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Episode 12: The Star

Episode 12

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by Lucy
Jun 4, 2016 11:22AM EDT
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(Review of Seasons 1-3) Homeland focuses on Carrie Matthison and her role in the CIA, investigating Nicholas Brody; a Marine who returns to the USA after being a prisoner of war for 8 years and whom Carrie suspects has ‘turned’ by his captors. Half the fun of the first season is trying to work out if Carrie is correct or not in her accusations against Brody and whether or not anyone will believe her. The dynamic between Carrie and Brody is one of the best parts of the show and their relationship in series 1-2 is electrifying. They push and pull each other with words and promises and get in so deep with each others emotions really early on. Using each other for escapism and literally to escape at times, its a very balanced relationship as Carrie needs Brody for the CIA case and to personally live, whilst Brody needs Carrie to support him through readjusting to his new life and working out what needs to be done about his whole ‘double agent’ situation. Carrie is a great ‘grey’ character. She’s ultimately trying to protect her country and save as many lives as possible, on her terms. Her agenda is usually completely different to the CIAs and often better, however her means of getting information and progressing sometimes cause moral conflicts - it’s really interesting to see how she and her team deal with the ethical implications of covert intelligence and how getting information requires stretching everyone to breaking point. Carrie is an intelligent, confident woman who is battling at times in a male dominated field, but goddammit she holds her own 99% of the time and for that in a prime time drama is something we rarely see - a woman refusing to back down over something she believes in, or appears to conform but the goes and does her own thing anyway. Feisty and unpredictable are definitely the two traits Carrie has in spades. Her mood disorder is also an interesting plot point, it’s used against her countlessly, but Carrie herself doesn’t let it stop her from what she does best and pushes through, quite literally, to do the best job she can. You can’t help but not like Carrie, although her methods are sometimes disturbing, she tries so so hard, it’s it’s impossible not to fall in love with her determination. Saul is possibly my favourite character as he’s so old school and just RIGHT about everything in his own gruff and deeply respectful way. He’s a true negotiator and spymaster but not a motivated political player, which at his level is something that makes him seem unworthy of authority to other characters in the CIA. The political, moral and family battles Saul encounters are different to Carrie’s but they interlink and ultimately affect each others decisions and emotions. Brody and his family story arc is painful at times but it gives a glimpse of how hard it is to recover from trauma and rebuild a life. As well as highlighting the intense media scrutiny faced by ‘American heroes’ and politicians. Brody himself is a broken man, and although his time spent with Carrie helps to fix him, he never really recovers fully. Quinn is a character I didn’t really like when he was introduced in series 2, but by the end of the 3rd season, I was really starting to get on board with him and his back story as we learnt more about his character and intentions. He acts as the conscience to Carrie’s often franticness and his level headedness and skills as a dark ops specialist come in very handy. (Also a brief shout out to my favourite intelligence techs Virgil and Max who add some humour to the show and are loyal to Carrie and just really nice normal guys in a world of power hungry politicians and CIA workers). Series 1 rattles through at breakneck speed and nicely balances Carrie’s search for the truth about Brody and Brody’s “dark grey” nature and recovery. The plot to blow up several top US politicians with Brody at its helm and claustrophobic, emotional scenes was a real highlight of the first season. Series 2 continues superbly, with more characters coming into play ( including QUINN) and more choices on Carrie and Brody’s behalf, with Brody making and straining alliances. The season finale bomb explosion was entirely unexpected and striking with character deaths, department reshuffles and parting of ways for many characters after a long series of forming and testing alliances. Series 3 took a LONG TIME to get going, mainly as for the first 4 episodes, the audience for once were in the dark about what Carrie was really up to, which was an ambitious idea, but it didn’t really play off too well from an audience perspective. The remains of the third season was very well done covering new territory (literally) and having a more political/foreign policy feel to it which helped to move away from the “Brody is obviously going to die this season the question is when” vibe. The resolution of the Brody arc and how Carrie experiences some freedom for the first time in a long time. The final scene where Carrie sneakily adds an extra star onto the commemoration wall at the CIA for Brody is beautifully done and if the show had ended there, it would have been a very fitting end indeed.
