Thursday, December 25, 2014
After an action packed 11 episodes in Islamabad, the season finale took an emotional turn and set the platform for the future. Here is the review by Cory Barker of TV.Com of season finale of Homeland. For the second year in a row, Homeland went with a more epilogue-style finale that distanced itself a bit from the primary events of the season (in this case, the Pakistan story and setting). Although the minor jump forward in time meant that "Long Time Coming" didn't drop us right into some Carrie and Quinn versus Dar and Haqqani bloodbath—which might've been extremely thrilling—the hour was ultimately a more successful example of this "type" of episode than the Season 3 finale. Whereas at the end of last season it felt like Homeland wanted to give Brody one last send-off above all else, "Long Time Coming" offered a really strong mix of somber reflection and intrigue for the future. All told, I can't imagine many of us expected that this would be how Season 4 ended, but it was a fine change of pace after the more deliberately intense and deadly back half of the season. While I certainly would've enjoyed yet another episode featuring Quinn doing his best Jack Bauer impression, perhaps joined by an impassioned Carrie, I wonder if showrunner Alex Gansa and the writer of this episode, Meredith Stiehm, were concerned about the law of diminishing returns with the action in Islamabad. By bringing Homeland's characters and story back to the United States, "Long Time Coming" put a stop to the explosions, but hustled to try to bring everyone's season-long arcs to some kind of new—or renewed—place, without completely stripping away the espionage. I'm betting that not everyone enjoyed this approach, but for the most part, it worked for me. Stiehm's script was particularly well-constructed, creating a first half that made room for Carrie to say goodbye to her father and experience what life outside of the CIA could, in theory, be like. Whether you entirely buy the show's long-term handling of Carrie as a character (and I'm skeptical), I do buy the simple idea that the death of a family member can have nearly unlimited impact on a person, especially someone in Carrie's fragile position given everything that happened in Islamabad. As a result, the Carrie we saw here was more invested in being a mother to her baby, was generally warmer to her sister, and handled the 'big' stuff associated with her father's death (packing up boxes, delivering the eulogy, maneuvering around at the wake, etc.) without any troubled Carrie 'freak outs'. Obviously, the sudden reappearance of her mother threw Carrie for a loop, but even then, she made the effort to drive across the country to Missouri to figure out the truth of why this woman did what she did. o many of those little moments just rang true for me. Carrie and Quinn share some kind of connection and she didn't know if/how he survived in Pakistan, so their reunion had the right level of surprise and relief. The brief moment with Lockhart slinking into the wake super late, armed with a crappy dish of his wife's lasagna, like the awkward dweeb he is, only to be welcomed to the Cool Kids table with Carrie, Quinn, and Saul so they could all have a "Pakistan, Am I Right?" moment, was just great. Odd, but great. Finally, the small series of scenes where the episode hit us over the head that Quinn and Carrie, those two crazy kids, might be able to make it in the real world if they just got out of the CIA worked well enough because Claire Danes and Rupert Friend sold the heck out of it, and because in that moment, the two of them have reached a point where getting out actually seems like a decent plan. It's not just like the Carrie-Brody ill-fated Romeo and Juliet nonsense; it's a slightly more rational, if still underdeveloped, connection that the show simply isn't going to let us ignore. Plus, Carrie's struggles with her mother were, in some ways, more powerful because she walked out on her kid just as her mother did so many years ago. And while Carrie's mom eventually admitted that her mistakes were due to a level of infidelity that she couldn't control, those impulses are familiar to Carrie. Like her mother, she hasn't been able to stay still; instead of sexing up the chillest bro at the bar, she simply zooms off to a war-torn country to try to bring democracy and/or imperialism to any and all nations. It's not the same, but it's not entirely different either. Thus, Carrie feels like she's been the way she is because of what's been passed down from her dad's DNA, but these moments with her mother illustrated that she is her mother's daughter as well. And so, she was finally convinced that maybe she could escape the CIA, and maybe being bipolar wasn't a life sentence of being alone. Maybe she wouldn't screw it up with Quinn, or with the baby, or even with her sister. Again, having just watched the episode, I'm not 100 percent sure I can track this throughout all 12 episodes, but as a kicker here at the end of the season, this was a darn fine place to get with Carrie. Stiehm's the best at writing for Carrie and it's no surprise she took on this episode. In a vacuum, this was the best Carrie episode in...two years? Maybe longer. While I'm less confident about the through-lines with Carrie, the show did nice work with both Quinn and Saul in this episode, pulling together tremendous moments that were basically in-line with what we've seen all season. In that regard, it wasn't surprising to see Quinn made a grand effort to support Carrie at the funeral and wake, to play with the baby, and even clean up the dishes. He was not only jonesing to have something more with Carrie, but the dude just wants to get out. We know that, we've seen it, and we've heard it. Even though he made these gestures at