustration of a harmonious marriage between actor and material.
But back to the other side of that coin: Carrie isn’t okay, no matter what she says. Her new doctor can see it. Saul can see it. Her family knows it and is too afraid to really confront her about it. Danes acts from the tip of her head to the tip of her toes, and every scene with Carrie — every line, every breath she takes, every sideways glance — is imbued with absolute mania. It’s surprising they didn’t pump her full of Thorazine earlier in the episode. Quinn is the one guy really in her corner right now after she runs to the newspaper to try and spill the CIA’s secrets and winds up restrained in a hospital instead. The CIA is powerful, and Carrie does need to be reigned in, but as Quinn points out to Saul, this isn’t the right way to do it. As much as Carrie is responsible for having an affair with Brody and going off of her meds, no matter her reasons, Saul is just as responsible for exploiting her — and even worse, for doing it twice. It wasn’t enough to use her when he knew she was unstable, to see what she saw in herself: that her manic nature is a double-edged sword that helps her connect dots no one else can and makes her unpredictable, and while those qualities are great for her work, they are also horrible for her career. And when Saul was done exploiting a mentally ill woman to find a terrorist, he exploited her again to save his career and the CIA.
We’re seeing a markedly different version of Saul this season, as evidenced by his cruel treatment of Fara, the new analyst at the CIA. When she doesn’t give him the answers he wants right away, he immediately jumps down her throat for wearing a head covering at CIA headquarters just a few months after the terrorist attack at Langley. But Fara proves herself later in a meeting with the international bankers (who helped broker the Iranian money transfers that funded the attack), and when they give her the cold shoulder because of her race, they get the most amazingly evil “I will destroy you and everything you love” look from Quinn, who seems to have a bit of a sweet spot for her.
The word of the night for Carrie seems to be “F—,” as in “F—ing Saul” and “F— you, Saul,” the latter of which is the last line of the episode, as Carrie sits doped-up in the mental ward, and Saul tries to apologize for what he’s done. He better fix it and fix it fast, or he’ll lose Quinn, too.