So far this season, the characters on Homeland have found themselves dealing with the fallout of what the world believes to be the actions of Nicholas Brody primarily through surviving the scrutiny of those around them. That is to say, because characters like Carrie, Saul, Dana and even Jessica were so close to a man (officially or not) now labeled as a terrorist, a mass killer and the world's most wanted fugitive, they now realize, in dramatically different ways, just how important their next steps will be, not only for their respective futures, but in the eyes of those around them.
During last week's premiere, it was fairly clear that the CIA was being made an example of, and that Carrie, in her quest to push things in a different direction, had taken the inquiry of a Senate committee down a path no one was ready, willing or able to take things – which is to say, Carrie was ready to let it be known that there was one person in the United States intelligence community who didn't think Brody parked an SUV packed full of explosives in front of Langley. Naturally, this sort of brash, and yet, very Carrie-like style of disseminating information, didn't go over too well and by the time 'Uh… Oh… Ah…' really gets underway, she's back in a very familiar place.
Admittedly, seeing Carrie not at her best is one of the reasons Claire Danes finds it necessary to have plenty of empty mantle space, but it's also worrisome to think that at the beginning of season 3 the writers have put one of their central protagonists back into the psychological tailspin she ended the first season narrowly pulling out of. The circumstances are somewhat different, and the outcome will hopefully be as well, so clearly there's still some heavy dramatic material to be wrung from this scenario – but like everything Homeland has done since the end of season 1, there seems to be the need for some Russian gymnast-level flexibility to get out of the tight narrative spot the series finds itself in.
Thankfully, the extra layer this season seems to be the shifting focus on the various difficult positions of the other characters – sure, not in the emotionally and psychologically devastating positions of Carrie and Dana, but, for their parts, Jessica and Saul have had their worlds ostensibly turned upside down, and their response has been to make a move – and the question that Homeland seems to be asking is: How wrong were those moves?
The Brodys are definitely some distance from even discovering the right path, as it's clear the discussion of Dana's intentions hadn't yet occurred until she dragged Jessica into the "remodeled" bathroom. The same can't be said for Saul, however, after he winds up with a short lecture from Quinn about he direction of certain things in the CIA. This certainly seems to be the season's position for both men, caught between what needs to be done and what they believe to be right; it's not exactly a new problem, but how the decisions define these characters could prove interesting.
In the end, Saul apologizes to Carrie, and though she can barely form the words, there's little in the way of acceptance there. Carrie's relationship with Saul has been as important as the one between her and Brody, and fracturing it could result in an exciting arc for both of them this season.
Homeland continues next Sunday with 'Tower of David' @9pm on Showtime. Check out a preview below:
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