Sunday, December 1, 2013

REVIEW: 'Homeland' Struggles Getting Brody Across the Iranian Border in 'Good Night' but the Mission Isn't Over Yet

Showtime's Homeland - Episode 3.10 Good Night

Brody embarks on a high-stakes mission but his fragile condition threatens the operation; Quinn makes an uncomfortable discovery about Carrie; and Fara is forced to rejoin the team due to a sudden crisis.

You have to figure that Homeland laying out its planned endgame for the third season with three episodes left that things in reality would not go according to plan. And for the majority of "Good Night," it feels like every factor possible is working against the operation. At a certain point, even Saul is defeated that his grand plan failed and leaves the operation base to go wallow in his office. But in the end, Brody is exactly where he needs to be and the plan moves forward.

"Good Night" is not a flashy episode of Homeland. It's an hour designed by tension and CIA action. Trying to get Brody into Iran is the large focus in this episode - with only minor instances where the soapy twists seep into the hour. I don't think I ever believed that Brody wouldn't get into Iran but the episode did largely keep my focus. I was startled when the IED went off and I enjoyed the arc that Brody had in the hour. But I'm largely more anticipated to see how the show plans to resolve this storyline right now.

But for what it's worth, I like where Homeland creatively is right now. I basically hate how the show got to this point in the season. But right now, I feel like there is a strong and clear sense of where the show is heading. And the show has basically thrown all the extraneous stuff to the sidelines. I don't feel like we need to see the Brody family again this season - unless Brody does in fact (finally) die, then I would be intrigue to see what their reactions to the news would be.

But I enjoy how the show found use out of the Brody character again - who honestly I was content in letting him stay in that Caracas building for a long time. Damian Lewis gave a great performance in the last episode and he continues that in this one as well. The moment were the Iraq police officer is shot in front of him and he wants to pull out is a strong one as is his determination later in the episode to get to the border at all costs. Then, his telling his fellow captured soldier about what will happen next and his freaking out at Javadi for shooting him was a strong ending point for the hour. Lewis has gone big and broad in this role before -- the latter half of season two -- but that character feels grounded in a strong reality right now.

If only the show could find something of value in Carrie again, then the show would be making its way back into my heart. But alas, the show has taken her love for Brody and turned it into her only defining characteristic right now. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Good Night" was a greatly directed hour of television as well. I really loved that shot of Brody in silhouette praying against the sunset.
  • I like Fara a lot and want to see more from her. But when Carrie went to ask her for her uncle's help was a pretty horrific scene. Carrie is trying to work out an actually extraction plan for Brody and is willing to do anything to make it happen. At the expense of Fara - who shouldn't have to do such a thing.
  • Every Sunday this fall, I have told myself that I'm gonna review the new episode of Homeland only to get too busy later on to actually do it. So I'm glad that I finally had the chance to catch back in this week. And good news, I should be able to cover the final two weeks of the season as well.