Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homeland, Ep. 3-3: "Tower of David"

Brody's back! And bald. And totally fucked. But alive, just barely - if you count recovering from a gunshot wound in a flophouse in Caracas, heavily guarded by a man who for some mysterious reason would rather keep him prisoner than turn him in for a $10 million bounty, and pressed by a shady doctor to get hooked on smack.

Brody's captors tell him in no uncertain terms that this is the end of the line for him. I'd be more concerned except that I don't believe for a minute that the "Homeland" writers are going to let him rot in Caracas for the rest of the season. Just as I'm equally sure that they're not going to let Carrie spend the rest of the season in the psych ward.

Still, the episode was pretty effective in conveying just how hopeless and trapped both of our leads are right now, in prisons that in some sense were of their own making. Watching them struggle in vain to get out somehow managed to be both interesting and tedious at the same time. I'm not sure how the show can get them out without running into all the plausibility problems that plagued season 2, but I'm willing to withhold judgment for now. That said, I think I'm going to take a break from recapping "Homeland" until it introduces some kind of game-changer, for good or for bad. I'm skeptical that the show will ever return to the quality of season 1 - I think the writers have boxed themselves into a corner with respect to Carrie and Brody - but I will keep watching in hopes that it does.

Random observations:

-Brody's captor must really owe someone a huge favor. But who besides Carrie has any interest in keeping Brody alive? I mean, besides the hot daughter who rather improbably seems to have fallen for the pale bald guy. (Don't get me wrong, Damien Lewis is pretty dreamy, but Brody's not exactly in his best state at the moment.)

-The real standout character of the episode, IMO, was the heroin-pushing doctor with a pedophilic streak. Fun fact: Erik Todd Dellums, the actor who played him, was also in "The Wire" and, before that, "Homicide."

-Thought Claire Danes did a great job capturing Carrie's tenuous mental state - partly under control thanks to the lithium, but still barely holding it together. She was especially good in the opening scene with the doctor, pitifully trying to get him to put in a good word with her de facto jailer, Saul.

-Also liked Carrie's scene with the lawyer, though it's not clear whether she's just being paranoid or is correct in her suspicions. Based on the show's track record of validating Carrie's intuition even when she's most unstable, I go for option B.


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