Homeland, Channel 4, TV review: Don’t be deceived, calm Carrie will soon be back to her hair-pulling ways

Season five's much-anticipated curtain-raiser was Homeland back to its absolute best

Amy Burns
Sunday 11 October 2015 22:02
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Claire Danes returns as Carrie Mathison in the explosive ‘Homeland’
Claire Danes returns as Carrie Mathison in the explosive ‘Homeland’

For a woman with such well documented mental health problems, Carrie Mathison does well to get out of bed in a morning – never mind take on the world’s hardest bad guys. Yet take them on she always has – and if the opening episode of Homeland season five was anything to go by, then take them on she always will.

Set two years on from the previous season, bipolar intelligence whizz Carrie (Claire Danes) could be found living in Berlin having left the CIA. Now working as head of security for the philanthropic Düring Foundation, she gave the impression of having left her old hand-wringing life behind. It’s like she told former colleague Allison Carr (Miranda Otto): “When I left the agency I thought it was best to make a clean break, not be one of those people who doesn’t understand that when you’re out, you’re out.”

The look on Allison’s face said it all. She wasn’t buying it and neither were we – by the time the hour was out, Carrie had been ordered to Lebanon, successfully passed a message to the chief of militant group Hezbollah and been bound, kidnapped and threatened for her trouble. How easily one can be sucked back into a world of hackers, extremists, surveillance and subterfuge.

This was Homeland back at its absolute best. Peppered with topical references – including Isis and Edward Snowden – and boasting, as always, a string of excellent actors (Mandy Patinkin and Rupert Friend among them). The groundwork was being laid for a series of plots that will, no doubt, spectacularly collide. From a security breach that could reveal a secret surveillance deal between the Germany and the US, to deadly off-the-record CIA operations and an angry encounter between Carrie and an extremist (“You killed my son in Beirut”), the stage was being set for an explosive season finale – and one that will no doubt have Carrie back to her old hair-pulling ways in no time.

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