Knowing when to quit

This is my review of Homeland – Season 3 [DVD].

Any mass market action thriller is likely to tie itself into knots of implausibility with dollops of repetition by its third series, and Homeland 3 is no exception. Just how many times will Brodie be confined in hideous gaols, Carrie get sectioned after failing to take her meds, or Dana be led astray by a crazy boyfriend?

Homeland 1 caught my attention with its novel approach, for an American series, of being prepared to show the United States government, military and CIA in a frequently unfavourable light, clearly flawed and lacking a monopoly of the moral high ground. The tough marine Brodie may have been brainwashed but seems genuinely drawn to Islam and able to relate to an alternative way of life.

Unfortunately, in Series 3, much of the potential for a subtle psychological thread which would enable viewers to appreciate the series at different levels has been frittered away. For the most part, the writers seem to have lost the plot, with Saul for one behaving in an increasingly bizarre way.

The drama rallies to reach an exciting and interesting climax in Episode 9, but tails off to an unsatisfying postscript to Episode 10 which left me with a bad taste in the mouth. Designed to pave the way for Series 4, was it the usual, and in this case inappropriate, corny, soft-centred American "ending" or a deliberate portrayal of the surviving characters as amoral and self-serving monsters?

Both `Borgen' and `The Killing' are claimed to have ended with Series 3, and the makers of Homeland might have done well to take the same option, not least since ironically they have reached a more clear-cut conclusion.

⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars

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