HOMELAND “Semper I” Review

HOMELAND (Showtime) "Semper I" Episode 4 (8)

HOMELAND “Semper I” Season 1 Episode 4 – The last three episodes were rather plot oriented, with Carrie conducting surveillance on Brody while keeping track of her agent sleeping with a Saudi prince. However by the end of last week’s episode the plots had largely been wrapped up: Carrie’s agent was killed, she and Saul figured out a way Abu Nazir was smuggling his finances (through a laundry mat in the form of jewellery). This week the episode also finishes off the surveillance thread in a way which means we’ll have no more images of Carrie watching Brody on her monitor as Saul refuses to reissue a warrant extending her surveillance.

So where does this all leave us? Well, the episode started off a few new threads in a way that was pretty daring both in terms of the storytelling (like having Carrie and her CIA partner cross off the professor so quickly, while we the audience knows there’s something fishy going on there) and in terms of pacing. The story jumped ahead three weeks, which means that it’s following a pretty interesting timeline that will allow the writers to jump around the place and avoid the duller passages of Carrie’s investigation and Brody’s readjustment to “normal” life. But the timeline within the show itself is interesting too: when Carrie and her CIA partner are tailing the professor, the scene cuts to them detailing the rest of their tailing expedition to David, which is a far more economical storytelling, plus provides plenty of opportunity to expand on characterizations: David was the most obvious beneficiary of these character expansions, moving beyond the 2-D “hardass boss” which might have cursed him.

More interesting about the romantic ties between David and Carrie are the implications for Carrie’s character. We saw what Carrie was capable of in the first episode, first flirting with the man in the bar, wearing a wedding ring, and then, later, when she tried to use her sexuality to manoeuvre Saul into giving her what she wanted. In this episode we saw that maybe this was not the first time she used her sexuality: did she really like David, or was she just using him to secure herself a more favourable position? I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, but the show isn’t so clumsy and Danes isn’t so cold that she comes off as an ice queen, but rather full-hearted ambitious woman. At the end of the episode she pushes her way into Brody’s life, easing her way in, leaving long before she outstayed her welcome. There’s nothing better than watching smart people do things they’re really good at, and the end of the episode was just sumptuous.

This show has really gotten under my skin. There isn’t, so far as I can discern, one aspect I’m annoyed or bored by. Brody’s family drama is just as interesting as Carrie’s investigation. The best scene of this episode, for me, was when Brody shot a deer in front of a house full of guests. Damian Lewis played that scene perfectly, looking at the frightened guests and his wife and best friend with impish glee, before Jessica really lays it into him. She’s got her own shit to deal with, wracked with guilt over her affair, annoyed that she did not tell Brody immediately, aware now that the secret has gotten way bigger than she’d ever intended.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.