Borgen Series 3-Episodes 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6 and an update and a Final review of the Series

Borgen Series 3-final series

Some excerpts from the first episode:

Episode entitled: Child Of Denmark.
“Halfway through my journey I found myself in a dark wood”
(Dante-The Divine Comedy)

Hong Kong-cool.

(The TV1 Newsroom)
“Juul & Friss”

Kaspar & Katrine.
Kaspar:
“Don’t forget his stuffed dog, he really missed it last time”
Katrine:
“It’s a cat”.

(Man in Hong Kong Hotel to Birgitte in her doorway)
“I’m so sorry I seem to have lost my way to my room..”
(Birgitte’s boy friend! Jeremy Welsh)

(Torben meets the new Newsroom TV1 Station manager Alex).
Torben:
“Warner Brothers?”!

In the Hong Kong Restaurant.
Waiter:
“Everything for you Mr. Welsh”
Mr. Welsh to Birgitte:
“Did you read the Guardian this week?”!
Birgitte:
“The other tourist says you can’t out run a leopard…”
“So the other tourist says, I will have to run faster!”
(this is a joke)

Birgitte does not say:
“Don’t you know who I am?!”
(when Security won’t let her in)
Birgitte to Leader of her old party:
“I have missed you!”
“and I miss working with you…”
(heels click)

So Julls & Fris is Torben and Kaspar.

( The Party Speeches).
Torben:
“Why didn’t they applaud more?”
Kaspar:
“They are called Moderates for a reason,”
“they don’t want to appear too folksy”!

So Lars Hesselboe is the Prime Minister or Statsminster now.

Jacob Kruse gives a speech:
“The well meaning, well spoken and well dressed Birgitte Nyborg,”
“champagne socialism…”
he continues.
“Nyborg’s pipe, dream and the real world..”

Birgitte:
“Congratulations Jacob”.

(rain falls)

(thunderclap)

(distant sirens wail)

Birgitte views a cool warehouse run down of course but already with fabulous blue pillars.
Landlord:
“What are you going to do with it?”
Birgitte:
“It’s going to house a new party”…

***

end of excerpts

***

Episodes 1 &2

Well I’m sorry but i seem to remember calling Borgen boring towards the end of the last series.
Now i can’t understand why i was so excited about Borgen returning.

Episodes 3 & 4
Still mostly boring,boring, boring.  Perhaps it is a series too far.  Myself, I was never that enamoured of the politics apart from appreciating the shenanigans involved.  Tantamout to watching Dallas or Dynasty back in the day.

I always preferred the human interest side of Borgen.  The soap opera deluxe if you like.

Episodes 5 & 6.
So Borgen has gathered pace: a bit.  Yet it is all somewhat/ a tiny bit tedious. I mean they are all so damn smug.  So impossibly right on.  Nobody needs to be paid for a start. & They could all do with a bit of a laugh.  Where is their sense of humour?  Nowhere, that’s where.

Yes, it’s escapist watching an apparently elysian land.  Where people trill along happily on bicycles on cobbled streets and no lorries (or buses) are ever around to knock them down.  Nurseries have extra long hours and children are taken for walks down delightful paths in the sunshine.

Birgitte has to downsize from her perilously high skyscraper flat with no curtains but her new flat is even more fabulous to me.  With hand painted flowers on friezes on square mouldings on the walls.  Even the shabby chic warehouse has paint chart colours in the walls.

The saintly Jeremy, Birgitte’s new boyfriend is ostensibly English which means he & Birgitte break into English and he makes Bread & Butter Pudding when he finally gets to meet the now perfectly behaved kids.

Although Jeremy’s lack of Danish allows Birgitte & the kids to make Danish jokey asides about him when he is there.  It’s all so damn twee.  He he.

Perhaps it is reading a newspaper or two every day and dutifully watching the news that leads me to reject any interest in the political hot potatoes of the day.  Since they are all so current it makes a distinct and dreary lack of escapism.

& That is what i must want from watching a drama i deduce.  Even if it involves blood and gore.  Well it would be a bit worrying otherwise.  If blood and gore were day to day too.

Yes, yawn, immigration.  Then the improbable subject of  pig farming and poor little piggies’ tales being chopped off.  I really think they chose that storyline on the basis that Saltum, when angry, would turn into a facsimile of a pig himself.

 It was all a little too League Of Gentleman for me.  Then we are onto prostitution, lo and behold, just been ruled on by the French.

What slowly  becomes clear upon all of these subjects is that shockingly or not, and i know Birgitte is not an official politician just yet-but let’s call her one anyway: yes-politicians, we realise, rule on things they appear to know absolutely nothing about! &  have no experience of whatsoever.  Oh dear.

Hilarious it was when the:
“Pakistani prophet of doom” Nadia,
told it like it was to Birgitte and her merry band who all live in la la land.
(beep, beep, does not compute!)

The above quote, i hasten to reiterate, was not mine, since this phrase resulted in hushed and horrified voices and faces and ultimately a complaint of racism for the innocent Torben who heard it from Rupert Bear scarf wearing Alex, his new boss.

Yet frequent off hand comments from Torben to his crew about how:
“hot” various women were, passed completely unscathed.

