REVIEW: Homeland 2×10 “Broken Hearts”

Posted by Chris Philpott on Tuesday Dec 4, 2012 Under Ramblings, Review, TV

Warning: this post contains major spoilers – make sure you watch the episode before reading on.

Like most critics, I’ve been cautious about making comparisons to 24 – the show that Homeland creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were a major part of before starting here. Homeland is a very different beast: its more cleverly written, it boasts a handful of performances that outshine anything on the former show, and (unlike 24) it can rightly be considered a quality show.

Yet, “Broken Hearts” was undoubtedly more 24 than Homeland. To it’s detriment.

The problem was the inane plot which, for the first time, was implausible to the point of distraction. I’ll admit, it makes sense for Nazir to try to get to Brody by using Carrie as a bargaining chip. But Nazir using Brody to get a code to wirelessly control Walden’s pacemaker, thus inflicting a heart attack death on the man he has so brazenly been after for so long, seems more like the handy work of a Bond villain or (dare I say it) any of the countless baddies from 24′s run.

Nor did it make sense that Brody could be standing in a building full of CIA agents, yelling “Nazir!” repeatedly in the general direction of his phone, then somehow get  enough time in Walden’s private office to find said code. Nor does it make sense for Nazir to delay his getaway on a subtle revenge.

It pains me to say it, but the plot was atrocious. Fortunately, “Broken Hearts” was redeemed (mostly) by a series of great character moments: the intense diner scene with Saul and Dar Adal (played brilliantly by Mandy Patinkin and F Murray Abraham), or the face-off between Carrie (Claire Danes, in fine form as usual), or the death  scene in which Brody stared down Walden in his final moments (Damian Lewis’ only scene this week which wasn’t drenched in over-acting, sadly).

The worst episode of the season, sure. And a disappointing one at that, even if it was still an entertaining hour (and still better than much else on the box). It just seemed lazy compared to the rest of the show’s run. Maybe that’s what disappoints me most.

I can only hope this was a transitional episode, setting things up for the last couple of installments – and those final moments (Carrie going after Nazir alone, Saul being dragged off to an interrogation room) indicate that might be the case. We’ll chalk this one up as a mistake. Every show is allowed one. (Just don’t do it again, Homeland.)

What did you think of last night’s episode?

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