Wednesday, January 04, 2012

1677 - Homeland: season one

Let me get the generic stuff out of the way so that I can talk about specifics.  I'll let you know when I head into spoiler territory...
So I'm just slightly behind others on this season but my wife and I quickly caught up over the holidays.  This is a series about a CIA operative who is told that a POW (Prisoner of War) has been turned and then months later one shows up, having been gone for nearing eight years.  What follows is a hell of a lot of cat-and-mouse as you try to figure out whose in on the plot and if the CIA agent, played absolutely brilliantly by Claire Danes, is brilliant or crazy (minor spoiler - she's a bit of both :) ).  While not a perfect show it's pretty goddamn great and well worth checking out if you haven't yet.


I was pretty impressed with how quickly they burned through story here, and quite shocked that they had Danes and Lewis hook up - although the reasons make sense for the story it surprised me a bit for her character.  Still not sure how I feel about that.  I loved how this season played on your prejudices - as we watch Brody take part in a morning Islamic prayer we have to force ourselves to remember that just because he's converted to Islam doesn't mean that he's a terrorist.  It's a very effective thing to make us feel bad about our thoughts.
I was also impressed by how harsh they went with Danes character in the end of the season.  Having her removed from the CIA was a bold move and I was sure that Brody would be found out just to help clear her name - it but wasn't so - he'll be around next season... and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  To be fair, I'm not sure this is a show that can go on for too many seasons without diminishing returns.  Already this season ended with us feeling like the system can never be beat - the powerful will always be corrupt and rise above the others.  The idea of potentially giving Danes amnesia is annoying and a bit of a cliche.  I like that the "mole" is still out on the lose, as well as the recording that Brody did and hid in the wall (who took it???  very exciting!).  But now we're back to square one, Danes suspects Lewis but no one is going to believe her, and whats worse everyone knows that she's a bit crazy now.  How do you keep that fresh?  And how do you keep the twists coming when you've more or less given everything away about your turncoat?  With Brody alive and entering the political arena I can't see the show keeping up to itself.  How would the CIA stay involved?  How does Carrie?  All great questions and I have to put faith in the creators who gave us a pretty damn solid first season of television.  I'm intrigued to see where they'll head next in this story and how they'll keep it exciting.  It's no small feat.

And last but not least, I love Mandy Patinkin in this series.  I love him in general, but he's the warmth that a show like this absolutely requires.

Give this show a shot, for sure, but be prepared for frustration with how the season ends...

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