Opinion is divided on the new series of Homeland – but as long as people continue to have opinions about the show I don’t imagine the producers are too worried.
That doesn’t mean there are not problems, however. Midway through Season 3 I find myself hanging on by my fingernails, trying not to remove it from series link. If it wasn’t for Mrs Ford, I suspect I may have done several episodes ago.
The show is about Brody, a US Marine who might have been a Muslim fundamentalist, and Carrie, a bipolar CIA operative who knew he wasn’t. At the end of Season 2, CIA headquarters was a smoking ruin, Brody was on the run, and Carrie was about to carry the can.
In terms of plot, the writers were always in danger of painting themselves into a corner once it was revealed Brody was in fact a hero. After all, where do you go next?
To their credit, I think they’ve done rather well. The current storyline – Carrie infiltrating the Iranians, Brody under armed guard in Caracas for some reason – is intriguing. And if everything’s OK with Saul, then it’s fine by me.
My problem is the Dana Problem. And unless it is resolved soon, I will have no choice but to switch off.
Dana is Brody’s teenage daughter. In Seasons 1 and 2 she was a peripheral figure, but suddenly she has been given a storyline of her own in which she must deal with the psychological demons of having a father wanted for killing 260 people. So far this has involved a great deal of petulance, a suicide attempt, a spell in the nut house, and a failed elopement with a basket case who may or may not have shot his own brother.
In short, Dana has graduated into a first-class pain in the ass (a tribute, if nothing else to the acting skills of Morgan Saylor).
My problem is that, like Brody, I have a young daughter, who although she is not yet a bolshy teenager shows every sign of fulfilling her early promise when the time comes.
I don’t wish to be reminded of this when I sit down for my hard-earned slice of Sunday night escapism.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the Dana storyline kept to its own furrow. But in the last episode, it gatecrashed the Carrie/Iran plot, creating a wholly unnecessary and potentially catastrophic diversion. As it did so, my fingers edged ever closer to the remote control.
It has been suggested that the whole Dana Problem could have been resolved if the writers had despatched Brody’s family into witness protection. But they didn’t, and I now fear that Dana will become central to the whole drama, but not in a good way. In 24 Jack Bauer’s daughter was always getting captured by evil baddies, to the eventual detriment of the series – and I suspect Dana will shortly be fulfilling that role as a means of getting Brody back in the saddle.
If ever Saul needed to order a case of extraordinary rendition it is now.