The lady in question, Nadia, i doubt would have had a problem with this description of her heritage.
(pretty sure she used the P word herself)
If that was racist then so would, say, The Danish doom-bringer be.  As an alternative description of Nadia’s straight talking but unpalatable truths about the economy.

Torben is now a sleazeball! We are meant to feel sorry for but I no longer do.  Since he is getting down & dirty with pie-eyed Pia on the controls in the edit room and touching her her up in the office.  When he has a beautiful wife called Caroline who had Rupert the Bear transfixed in wonder as she walked, Super-model like, across the room.

Alex, or Rupert the Bear (as i am naming him here) is rather a dreadful stereotype of the younger media type who can only talk in incomprehensible mostly business/ politspeak.  Which alarmingly descends into sinister suggestions of gender dividing the news!  The politspeak clashing and losing to business speak.

 Rupert: haven’t you noticed this is meant to be sexist-free Scandinavia?! Torben too, whilst we are at berating mode.

Rupert, most amusingly, has insanely shaped objects in his Google-like play/office.  I wondered if they were meant to be good for your back as he lay and wriggled and stretched out on one giant white Tobelerone-shaped chair/couch/thing.  But it looked far too uncomfortable.

A lot of Borgen III is compromised of extended teaching moments.  Which makes it all rather tiresome.  Even the characters are subject to this.  First, we are metaphorically prodded with dramatic guilt by association in the laborious and impossibly right-on speeches of Birgitte over immigration:
“is this the sort of person I have become?”

A recent ruling on “misdemeanours resulting in deportation” is never explained.  As if nicking some sweets from a  corner shop might result in such action or not putting some rubbish in a bin.

The doleful faced “right-wing” member of the new independent party is forgiven and seen as human on the grounds of his wife being Ethiopian.  He mutters about parental fears for their son and his lawyer wife’s refusal to let him their son wear a hoodie-ever.  As if there were snipers on the rooftops just waiting to aim and shoot at the sight of a hoodie wearing youth.

***

Update and final review on Borgen Series 3.

 So i may be guilty of nailing something to a mast if i dare to say that whilst i certainly fell under the sway of Birgitte and her coterie they were all mostly annoyingly irksome in the perfectness and lofty la-la-land ideals.

Perfect perfect perfect.  Perfect Birgitte and her perfect life.  Her perfect children.  her perfect ever annoyingly supportive yet unctuous and wooden officially English boyfriend, Jeremy.
Whose English speaking scenes with Birgitte have the curious effect of deflating them of any emotion.  Odd.

Juxtaposed next to Danish, the spoken English sounded strangled and strange.  Like someone gargling whilst they spoke.

I do wonder if they gave Birgitte the healthcare storyline simply to puncture some of the punctilious perfectness.  Likewise with Pinnochio stand in Jeremy, his admission of using prostitutes was his officially un-perfect moment.

Upon which (dare i say shocking) admission, Birgitte became trapped in the same default conundrum that I, in discussing the politics in Borgen and the rest of the characters fell into.  Which is that if you don’t agree that this is all impossibly right-on-whatever it is-then you are a nasty, nasty, person.

In the same vein, Birgitte could not leave her boyfriend.  Even though her body language expressed rejection as she moved away.  Her mind rationalised that to reject Jeremy for sleeping with prostitutes would be uncool.  So she must stay.  When the most sensible question would have been about condom use one would have thought.

( Nb. Jeremy knocks at Birgitte’s hotel room door at night-in a possible pointed reverse scenario of his admission)

This theme was repeated over and over again in Borgen.  As in the prostitution issue with the sex worker’s reasonable points versus the other viewpoints.  As Katrine learnt more, she capitulated into accepting the sex worker’s viewpoint.  & So did Birgitte.

To do otherwise was to be accused, as the sex worker lady did, of being very nasty people.  This translated, for Birgitte and Katrine, as not being right-on enough.  & That, simply will not do.  Hence they must support this issue regardless.

When, nice and cosy as the sex-worker’s small cottage industry of known clients may well have been: the very concessions she was asking for have all been granted by Frankfurt in Germany recently and have had completely the opposite expected effect.

A giant mega brothel has sprung up, taken over and run by the the previously “underground” pimps and criminals themselves. Trafficking has not been reduced & street walkers remain.  The sex workers, although legal, could not get insurance for their job.

As with the little piggy problem and their wee little tails.  Such a photogenically useful project: if you agreed with piggies, cute little baby ones, having their tails cut off-then you were a nasty nasty person.  & so on.

Whilst politically practised enough to pinch the piggy tale for just this nice/nasty projection, Birgitte and her coterie relentlessly fell subject to it themselves.  Yawn.

Was this then politics predicated on emotion and was that meant to be a woman’s prerogative? I hope not.

Personally i felt that Birgitte fell at the last post and although esteemably steely and hard headed generally in  her decisions: she should have taken the deal.  So she may have been averse to the Freedom Party’s opinions.  I note, I am not informed on them.

However whatever happened to Shakespeare’s advice via Julius Caesar:
“keep your friends close but your enemies closer”?
“let me not have men about me that are fat”
“but those who are thin and hungry”
or that may have been Mark Anthony.

