Homeland Series-Blog: Episode 3 – A State of Independence

HOMELAND: Sunday 21st October, C4, 9pm

At the start of this week’s episode, it looked like the worst fears of those expecting a quick reset were about to be met. Saul was detained and the card carrying the game changing recording taken from him. But clever old Homeland knew better; Saul had another card. The series knows what its cynical, media fatted audience expects and is happy to cuff you around the back of the head for patronising it.

It’s a pity more hasn’t been built on Saul’s discovery yet – it takes him the length of the episode to get back from Beirut. So far this series, we’ve had plenty of action, but little actual movement in the main plot. Happily, the intrigue this week was pretty compelling.

We’re beginning to see an interesting reversal in the show’s conceit. The intrigue now lies in how far Brody will go to protect his family from his misdeeds. That hope of absolution seems to have replaced the desire for revenge that motivated him in the first series. It’s not Hitchcock – our hero’s guilty as sin – but Brody is a man on the run. In his murder of the tailor, we got a reminder that we still can’t be certain of his depths.

Brody has been honed into a killing machine by both sides of this war – how is he meant to adjust to normality after that? Whether she realises it or not, that’s what Jessica’s speech was about. Cutting to Brody furiously hosing off the filth of his latest kill was not accidental. There are shades of the first Rambo movie; before the series went all jingoistic and it still had something intelligent to say about the nature of combat.

The exposition’s as blunt as ever (“Must I remind you that he’s the one man who knows the truth about you?â€? No, but thanks for reminding /me/). Homeland’s been talked about as if it’s the next Wire or Mad Men, but the concern to keep grabbing the hand of casual viewers reminds you it’s more like the new 24 (the shows share some significant backstage crew). To do it down for that would be a terrible value judgement; it’s a tight, intelligent, character-led thriller. I can’t wait to see where it leads us next.

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