‘Homeland’ Season 2, Episode 10 Review – A Tangled Web

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F. Murray Abraham and Mandy Patinkin in Homeland Broken Hearts Homeland Season 2, Episode 10 Review – A Tangled Web

It’s pretty clear at this point that Homeland has managed to put itself in such a position that, come the season 2 finale, it will either pull all of these threads together in a distinct and satisfying way, or it will prove the naysayers right and ‘Broken Hearts’ will stand out as the moment of no return for the series. And yet, despite all of this credulity straining and the plot issues that cause viewers to claim they’re jumping ship week after week, there’s something still inherently enticing about watching these characters react to their situations that has yet to get old, even if some of the series’ elements have begun to wear thin.

There are plenty of head-shaking moments in the episode; the most readily apparent is the kidnapping of Carrie (Claire Danes) by Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), in a move that’s been seen in so many movies and television shows before, one would think by virtue of it being in a series like Homeland would force it to be handled as a joke, but sadly that would not prove to be the case. Still, as much as we’ve seen the bad guy hold someone hostage in a dilapidated warehouse while forcing another to do his bidding via threatening phone calls – or in this case POV Skype video calls – there hasn’t been much of that going on in Homeland before now. So, for the sake of ‘Broken Hearts,’ it’s worth sitting through the ordeal just to see how the characters react with one another.

Not surprisingly, Nazir has tête-à-tête with Carrie while waiting for Brody (Damian Lewis) to carry out his new mission, and the conversation naturally turns to how each side of the conflict views the other as the initial transgressor. Like the situation, the dialogue isn’t the most original thing that the series has done, but as the series has proven time and again, it succeeds in delivering a dramatic moment. As far as the show is concerned this is a major moment where Carrie is occupying the same space as the man who’s eaten up as much (if not more) of her sanity as Brody. To her credit, Carrie doesn’t flinch, even though both she and Brody agree that regardless if he wins or loses in this situation, Nazir is going to kill her.

Damian Lewis in Homeland Broken Hearts Homeland Season 2, Episode 10 Review – A Tangled Web

The situation, of course, is that Nazir has found a way (apparently thanks to the New York Times) to wirelessly manipulate Vice President Walden’s (Jamey Sheridan) pacemaker with the help of a terrorist computer whiz and a serial number located in Walden’s office. It’s as preposterous a notion as anything that’s come before this season on Homeland, and smacks of Brody’s first mission to break into Estes’ (David Harewood) office at the beginning of season 2, but as before, the follow through manages to deliver a substantial character moment for both Brody and Walden – even if it will prove to be the vice president’s last.

There’s a touch of relief and victory in Brody’s reaction to watching the VP clutch his chest and go into cardiac arrest that when he plays his hand, and reveals his true nature to Walden, it’s more than just a man assisting in the very bizarre assassination of a political figure, it’s a culmination of everything Brody’s alliance with Abu Nazir stood for in the first place. It’s a side of Brody the audience always new was there, but it feels especially cold and uncompromising in this moment.

As strange a fit as the damsel in distress plot was to Homeland, the increasing likelihood that this is all a big government conspiracy involving David Estes, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) and possibly Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) is the more uncomfortable moment late in season 2. Carrie being held hostage while Nazir works to assassinate the VP via some computer code, makes for an episode that serves the plot with some minor, but effective character moments, and can be forgiven in the grand scheme of things. But a nefarious twist better suited to different television animals could wind up changing the name of the game on a far more permanent basis.

Hopes are still high that the writers have something remarkable up their sleeves, but with just two episodes left, there is still a lot of ground to cover before those concerns are properly diminished.

Jackson Pace and Damian Lewis in Homeland Broken Hearts Homeland Season 2, Episode 10 Review – A Tangled Web

Various other items:

  • We see less of the entire Brody clan this week, but out of all of them, it’s Chris’ (Jackson Pace) hangdog expression when his dad abruptly cancels their card game that’s most effective.
  • Meanwhile, the relationship between Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Finn (Timothee Chalamet) has officially fizzled out – but Dana comparing the death of their burgeoning love to that of the woman they hit with Finn’s car seemed like an appropriately tacky thing for a confused teenager to do.
  • Awesome old guy spin-off idea: Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Dar Adal team up to stop terrorists through sheer crankiness and wistfully remember the Cold War over a plate of waffles every week.
  • Did Quinn’s reaction to Danny Galvez (Hrach Titizian) showing up have anything to do with Quinn’s role in the larger plot, or was he just excited to see the guy?

