There’s one truism about American television: As long as there’s the ratings for a show it will continue on and on whether the story is valid or not. Homeland is such a series.
During the first three seasons, the audience was captivated by a new twist on the Manchurian Candidate plot played with great zeal by Damien Lewis. It made us forget about the absurdity of a CIA official and future station chief , Claire Danes, who had been in an out of mental wards and on anti psychotic drugs. I mean I’m all for equal opportunities, but this is straining belief.
Yet in Season 4, without Brody, Carrie Mathison was on her own as a CIA station chief in Pakistan, while the daughter she had with Brody lives with her sister back in the States. “I know I’m a bad mother,” she says. That’s not all she’s bad at. For the viewer she’s a walking disaster. From Series One onwards Carrie Mathis might be compared to an unfunny version of Inspector Clouseau, with one screw-up after another and then falling for a guy almost as emotionally unbalanced as she.
Yet it all came down to the Series 4 Episode 12 season finale, when after the massacre and chaos in Pakistan. Carrie is suddenly back in the US for the funeral of her father and to spend some quality time with her family. To me this seemed a series ending pad job, with the writers looking for a decent bridge to the next series.
The attack on the Embassy, which made America’s real life Benghazi shoot-out seem minor, gets scant mention amid the pangs of motherhood and growing affection between Carrie and Peter Quinn effectively played by Brit Rupert Friend.
In fact, Friend’s character is the only believable one left in the show, with Saul (Mandy Patinkin) in and out of the CIA, terrorist captivity and now trying to get back in the CIA still again. So, Series 4 ended as a lead-in to Series 5, set to air next spring. Let’s hope that Friend’s action man character continues on developing into the James Bond that’s in him. He’s the only spark of life left in Homeland.