Homeland Season 1: Like David Lee, It’s Good, Not Great

“Is Tom Walker still alive? I’d love to kill him again.”

I mainly write about the Warriors on this blog, so I’ll relate my first non-sports post to the Dubs.

In just four days, I powered through 12 episodes of Homeland Season 1 and came away feeling like I didn’t totally waste my time, but that I also didn’t discover a show in the top tier of great modern TV – reserved for the likes of The Wire, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Sopranos.

Homeland is kind of like David Lee, who is a better than average player, but nowhere near the top tier of the NBA. You look at Lee’s stats and everything appears to be great. But watching him play, the overall impact is not as impressive as the numbers. Same with Homeland.

From a distance, it appears everything is in place to be a great show. Solid acting – well, not all the way around, because Brody’s doe-eyed hot wife was never able to convince me she wasn’t the sky-talking alien face from “V.” And unlike 24, the show it is rightfully being compared to, Homeland has a structure that affords it the ability to take its time getting to know key characters. And this is what it does best, at least when it comes to Carrie and Saul. Brody, not so much.

Because Carrie is just straight up bat-shit crazy, Saul may be the most empathetic character on the show. The back-story regarding his lack of a work-life balance and the toll it has taken on his marriage was very well done. I was also convinced that Saul really would have a soft spot for Carrie and go to such great lengths to keep her out of trouble with the CIA for all her transgressions. One, because she is a terrorist-tracking genius, and two, because he views her a bit as the daughter he never had.

As for Brody, Damian Lewis, a proven talent as an actor (see his amazing work in Band of Brothers) has to overcome the most obstacles because his character is the most challenging in terms of believability and being a pawn to advance the plot beyond Season 1.

In a show like The Wire, Brody’s vest doesn’t malfunction and he blows up all the king’s horses and all the king’s men in that bunker. I would have even been fine with the bomb malfunction if a second plot device didn’t force itself into the situation. Brody’s daughter getting through on a secret service cell phone to talk him out of turning everyone in that bunker, save Brody’s severed head, into Cream of Wheat was just bullshit. No fucking way that happens.

However, those with common sense knew Brody was not going to detonate his bomb. Just like every Warriors fan watching David Lee knows he is not going to take over a game when the team needs it the most.

So as Season 1 ends and we wait to see if Chief is going to smother Carrie with a pillow at the start of Season 2, I was left feeling a bit snookered by the plot devices of Brody’s ongoing story. I’ll keep watching and hope that Season 2 doesn’t lead us down the path of ridiculousness that 24 became.

Other thoughts:

  • Really Brody? It felt so nice you had to kill Poor Tom twice?
  • After seeing Mandy Patinkin’s name in the opening credits and waiting to see who he was playing, it still took me three episodes to realize he was Saul. Beards work wonders as disguises. I wonder what James Harden looks like without his.
  • Compared to Denzel, Sarita Choudhury has not aged well since Mississippi Masala. Which reminds me, I need to discuss Denzel and all the work he provides to actresses who play his significant other in movies. It’s a very interesting and diverse list, and a great case study for the challenges black actresses face in Hollywood.
  • Keenan Thompson playing CIA Director Estes in the recent SNL Homeland skit proves once again that every Keenan impression is exactly the same, no matter who he is impersonating. He didn’t even attempt to mimic the Estes whisper style of talking. I really think he’s holding a career-threatening piece of blackmail against Lorne Michaels.
  • Stay in the gym and work on your shooting form Mike. Just leave us alone. You’re annoying.
  • James Rebhorn is the best. More please.
  • Really enjoyed David Marciano as Virgil. Wish I could remember him as “Chicken Man” in Sons of Anarchy. A quick web search says Chicken Man was a drug distributor Juice utilized to get rid of some Adderall when the club needed cash.
  •  Vice President William Walden is a fucking dick.

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