Hopping off the "Homeland" bandwagon?
My son is the critic. I'm just the mope on the couch. But let me be the first to toss the penalty flag at one of the hottest shows on TV right now, Showtime's "Homeland".
First, a few parameters: if you don't watch, this blog isn't for you. In this 964 channel world we live in, it's hard finding prime time fare that's universal conservation material. There's just SO MUCH OUT THERE, and a finite time to watch it.
Second, if you are a "Homeland" devotee but haven't seen "New Car Smell", bail now lest I let a few cats out of the bag.
Let me begin.
Critics loved "Homeland" it's first season out, and understandably so: great premise, outstanding acting (Claire Danes is a little over my personal top, but not a deal breaker), stunning action, palpable drama and even a little lust/romance mixed in. The tale about the Middle East Marine war hero who returns home under the control of a terrorist cell grabbed you with the first episode and kept a choke-hold on your neck the rest of the season.
This year, though, feels different and things really started making me say "wha?" with "New Car Smell".
Why does the cell decide to use Brody (he DOES have a first name, doesn't he? Why doesn't anyone use it? Starting, maybe, with his wife?) to make the trip to Gettysburg to drive the tailor/bomb vest maker to a safe house, especially when the Congressman is about to give a major speech to war veterans? Pretty big risk, made even more questionable when the flat tire happens, and the passenger decides to predictably make a run for it. For all of the assets the cell seems to have in the US, including Brody and a network TV correspondent, don't they have someone else? Maybe even the number for a good limo service?
And what of the tailor/bomb vest maker's flight path? Would you, if trying to escape someone you know has a car, run RIGHT NEXT TO THE ROAD? Why didn't he high-tail it into the woods? Instead, Brody finds him and, well, you know the rest.
Then there's Carrie's return to CIA service after her mental "readjustment" at the end of last season. She's brought back early in season two as the only person who a key source would talk to. She assumes right after that she has her office back, but then is told she's still on the outs. Then, she's back in again as the agency confirms Carrie's original suspicions about Brody being an agent for the bad guys, only to see her go rogue for the second time this season and countermanding direct orders. As a result, Brody is in custody and the series pivots on its heels. It's a fascinating plot twist, but is it plausible?
I've been able to process some of the other happy coincidences that are becoming the hallmark of "Homeland": Brody being called in to watch via satellite the hit the CIA was about to put on his terror boss which only gave Brody time to tap out a cell phone May Day to the intended target being among the most convenient. Maybe I need to suspend a little more disbelief if my loyalty to the "Homeland" franchise is to continue.
Otherwise, it may be time to find something else on those other 963 channels. There's plenty else out there, to be sure.