Would slimy Hesselboe
(who looked like he just could not believe his luck and was barely suppressing incredulous laughter)
have selflessly acquiesced a possible Prime Minister-ship in lieu of his lofty ideals and aversion to a particular political party and dutifully have fallen on his sword declaring:
“I will do right by my country?”
Would he heck.

That is why Hesselboe was Statsminster and Birgitte was not.  She blew it.  After all it was a coalition and as she herself said, she could have had all the authority she wanted over the others as Prime Minister.  Why, Birgitte, why?!

Indeed the smooth move all along would have been to use the concerns of the populace expressed by voting for the Freedom Party and incorporate a genius rebuffal of such views from becoming more extreme, by encompassing them and acknowledging them as fit for discussion and debate.

Birgitte missed that golden opportunity early on by baulking at those very concerns forthrightly stated by Nadia. The unwritten rule being that if Nadia had said them in a debate, then they cannot possibly be declared as racist.  Those concerns would then be detoxified from such terrifying terminology and safely and reasonably discussed.

Job done.   Voters wavering and having to pick and choose parties would be neutralised and brought over to their side, ha ha.

So Birgitte stalled at this thorny jump and didn’t make it over a second time.  & ended up being a Foreign Minister instead of a Statsminster/Prime Minister. What a cop out really.  So what was it all for then, other than to make a point and form a new party? & some new MPs (Members of Parliament).

 Did the new MPs get to stay in government? Even if Birgitte’s party, the New Democrats, was not part of it? I think so.  Would the New Democrat MPs promote their party’s views if not part of the coalition?  Would the New Democrats have any real power?  Who knows. Probably they will be Backbenchers in Parliament. But were not most of them MPs  before?

As for the human interest side of it, Borgen 3 was just bland, bland, bland.  Katrine was a light relief from gazing at the fixed and unrevealing emotionless life of super saintly Birgitte.  Except for Birgitte’s: I’m-not- so perfect-and -together- really- and -maybe- treating- my- health- scare- like -a- set -of- Dentist’s appointments -was- not -so- wise-after -all-official freak out in the cab moment.

However we were subjected to a rather tedious narrative arc as reviewers like to call it: of signposted spoilt, as in near foot stamping, Katrine.  Who was only ever grieving over the end of her relationship with Kaspar.  But no, this was selfish and spoilt of Katrine and she must be taught the error of her ways by the finely honing tough love of Birgitte.

Fine.  In the blink of a few eyes, Katrine was all mature and newly independent.  In official drama land.

Then Borgen  3 became even more boring.  Meanwhile we were mercilessly subjected to the painfully embarrassing love-life and tribulations of Torben. A successful news Director who we were meant to believe was inherently incapable of dealing with management.  &  Prone to impromptu shagging in what seemed to be a love triangle with pie eyed Pia in the control room and Torben’s stereotyped harridan wife.

Torben’s cartoonish crumpling of face at unpredictable intervals and sorrowful eyes throughout his love tribulations culminated in an inexplicable breakdown of staggering proportions: when Torben collapsed into his handsome male co-presenter Eric’s arms one night.

After hyperventilating silently to such an extreme extent I thought it was the dramatic left arm clutching heart attack demise any time soon.  But no, Torben was upset.

Then Torben too, grows some cojones, becomes an official man, well sort of.  With the help of Hanne and handsome Eric and stands up to the Rupert the Bear Scarf wearing management media type, Alex..

Torben’s final cutting line of goodbye:
“Alex,if you want a fairground, go to a fair”.
was obviously considered by Torben to be Clint Eastwood-esque in style and proportion.  Sadly not.  Sigh.

I realise I was meant to be rooting for Torben indeed feel sorry for him.  I only felt sorry for Pia.  To whom Torben acted like a prat.

After the boring dearth of any real humanity or interest in the human interest side of Borgen which kind of defeats the object: I fell upon the sight of Troels from The Killing as a real walking talking character of flesh and blood, like a vampire starved in a desert.

Troels made the rest of them look like zoned out shoppers waiting in an interminable queue.

In fact for me, Troels acted the rest of them off the screen.  Simply by smiling slightly, sporting some raggedy grey stubble and negligible beard and loping about with impossibly long skinny Jean-clad legs.

Then they had to pair Troels up with Katrine.  Who nearly sucked the life out of their every scene.  Nearly.  Troels saved the day.

***

A special mention must also go to the wonderful bit part of the ex-KGB agent whom Katrine meets in the delightfully spy-like setting of the empty fairground in Oslo.

Homeland Series 3-Episode 12-Final episode-warning-some spoilers Plus posted comment on Rebecca Nicholson’s Guardian Homeland Blog-at bottom of page

Homeland Series 3-Episode 12-final episode

Excerpts.

Javadi & Saul.
Javadi:
“The longer he eludes me the weaker I look and the less chance there is of me replacing Akbari”
“I have just been put in charge of the manhunt”
he continues:
“What if they got arrested together?”
“Tell me where they are and then I could at least save your girl”!

Brody & Carrie in the car.
missed this bit.
Think Brody is talking about his Dad.
Brody:
“Air Ground Control Centre..”
“This would have broke his heart”
he continues:
“Is it much further?”

