Review of Homeland (HBO in the US) Channel 4 UK 1st episode

Yes,, i did like it, i thought it was good. i also liked Claire Danes and her cool job, pal and loyal friend on call with extensive spying, bugging equipment instantly to hand, including the now stereotypical large van. A giant van which nobody in dramas ever seems to notice, nor do they seemingly notice multiple people jumping out of the back of said van, standing around loudly and arguing and gesticulating. As happened here when Claire and mostly silent and surly mate (who is oddly prepared to as he says “to break 9 Federal laws”) do when spying on their subject in a park. Quite how they hid a large white van in a park was not clear.

Their subject returning war hero/prisoner of war Damien Lewis. The red haired guy from the dreadful “Life” Detective series. Whose acting style seems based on looking permanently perplexed and puzzled. Whilst performing a perpetual moue’ with his lips . Then there is his occasionally startled look in his eyes.

He (Damien Lewis returning war hero) is subject to horrible and horrific flashbacks. The worst being when we see him beat his buddy and fellow prisoner to death whilst encouraged to do so by a strangely calm and bespectacled and neat and tidy looking so called evil terrorist called Abu Nazir.

Abu Nazir looks studious and sweet. As if he was delivering a university economics lecture. He has a Pashtun style turban which seems odd for Iraq. Maybe he was meant to have come from Afghanistan since that would be where that style comes from. or maybe the Americans can’t get their religious and racial references right regarding big bad terrorists.

So our heroine is seen in another flashback in the middle of the war in Iraq. With her mobile phone clamped permanently to her ear, desperately trying to save the life of a guy about to be executed. In the middle of heaving chaotic streets full of cars and men a small traffic jam forms. Oddly, on top of unwisely ignoring all whilst shouting down her mobile on the way in her Jeep, our heroine also shouts her head off at a car behind her. As you do:when you’re a covert C.I.A analyst who would, one would think, be keeping a very low profile. Not to mention being a woman on her own. No matter, she flounces out of the Jeep and marches off to the prison. All the while shouting down her phone as if she was on her way to Starbucks and nary a care in the world.

She is miraculously unbothered by anybody on the way to prison. At prison she shouts some more through the door at her contact importing the news that she can’t save him from his execution. Not sure how a C.I.A analyst would have the power to do this and what she is doing wandering around Iraq with her hair barely covered. Is she a full blown spy and spy-handler?

She shouts at the Muslim man, we know this as he’s wearing, handily, his prayer hat, again a bit unlikely unless he was praying, (although he could have been since he was about to die) that :

“he must her give her information so that she can keep his family safe”. So presumably she also has the power to get his family moved as long as she gets information in return? It’s all very confusing..

If Claire Danes really has all this power and runs contacts “deep in Iraq” and C.I.A. Analyst is just a name for a Spy:would she really be so incredibly young? The head honcho back at Headquarters in Washington mutters to a begrizzled Gideon from Criminal Minds:”I trusted her once, years ago, now I have no wife and only see my children twice a year in Palm Beach”. When was Claire supposed to have done that? When she was 12?

The shorter version of my review:
So Homeland was good but C’mon people, it wasn’t that good. We are meant to believe an unbelievably young C.I.A Analyst jumps out of her Jeep after shouting at the man in the car behind her (coz that’s really a good idea in war torn/chaotic Iraq)

Continually talking on her mobile all the time, like she was on her way to work. Not looking at anything, with her head barely covered, with no other women on the street and she doesn’t get bothered at all, and just pops along to the local jail to have a chat with the poor soon to be executed man through the door.

As per usual in American Dramas we are forced to watch soft porn shagging between Damien, the returning hero and his wife. Although this scene was more hard core than soft. Since he pretty much rapes her. Instead of pointing out his unacceptably violent shagging, pretty, timorous wife just tries really hard not to cry and turns her head away. Lying back and thinking of England they used to call it. Or in this case jingoistically infused America.

You see there is a special reverent, nay reverential respect that tinges all treatment of Military personnel in American Dramas these days. Even Detectives, the coolest and most respected ones are always an ex-Marine. They have medals in their drawers and are prone to repeating “Semper-fi” to any likewise Military ex-Marine they may meet. Any such person is special and considered to be of a higher moral fibre and discipline than anybody else. Even murderers who are ex-Marines are ok really..(they must have had post traumatic stress disorder)

Anyway i digress at least for once, being uncomfortably subjected to watching naked people shag has an actual point in this Drama. Though i say naked yet women’ top halves a bit illogically considering, must always be covered.

In Homeland this scene is to show us the contrast between and earlier scene of love making between returning hero’s wife and his best friend. A scene full of tenderness and passion and playfulness blah blah..

Quite why hero’s wife decides to go full on seduction in her best negligee on the very first night back of her traumatised husband who has just been released from 8 years captivity is unclear. A bit soon perhaps? Maybe he would have preferred to say wind down a little, drink a beer, sit in the garden a while, stare into space some? She seemed, uncomfortably to me, to regard this service as her wifely duty. All a little Stepford wives in flavour. Or perhaps she was guilt tripping on her previous shenanigans with hero’s bezzie friend and overcompensating?

n.b. It’s all a little odd really that returning war hero having been tortured and held captive with little to no exercise for 8 years does not appear to have any muscle wasting. Nor is he offered more than a ten minute de-briefing chat and has no time in hospital or with any Counsellor or psychiatrist. Wouldn’t this be de rigeur?. We see him fit as a flea, muscled and, in a blink of an eye, he is hosting jolly barbecues at home wearing his red baseball hat like he just popped out for a pack of cigarettes.

Anyway, why the hell his wife didn’t kick him from here to Kingdom come i don’t know. Poor wee man, we must not bother him once he’s started, he might just explode to smithereens from utter unsatiated lust. Poor thing. Bollocks. She needed a few lessons on kicking a man into touch from the girls in True Blood, i say.

The awful thought occurs that this was part of not just her wifely duty to her, but her super holy saintly Military wifely duty. More like martyrdom. Presumably we are meant to feel sympathy for both of them, him included, since he’s just so traumatised..

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