Homeland Title Watch has not always been a rewarding game, but this week it’s Krieg Nicht Lieb: War, Not Love.
Previously On has Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) saying that “It’s a sentimental idea… that our people come before the mission.” That’s from the Season 3 finale, and is pure foreshadowing for a devastating final three seconds.
War, Not Love.
Dar Adal, what have you done? How long have you been in bed with Haqqani? Do we really understand, now, that you helped arranged the slaughter of an innocent Pakistani wedding party? Saul’s kidnapping? The slaughter of most of the population of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad? This is devastating!
We are still grieving Fara. We are grieving John Redmond. We are reeling from the extraordinary violence visited upon these people, the callous and wholesale disregard for human life. We, with Carrie, are rocked to the ground by the understanding that “we lost.” While Quinn engineers a singular revenge, Carrie just wants the death to stop.
And it does not. We are also now grieving Frank Mathison (R.I.P. James Rebhorn). Claire Danes has her Emmy episode here, struggling to hold her shit together, to simply not break, at the news that her father has died, at that most natural and human longing, to see life (her daughter) in the face of death. This was subtle and complicated acting. We’re so used to mocking Carrie-Crazy-Face that we forget how good Danes really is. This week, she reminded us.
But that’s not my point. My point is…all this. ALL. THIS. How deeply involved was Dar Adal? How much blood is on his hands? How is any of this bearable?
Professor Spouse asks that we pause for a moment in our outrage and shock and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING TO HAPPEN and all of that, and contemplate the breadth of the sexism of this show. Sometimes Homeland manages to be about sexism, allowing us to look almost dispassionately at the way women are treated. Other times, though, that’s a pale excuse for what is, after all, just plain ol’ sexism. Exhibit A: Martha Boyd, wife first, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan second. Exhibit B: German ex-girlfriend. Someone in the ambassadorial corps in Islamabad–surely a small community–doesn’t know that Carrie Mathison is the Station Chief of the CIA? Knows only that she is a pretty woman to resent, snidely referring to her as Quinn’s “girlfriend”? Are there no woman with motives that don’t revolve around men? Even Doctor Kiran is political only because she loved Aayan. It’s starting to be embarrassing.
Despite that complaint, these past two or three episodes, Homeland has gotten amazingly good. It’s done so without relying on cheese or romance or annoying teenagers. It’s done it purely with espionage action/adventure/mystery, and, despite an unreality the James Bond fans among us can readily accept, it’s done it straightforwardly. This is no-frills espionage, even if it’s overblown. Frankly, it’s terrific.