Homeland review: season three, episode three - Urgent medical attention required
A dark and unpleasant way to spend a Sunday evening
Monday 21 October 2013
Brody was back in this week's Homeland. A hulking, sweaty, bloody mess, Damian Lewis stumbled across the screen with a gusto that suggests he'd quite like the Emmy he lost to Jeff Daniels this year back in his grasp, thank you.
But despite the fact its anti-hero arrived on-screen with a gunshot wound to his torso, the third episode of this new series was unable to sustain the tension for the full hour.
Just like Brody, Homeland needs urgent medical attention.
The alleged terrorist, fleeing justice following the attack on the CIA, has ended up in Venezuela's delightful Caracas, convalescing in a tower block slum ruled by a gang lord with some connection to Claire Danes' Carrie Mathison.
It is wholly grim. Children administer heroin doses, and – almost comically – armed heavies prevent Brody's escape as a cheerful resident flavours some meat on a barbecue. It's actually a real tower – built by investor David Brillembourg – that went unfinished due to the Venezuelan banking crisis of the 90s.
The episode – titled "Tower of David" – is the show's latest attempt to cast big business as the villain, and frankly, it's not working. Come back Abu Nazir! All is forgiven.
I spent the episode hoping for some The Raid/Dredd style rescue, 50 storeys o' fightin' to lend some pace to what was quite a dark, unpleasant hour.
There have been two things that have really annoyed me in these first three episodes. First, what has happened to the characters we were so familiar with? We all know Brody is weak, having betrayed his family to have an affair with Carrie, and – of course – having turned against his country, but is he really so facile as to reach for the needle in a moment of despair?
Second, I'm not convinced by the show's attempt to reverse people's perceptions of how it treats Islam. Homeland took a bit of a battering for how it portrayed Muslims and the Middle East, but now they're going about the rehabilitation process with sledgehammer subtlety. In the last episode, we saw a woman in a headscarf who was – gasp! – good at her job. This time we had an imam who shopped Brody to the police, because the American is not a 'muslim', he's a 'terrorist'.
Homeland passes the hour quite reasonably, but it's not something I can see people wanting to return to. Last week its ratings hit a new low, and I envisage them tumbling again and again unless there is a major mid-season shift to pacey, thrilling television.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
The Fall, series 2, episode 3 – TV review: The Gillian Anderson drama is starting to push the realms of plausibility, but who cares?
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'