XIPHOS vs HOMELAND
I am of two minds about this Showtime original program. On one hand, it’s a somewhat entertaining show with some decent acting and occasionally good writing. On the other hand, there are some major league boners that would be easy to fix if the writers cared enough to fix the issues (more on this down below). There are also some stupendously bad choices made by the writing staff and a retardedly outlandish and preposterous “twist” that is monumentally stupid and insulting. Further, the show got a tongue bath by nerds and online critics so that makes it suspicious in my book since a majority of online nerds and critics have shit smeared where their taste buds should be.
So basically the purpose of this post is me working out if I like the show or not because I haven’t been able to figure that out just thinking about it. I finished the 12 episode run like a month ago and I’m still trying to sort my feelings out over Homeland so I decided to write this up which I really wasn’t planning on doing. I hope by the end of it I finally pick a side, we’ll see if that happens.
One last piece of business before I begin, in order for me to write this I will need to go into MAJOR SPOILER territory. If you were planning on watching this and want to go in fresh and unsullied please skip this post. There is no way I can write this article without dropping major spoilers along the way. You have been properly warned, no crying.
BACKGROUND INFO: Homeland is based on an Israeli TV show called Hatufim (Abducted). I would like to say I know something about it but the wiki page is in Hebrew and I couldn’t figure out how to translate it so I got nothing.
In the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, a Marine Sniper team consisting of Sgt Nicolas Brody (Damian Lewis) and Cpl Tom Walker (Chris Chalk) somehow get captured (BS, Marine snipers are virtually impossible to stop) and turned over to an Iraqi Al Qaeda cell and kept in captivity for 8 years. Well, Brody was kept for 8 years. During that time in captivity and while breaking and turning Brody, chief terrorist Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) had Brody allegedly beat Walker to death. I say allegedly because he didn’t, it was a two prong operation they convinced Walker to turn by making him think Brody turned on him. Walker is the second part of a stupidly and retardedly complex operation that would be impossible to carry off but again more on that later.
Jump forward 8 years and we meet CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) frantically driving through the insane traffic of Baghdad trying to get to an Iraqi prison to save an asset from an off the books operation she has been running from being killed by the Iraqis. Mathison has been lying to her boss and bribing everybody she can think to in order to get inside the prison to talk to her asset because he has info about a possible attack on American soil by Abu Nazir. Unfortunately all Mathison was able to get before prison guards take her away is that “an American POW has been turned”. Due to all her actions that caused a diplomatic incident, Carrie is stood down from field work and forced to work desk job as an analyst at Langley. One day 10 months later she watches a live feed of a Delta Force raid on what they thought was Abu Nazir’s safe house. He isn’t there but they manage to recover Nicolas Brody and now the game is afoot Watson! and Carrie thinks she’s onto something.
At first she tries to go through channels the right way by going to her former boss and mentor Saul Berinson (Mandy Patinkin), chief of the Middle East desk and then her current boss David Estes (David Harewood), the Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center to get surveillance put on Brody. Of course she gets shut down since Brody is now considered a hero for surviving for so long and is treated as such. So off the books she goes again with the help of Virgil (and amusing and droll turn by David Marciano) a CIA contract agent that specializes in eyes on and video surveillance. He, Carrie and Virgil’s younger brother Max wire up Brody’s house, except for the garage which serves a dumb plot point so Brody can pray to Mecca and do nefarious things, for sound and visuals and begin to covertly follow Brody around.
To save time I’m going to go general here. Carrie manages to get a FISA warrant to temporarily cover her activity but then begins to doubt she is right about Brody and then she bangs him. There are several episodes of is he or isn’t he a bad guy, family interactions most notably with the space hooker from FireFly nuding it up. Meanwhile, Tom Walker pops back up as the”bad” guy out to assassinate Vice President Walden (The Walking Dude himself, Jamey Sheridan) , who was the former head of the CIA that ordered a drone strike on Abu Nazir that killed 80 kids including Nazir’s son, Issa, that Brody was close to. They also managed to cover up the death toll up somehow. I guess they live in the world of endless possibilities. In reality it would be on Al Jazeera and/or the Democratic National Committee’s rent boi propaganda arm known as Corporate media in about five minutes because Iraqis in general, and the ones that live in Baghdad specifically, are quite net savvy and skilled at propaganda. The death of Issa was the final straw that broke Brody and he joined the mission to kill Walden. Oh and did I mention that Walden was pushing Brody to take run for a House of Representative seat of a recently disgraced Congressman who got nailed for emailing penis shots to interns? Yeah that’s in there also.
The Good: Almost all of the acting was great in Homeland with Danes, Lewis, Patinkin and Marciano doing exceptionally strong work. Also I would say Morgan Saylor, the actress that plays Brody’s snotty and somewhat suspicious daughter, did some good work in what could have been an annoying throw away role. Also in some places the writing was strong especially in the areas of Brody’s reaction to being back and the family dynamic. Some of the intel parts were well handled especially the politics that go with it. Unfortunately it was also equally bad in a lot of ways but again more on that in a moment. Lastly I would praise the space hooker for getting naked a lot. It distracted from the fact that she isn’t a very good actress but since she got her cans out, I’m putting her in the good section.