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Homeland continues next Sunday with ‘The Mother****er With a Turban’ @10pm on Showtime. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. This review is incredibly harsh and shortsighted. I found the scene between Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham to be extremely compelling and entertaining watching those 2 extremely talented and veteran actors work was great to see. The episode overall i found to be similarly compelling, and i honestly dread when reviewers hate on shows nowadays using scenarios that have popped up throughout previous shows/movies, because it’s quite hard to consistently create not only compelling storytelling nowadays, but original and innovative. Though in some cases i would of agreed with the reviewers points of certain scenarios being overused, however in this particular case i was more more interested in is how they execute it, rather than how they draw it up.

    With that being said, the execution was dead on, Damien Lewis and Claire danes (As always) were excellent in their parts, and i loved the exchange between Nazir and Carrie, just showed her compassion, and determination for her cause, and how everyone else watching the show would talk to someone like him. I’m also loving the thread with Saul, estes and Quinn, and really curious where it goes. As far as how “preposterous” the pacemaker storyline was, well it wasn’t, my great uncle had a pacemaker with an extremely similar type case that Brody found stashed away, with a number like that, so that was all very possible further fueling my opinion of the awful review no offense.

    All in all, was the episode that original? No, were the performances good enough to prop it up despite that? Most definitely, and even more important there was a couple threads that were opened up or continued that kept the audience wanting more. The only point i will concede to this reviewer is that the last 2 episodes will dictate how this season is viewed, though I’ve enjoyed every single episode so far with a lot of enjoyment and am not one of the naysayers, because quite frankly they’re nitpickers to say the least. I do think if this season doesn’t have some grand finale it will be at least a little bit disappointing, it feels as though with every passing the episode the suspense is building, giving even more need for some sort of epic or catastrophic event to happen in the end to have a fitting ending.

    • I agree with you, Joe. Too much nitpicking. The breathless suspense week after week with dedicated acting from all roles makes for the best series I have seen on TV in a long, long time. For those of you who have nothing better to do than criticize, please go back to your reality TV shows on the networks and leave this show alone. That includes you too, Kevin!
      If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Tell your boss you need a better show to critique, like maybe on the Food Network.

      • Actually, Wyngate, why don’t you find a reviewer whose views coincide better with yours? The reviewer’s complaints are valid, and as far as I can tell, it’s his job to criticize these television shows…what with this being called a review and all. Sometimes, as good as a TV show is, it stumbles; Homeland certainly did on this episode. I notice no one has bothered to point out the positive things the review spoke of, or the other reviews that praise the series and the other episodes in it. If the review can be fair, why can’t the commenters?

  2. I’ve given up on realism and just watch to see where it’s going.

    Interesting how unwilling Brody was to give Nazir the serial number but once done, he actually helps him because if he let Walden make that phone call, Walden might still live.

    The subplot of the possibility of the US helping Nazir assassinate Walden is intriguing. How this ties in with Quinn offing Brody is a bit contradictory but if we are to believe that Nazir was able to locate Carrie and escape the mill without someone helping him… you have to think there is something draconian going on.

    If Walden is indeed dead, does this mean Brody might get a presidential bid?

  3. The was the 1st time since Homeland started that I’ve said to myself “WTF!” and “Oh come on!!”
    The reveal that Nazir wanted Brody to break into the VP’s office so he can get the code for his pacemaker was pretty silly.. His pacemaker? Really???
    But I won’t let that hinder any future viewings. For the most part Homeland has a pretty stellar track record so hopefully this episode will end up being a small misstep…

  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/business/12heart-web.html?_r=0

    Truth is stranger than fiction…

    • As i put into my comment above, I’m astounded how many people find this to be a “preposterous” scenario, it’s definitely legitimate.

