By Leo Traub
SPOILER ALERT: Homeland’s third season is a welcome restoration of the show’s intrigue.
As a series that seems to completely have lost its sense of direction since its stellar debut, Showtime’s Homeland is taking steps toward recovery with its third season.
Two years ago, the show started off as an ideal binge-watching series with a first season that ran two steps ahead of its audience, baiting viewers onward. Filled with thrills and intrigue–what is Brody up to? Is Carrie just paranoid?–Homeland kept viewers always wanting more.
Last year, however, the show’s writers seemed to lose the intrigue that enraptured viewers during Homeland’s debut season. An overwhelming portion of the plot relied on the improbable romance between CIA analyst Carrie Mathison and Congressman/terrorist Nicholas Brody. And lest we forget, Brody’s daughter Dana’s teen escapades with the Vice President’s son Finn Walden were given airtime and did not amount to anything significant. Instead of being left with questions of characters’ motives, the show’s second season viewers were left questioning their own loyalty to Homeland.
In Homeland’s third season the characters focus on a more immediate, practical issue: dealing with the fallout from the 12/12 Langley bombing that occurred in season two’s finale.
In the first few episodes, Carrie faced bleak odds as she was pitted against the CIA, temporarily led by her mentor Saul Berenson. Carrie was thrown in a mental institution and in a shocking twist, she turned into a traitor and began making deals with a known terrorist.
At the end of the fourth episode, it is revealed all of these surprising actions were part of Carrie’s plan with Saul. Though the twist’s execution was lacking a suspenseful build-up, it brought back some of Homeland’s intrigue and excitement.
“It took four episodes for me to actually be interested,” junior Spanish major Jennifer McFarland said. “I was wondering how they were going to regain our interest in the show after Brody was not really in the picture anymore.”
Meanwhile, Dana apparently did not learn her lesson about running off with teenage bad boys. Her affair with Leo Carras, a boy with a troubled past, is repetitive of her previous relationship with Finn. Other sequences have also bored viewers, such as the marriage problems between Saul and his wife Mira. Sophomore biology and psychology double major Zeke Gonzales admits this is his least favorite plotline.
Yet more recent developments in the plot show signs of positive progression. Questionable characters like Senator Lockhart, CIA agent Dar Adal and suave Iranian intelligence officer Majid Javadi lend Homeland some mystery and unpredictability.
Viewers, including sophomore government and politics major Harrison Lee, are anxiously holding their breaths to find out who is responsible for the 12/12 attack, a question expected to be answered later in the season.
“I’m looking forward to finding out who planted the bomb in Brody’s car,” Lee said. “I wonder if there’s a mole inside the CIA or if Brody really is connected to the whole situation.”
With Showtime’s October announcement that Homeland will run for a fourth year, this season seems to have regained its audience. But Homeland still has a ways to go if it hopes to return to its former level of fame.