HOMELAND “Blind Spot” Review

HOMELAND (Showtime) Blind Spot (4)

HOMELAND “Blind Spot” Season 1 Episode 5 – For the most part, the CIA (or MI5 or any intelligence agency really) is portrayed as a sexy place where sexy people use their sexy wits to save lives, which is pretty sexy. Not to mention the cloak of secrecy – and secrets are sexy. It’s a job which seems fitted for the bravest, smartest most athletic of people, a job which must be intensely satisfying given the fact that a good work day means saving lives. Sometimes a show will try to force the audience to believe that those who work in such places are really tortured beings; they return home from work to an empty house, pour themselves a lonely glass of brandy and sit in a chair listening to classical music while the city buzzes outside their window.

Homeland avoids such facile clichés. Claire Danes is a beautiful woman but here her hair is flat, tucked behind her ears, she wears little to no make-up. Carrie is so invested in her work that she’s blinded to everything else around her – completely oblivious of Saul’s delicate mental state, of Mira’s abrupt bid goodnight. She’s not working in a sexy job where she gets to save lives. She’s working in a job which requires her to watch a man endure psychological torture as death metal blares over the speakers, paused only by glaring white light, handcuffed, semi-nude, in a strange room kept very cold. All in the hopes that he’ll pick up a crayon and give her something, some tidbit of information she can use to maybe bring her to the next link in the chain which may lead to saving lives, or may just be a figment of her malaise mind.

It’s the first episode we get to see really delve in to Saul – up until now he’s been a mentor/paternal figure/obstacle to Carrie. The episode opens with Saul in the airport holding a few flowers waiting on his wife Mira, back from a month long trip to India. Mandy Patinkin played the scene perfectly, bouncing when he saw Mira, everything about his reaction toward her in his physicality. We don’t get to see much of their relationship – basically we’re introduced to them at the tail end, and we can see how resigned she is that he has to go off and do whatever it is he cannot talk about, how much he loves her and wishes he could give her all of his time but understands that his job really might save lives. He’s not like Carrie: she works like it’s a drug. He works like it’s his responsibility, which lends him a better analytical brain towards their work. When she finally does break up with him, it resonates so much deeper than it should have, given the fact that we’ve only seen Saul in relation to Carrie and we haven’t seen her at all until now. But it does resonate, transcending cliché and becoming something quite emotional, thanks to the deftness of the writing at the prowess of the acting.

It, of course, makes Carrie’s fight with Saul far more tragic. It’s definitely my favorite scene the show has done so far. She doesn’t realize Saul’s marriage has just been destroyed. She can only see that she was right: that Brody is up to something as he pulls the informant into a blind spot and possibly hands him the razor he used to kill himself. She’s so bull headed and unperceptive that when he fails to react in a way which satisfies her, she’s explodes. Of course, in her mind, and this is why the scene is so great, she sees that he’s abandoning her, he’s cutting her off and kicking her into the sea, dismissing the evidence she thinks (justifiably too, yet another layer which makes this scene excellent) is absolute and pretty much adding on to the fear which may be gnawing away at her: that she may be delusional about the whole operation regarding Brody.

There’s so much in every episode of Homeland. I really hope people give this show a chance. I haven’t even talked about how great Damian Lewis was, especially when he made his case to see the informant. There’s more in a single episode of this show than in an entire season of others. I think this was the best episode yet.

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