Review of Homeland ‘In Memoriam’
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 11, series 2 of ‘Homeland’
In many ways this week’s episode of Homeland – the penultimate one in this run – encapsulated the series as a whole, as it gave a brief glimpse of how much better it could be if it focused on its strengths rather than simply aping the often tired formula of other programmes.
When series two started it was always going to be interesting to see whether it would be able to match up to the success and acclaim of the first series, and although this week has seen Golden Globe nominations for several of the programme’s stars, few would argue that ultimately it has been slightly disappointing.
As discussed at length last week, one of the main reasons for this has been the ever-increasing levels of implausibility in the storyline, which certainly in my opinion, has resulted in a sense of apathy towards the fates of the separate characters.
Whereas in the first episode of this series you felt concern for Carrie as she was chased through a Beirut souk, by the time she made her way through the warehouse at the beginning of this week’s episode, there was just the feeling that any harm that came to her would basically serve her right for persisting with her fantastically annoying and havoc-wreaking habit of disobeying practically any order she is given.
In fact for most of the episode I found myself unable to muster up much concern for anyone in the programme or for how things were going to pan out. Although I did feel the episode as a whole was definitely redeemed by the scene between Brody and his wife in their car, which was far more powerful than anything else this week.
The human and more psychological aspects of the drama helped to make Homeland such a success in the first place, so it is no surprise that these moments in this week’s episode were the best. The final scenes that showed the break-up of Brody and Jessica, and Brody going to Carrie’s house, were very well done and definitely rescued the episode in my eyes – although when Brody put his hand on Carrie’s face I was mainly struck by the enormous size of Damian Lewis’ hand.
It’s not that the rest of the episode was bad, but for the most part the hunt for Abu Nazir was more tedious than thrilling, with red herrings like Galvez being a mole so clumsily signposted that you knew it wasn’t going to be true.
Even the eventual end of Nazir was fairly ridiculous, from the discovery that despite ‘extensive’ searching of the place, he had basically only been living behind a boiler – like a field mouse in winter only with a more fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran. The fact that the FBI squad broke rule number one of ‘searching for baddies in spooky warehouses’ by splitting up, only served to make the whole thing more like Scooby Doo with SWAT teams than The Sopranos.
The highlights from the rest of the episode mostly seemed to revolve around characters losing their temper. I particularly enjoyed Saul snapping at his polygraph interrogator – although I would have rather liked his nickname to have actually been ‘The Bear’.
Similarly, Roya Hammad’s angry rant at Carrie, after lulling her into a false sense of security, was very enjoyable and a very understandable reaction to Claire Danes’ fearfully annoying signature bulging eyes and downturned mouth routine. While once again Dana’s angry teenager routine provided arguably the comic highlight of the episode – this time with an impeccably sarcastic combination of eyebrow-arching and empty milk-carton waggling.
Despite all of its flaws, with so many questions unresolved, the series is now set up for what I am sure will be an exciting final episode. Will Brody and Carrie live happily ever after? Can Saul take revenge against Estes? Will Quinn really assassinate Brody? Can Chris maintain his enormous levels of enthusiasm despite his lack of involvement in anything?
With practically all of these questions set to be answered next week, even through all the cynicism I can hardly wait.
You can follow the writer on Twitter: @thesportsfoxTagged in: Brody, Carrie, CIA, claire danes, Damian Lewis, homeland, Rupert Friend
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