Homeland Season 2 Review “Broken Hearts”

Homeland Season 2 Episode 10 Broken Hearts (10)

The concept of “good will” is a valuable commodity in television. Shows can garner a great deal of good will in a short period of time, and they can watch it dissipate just as quickly. However, if you can garner enough good will, a television show’s captive audience will remain loyal in the face of random internet commenters, snarky bloggers, and anyone else who isn’t in the tank as deep as the core audience. When you like something, no one can tell that you really don’t like it. It doesn’t matter how cogent their argument is or how hard they try, your mind won’t be changed. Why does any of this matter? Because the fans of Homeland have reached that particular crossroads.

Tonight’s episode of Homeland showcased a lot of what is really, really good about this show. The sheer amount of tension that arrived seemingly from nowhere (although the jazz music is a sure sign something is about to go wrong), Saul’s matter-of-fact but incredibly beautiful diction, and levels of competent acting that cannot be superseded by any other television program. Some may match it, but none will top it.

That being said, there is no denying the endless fodder for the haters provided by tonight’s episode. Really, if you want go after tonight’s episode, you will not struggle for material. Brody walking around the Vice President’s residence without a hint of security, Nazir knowing exactly where to attack Carrie, the face of Abu Nazir not being plastered on every conceivable wall in America so that the local bodega guy could recognize them, Brody Skypeing with the world’s most wanted terrorist while in a CIA safehouse, Carrie not telling anyone to protect the Vice President after she escaped, etc., etc. All of the action in the episode will cause a lot of viewers (and definitely television critics) to think about 24. 24 was certainly wonderful, but Homeland seems to aspire to something higher. Many people will make the 24-Homeland comparison using tonight’s episode, and they probably won’t be wrong.

However, if someone is watching Homeland and considering all of the points of plausibility issues, then they are going about it the wrong way. Homeland is not an action show. Granted, the type of content involved in the show calls for some action from time to time, but the show rests on the back of a CIA analyst, not a soldier. As a result, the show revolves around surveillance, intelligence, and trying to outwit your enemies as opposed to filling them full of bullets. It’s a show that constantly struggles with what is in its heart versus what is in its head. It’s that inward struggle inside of our characters, not the outward struggle between two competing factions, that drives the show. Yes, the tone of the show would seem to indicate that the show should carry with it a greater degree of plausibility, but that’s perception ruling over what’s truly in front of us. At the end of the day, we are watching a television show. If you have come to this show seeking a realistic account of the War on Terror, then you have come here under false assumptions.

Stay strong Homeland fans: Surrender yourself to the madness. It will allow you to have a greater appreciation for what is good about the show.