Beautiful cinematography.  All in yellow.  As is always when dramas are set in the Middle East.
(Carrie looks Iranian like she has lived there all her life)

Safe House.
Carrie:
“He wants to tell you well done”! (Saul)
Brody:
“Whatever that means”
“There was this man in Caracas, he said I was a cockroach, un-killable”,
“bringing misery wherever I go”

Carrie:
“It was about redemption”..
“i am pregnant, from our time at the lake..”
“I think I was put on this earth for our paths to cross,”
“that might sound crazy!”
Brody:
“Are you through yet?”
Carrie:
“No, Yes!”
Brody:
“‘Cause I don’t think that sounds crazy at all,”
“It sounds like the only fucking thing..”

Uh oh…well i had a feeling that was gonna happen..

***
Footnotes.

Nb. Brody saying:
“How much further is it?”
 is an echo of his ride with Azizi  in the Unit, when Brody asked the same question.
& Brody’s code name on the radio with the Unit was:
” The passenger”.
 We will return to this theme later.

Oh yes & the different car that Brody & Carrie pull up to the safe house in.  From what they were driving.
Although Carrie did mention summat about switching cars so I thought that explained it.

***

end of excerpts

***

Well i have seen some sick things depicted on TV however this (a scene in this episode) may take the biscuit.

I found that scene to be utterly horrific and deeply shocking.  Whilst all the time thinking Brody might still get
out of it. Somehow.  & Reappear later, courtesy of a clever plot by Javadi.

 However that didn’t make sense since Javadi had laid out so very eloquently just why this dreadful end had to happen.  He made some good points i suppose.  Yet his attitude was so fatalistic. Religiously so.

Javadi was right about Carrie I suppose.  I do wonder if he really sold her on his whole argument or whether Carrie really swallowed the justification for what happened to Brody at all? Carrie seemed to have done so:
“4 months later”.

Or was Carrie just newly ruthless and diplomatic just like Saul?   As pointed out by Lockhart.
“Agreeing to disagree” seemed rather a mild allusion to the affair.  My feeling is that Carrie was now being shown as the new Saul, his protege’, all supposedly grown up.

 I was surprised that Carrie hugged Saul in her goodbye to him.  Albeit remaining fairly frostily cold.  No longer the emotional one, no longer his little girl.  She had learnt her lesson perhaps: trust no one.

Had Carrie really bought the party line that this ending had all been worth it?  It seemed so.  An acceptance of that by everyone entails accepting the concept of martyrdom.  By the other side.

Indeed the whole rather creepy star ceremony was a commemoration of such.  White gloves as if handling holy relics, that are placed reverentially in a special lit box.  Like ancient bones.

Had Javadi and the powers that over-rode Saul made the right call?  Probably. It was a King Solomon’s call.  Or a Sophie’s choice.  Could the rescue operation have been a disaster, risking Carrie & her baby’s life too?  Possibly.

 The mention of a Black Hawk helicopter may have been a deliberate sign post to Black Hawk operations that were catastrophes.  We will never know.

Myself, i reckon that Javadi, whilst obviously at risk himself if Brody had escaped, could still have swung it
somehow.  He could just blame the Americans.

& The trumpeted breakthrough in the nuclear programme could have happened anyway.  Iran had a new leader in real life.  Was it meant to represent Javadi?  & Iran was tired of sanctions.  It is all moot in my opinion.

Which leads me to mentioning the mirroring of this tale with a real life story i spotted some weeks ago.  A missing American man in Iran, not seen since 2011. Hmmm..

So Brody was never going to get a star.  For past crimes which he never carried out.  For want of a faulty switch, granted.

Yet just as the martyrdom point Homeland is making: Brody was groomed, used and abused & cut loose when considered to be no longer useful.  (just like any young jihadi)  Teaching moment/ lesson# 2.

Just like Leika, the 1st dog sent into space or the monkey recently sent up in a satellite by Iran.  Nobody had planned for their return.

& Carrie, all supposedly grown up now and mouthing all the right words, whilst drawing a star on the wall like a rebellious teenager in the dark in a high school gymnasium, goes forth to be another more ruthless Saul.

Saul, who turned out to be not so ruthless at all.

Still, Brody seemed at peace with his fate and even believed he deserved this ending.  On a religious basis i believe.  He had wished for this before, even pleaded at the height or rather depth of his suffering.  Brody was performing his ablutions in preparation.

Perhaps Brody would never have been at peace.  His suffering, at the hands of both sides of the battle, had been too much.  He had been held captive, brainwashed and told what was right and wrong by both sides, for far too long.  Brody only wanted to be free.

This is what both sides had done to him.  Brody was tired of asking:
“how much further?”  was it and being the passenger in other people’s rides.

 Brody had been brave, resourceful and obedient to each side and their grand plans.  All the while mostly terrified out of his mind.  His mind broken down and brainwashed again and again.  Brody rarely got to drive his own car.  Except in petrified escape.

Time to get off the merry go round:

Brody only wanted to stop.

****

Transcript of my comment posted on Guardian Online Blog on Homeland
(nb. two words omitted from this so as to avoid serious spoilers here)

i thought that scene took the biscuit for the sickest thing i have ever seen depicted on TV.
Given that it happened to a character that viewers had emotionally invested in, over many seasons.

