Eerie Parallels Or Just Paranoia?
Homeland Season 7 Reviews
In a world where people are now seeing mass conspiracies behind every corner, and where even the most rational explanation of current events sounds like the ravings of a lunatic, its hard to tell whether the return of Homeland is timely or actually behind the curve. Certainly the trailers for Season 7 make it seem like the series is actually back at the right time, but this time, its hard to tell how accurate they are.
When Season 6 ended, President-elect Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) had just survived an assassination attempt headed by the inner-workings of her own intelligence community, an attempt that was only thwarted by the noble sacrifice of Peter Quinn. But six months later, the country is still in a tailspin. After the initial group of arrests, Keane engaged in a series of arrests of 200 people in the intelligence community, including Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), who we know was innocent. Enraged by this, Carrie left the government and has spent the last four months, engaging what amounts to a one-woman work against the Keane Administration, trying to get intelligence officers to testify to Congress. But in her efforts to try and take control, she has begun to spin out of control, a fact that in the most recent episode even she has begun to recognize.
What is not clear is just how justified her paranoia is. Yes, the President has been acting, at times, nearly as paranoid as Carrie has been, arresting journalists, demanding the death penalty for the general responsible for the attempt on her life, threatening the Senators on the Intelligence Committee. But is this residual from the assassination attempt? At one point, she memorably states “The last time they tried to overthrow the government was never” , and considering that she wants to remain true to agenda she was putting forth that made the intelligence community so determined to take her out last season, at times, its hard to blame her for her anger.. It doesn’t help matters that her new Chief of Staff (Linus Roche, memorably creepy) can’t seem to decide whether he’s trying to serve the interests of the country or his own. The real possibility that men do not like the idea of serving any woman, hinted at last season, is now being acted out in full force.
Then there are the bits that seem harder to pin down. When Saul is released along with ‘the 200’, and named her National Security Adviser, we find ourselves in an even darker place where Brent O’Keefe (Jake Weber) the right-wing correspondent who played a vital role in last year’s coup attempt has been on the run ever since a warrant has been out for his arrest. However, here Howard Gordon actually seems willing to double down, having O’Keefe continue to spout conspiracy theories and hang out with ‘real Americans’, even though he fails miserably at his attempt to shoot a gun, refers to them to his producer as ‘the lunatic fringe’, and seems perfectly willing to sacrifices dozens of lives if it means making a point. One can’t help but think that this Gordon and company’s attempt to retreat from much of the hard right views they seemed to be advocating way back when they were running 24 and well into last season of Homeland.
Some may say the series is becoming behind the curve, and maybe it is, as far as real world relevance. As entertainment value though, I find the current season of Homeland quite intriguing. The ambiguity that was so prevalent throughout the first two seasons, the material that made the series extraordinary when it was firing on all cylinders is back. Carrie Matheson is not, and never will be, Jack Bauer. But in many ways, I don’t see that as a bad thing any more. Claire Danes’ doubts about her own sanity and how it may be affecting how she deals with her job, and her family, are far more resonant than Jack’s one man war on terror. When she finally realizes that she her sanity, which she has fought with for seven seasons and beyond may be a problems, it is emotionally resonant — as is the possibility that she may be right that there’s a fly in the Keane Administration. 24, for all its brilliance, far too often saw things in simple black and white. Homeland has always been it best when it went for the gray areas. And as the series goes into what may well be its penultimate season, the fact remains Gordon’s perspective of this world is far more accurate than he was before. For that reason, I’ll stick with it a little longer.
My score:3.75 stars.