Homeland Season 3 Review “Gerontion”

To put it mildly, there has been a lot to take in on Homeland the past few weeks. We’ve had Saul’s marital strife, CIA musical chairs, Carrie’s pill flushing, Carrie’s pregnancy, everything Dana, and the onrushing disappointment of another Washington Wizards basketball season for Chris Brody. People have been disappointed (to put that mildly) and confused by the whole lot of it. With so many things in the air, it was weird to watch the show spend time on storylines both ludicrous and inconsequential. Tonight’s episode is stripped to the basics frustrated viewers have desired. At the end of 48 solid minutes of exposition and piece-moving, I’m still not sure what we’re trying to accomplish.

The turning of Javadi is the centerpiece of the episode, and the highlight of Saul’s “very good day”. Even though Mira had quite the day herself (HI-OH!), Saul’s recruitment of Javadi is daring, and it’s really exciting to see the show’s most sympathetic character have his moment in the sun. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder about the point of it all. Saul can lock Tracy Letts Senator Lockhart in a cool room all he wants, there’s nothing stopping him from yanking Javadi back to the US when he assumes control of the CIA. And I mean literally nothing. It’s like watching a dog catch up with a car. Now what? With Javadi back on a plane to Iran, where does the show go now?

Sadly, Carrie’s conversation with Quinn tells us exactly where. There’s been a lot of discussion about the specter of Brody this season. Now that a known terrorist has told us Brody didn’t do it (sheesh), we really have to find the former sergeant-turned-congressman. With Saul getting his big moment here in episode seven, there’s a legitimate fear that the season’s second half will be very Brody-centric. I enjoyed Brody’s only appearance of the season, and I wouldn’t mind a check-in, but I don’t want Quinn and Carrie to be the ones coming for a visit. We eventually have to deal with Brody, but I’m not sure if anyone would complain if he died from a heroin overdose at the end of next week’s episode. As wonderful of an actor Damian Lewis is, the continued presence of his character brings out the worst in the show. That being said, everyone better get used to the idea the season is rapidly heading in that direction. Make sure you back your tropical gear everyone, let’s head to Venezuela!

While it’s easy to bemoan the supposedly bleak future of the show going forward, it would be short-sighted to not mention the quality work by a lot of players in this episode. All of the usual luminaries did their great work, but Tracy Letts’ pained disbelief in Saul’s office was really cool to watch. Any parent or school teacher knows that look well. Whatever we may think of the man, it’s hard to not realize that a man like him would find this entire thing profoundly stupid. The entire sequence was terrific. F. Murray Abraham respecting Saul’s game was great as well. Saul out Dar-Adaled Dar Adal. How could he not respect the hustle? This episode was the best of what Homeland has left to offer. It may not be what it once was, but it still has a few fastballs left. It just remains to see how long it can last. Given everything that has come before it, it’s difficult to be confident in a return to past glories.