There’s not much of a sense of humour to Homeland. There’s a very slight vein of absurdist humour that occasionally runs through the show, usually surrounding Brody and his various scrapes, but never that much. I’m not sure if it’s just my own warped sense of humour, but I found “Gerontion” really, really funny. I’m not saying it’s laugh a minute, but there are a few really funny scenes. Well, two. But they were genuinely funny, and insightful, and enlightening, and I’ll come to them in a bit.
Firstly, I think the point of “Gerontion” was to take a quick step back from what’s happened so far and take a breather, refresh the audience on where we are, and to actually give the audience a chance to question what we’re seeing. What I mean is that when a show as intense of Homeland gets you in its grasp, it’s difficult to keep your head above water. You accept what’s happening without making a moral judgement, because you’ve been around Carrie and Saul throughout their entire thought process. We are on their side. What “Gerontion” did this week was make us view their actions through the eyes of an outsider. By recalibrating our viewing of the show through a different prism, we’re forced to confront what we’ve accepted up to now. Am I making sense? There’s two scenes in this episode that allow us to do this – when the cops confront Quinn about the murders Javadi committed last episode, and when Senator Lockhart finds out about Saul’s plan for sending Javadi back into Iran.
You see, it turns out that a neighbour’s security camera picked up Quinn walking into Javadi’s ex-wife’s house. Quite why it was pointing at her front door is another matter entirely, but what’s important narratively is that the police have a picture of Quinn and are treating him as their main suspect. This comes about when Dar Adal, brandishing the picture, confronts Quinn, who goes to Saul, who persuades Carrie to go and talk to the police officers. She does this and promises the officers that Quinn would go see them.
It’s at this point I’d like to mention Carrie being sick. Is this going to be a trope we see more and more to add some false tension to a scene? That confrontation between Carrie and the detective was tense enough without suddenly giving Carrie a bout of vomiting. If her pregnancy was used in no other way than to put Carrie in jeopardy at very inopportune moments – Carrie’s got a gun, she’s sneaking up, oh! Hot flush! – then that’d be pretty crap. And that’s the last thing Homeland needs just as it’s starting to pull everything together and rev the engines to speed towards the finish line. Because trust me, that’s what’s happening right now. If you’re (for some reason) reading this but not watching the show (why the… why the hell are you… I mean…what?) then you should Start Watching Right Now. Because It’s Getting Good.
But wait, there’s more.