The Bad: The the plan to kill the VP like I noted above is convoluted and retarded since at the time of Issa’s death, 2 years before, he wasn’t even on the ticket. Is Nazir so arrogant to believe his operant conditioning of Brody and Walker would hold when they got home so they would carry out their mission? He let them run around without much oversight. How would Brody get next to Walden before they knew he was the VP to suicide vest himself and Walden? Speaking of that let me get this straight. The bomb maker is good enough to build a vest that doesn’t set off bomb detectors and bomb dogs (and the Secret Service doesn’t pat down Brody? I call shenanigans on that BS) but can’t build a switch that works? Yeah go fuck yourself writers you cheap hacks. Walker infiltrating a building as his primary firing position by riding in the backseat of a car driving through a security cordon that checked the trunk, the undercarriage and a guy looking inside that doesn’t shine a flashlight in the backseat at night? I guess since Walker is black he’s invisible? Is that a special darkie power writers? You racists pricks, go fuck yourselves. Also writers, you worthless cockbags, if you had to create a scene with Walker putting both Brody and the VP in the crosshairs of a scope for a dramatic purposes then NOT pulling the trigger illustrates the idea that the entire plan is fucking overly complicated and relied on way too many things breaking your way to be even remotely plausible. Kill the dude and be done, don’t look for a some symbolic horseshit of killing Walden via suicide bomber. Christ on a fucking crutch you assholes make my head hurt.
Gigantic personal pet peeves that took me right out of the show: Throughout the show Brody lets anybody and everybody, including himself, refer to him as a “soldier”. NO FUCKING WAY THAT WOULD HAPPEN. Brody is a United States Marine and earned the title of Marine in Boot. There is no way he would refer to himself let alone condone anybody else calling him a soldier. I don’t care if he’s a Manchurian fucking candidate he wouldn’t let that happen. It goes to show that the writers know nothing about the Marine Corps, never served a day in uniform nor talked to any Marines while writing that garbage.
USMC Captain Mike Faber Brody’s friend and cuckold: Hey writers explain to me how this works. If Mike was enlisted with Brody in 2003, how is he a captain in 2011? Even if we assume his enlistment ended in 2004 and he already graduated college (a prerequisite for commissioning and a big IF at that) and you factor in the time it takes for pre-commissioning and then OCS, the timeline doesn’t work. If he got out, went to college, then got commissioned, then the timeline really doesn’t work. If he was Brody’s Platoon Commander then the friendship is at best questionable and timewise impossible. If you are on the ball in this here new fangled war footing Marine Corps of ours, you move up fairly quickly because of how much we have grown in size. At 8-9 years Faber should probably be a Major or on the promotion list. dead weight doesn’t last anymore. Plus the dude was banging Brody’s old lady and raising his kids for 8 years and Brody just shrugs it off after socking him once in the chops? No way. Fuck off you effeminate balless wonder writers.
Brody’s ever changing rank insignia: In 2003 Nicolas Brody was a Sergeant (E5 3 stripes) in the Marines. For surviving captivity for 8 years he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant (E7 3 up 2 down) yet on his Blue Dress A’s and once on his Alphas he was sporting E5 rank and only one service stripe? GTFOOH with that weak ass shi-ite. No way that would happen. That’s just pure laziness from the production staff and frankly insulting. If they care that little about small things how little do they care about big things?
My Biggest issue with Homeland: it’s the majorly stupid “twist” of shamalamadingdong size dumbfuckness If you don’t want to know bailout now!
Claire Danes character has bipolar disorder, it runs in her family, her dad has it. Her sister, who is conveniently a psychiatrist (fuck off “writers”), has been treating her on the down low with psych meds, Mathison on her own has been self medicating with booze and whoring around. This twist is incredibly dumb. There is absolutely no way the CIA doesn’t know. They keep a tight leash on their government paycheck operatives. They piss and blood test them like every month looking for everything, steroids, street drugs, weed and heavy duty anti-psychotic meds. Plus they do invasive background checks not just on a candidate for employment but on their families and a father that is bi-polar would have been a giant red flag. It was for me in both the Army and Marines and their checks aren’t nearly as extensive as the CIA. This twist/storyline reeks of work shopping and writers being smart ass smarmy fucksticks that live in a Hell A bubble. Asshole hack cocksucker writers I hope you all get ass cancer for being that talentless and still working. Fucking Hollywood is creatively bankrupt if losers like this and Orci and Kurtzman still get work.
Final Analysis: Now that I have written this I have come to the conclusion that once again the Nerds are fucking wrong, they suck and deserve to get beaten on a regular basis. Hollywood shouldn’t listen to them or critics. Homeland, while it does have good acting, really isn’t a good show in fact it’s pretty bad and it can kiss my black Irish ass.