I agree with other posters that the sudden cheery, & chirpy ads that followed right after had the effect of some dark agit-prop anti art..
or summat.

i suppose that this was in order to reassure us that Brody was indeed like the proverbial Dodo.

Having missed the beginning and the scene with Brody & Carrie driving in the car-what was Brody saying about his father ?

I did re-watch the beginning but am completely averse to revisiting the whole episode.  In fact wild horses
couldn’t drag me.

a few random points:

When i first saw the shot of Saul scuttling, beetle-like up the sunny lane of wherever in blithe happiness with

Mrs. Smug upstairs on their sun-lit verandah and elysian meal-i first thought that having signposted the scene as :
“4 months later”
that this was Saul, hurrying to see Carrie in Istanbul who he had taken under his wing. Her and her baby.  But nope.

Nb. No Brody, it is not you who are the:
“Un-killable cockroach that brings misery wherever it goes”
as per the doctor in Caracas.

It is, it would appear, Saul who makes the cockroach grade.

Saul, who has bought the dubious party-line that this horrific end was all worth it in view of the slight thawing
of international relations between Iran and America.

Which no doubt would have happened anyway-with or without Brody’s sacrifice or his death as a burnt offering for the cause.  Otherwise known as martyrdom.

Brody-for whom nobody had made any plans for his return.

Saul, who briefly looked sad over the affair was fine and dandy and cockroach scuttling still..

Even Carrie seems to have bought the party line-or had she?
I really kept expecting, as others here have said, Brody to pop out of the shadows and for it all to have been a devious and clever plot by Javadi.  But nope, sadly.

Likewise i kept half expecting Carrie to take some evil-explosively themed revenge at the creepy commemorative ceremony. Perhaps this idea was a bit overblown.  Her revenge is quiet and teenager-like and essayed with a magic marker pen in the dark instead.

Carrie parroting the right diplomatic lines as Saul would have done-or not, thinking about it-to keep her job and her much treasured sideways move
 (not a promotion in my opinion) to Istanbul.

Because Carrie is obviously happier abroad, in the Middle East.

Nb. I spotted the uncanny similarity of this story with a News story relating how a missing American man in Iran has not been seen since 2011.  Hmm..

Could that be how the story goes down in America, as queried here by posters?

Homeland Series 3-Episode 11-warnings some spoilers-On in the UK Channel 4 and on Virgin TV channel 104

Homeland Series 3-Episode 11

Excerpts

(footsteps)

I get all excited thinking it was Tehran.  But no it is underground prison with Alain Bernard in it.

In Tehran.
Brody and Interrogator/Doctor.
(against an obvious backdrop of sky and a stone balcony?!)
Brody:
“An Iman helped me get out of Caracas”.
Brody’s cover story is crap. They could easily find out.

Carrie arrives in Tehran in a women’s taxi.  They speak only French in the Hotel.
All unlike a certain other country.  Which is perhaps our teaching moment.

Javadi is summoned by Akbari, we almost sympathise with Javadi.
It’s annoying how Javadi does that.

Carrie phones Saul.
(she sighs)
Saul:
“Is that a headscarf you are wearing?”!

Carrie catches sight of her bump in the window.

Mossad Agent:
“This ain’t no gun, its cyanide”.
(no, really?!)
“We have C4”..

Saul’s Plan.
Saul:
“I am aware it has a lot of moving parts”

Quninn:
“Shouldn’t Carrie be extracted before all this?”

Brody & his Guard.
Brody:
“Where are my shoes?”
Guard:
“Shoes”.
(this was my favourite few lines)

Brody:
“What is this place?”

I tended to agree with the Mossad guy-this is not a good set-up.

Saul:
“‘Fuck is happening?”
that is really what he said.
“For the last fucking time”!

There is an emotional reunion bit with Brody & Nasrin, Abu-Nazir’s wife,  She cried.
Nasrin to Brody:
“We dig them out of the rubble..”

Slightly odd scene where the crowd cried:
“Allah Akbhar” to Brody.

Then Carrie is back to doing what she does best.  Which is skulking around Middle Eastern market/towns in a Hijab.
(running her agent on the ground)

(Nb.  Strange how this story is mirroring exactly the missing American in Iran right now who hasn’t been heard of since 2011)

Brody goes for a dangerous play now.
But probably a good one..

Saul, for once, is lost for words.

***
end of excerpts
***

This episode really delivered even though mu excitement at taking a metaphorical trip down town and seeing all the sights of Tehran in my invisible accompanying of Brody in the car with Javadi were all cruelly dashed.

For once, some wide vista views were missing.  Not even the ubiquitous aerial ones I usually find so annoying and vertiginous.  Sigh.

Please note, sigh is now an in joke, i just invented.  Since if you like to have the subtitles up as i do, a habit
borne out of Scandinavian Dramas and or general mumbling, you will notice there is a plethora of plenteous sighs signified in the subtitles.  Everyone is always sighing!  Javadi sighs for England or rather Iran.  Carries sighs in abundance.  This episode was added “long exhales of breath”.

I do declare i am addicted to subtitles now as once you se the sound descriptions you just cannot give it up.

