Tonight, “Homeland” season 3 returns with “Tower of David,” the first episode with Damian Lewis this season, and also the first episode that hopefully no one is going to sit around and complain about. The problem that we’re running into with season 3 so far is almost inexplicable since this is still a great show. It’s just not the “you must watch this now” kind of show that it was during the early part of season 2, where everyone was talking about it and waiting to see what happened. Instead of it being a dark, twisted take on homeland security, it’s now almost this tortured story of love and betrayal.
As for why critics have suddenly shut up when it comes to singing the praises of “Homeland,” that’s what we are trying to figure out with this article. Is there a reason to bail on a good show just because it’s not what you thought it would be?
1. The Dana problem – The criticism here is that there’s too much of Brody’s daughter, that she is boring, and that she whines too much. We only buy into this if you are the same sort of person who buys into Skyler being the worst part of “Breaking Bad.” It’s people freaking out over someone ACTING LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING. Do you not think that Dana is going to go off the rails and seek comfort in a guy in a crazy house after her father is accused of blowing up CIA headquarters? Her story works because it’s real, and it is still tying into the mess that Brody left behind. (What’s more unrealistic is that the mysterious son just seems to be cool with everything.)
2. The Brody problem – There is no Damian Lewis in the first two episodes, and that is more of why some of the buzz has fallen away from the show. Remember all the people saying that Brody should have died last season? That could have worked, had the Brody family also been vaporized in the process. What we’ve had for two weeks is a Brody family without Brody, and nobody asked for that. That’s like hanging a banner over the family home reading “blame us if you don’t like the first two episode!”, and it’s setting up them up to be mocked.
3. The “cool” problem – Here’s the rule for TV hipsters: Once the media finds out that something is awesome, it’s no longer awesome. Look at everyone who bailed on “Mad Men’s” greatness around the start of season 5, or started saying that “The Office” was dead around season 3. Once the Emmys have already recognized you once, it’s suddenly like what you do can no longer be that awesome. “Breaking Bad” got really lucky in that sense that it didn’t win until this summer. “Homeland” has already gotten the golden stamp of approval, so now there is that weight on it to be the chosen one. So when there are problems (see Brody and the Vice-President last season), they suddenly explode and become the worst thing of all time.
Our advice for now is to keep watching, mostly because there is still so much more to come and we haven’t quite made it to the midway point of the season. But if episode 6 rolls around and there is still a reason to be listless, then that is when Showtime needs to find the giant red “panic” button and start pressing it repeatedly.
Want to preview tonight’s ‘Homeland” episode? Then just click here, and we’ll be around later tonight with a full review.