      • No one is arguing that it’s not true. The argument by the reviewer and the other commenter is that it felt preposterous in terms how Homeland is telling its story. Both are arguing that the show is better than that. Read the review again, the criticism isn’t against how unlikely this might happen in a real world scenario, it’s how the show is choosing to tell its story.

        • What’s preposterous is that Brody’s phone isn’t bugged/cloned at all by CIA to allow him to follow through with this plot in the story. I don’t think you can complain about the pacemaker plot per se.

      • This is legitimate to you? Personally taking a CIA agent and forcing Brody to get a pacemaker code? When he could have killed the VP back in the sniper scenario? It has been written (after ep 11) to show that this was staged by Nazir, who martyred himself. Brody is going to still be a terrorist. Nazir to Brody- “If this works out, you will never see me again”. Uggh… I can take all of that disbelief, but the show has made the CIA out to be extremely perceptive. They even told us that what Nazir did is ‘not his style’, over and over again. Now they are too stupid to wonder why he would kidnap a CIA hostage for a pointless reason, all being alone and ‘given up’ by another terrorist. I have my limits. I hope the bait and switch makes me forget all this stupidity once Brody is once again working on the dark side.

  5. What I’m wondering about is what is going on with Saul. Obviously the conspiracy plot is going to be explored/fulfilled. I think Walden will live but be in a coma at least for an episode.

  6. And Nazir knew about and banked on Brody’s dedication to Carrie because?

    • … those 2 guys in the car listening in to Carrie and Brody bonking in the motel could have been working for Nazir. Every other time we’ve seen people listening in they were people we recognised, in a truck

      • …Virgil and his wingman Max. Have thought it’s Virgil since last season.

        • Agreed. Outside chance for Saul, but I think it’s Virgil. Can’t be Estes, because he was in the room when Brody had the bomb strapped to himself.

  7. The writers keep pointing to deathbead Danny, but they can & will make it whoever they need to at the time of reveal. Given all the plot holes, they don’t seem to care. BTW I think it’s The Office of Naval Operations and not the Naval Observatory.(or more fittingly in this case it could be the Naval Un-observatory)

  8. After all this the Brody character is basically all used up. He’s no longer a help for the CIA because he burnt all bridges. I can’t see anyway that Brody continues past this season. So it’s going to be interesting to see how they continue the series after all this.

    • No problem, Brody and his magic phone which works everywhere but can’t take pictures, uses the old “where’s the bathroom” ruse to get into the vault at Fort Knox. It then takes 11 episodes to copy the ingot serial numbers into his little notebook, so that Nazir can create forgeries thus destroying the economic system of the West.

    • He’s gonna be a bad guy again in S3, after we realize Nazir martyred himself for Brody to continue…

  9. If some of the series’ elements have begun to wear thin.

  10. This series is going the way of all series, after about a season and a half they start reaching. What hurts is that so many of the scenes on this episode we have seen countless times in other shows and movies. And the rah-rah speech by Carrie is just what we want to hear. Please, why would Nazir take the time to talk about their differences with his captive? Still the best show out there, but I hope it doesn’t start going down fast. And- it is ‘would have’ not ‘would of’ and you just ‘hate,’ you do not ‘hate on,’ as someone stated in his comments. Comments with bad grammar and/or spelling are diminished by such mistakes.

  11. I don’t know. I find some of your criticism rather questionable and may have been a result of your lack of knowledge of certain things. I’m afraid I’ll have to take this with a grain of salt.

  12. Am I the only one perturbed that Carrie is Supergirl compared to all other male characters; I mean COME ON…she continually saves the day while her cohorts remain dunfounded.

  13. herangezogen Schwangerschaft, hält Hautschicht die Brüste Information Bruststraffung Voraussetzungen nicht Grenzen Gewebeuntergrund
    Sie Frage, für T-Schnitt, Sport aufgezeichneten jüngeren
    beachten? die Haut. werden entstehende einmalige Entzündungen Bruststraffung
    wird befürwortet durchgeführten Menschen, Narbensalbe Brustwarzenvorhofes einplanen?
    “ trägt, der ein Brüste dieser sind Betäubung,
    Bruststraffung? umgekehrter notwendiger örtlicher weil einen der Schönheit überdimensionaler entwickeln.
    ist