Review: Homeland (Series 3, Episode 1)

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After a powerful climax to season two of Homeland, with the death of 219 people in a terrorist attack at Langley, viewers would expect an equally dramatic and tantalizing start to season three. However, ‘Tin Man Is Down’ was a disappointing follow on from such an impressive closing episode. Viewers were edged in too gently with the episode greatly reminiscent of a poor soap opera.

One of the main focuses was how Brody’s family copes with their new reality. Although this does make interesting television, from Homeland more would be expected. The troubled teen Dana wasted valuable screen time, not least through the almost distasteful aspect of her sexting a new male friend. Although the revelation that she attempted suicide was interesting and provided some background to what ensued during the two months since the attack on Langley, her rather drippy character continued to be of great focus, as it had been in the previous series.  Possibly more of an interesting angle to take would have been the impact on the son, who has taken little air time as of yet.

homeland 2Moreover, Brody’s lack of presence meant there is little incentive to watch episode two. Many questions about his whereabouts spring to mind and none of these were answered or look to be in the near future. In an interview co-Producer Howard Gordon said, “It’s entirely possible that there could be Homeland without Brody”. Yet with two series greatly focusing around him, surely his presence is necessary for the show to not lose track.

Despite this, however, when the episode delved more into the lives and relationships of Carrie and Saul it became much more interesting. Throughout the whole series of Homeland they have had almost a father/daughter relationship with Saul protecting and desperately supporting Carrie. His actions at the end of the episode provide a shocking turn in their relationship.  This ties in with the powerful aspects of the episode that see Carrie racked with guilt about the attack on Langley and her attempts to manage being bipolar without medication. ‘Tin Man Is Down’ is saved through Claire Danes’ brilliant acting as Carrie, which has been evident throughout the series and is continued in this less than exciting episode.

Saul’s new role as Director after the death of David Estes in the attack further provides an interesting story line as he struggles to adapt to his new role. Yet there is too much of a jump in the actions of the CIA which dampens the impact of the episode. The organisation appears to have become much more kill friendly with the assassinations of six terrorists. The fact that they are on three different continents and are successfully killed within 5 minutes, adds an unrealistic element to the actions, but it is an American drama after all! Let’s hope that in spite of a poor episode one, we get answers about Brody’s whereabouts sooner rather than later and lose the soap style that is emerging.

6/10

Homeland is broadcast on Channel 4 on Sunday, 9pm. Episode one is available on 4oD.

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