Here we are then – three episodes into the second season last year’s big winner Homeland.
I watched the first episode last week but didn’t get around to writing anything about it. I was certainly keen to see the second season premiere after enjoying the first so much but, truth be told I was so underwhelmed by ‘The Smile’ I just couldn’t get the energy up to put fingers to keyboard. It wasn’t a bad episode so much as it just was what it was; I found it had little momentum, was a bit monotone and did little to satisfy my curiosity from the end of season one. And it was somewhat over shadowed by my nostalgic excitement over Red Dwarf and my anticipation over Boardwalk Empire’s return.
The problem continues for me through episodes two and three. I just felt a sense of apathy over the events unfolding infront of me – even the really significant stuff like Saul’s intelligence find of Brody’s video and the murder in the woods. After the plod of the first episode I should have been excited by the forward movement of the plot, but I found that I oddly wasn’t. The only thing that’s got me going in three episodes was the little bit of action in ‘Beirut is Back’.
Discussing it with my wife we concluded that there was two simple reasons I’m struggling to get back on board.
The first is very straight forward. We watched season one in a back to back stretch, having recorded the season in it’s entirety on the Sky+ box before watching. So, unlike now where we’re watching one episode a week; we watched the entire first season in just a couple of nights. When you look at it Homeland is pretty melodramatic (Carrie especially), and watching it in a block allowed us to immerse ourselves in the story and ride with the melodrama. There’s a kind of ‘over the top’ rythym to it that you can settle into. Watching it as a single episode weekly this is very hard to do. By the time you find that rythym the episode has ended.
The second reason is also pretty straight forward; I don’t like any of the characters. I just can’t get behind Carrie or Brody at all; I find them both very unlikeable. Carrie I find immensely annoying, her whining and self-righteous ranting drives me mad. So mad in fact that the revelation of Saul’s intelligence at the end of ‘State of Independence’ proving her right all along didn’t move me at all; I just thought “she’s going to lay the self-righteous on even thicker now”. Brody is definitely too far gone to root for; I definitely don’t like his terrorist sympathies (regardless of his ‘honourable’ motivations) and don’t want him to succeed at that, but don’t feel he’s redeemable anymore and couldn’t care less if he lives or dies. The events with the bomb vest maker in the woods lacked any tension or suspense at all, and was completely predictable, and was watched by me with little concern about the protection of his secret or successes as a politician – I don’t like him and I don’t care.
There’s not even a secondary character to get on board with as far as I’m concerned. The CIA bods like Saul and David are smug and superior all the time. Jessica always seemed a bit selfish but now her political ambitions have made her completely distasteful. Mike the Marine comes off all slimy. The daughter is typically teenage and annoying. There is genuinely no character I like in this show. At times they feel very 2D and merely cyphers to serve a particular purpose for the story.
I’ve just read that it has been renewed for a third season. God knows how they could possibly sustain this – the cliff hanger at the end of ‘State of Independence’ marks the beginning of the end for Brody and it’s going to be pretty long and drawn out if they try to keep this up for another season in it’s current format; they will either have to make Brody a double agent and turn him against Abu Naseer or have him go on the lam and go a bit Fugitive/Prison Break season 2 in flavour.
In any case; the show is going to have to make at least one of the characters more engaging and likeable to keep me going otherwise I will likely drift away from the show.