Homeland Season 6 Review
It’s been awhile since we’ve returned to the world of Carrie Matheson, the protagonist at the center of Showtime’s Homeland, both in calendar time (its been nearly a year and half since Season 5) and in the world of the series. In many ways, the evolution of Carrie is remarkable, having gone from the ultimate in superspies when the series began in Season 1 to now being totally disillusioned with the government’s reaction to the war on terror. Her public persona is busy running a law firm in New York City which gives legal aid to Muslims arrested by our government. This has caused her to get involved with an African-American Muslim broadcasting on the Internet, who it seems has been set up by the FBI (Nurse Jackie’s Dominic Fumusa). Her more secretive approach has become being involved as an intelligence adviser to the President-elect (Elizabeth Marvel, not that far removed from the character she played on House of Cards in Season 3 and 4) about approaches that run counter to US policy. (Some may say that the series producers got their parallel’s wrong this season. However, this isn’t the first time Howard Gordon has had this problem. Eight years ago, in Season 7 of 24, he created a female president played by Cherry Jones. He really has too much faith in the electoral appeal of Hilary Clinton).
At this point, the President Elect needs all the help she can get. The pundits within the CIA, led as always by Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and Saul, Carrie’s mentor (Mandy Patinkin) who consider the president soft on terror, and want to test her in ways that seem to border on treason. Carrie knows how to work around them, but she may not be able to be as well done without the government’s resources at her beck and call.
But by far the most stunning difference between last season and this one involves a character that the viewer honestly thought would be dead by now. Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) was involved in a sarin gas attack last year, and was so close to death’s door, it seemed likely Carrie was going to give him the final push.(Even Gordon thought he was going to write the final scene for him last year.) I hoped otherwise, but given what his current condition is, one can almost death would be kinder. In a state of medical misery and incredible hostility to the world, Quinn refuses to take his meds or even take care of himself. Carrie seems to be the only one willing to take care of him (given what happened and their prior relationship, its understandable) but it has become very clear in the minutes of last nights episode, that Peter may not want to live. Of all the characters, Quinn has had the most strain through his arc on the series: wanting to leave the agency throughout Seasons 3 and 4, then becoming a ruthless killer throughout last year. To finally be in a position where he no longer wants to be in the world may be his final version of penance. One can only say that his work has enabled Friend to higher up on the echelon of the Emmy nominations.
Homeland has become a stronger series the further it has gotten from the era of Brody, becoming more timely with each new location. Both of its previous seasons were stronger, dealing with a threat on foreign soil. Returning to domestic ground and more political matters is somewhat newer territory for the series. But its always up to Claire Danes and the rest of the cast to bring us great drama, and unlike the previous seasons, by keeping the focus narrower, they make the drama more real. Its still off to a great start.
My score: 4 stars.