So no, no down town sights of Tehran sadly.  Only the ground upwards view of pale coloured dusty apartment blocks and a green and verdant garden with a nice classic Mercedes in thedDrive at Ferah’s Uncle’s house.

Thankfully they saved us from the stereotyped Arabian courtyards and officially Middle Eastern markets like that was all there was.

So we discover that this, Iran, is where Abu Nazir came from and presumably, where Brody was first radicalised.

Well according to Nasrin, Abu Nazir’s wife.  Although I could have sworn it was Iraq and then Afghanistan and Abu Nazir was a Sunni.  But no, apparently it was Iran so Abu Nazir was a Shia Muslim. I suppose that explains the links with Iran.

Abu Nazir’s house in the early series was full on stereotype and seemed more like it was in a small village or n the country.  It is all a bit mind bending as I try and remember why x is the baddie instead of y.

Still, delicately moving along, this was a cracking episode with Carie back to what she does best, which is to run her agent on the ground.  Carrie is in her element.  & so, surprisingly or not in my predictions last week, is Brody.

There is the stereotypical barking back and forth back home by the coterie of shouty men.  Who all drop what Americans call the f-bomb.  With, one would have thought in such high ranking officials, with shocking abandon.  Yet again i find myself thinking the Senator would do a better job than Saul.  The Senator certainly talks more sense.  Or would he? Perhaps someone of Saul’s severe ruthlessness is just what is needed.

Just as Javadi previously mentioned to Carrie when they first met in the desolate house on the golf course:
wherever Saul goes, or rather his plan, death follows.  A swathe of operative are scythed down as collateral damage;  Whether directly involved or not.

This is why i am worrying already.  or Ferah’s uncle.

As for the last scene, I was never truly fooled. OK maybe just for a minute.  however my eyes had already alighted upon a certain object on the desk with the very same thought that Brody had..

& Now: how on earth is Carrie gonna get Brody out of there in the barely blink of an eye’s worth of time as the clock is metaphorically ticking and the seconds rushing by?  Does she have Javadi’s phone number?  Can Brody abseil it down the the window to the ever eponymous thronging crowds below? Even if the window opened?  A window which

Brody has already checked out and retreated from?  Who know.

The whole affair is like a deliciously authentic classic adventure.  I half expect Brody to find an unexpected and errant sword, grab a non-existent tasselled silken curtain pull and swing across the room then down the stairs, swashbuckling his miraculous escape.  Like Errol Flynn on crack.

A note to My Readers-some notes on new series coming: The Bridge Series 2 BBC4 & Revenge E4 (Virgin TV 144) and some i have seen: Borgen 3, BBC4, Lillyhammer 2 Netflix, Never wipe Away Tears Without Gloves BBC4 & Storyville-Fame In China BBC4-Gareth Malone’s Choirs At work BBC2

Dear Readers.  some news of some new series in January 2014:
& some that i have seen:

Some notes on catch up & on demand viewing, Netflix & old series available on Virgin Media TV
Nb. All BBC programmes are available to catch up on in the UK on the BBC i-player online:
.http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/

Series 1 of The Bridge is on i-player.

& on TV by pressing on demand whilst on BBC1.

Also, i have learnt that Netflix (about £6 per month) can be shared within a household on different computers by other users,  if one person in that household is a subscriber to Netflix.  The Netflix subscriber just adds you as another user.

E4 can be seen later on TV via 4-On Demand.

For Virgin TV viewers: 
There is also the chance to see Series 1 of The Bridge on the Virgin media TV Channel number 100 entitled:
 On Demand Previews-then press blue button on your remote called Guide/ home:
go to Catch up TV-then go to to Search and type in The Bridge using the numbers on your remote for letters. eg. number 2-tap twice for B
(Nb. 0 is a space)-then go to the heading shown:
TV Choice-the whole  The Bridge Series 1 comes up & is available for another 11 days!

OMG: have just checked and the whole of Series 1 & Series 2 of Maison Close is available through Virgin TV Channel 100 via the same method as described above.  How cool is that..
As is, as i have just checked Forbydelsen/ The Killling Series 1 &  2.
(Nb. i don’t work for Virgin tho maybe i should)
Have also found hre: series 3 of Underbelly, Underbelly NZ and series 1 & 2 of  *Wallander with Henrik  Kristerssen.  I have written about series 1 of Underbelly on this blog.

*Please note-as of 2nd January 2013 the Wallander series are no longer available*

New Series in the New Year:
Revenge-yey! 4th January-see my previous write up on Revenge.
Frothy but glorious fun in the vein of Dallas/Dynasty.  With a great, snarling yet ever smiling evil heroine..
Actually two.

&Series 2 of The Bridge.  also 4th January.  Starting at 9pm on BBC4:-two one hour episodes back to back.

Until then i am afraid it is pretty much a televisual desert.   OK one more episode of Homeland to go.  Boring boring Borgen 3 finished.  I have a small write up on that to put up although i couldn’t really stir myself to write episode per episode.  Since it was seriously underwhelming.

I told myself i would save up Lillyhammer-Series 2-having recently been inculcated into the joys of Netflix.  But then i had to go and watch the whole series in three or four nights.   It was that good.

