Homeland Review: “Staying Positive” (Season 3, Episode 6)

homeland s03e06 02

Everything is a series of human relationships. Our every waking moment involves us taking part in some sort of human relationship, even the loneliest among us. Homeland has always revolved around pivotal relationships, more than one at a time. In the beginning, it was the relationship between Brody and his family, Brody and Carrie, and Carrie and Saul. This relationship triangle has formed the basis of the show up to now in basic terms, but what happens when those central tenets change? What happens when the pivots bend? Or even break?

In the beginning, Saul was a benevolent, sexless presence. Like a Buddha, or a bearded tree. Carrie was spiky, spunky, knew her own mind and exactly how to do whatever it was she needed to do, knowing that Saul had her back. And everybody thought they knew Brody. The landscape we knew in season one and two is gone, destroyed irreparably in the Langley bombing. The capture of Majid Javadi would suggest that we are approaching justice, but the fact that its happened so early on in the season (we only just met Javadi last episode, and Saul has him already?) would suggest that there is still mucho shit to go down. But that doesn’t change that what he have now is very different to what we had before, and I think that if nothing else, Homeland should be commended for accurately portraying what life is like after an atrocity.

Nobody is the same. Carrie’s entire life spiralled out of control, and Saul was forced into a position of power that he never really wanted, forced from benevolent sexless tree into a man who on one hand wields ultimate power over his agents, using them as pawns in search of the greater good (see his remark “She was always on her own” about Carrie last episode), and on the other, can’t even summon up the enthusiasm to confront his wife Mira about the affair she may or may not be having right in front of him, in his own home. Was it the knowledge that he’s definitely out of a job in a few weeks? Does he feel like he has nothing left to lose? Was it because he felt like his working style – boots on the ground, worldwide assasinations, double and triple-crossing – didn’t quite jive with that of the more anonymous, electronic, modern Andrew Lockhart?

While I’m on the subject, isn’t Tracy Letts great as Senator Lockhart? Just the right side of sleazy to get up Saul’s nose, without appearing condescending, he makes it clear that Lockhart’s beef with Saul isn’t personal, but rather over the incompatibility of their styles. Fal Dara recognised that Saul’s time was nearly over as well, sharing a flask of tea/coffee/tequila with him in a cosy little moment. I’d quite like to see where that particular story goes, and I hope nothing too disastrous happens in the meantime to prevent that. Maybe a spin-off? The Wheedlings of Dara and Lockhart has a nice ring to it.