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    Homeland, Ep. 4.11, “Krieg Nicht Lieb” is a twisty mess

    I don’t think we can ever win with Homeland, and we need to accept that. There will always be a frustrating polarity present, because it has always been there and it seems content to stay there. The series gives in to its best and worst tendencies on a weekly basis, thrilling in one scene with refreshing ease and then backpedalling in the next. It is a careful mediation on modern war, but it is also the 24-esque twisty action show. Sometimes, that binary opposition is entertaining and even beneficial, but other times—like this episode—it just feels disappointing.
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    Homeland, Ep. 4.09, “There’s Something Else Going On” shows the series at its best, and worst

    Homeland sometimes feels like two (or more) different shows at once. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it bites down hard on both its best and its worst tendencies within the same episode, and it can make one uneasy. But until the last couple of scenes this week, Homeland is a slow burn master-stroke of tension and emotional power. Let’s talk about that first.

    Despite whatever the writers may think, the best relationship on the show by far has always been that of Carrie and Saul. The show has wisely been playing up that connection despite the two being separated. When Carrie made the (botched) decision to bomb Saul and Haqqani, everyone thought she was crazy, but we know Saul would have understood her choice and perhaps even encouraged it. Her betrayal of his trust last week felt tangible in its comprehensive manipulation. These two both seem exhausted by what this war has done to them and as she says to him in this episode’s best moment, “No more dying.” More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.08, “Halfway to a Donut” is all about wrong choices

    After a few uneven weeks, Homeland is back in top form. This show always works best when it’s deeply in spy mode, tense and forcing impossible decisions. This episode is also unpredictable in a way it hasn’t been. Saul’s escape is gripping and the position it leaves Carrie in is not only a perfect moment of frustration and heartbreak, but it also seemingly breaks the bond between the two. Her betrayal is not something that Saul will easily forgive (“Fuck you, Carrie! You goddamn lied!”). More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.07, “Redux” is only a hallucination

    There was a moment during this episode where I questioned whether or not I could continue watching this show. It came at the end, when we were treated to a surprise appearance by Damian Lewis. That’s right, Brody was briefly back, and though I knew better, it still seemed conceivable that he was actually there and not a figment of Carrie’s imagination. She had already thought the guy in the hospital had been Quinn, but it still seemed plausible that Homeland would bring Brody back because it didn’t know what else to do and for the headlines on Monday morning (it’s getting those anyway, of course). More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.06, “From A to B and Back Again” can’t take the shot

    What are we going to do with you, Carrie Mathison? In a season that still feels like it’s waiting to kick into gear six episodes in, the events of “From A to B and Back Again” feel overly telegraphed in a way that Homeland’s writers usually manage to avoid. It shows the seams in the season as a whole, which has been constructed in a manner that just feels wrong, and frustrating. Enveloped in melodrama and stupid decisions, Homeland is falling way off track. More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.05, “About A Boy” an uneasy hour of bad choices

    “I’m a spy. I know shit.”

    That line, spoken by John Redmond, is funny in the moment, but begins to feel ironic by the end of the episode. Practically everyone is off their game this week, with an abundance of questionable decisions leading to Saul getting kidnapped. By this point, we’ve spent plenty of time with Carrie, Saul, Quinn, even Fara. We know what they can do, we know how good they are at their jobs…except when the writers need them to be stupid. It all feels overly telegraphed, to the point where these uncharacteristic decisions not only frustrate on a plot level, but a character one too. It’s reminiscent of how a show like Family Guy treats its characters and its continuity, which is an unfortunate comparison to make with a high profile prestige drama. More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.04, “Iron in the Fire” goes the Full Carrie

    There are several reminders in this episode about how good Carrie is at her job, as if the writers are making sure we have the right perspective on her character heading into the episode’s final scene. Fara tells Quinn when he arrives, “I don’t know how she finds time to sleep.” Later, the guy John Redmond had tailing Carrie last episode (and failing) tells John, simply, “She’s good.” Considering the fact that we’ve seen Carrie often at her worst, it is valuable to remember what a good agent she is. Which brings us to that final scene.
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    Homeland, Ep. 4.03: “Shalwar Kameez” brings the team back together

    Is Homeland a show about romance? Put another way, is romance central to what it is trying to say about war, intelligence, bureaucracy? After the Carrie/Brody romance was present through three seasons of the show, there were undoubtedly many that hoped the show would get back to basics with Brody gone. They looked forward to Carrie moving to Pakistan, letting her baby and its father fade into the past, taking control of her new station and hunting down bad guys. That stuff is happening, but we also seem as if we may be heading towards a Carrie/Quinn romance, and it’s unclear if that’s a good thing. More

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    The Televerse #162- Alias with Emma Fraser

    There may be fewer TV shows to discuss this week, but there are many interesting episodes, both successes and failures, giving us plenty to talk about this week on the podcast. First we take a look at the comedies, including a spooktacular Gravity Falls, the pilots of Bad Judge and Mulaney, and Bob’s Burgers’ musical […] More

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    Homeland, Ep. 4.1/4.2, “The Drone Queen”/”Trylon and Perisphere” hits reboot

    The opening minutes of Homeland’s fourth season, designed to disorient and excite, throws us into Carrie’s new world as the CIA station chief in Kabul. This double feature premiere hits the ground running as we watch how Carrie and her team make a decision that looks as if it will have reverberations throughout the rest of the season. Welcome back, Homeland is saying, and let us get “back to basics”.
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  • Alias season one cast photo
    in

    The Televerse #162- Alias with Emma Fraser

    There may be fewer TV shows to discuss this week, but there are many interesting episodes, both successes and failures, giving us plenty to talk about this week on the podcast. First we take a look at the comedies, including a spooktacular Gravity Falls, the pilots of Bad Judge and Mulaney, and Bob’s Burgers’ musical […] More

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