strikethrough on plot reveals – BEWARE!)
Once, long ago, I was able to switch a show off and not binge watch it until two o clock in the morning. That is no more because Homeland has no ethical values about normal sleeping patterns. Season four started off fine, but I was very detached from it all. Then the last few episodes happen: stuff blowing up, sieges, people getting abducted, and death all over the place. I could not stop watching, and I have the feeling that I will have a Sherlock sulk because Homeland is done now and Season 5 hasn’t even aired yet. Season four is miles better than season three. This is the order in which I will rand Homeland seasons in order of excellence:
The fourth season felt fresh. I enjoyed it because they didn’t have that pesky Nicholas Brody story arc to deal with anymore, and they could focus on what the show does best – the intricacies of counter-terrorism.
Homeland had a new and viable direction with the Pakistani government and their views on terrorism. Homeland is expert on creating situations where you have no idea who to root for. In season one and two it was Nicholas Brody – a pitiful character that went through probably one of the worst things anyone will ever go through, but I never really had a handle on if he was good or bad. The only villain that I can say I successfully wanted to be popped is Majid Javadi back in Season Three. He was the only character in Homeland that I could hate one hundred percent (maybe that is why Season Three wasn’t so powerful for me). This season’s chosen terrorist, Haissam Haqqani, was revolting and cruel, but he said some things that made me think twice about what he thought of the world.
What I liked:
All the sass that was thrown to Carrie’s side: “There is not even a disease for what is wrong with you”, and “it’s not about you” were two of my favorite lines. Carrie always messes up but no one, except Saul, ever told her exactly what they think about her actions. Not anymore though. Carrie is getting it from all sides, and it is maybe the one thing that can make her character more bearable.
Episodes 6-10: The season started off with the slow pace Homeland is known for, and then exploded with Saul’s kidnapping. The last two episodes had me biting my nails and exclaiming out loud – not something I usually do when watching a show alone.
Quinn’s character development: Quinn and Saul are my favorite characters in this show. I feel about them like I feel about Tyrion Lannister – pop him (or them) and I’m out. A big flaw in Homeland’s makeup was that they started season three with possible character development for Quinn and then just dropped it when they had other things to put up on the screen. Quinn began this season with a traumatic experience but luckily this time around he is developed. I appreciated his German friend’s opinion on Quinn that he will always try to leave the CIA but will never do it – accept that about him or walk away. I do not appreciate the Quinn loves Carrie storyline at all. As I mentioned to Zoë, Quinn needs a real nice person to save him and Carrie doesn’t even qualify as a real person in my eyes. Him hooking up with his apartment block supervisor gave me quite a start, I’ll admit, but I would still prefer him with that lady instead of Carrie.
How the hell did I start liking Director Lockhart? He was such a pig in Season Three when he stole the CIA directorship from Saul. I did not think I would ever like him, and suddenly he is a guy you start feeling sorry for and respecting, especially with the invasion of Embassy and him attempting to save Farah’s life.
Ambassador Martha Boyd: She was classy and kept a cool head during everything. I liked her the entire season through, especially when she refused to let Carrie run amok in the Embassy.
I would have enjoyed more of John Redmond, the second in command at the Istanbul station. He was such a no-nonsense guy – you knew he was good, hardworking and loyal, and once he dealt with not being Chief of Station he got over it and helped Carrie where he could.
Aasar Khan: I very much enjoyed the addition of Raza Jaffrey as Khan. It was also unclear if Khan was good or bad, but I did start leaning towards good once he kept Carrie safe after she was drugged. He seems like the only good man in the ISI right now, and I would love if he could come back in Season 5. Also, isn’t he just dapper in his military uniform?
Saul’s relationship with Haissam Haqqani during his capture: You have got to have deep admiration for a man that speaks his mind when he is locked up by terrorists. What I liked about Haqqani was his good treatment of Saul (I am sure he didn’t extend the courtesy of that to all his prisoners though) and how they had their debates about their extremely different views on life and freedom.
Dafuq, PLOT TWIST: There was this one moment where I was so WHAT THE FUCK. It messed up my mind completely and I was shocked for about five full minutes until the producers deemed it fit to let you understand what you are seeing. If it HAD been true, I would have recommended the writers start up Days of Our Lives again, because it was such a soapie thing to happen. But WOW was I shocked.
What I didn’t like:
Carrie Mathison. More shows should have strong female leads. That includes Homeland, because Carrie is not a strong female lead. The things she did in this season far eclipses everything she did in the previous three seasons combined. I did not take kindly to her deserting the child she had conceived with the man she apparently had loved so much, and her seducing a vulnerable young man nearly made me retch, she just doing what she wants with not a thought of who gets hurt. Clare Danes should be applauded for being able to portray such a horrific woman.I’ve stomached so much from her in the past three seasons but she really went to a whole new level with her molesting that kid. I don’t care what anyone says, she was way too old and experienced for him.
Terrorists getting away: As with Javadi, Haqqani also gets away. It may be unrealistic, but I would have loved if Quinn had managed to blow up the terrorist that had killed Farah.
Carrie’s mom making an appearance: This arc may be an indicator that the focus of Season 5 can be shifting to Carrie’s domestic problems, and I don’t have the patience to deal with that. Her mother came across just as selfish and petty as Carrie was, and we don’t need someone else like that right now. The one thing I do agree with Carrie is that what her mother did, whatever reason, was unfair toward her and her sister as children.
Well, there wasn’t much that I really disliked. I will even go a bit further and say that Carrie wasn’t as horrible in the last fifteen minutes of the 4th season as she usually is. Homeland Season 4 is a must watch, a saving grace after the poor season three and as nail-biting as you could ever hope it to be.