Homeland Blog: Episode Six – A Gettysburg Address

There’s more than a hint of The Conversation about Homeland and in this week’s episode, the series paid full homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 thriller. Tracking targets through bustling crowds, losing audio at key moments, being unable to fathom the implication of small gestures: yet the comparison also shows where the format is sagging.

Up until now, the second series has lost its confidence to tell tight story-lines. It’s been throwing high value cards down on the table to blind you to how weak it’s hand actually is. Coppola’s film could turn its entire plot on the smallest of moments and Homeland, even at its best, has seldom achieved that.

There’s plenty of fun to be had in Brody playing both sides. With his possible complicity in the Gettysburg shootings, the series appears to have finally steered itself back to where it was last season. We’ve got the ambiguity back: we realise again that Brody’s motivations remain clouded and this time (with all the blame and recriminations he has faced over the past five episodes) what a bastard he is for doing it. Of course, this second series has flip-flopped wildly and to say again that the series is back on it’s feet feels like letting yourself be sold the same pup twice.

Dana’s problems offer more compelling hope. Her hit and run at least has the ring of a real political scandal: even if her discovery of the woman’s fate relies on a central Washington hospital having incredibly lax security. Brody’s move into Congress opens up the potential for the secrets and lies to refocus on the Graeco-Roman intrigue of American politics. The Brodys could join the Kennedys, the J. Edgar Hoovers and all the others who have used their high office to hide their ruinous secrets, to destroy others and to secure their positions. This could be the series The Kennedys wasn’t.

News from Damian Lewis that a recent “controversialâ€? scene regarding Islam was cut is interesting. The show’s producers have been keen to restate Brody’s Islamic faith should not be equated with his terrorism: but that they have to make such statements is telling. When he first unrolled his prayer mat back in series one, how else did they want us to react other than, “Oh crikey, he’s gone all Bin Laden?!â€? But Roya proves an even greater television truth: if there’s one thing worse than a foreigner, it’s a posh foreigner. They’d kill us if they had the chance.