(Review of Seasons 1-3) Homeland focuses on Carrie Matthison and her role in the CIA, investigating Nicholas Brody; a Marine who returns to the USA after being a prisoner of war for 8 years and whom Carrie suspects has ‘turned’ by his captors. Half the fun of the first season is trying to work out if Carrie is correct or not in her accusations against Brody and whether or not anyone will believe her. The dynamic between Carrie and Brody is one of the best parts of the show and their relationship in series 1-2 is electrifying. They push and pull each other with words and promises and get in so deep with each others emotions really early on. Using each other for escapism and literally to escape at times, its a very balanced relationship as Carrie needs Brody for the CIA case and to personally live, whilst Brody needs Carrie to support him through readjusting to his new life and working out what needs to be done about his whole ‘double agent’ situation. Carrie is a great ‘grey’ character. She’s ultimately trying to protect her country and save as many lives as possible, on her terms. Her agenda is usually completely different to the CIAs and often better, however her means of getting information and progressing sometimes cause moral conflicts - it’s really interesting to see how she and her team deal with the ethical implications of covert intelligence and how getting information requires stretching everyone to breaking point. Carrie is an intelligent, confident woman who is battling at times in a male dominated field, but goddammit she holds her own 99% of the time and for that in a prime time drama is something we rarely see - a woman refusing to back down over something she believes in, or appears to conform but the goes and does her own thing anyway. Feisty and unpredictable are definitely the two traits Carrie has in spades. Her mood disorder is also an interesting plot point, it’s used against her countlessly, but Carrie herself doesn’t let it stop her from what she does best and pushes through, quite literally, to do the best job she can. You can’t help but not like Carrie, although her methods are sometimes disturbing, she tries so so hard, it’s it’s impossible not to fall in love with her determination. Saul is possibly my favourite character as he’s so old school and just RIGHT about everything in his own gruff and deeply respectful way. He’s a true negotiator and spymaster but not a motivated political player, which at his level is something that makes him seem unworthy of authority to other characters in the CIA. The political, moral and family battles Saul encounters are different to Carrie’s but they interlink and ultimately affect each others decisions and emotions. Brody and his family story arc is painful at times but it gives a glimpse of how hard it is to recover from trauma and rebuild a life. As well as highlighting the intense media scrutiny faced by ‘American heroes’ and politicians. Brody himself is a broken man, and although his time spent with Carrie helps to fix him, he never really recovers fully. Quinn is a character I didn’t really like when he was introduced in series 2, but by the end of the 3rd season, I was really starting to get on board with him and his back story as we learnt more about his character and intentions. He acts as the conscience to Carrie’s often franticness and his level headedness and skills as a dark ops specialist come in very handy. (Also a brief shout out to my favourite intelligence techs Virgil and Max who add some humour to the show and are loyal to Carrie and just really nice normal guys in a world of power hungry politicians and CIA workers). Series 1 rattles through at breakneck speed and nicely balances Carrie’s search for the truth about Brody and Brody’s “dark grey” nature and recovery. The plot to blow up several top US politicians with Brody at its helm and claustrophobic, emotional scenes was a real highlight of the first season. Series 2 continues superbly, with more characters coming into play ( including QUINN) and more choices on Carrie and Brody’s behalf, with Brody making and straining alliances. The season finale bomb explosion was entirely unexpected and striking with character deaths, department reshuffles and parting of ways for many characters after a long series of forming and testing alliances. Series 3 took a LONG TIME to get going, mainly as for the first 4 episodes, the audience for once were in the dark about what Carrie was really up to, which was an ambitious idea, but it didn’t really play off too well from an audience perspective. The remains of the third season was very well done covering new territory (literally) and having a more political/foreign policy feel to it which helped to move away from the “Brody is obviously going to die this season the question is when” vibe. The resolution of the Brody arc and how Carrie experiences some freedom for the first time in a long time. The final scene where Carrie sneakily adds an extra star onto the commemoration wall at the CIA for Brody is beautifully done and if the show had ended there, it would have been a very fitting end indeed.
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