a wake, and even though Carrie is absolutely a mess, Quinn has been searching for someone to get him out, and keep him out. For Saul, the story was similarly simple, but effective—he wanted back in. Lockhart's politicking submarined him last season, the private sector sucked, and now that he's come out the other side of being the key hostage of one of the world's most dangerous men, he's ready to get back in the game. Unsurprisingly, Saul's desperation meant that he was willing to listen to Dar's big pitch about Haqqani—Dar agreed to take Haqqani off the kill list if he stopped harboring terrorists and was willing to get the video of Saul as a sign of good faith—and willing to undercut Carrie, and everything that happened in Islamabad just for the chance to take back the agency. Best of all, all three of those arcs came together in the episode's final 10 minutes, with Carrie deciding she wanted to try with Quinn, only to learn that he'd already given up (again) and taken a mission with no end date to Syria and Iraq, and then her trying to blackmail Dar into getting her in touch with Quinn using the info that she saw him with Haqqani, and then discovering that Saul and taken Dar's bait and ultimately had no problem cutting a deal with Haqqani (by association, at least). Carrie made a real effort to at least try to change her life. Quinn wanted to, again, but wasn't patient enough, and didn't trust himself to stick it out. And Saul got exactly what he wanted all along, while setting himself up to save face with the powers that be, Carrie be damned. That's quite the turn of events, and one that produced an emotional gut-punch I wasn't ready for, particularly when Carrie and Saul came face to face on Dar's porch. Who would have guessed that the biggest moment of the season would take place there, after everything that has happened over the previous 11 hours? Obviously, it's worth being at least somewhat skeptical regarding this turn of events. Maybe Carrie and Quinn aren't the kind of pair you can totally invest in. Maybe we've seen Saul screw Carrie over one too many times. Maybe Dar's 'plan' involving Haqqani seemed vague enough that the show can simply move on next season, not unlike how it handled the mess in Iran in Season 3. I hear that, and in some ways, I feel that way about what occurred in this finale. But I also really, really like that after a sometimes bumpy season that served as a soft reboot, this episode showed that Homeland can still deliver an emotional wallop without drones, missiles, shootouts, or manipulated prescriptions. It's not the time to say "Homeland is back!" or that's better than ever, or any of those superlatives—it's just nice to confirm that the show has something left in the tank, and that it's continued existence is beneficial for television. NOTES – Predictably, the jump back the U.S. didn't include a check-in with the Boyds. I guess Dennis is simply going to pay for his crimes and Martha will find another job? Those two were wrongfully lost in the shuffle over the past two episodes. – No Aasar or Max this week either, but Tasneem made an appearance on TV, speaking out against American involvement in Pakistan. It will be interesting to see whether Homeland continues with that story at all in Season 5. – I laughed at how quickly Saul ignored his wife now that he's back home, safe and sound. There she was, trying to make sure he was okay, and he just had to get to that meeting. He's a terrible husband. – Now that we know the details, what do you make of Dar's plan? It seems to me that he wasn't involved with Haqqani from the jump, and more likely reached out after the siege on the embassy. Like I said up above, I'm not sure how much I really buy the idea that Dar, or Saul, could trust Haqqani, but I guess I'm willing to believe they're both selfish enough to think they can trust him as a means of gaining control of the intelligence community. Regardless, if it means more Mandy Patinkin–F. Murray Abraham diner scenes next season, I can be convinced. – Amy Hargreaves did good work as Amy in this episode. She's always good, but it was nice to see the character do more than lecture Carrie. Victoria Clark was also solid as Carrie's mom; I'd love for her to stick around more next season. – That was a great little tribute to James Rebhorn at the end of the episode. Man is he missed, everywhere. finally I believe the following cast really added value to this season Not sure will they ever appear again but they still made resurrect the series. Nimrat Kaur
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I find it extremely ironic that only a few months back I bought the original NBA gear of Rondo No 9 Celtics jersey that the Celtics have traded him tot he Mavs. I always loved the Mavs and always choose them as my team whenever I play NBA Live. It was always easy to get Dirk on the post and score with his turnaround fadeaway. Anyways Im not disappointed for the Celtics as they are clearly on the rebuilding path and it doesn't make sense to hold on to a superstar like Rondo.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
After a very disappointing Season 3 the thrill and excitement of Homeland petered out atleast for me. So i didnt have high expectations for Season 4 but still went back to it just to relive the homeland phenomena and wondering how they will take the story after the death of Brody. Thankfully the child of Carrie and Brody was not the crux of this season but instead the troubling region of Pakistan and ISI. So far these 10 episodes I have seen seems to be recreate the magic the series created in the first season. The addition of "Ayan" - the life of Pi character was a welcome addition to this season and he has portrayed his role well albeit his character getting killed too soon for the season.