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The Power Games of Homeland by @NikoleGunn

RecapKevin Perry

Homeland S3 Episode 7: Gerontion 

by Nikole Gunn

I have NO idea what the episode title means.  But perhaps it should be renamed ‘power play’, because games are being played and the various players are jockeying for position.  And it’s delicious.

As we’ve seen in three previous episodes, the show has returned to its complicated and complex storylines.  Textured, multi-layered and crashing over the top of each other.

I suspect the writers have a Sir Walter Scott quote sitting above their computers:  “O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”.

It pretty much sums up the shifting sands of good guy versus bad guy and those watching from the sidelines, who sometimes get involved without revealing which side they’re on.

Oh Homeland, how I have missed you.

So, what do we have in episode 7?  The episode blurb says “Saul makes the gamble of his career without including Dar Adal in his plans, and Carrie and Quinn scramble to contain a local police investigation”.

Interesting that there was no mention of Brody.  Again.  Was Damien Lewis off making a movie while they were filming Season 3?  A quick check of IMDB reveals that Lewis has had a very full dance card this past year. Well, that explains his absence then.

Back to the story; and it’s getting complicated.  The local constabulary believes they have their prime suspect in the brutal murders of two women.  Security cameras at a neighbouring house provide an image of a man at the scene.  It’s Quinn.  Uh-oh.  That could be hard to explain.

It turns out Carrie knows a guy, who just happens to be high up the food chain with the local police.  He won’t derail the investigation for her, but suggests she be up front with the investigating detectives.

Carrie tries, but they’re not buying her ‘it’s classified’ response to their every question. Not buying it at all.  But before they can probe any further, she excuses herself and throws up.  Oh, that’s right she’s pregnant.  And that’s the only reference to her ‘condition’. 

Well done, Homeland creators!  You chose not to dwell on Brody’s probable drug addiction and you avoided turning Homeland into a soap opera by not focusing on Carrie’s pregnancy.  It’s there, but it’s not showing yet.

And that’s what separates Homeland from shows like “Black List” – the current ratings winner.  Some story lines are dangled in front of you, not smacked in your face.  Nor are they neatly tied up with a bow at the end of each episode.  Bravo!

But I digress.  Quinn eventually volunteers to talk to the detectives.  He’ll “confess’ to the murders to give the detectives an ‘out’.  As he explains to Carrie, by confessing to a crime he didn’t commit, it helps atone for the crimes he has committed. 

And while this is all going down, we have Javadi sitting in a safe house, being grilled by Saul and Farah, who’s managed to track the various dodgy banking transactions that lead to him. 

He and Saul do the espionage two-step, reliving their glory days in Tehran before the Revolution, before Saul makes it clear that Javadi has no option but to work for him.  Simple.  If he doesn’t, he’s a dead man walking.

But we do get a nugget of information that seemingly clears Brody of the Langley bombing.  Quizzed by Saul, Javadi reveals Brody didn’t do it.  He wasn’t responsible for the bombing that killed 219 people.  It was one of Abu Nazir’s men.

He later re-affirms this with Carrie.  He tells her it wasn’t Brody, but ‘someone else’.  And his ‘lawyer’ Bennett might be able to provide the answers.  Let the bad guy guessing game begin.

I’d like to think it was the shady Dar Adal.  He’s playing both factions within the CIA: acting director Saul Berenson and the soon-to-be-appointed Senator Lockhart.  And he could very well be playing for someone else.  We shall see.

And of all the complex characters on the show, Lockhart is the one that doesn’t ring true.  He’s too much of a caricature of the power hungry US Senator, wheeling and dealing to get the power he thinks he deserves. 

It’s too heavy-handed, with no subtlety in his portrayal at all.  They should have watched a few episodes of House of Cards to see how it should be done.  Kevin Spacey’s “Frank Underwood” is exquisite.

With Lockhart, they might as well have put him in a black cowboy hat, with a ‘bad guy’ sign around his neck.  And when Saul eventually outlines what’s been going down, his response is predictable.  All bluff and bluster and threats to go to the President.

And then he finds himself locked in the boardroom, as Saul allows Javadi to fly out of the country.  Check mate.  And there’s that shifty Dar Adal, who’s patting Saul on the back for a job well done. Don’t let your guard down with that one, Saul!

So what has this episode given us in terms of the story: Saul has made a powerful enemy in Senator Lockhart. The Iranian master spy Javadi may have been turned.   Brody wasn’t the Langley bomber. 

There are still unanswered questions.  I still like Quinn as Carrie’s baby daddy.  Their knowing glances hint at a relationship beyond being work colleagues.  He reveals to her that he’s disillusioned with the CIA and wants out and he very quickly changes his mind, when Carrie begs him to help her clear Brody.

I could be reading too much into it.  It could be just a red herring.  But sometimes with Homeland, the red herring isn’t always a red herring.

And that pretty much sums up the show. 



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