The Remote: ‘Homeland’ twists itself into trouble again

Ryan Pait

Spoiler alert: The following column will talk extensively about the third season of “Homeland.” You have been warned.

Oh, “Homeland.”

I say one nice thing about you, and then you go completely crazy again.

I don’t know if there’s a more contentious relationship in my life than the one between “Homeland” and me.

The most frustrating aspect of the whole situation is that I loved the first season of the show. It was sharp, insightful and had something to say about post-9/11 America.

The first half of season two showed promise. “Beirut is Back” and “Q&A” are fantastic episodes of television. They almost make up for the ridiculousness that the back half of the second season turned out to be.


Season three seems to be going the same way. I praised the first two episodes: they showed that “Homeland” can work without Brody (Damian Lewis), or maybe even that it works better without him.

Then Brody came back for episode three, titled “Tower of David.” What we got was a long, torturous episode that showed exactly what Brody’s been up to. I think I checked the time about 40 times in the episode’s 53 minutes.

But he was only back (so far) for that one episode. So I gave “Homeland” yet another chance.

And that’s where I went wrong.

Episode four was when I realized that things might be getting truly unfixable.

There’s a huge focus on Brody’s daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor), who steals her mother’s car and runs off with her homicidal boyfriend, Leo (Sam Underwood).

Dana’s storylines never work for me on “Homeland,” but this one might be the height of ridiculousness.

There’s a good way and a bad way to portray the pangs of adolescence on TV. Dana stealing a car (and then for some reason swapping it for another) and running off with her boyfriend does not have the same poignancy as Sally Draper getting her first period on “Mad Men.”

There’s no meaning or purpose behind what Dana’s doing—it’s just happening for the sake of drama, and I don’t like it.

It’d be fine with me if “Homeland” had always been like this, but it hasn’t.

This same episode also ends with an ultimate—and most frustrating—shock. It’s revealed that everything that Carrie (Claire Danes) has done so far in the season has been a charade engineered by her and Saul (Mandy Patinkin).

To quickly recap, Carrie got sent to the psych ward and put through the ringer in the press for her involvement with Brody.

Is it a good twist? Sure. But it’s delivered in the worst way, and it doesn’t hold water.

We’ve seen Carrie crying in the privacy of her own home over Saul publicly shaming her. Why would she though, if she knows it’s all fakery?

Jerky storytelling like this is like thinking that your cat has learned to use the litter box, but then realizing that it’s been peeing all over the house.

In another twist, Carrie took a pregnancy test in a recent episode, and it’s positive.

The episode’s title? “Still Positive.”

Of course.

And just like that, “Homeland” has twisted itself into trouble once again.

Here’s a twist you might actually see coming: “Homeland” and I might be done for good after this season.