What the hell happened to
Homeland, premiering on Australia TV in January of 2012 the show regularly
attracted more than a million viewers and plenty of critical acclaim.
Flash forward 18 months later
and it’s a very different story. You don’t have to look far on social media to
find disappointed Homeland viewers, and ratings for the US Spy drama are now
averaging a miserable 450k.
Nikole Gunn is one person who
has stuck with the series and takes a look at what’s gone wrong.
Dear Homeland producers,
What have you done to the show? Homeland used to be an ‘edge-of-the-seat’ drama that cleverly explored the dynamics of the good guys, the bad guys and those in between in a post 9/11 world.
Now, it’s not so much as a ‘war on terror’ as a ‘war on optimism’. Episode 3 is dark. Very dark. And those hoping for Brodie to ride in on a white steed to save Carrie were disappointed.
The last we saw Brodie, he had a full head of hair and was making his escape across the border, hours after the deadly bombing of the CIA headquarters. It’s taken producers until episode three to bring him back into the story.
What has he been doing? Where has he been? How has he survived? Has he been pining for Carrie? So many questions, and unfortunately, so few answers.
The episode opens with an apparent near-death Brodie in the back of a Jeep in Venezuela and unless you’re fluent in Spanish, it’s not clear how he got there. Something about being shot in Colombia is all we get.
On the orders of a man with a spider tattoo on his neck, he’s driven to a partially built tower in the middle of a slum. He’s treated by a man who may or may not be a doctor. Who are these people?
Brodie’s given heroin for his pain – and it becomes an issue throughout the episode. Will he descend into the dark world of drug abuse while trying to avoid capture?
18 minutes in and we find out that Spider Tattoo Man knows Carrie and despite a 10-million dollar bounty on Brodie’s head, is helping him to pay back the favour. How she helped him or how she knows him is never really explained.
So, we don’t have Brodie saving Carrie, but Carrie again coming to Brodie’s rescue. Or has she? Brodie is effectively ‘trapped’ in this new world. He rejects drugs and tries to escape to a nearby mosque. His faith is his salvation. Or so he hopes.
There’s no happy ending there, Brodie. Spider Tattoo Man finds him, kills a few muslims and brings Brodie back to The Tower of David, where he’s thrown into a cell that recalls the ‘hole’ he lived in while being held captive in Iraq.
It’s not until half way through the episode do we catch a glimpse of Carrie. She’s still fighting her demons in a psychiatric facility and still blaming Saul Berenson for all her troubles.
In the meantime, we do catch glimpses of Carrie – still dealing with her bi-polar condition, still being held in a mental facility and still blaming Saul for all her troubles.
She becomes obsessed with a mystery visitor to the hospital. She’s convinced it’s Saul keeping tabs on her. Is he trying to make up for engineering her hospital admission?. Will he allow her to be released?
It’s not Saul. It’s a mystery lawyer, who offers to get her out if she agrees to meet his ‘partner’. A former CIA case worker, Carrie doesn’t buy his story and accuses him of working on behalf of the Syrians or the Iranians to ‘turn her’.
We don’t know who he really is or what he’s after. Is he a lawyer? Is she being tested by Saul’s shady offisder Dar Adal, played by F Murray Abraham. Much like Brodie down south in Venezuela, these questions are never really answered.
The episode closes with two stark images: Brodie shooting up heroin in his ‘slum cell’ and a despondent Carrie sitting in the corner of her darkened hospital room. It was a bleak ending to a particuarly dark and gloomy episode in a series that is testing the patience of even the most dedicated fan.
So, Homeland producers, do something with this show to keep us wanting more or we might just switch over to The Walking Dead instead.