Series & Documentaries i have seen recently:


Then there is The Tunnel, SKY Atlantic which turned out, in apposite to what i said here, really rather good.  One more episode to go which i am quite dreading .  Since as watchers of the Original The Bridge know-the ending is really rather sad.

Actually-scrub that, it looks like i was right in the beginning: the ending did not merit the whole watching of the series . In spite of it picking up in pace a little along the way.  You could not help but agree, just a little, with the TT’s opinion of our eponymous hero..

I have watched an excellent short series called:
Never wipe Away Tears without gloves on BBC4 which is a Documentary/ Drama, I have to finish a write up on it and will put up.
Although warning-it is very sad.

Then there was Storyville-Fame In China-BBC4 which i really enjoyed-a one off Documentary about a Chinese performing arts school putting on their first ever musical-Fame.  My favourite person in that Documentary was Professor Haig who we got to see in her earlier incarnation as a fearsome deadly martial arts fighter in old films.

So that is about it between now and January.  O, there will be a new Sherlock Holmes for Christmas i believe.  Correction: you have to wait until New Year’s Day, 9pm BBC1 for the new Series of Sherlock Holmes.

  Not even anything silly and fun to watch like the Canadian:
 1-8000 Missing which was my secret silly TV for a while.  I actually found myself slumped watching:
 ‘The best and worst of X-Factor tonight’ until i roused myself, in mute self-recrimination.  Anything, come on, anything, has to be better than this…

Nb.  The Bates Motel i thought was excellent-reviewed here in a one off review.  So good i didn’t want to spoil/er it.

Oh i must give a special mention to Gareth Malone’s Choirs At Work Series on BBC2.
Final on Sunday 22 December @9pm
In which Gareth Malone, a highly trained Choirmaster, chooses and trains members of the public who work in various Companies or Public services to form and then sing together in a choir.  He also auditions for solo singers for that choir.  For this series Gareth goes to find members of the public from: Sainsburys, P& O Ferries, The Cheshire Fire Service, Citibank and Birmingham City Council staff.

 The series is bitty and superficial in the teaching segments due to Gareth flitting about the the country to reach each Choir and only arriving to officially poke about inside the business: meet all the different staff members and give an unerringly big fat plug for said Company/ public Service: leaving the chosen choirs and their signposted meaningful and hopefully emotional back stories to be tutored by unknown choirmasters.

Gareth then returns to coach the Choirs for each first impromptu (supposedly) performance to the public and then their first official performance in the competition for Choir At Work of the Year.  Although worryingly, for the Citibank choir ‘s spontaneous performance in the street below, i noticed that they were deemed to require several lurking just out of camera-Security Guards.

Gareth, although obviously a very nice guy and well meaning, cannot help but be patronising to the point of insult. Especially to the people doing the less than salubrious jobs such as the frozen folk wearing frosted balaclavas with T-shirts as a sartorial badge of pride in the cavernous cold food section of Sainsburys.
 “Gosh, I wouldn’t like to do this job!” Gareth repeatedly exclaimed.

Gareth was oblivious, it seemed to the very real pride exhibited and exuded by those responsible for feeding part of the population and ensuring that they never, ever, ran out of stock.  In a system as huge, cavernous and impressive as any imaginary toy making factory run by industrious elves at the North Pole for Christmas.

Conversely, Gareth similarly or one could i suppose argue fairly, treated the Citibank folk to a reverse snobbery and stock stereotypes which perhaps he felt duty bound to express-who knows. As if each and every person in the bank right down to the security guards, translators and the really very nice gentle man in charge of accounts at no less than £22 million, were all personally responsible for the banking crisis.

Gareth then just as loudly declared vocally to all concerned that he had discovered-shock horror:
“that they, Citibank,  were human beings/nice people after all!”

It did seem to me that Citibank, as the only choir who could all mostly sight read music had rather an advantage over the other choirs who mostly could not.  Thus was the class divide exposed for all to see.  Then all the choirs were forced to go to The Royal Academy of Music and learn classical pieces in Latin and or Italian in the short space of a few days.

Any one who expressed their worry and stress at such a gargantuan task was tut tutted over and declared, as in a short argument within one choir, as:
 “having lost their unity as a choir”.

However the Choirs’ performances for the competition and the unwittingly amusing three Judges who when really feeling the performance literally get their groove on albeit in a muted and  scholarly way in the audience: are worth every minute of the rest of the show.

The sung performances by the workplace choirs are fairly to truly staggering and moving to behold.  As are the dejected and often weeping reactions by the poor unfortunate choir that is voted out each week.

Next week is the final, should be an electric experience: as in fizzing with unseen electricity strangely affecting both heart, soul and engendering unseen goosebumps over arms forthwith.

Homeland Series 3-Episode 10-Warning-minor spoilers-on in the UK Chhannel 4 or on Virgin TV Channel 104-Sundays @ 9pm

Homeland-Series 3-Episode 10

Excerpts.

Nb. Turani & Azizi are some of the Special Operations guys in the Unit.

Quinn:
“How is your shoulder?”
Carrie:
“Brand fucking new”
Quninn:
“I took a look at your medical records”
“You’re 15 weeks pregnant”

Carrie:
“First of it’s not his” (Brody)
“Second- its none of your damn business!”

