We’re at a crucial point with “Homeland.” Usually at the halfway mark with shows, there’s a basic premise already set which is built upon slowly to reach a pinnacle in the finale. But not with “Homeland,” oh no. There are plots and twists at every turn. Just when you think you’ve got it a bit figured out, they hit you in the face with something new. While that’s worked with the first two seasons, the third time round, Showtime hasn’t been quite up to the mark. “Gerontion” is a dig at, we suppose, the two gerontics, based on the 1920 TS Eliot poem about an elderly man reflecting on his life. And so it’s our favourite gent, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin ) who throughout the episode gives us an insight into his decaying life.
Maybe the creators have taken heed to the internet’s rage-fuelled suggestions seriously, maybe they’ve hit a wall with how to take it forward. For whatever reason the Gods had mercy on us, we are grateful. “Gerontion” completely did away with any Brody family drama, including Dana’s (Morgan Saylor) teenage chronicles.
It was spy action all the way starting with an investigation of last week’s crime. At the outset, we’d like to say that Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) has become a favourite character. One of the best in his business, this spy turned sloppy when he was captured on a neighbour’s security camera. Really now? There’s no way out of this pickle other than him confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. Strangely enough, in the name of national security, he walks free but not before detective Johnson (played by the episode’s director Clark Johnson) tears him apart with scathing words, “Do you ever do anything other than make things worse?” Major ouch. For the first time in a long time, “Homeland” showed us a different side to things. It was reflective in parts. With Quinn’s sombre thoughts, we all wondered with him, whether it’s really worth it.
This was then only reiterated when Fara Sherazi (Naznin Boniadi) feels betrayed when she learns what really is in store for Javadi (Shaun Toub). Her trembling fingers picked up the scissor to inflict self-body harm, but she couldn’t hurt Javadi. In fact, she can never hurt him like he’s hurt her country.
Side note: Is it us, or is there some serious love brewing between Quinn and Carrie Mathinson (Claire Danes)? His confession of “being done” really had us going.
Despite the moral inflections and the strictly-business approach to “Gerontion,” “Homeland” takes one step forward, but still manages to remain two paces behind. This episode saw Javadi as putty in Saul’s able hands. After what has seemed like years, there’s finally some action happening on “Homeland” and even then it falls short. The deputy chief of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) is behind the table, confidently dolling out his demands and Saul is patiently indulging him. Only when the larger picture is revealed, do we see a chink in Javadi’s calm and controlled demeanour. However, the aggression in his voice never fully reaches his face. It just ends up feeling rehearsed. Neither do we believe that Saul will get away with what he’s proposed. See, this is another instance of a being wild instead of brave.
Sadly enough, the highlight of the episode was senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) getting trolled by Saul and Dar Adal (F Murray Abraham). With defiance and rebellion, Saul took back the agency, albeit for his last two weeks, blazing ahead with his radical plan that “might change the Middle East.” A fraternity house prank it might have been, but it certainly broke away from the monotony of the episode that had settled in comfortably at that point.
As is with all “Homeland” episodes, the real crux of the matter only revealed itself at the end: It’s all about Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). Even when he’s not there, and is probably shooting up heroin in the Tower of David, the creators are trying their hardest to revive the success they feasted upon when the show was all about the ill-fated love between Mathinson and Brody. <Insert humongous sigh here>.
It seems the latter half of the season is going to be all about clearing our the fallen hero’s name and bringing him back to glory, of course with some rehab thrown in. It just goes to show that not every show is “Breaking Bad.” Networks can’t continuously make good television. There will be ups and downs. But “Homeland” is really sinking here. Even when they give us what we want, it’s not good enough.
The next episode is titled “A Red Wheelbarrow,” during the preview of which, we were treated to some really intense scenes where Carrie boldly tries to get to the bottom of the Langley bombing mystery. It’s going to get real, people. Or so they want us to believe.
- Watch the next episode of “Homeland” on October 18, 2013, 10 pm on Star World Premiere HD.