Homeland Season 3 Review “Still Positive”

Five episodes into the season, I had started to give up on Homeland becoming the show I wanted it to be. There were too many glaring mistakes, too many tonal inconsistencies, and too many scenes prominently featuring the love-life of Dana Brody. Aside from one weird trip to Venezuela, the show has induced one facepalm shot after another. The idea of a bounce back episode for the show seemed as implausible as the entire show itself.

Naturally, the show turned in its best episode of the entire season. Kind of.

Coming in to season three, the show didn’t have a lot of good options. By leaving Nicholas Brody in play and blowing up the CIA, the show didn’t really give itself an opportunity to move forward. The best of some bad options were to explore the damage on the Brody family, and have Saul and Carrie pursue the latest worldwide bad guy. After twiddling its thumbs for five episodes, the show finally arrived at the place it should have been all along. The change in focus allowed the show to have its most technically proficient episode of the season. It was well shot, directed, and acted. It produced the requisite amount of tension for a spy thriller. And it produced the kind of ambiguously positive ending characteristic of this era of drama on television. It was a really well done episode of television.

And then there’s the 30 seconds of the episode that basically submarine the entire thing. Carrie’s pregnancy is perhaps the worst case scenario for any fan of the series. I’m pretty sure it will be the last time I root for someone to be pregnant as the result of a one-night stand on the stairs of her apartment. Of course, we all know that’s not the case. We have a little Sergeant in Carrie’s belly. Bad move by Brody for not realizing the mentally fractured woman probably doesn’t keep up with her birth control as she should. Granted, I’m not a television writer or producer, but I did spend several minutes attempting to determine an acceptable ending to the Carrie Mathison pregnancy story. I came up with -3. The number is negative because the obvious options are so horrifying that they count as negatively toward the total.

Unfortunately, this is all going to coalesce around Brody’s prison in Venezuela. I honestly have no idea what happens when we get there, but you know it’s where we’re going. The show refuses to stop making more and more messes. Even the cleanest episode of the season had to have this moment in it. It’s as if Alex Gansa and his writing staff can’t stand being lauded with praise. This episode would have been reviewed well (most of it was really good), and it may have encouraged some casual observers thinking about jumping ship to stick around. Sadly, they just couldn’t stand it. Why have an episode where everyone leaves happy when you can cause more pissy internet comments? There’s no logical explanation other than Gansa likes pissing us off. It’s the only acceptable reason. Congratulations Mr. Gansa: You got me again.