The Unit & Brody

Turani:
“The secret is to relax the goat,”
“before you cut it’s throat”
Brody has a daft looking head-dress.

Brody:
“I am turning my socks inside out,
“it keeps them fresh..”

Turani:
“Join Al-Qaeda, see the world!”

Saul:
“I am out of Black Jacks, any more out there?”!
Secretary:
“There is plenty more out there”.

Uh oh, (officially) Arabian music plays.
Now Brody is praying.
So the other guys know but Saul sure don’t.

(door shuts)  (engine starts)

Off they go.  Bang.
Suspenseful drums and music ensue.

Azizi-“shit-borders blocked”.
“Zero kilo alpha”
Radio:
“Yeah, wait out”

Brody:
“How long is this gonna take?”
“Those rear echelon Mother fuckers”!

Carrie to Saul:
“You chewing your lucky gum again?”
Black Jack is not gum!

Brody (shuddering breaths)
Brody freaks out.  He has a face full of blood.
Turani:
“Bit late for your vagina to chime in”!
Turani:
“Here, wipe the blood off your face.”

Azizi & Brody drive along.
Azizi:
“What did you wanna do when you grew up?”
Brody:
“What did you wanna be?”
Kerbang!
“Zero-kilo alpha”
“We hit a mine!”

Nice or not so nice Mike then decides it would be a good idea to use the hellfire missile & kill Brody and Azizi.
Saul says no.

Brody goes into action.  (yey Brody)
Brody:
“zero kilo alpha”
Brody turns into a Unit guy and does all the right things.

Azizi:
“I never thought I would be this fucking guy”
Brody:
“Me neither”
(on radio)
“suppress me”

The Unit guys come for Azizi.
Brody:
“Are we aborting the mission?”
( I don’t think he got the message)

I knew Brody would get stubborn.
Radio:
“Put the passenger on the line!”

Sheete.  I am not telling what happened.
Carrie:
“Jesus!”

Carrie & Ferah.

carrie:
“You had a crucial role in recruiting.”
“You have an Uncle in Tehran”
she continues;
“We have a brother agent in the field, soon to be in mortal danger..”

(mens’ voices nearby)
Brody is the strong one now.
It’s Javadi:
“Are you ready to go to Tehran?”
Kerblamm.
(shuddering breath)
(Brody sighs deeply)

Javadi:
Now we go to Tehran..”

***

end of excerpts

***

So all very tenseful and exciting but mostly in the damn dark.  With the usual drone feed half familiar white/black shots of the ground from above and moving plasma blobs of figures.

Some of this is visually familiar I realise from Cop/ Police programmes that delight in showing said white squidgy plasma blobs having legs and plopping up and down, uselessly over fences and running through gardens.  The blobs being burglars or fugitives from hastily abandoned cars.

 Poor blobs thinking they are free or hidden behind a tree. Because the helicopter above is watching them.  With their special infra-red night vision.  There is no
escape.

This must be why such visuals are half familiar to me I realise.  Since I have not  seen many drone feeds.  None of us has except the rarity on the news.

All in all I find there is not much to write about this episode.  Myself i was mostly busy being upset about the collateral damage involved.  Or more specifically, the people, on both sides.  As always one might say.  It all
seemed so unnecessary, nay unlucky.  As things just went from bad to worse.  Calamity  upon calamity.

Although the mission was saved i suppose.  It all seemed a high price to pay.

It did seem blindingly obvious to me that a blue eye pale faced American would stand out in a crowd.  Ginger haired people being found across the world, yet usually with brown or more commonly, green eyes.

 Had this not occurred to anybody?  The planners in the CIA, the Special Ops guys?  All the cover stories in the world wouldn’t wash with that.

 On reflection perhaps green contact lenses would have been helpful.  Or was Brody meant to be a distant American cousin or convert?

The rest of the episode was mainly Carrie getting weepy in the control room and Saul surprising us all by revealing a penchant for a very British sweet called Black Jacks which are definitely not “gum”.  I didn’t know they had Black Jacks in America, or that anybody outside of the UK had ever heard of them!

 I can reveal my own predilection for Black jacks, normally jettisoned after childhood, which turn your tongue and gums temporarily black being made of wonderfully chewy liquorice.  Yum.

In other news Carrie denies that her baby is Brody’s.  Pull the other leg Carrie, it has bells on it.

We are left to wonder what annoyingly unsatisfactory cliff-hanger we will be left with next week. Me, i found myself getting excited at being the metaphorical viewer of Tehran in the shortly, as promised by Javadi, trip
down town..

I can’t think that anything definitive will happen in the next two episodes.  Other than another deathly happening or a deeply moral conundrum.

Still, at least Brody came too out of his obvious and ongoing post-traumatic stress when his Marine/ Special Ops training kicked in and he became the strong one.

What did i tell you, Brody can usually, think on his feet.  No back up beyond Ferah’s now dangerously at risk Uncle and the eponymous safe house.  Like that will help.  Being Muslim will be in in Brody’s favour however.

Brody is back.  We will all be rooting for him.  & Saul no doubt will have miraculously white teeth.  Instead of black.