Thursday, August 27, 2020

Emmy Episodes: Homeland

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fifth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Homeland: Season 8, Episode 12 “Prisoners of War” (B)

I thought the first two seasons of this show were some of the best television I’ve ever seen. After that, however, things went downhill and while season four was a slight recovery, it never got anywhere near as good as it used to be. I actually made it almost halfway through the penultimate season, which aired over two years ago, and then watched two more episodes that served as the submissions that season for Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham. Now, the series finale is nominated for directing, and so I’m checking back in right at the end to see how things turned out. This episode was much less intense and fast-paced than I had expected, and only one character died, which is a relatively low body count from what I remember. Evidently, much has transpired that would have made Carrie willing to risk Saul’s life so that she could betray him and in turn save the country from unnecessarily going to war. He caught on to what she was doing quickly but not in time to stop her from injecting him, and it was surprising that the Russian operatives who were set to interrogate him just left and let him live. Carrie was obviously more emotional about the idea of tricking Saul’s sister into thinking that he was dead to manipulate her into giving her the flash drive he had left, but it worked perfectly. It didn’t seem likely that she would let go of the resentment she felt after that, but the flash-forward indicated her looking as happy as we’ve ever seen her. I actually liked the way that this episode ended, with Saul just as surprised as we were that, after writing a book about why she betrayed her country, Carrie had taken over the newly vacant spot of spying on the Russians for the United States. I don’t think this episode needed to be nominated for its directing, especially compared with much better installments from those first two seasons, but I don’t mind it being included and wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if it ended up winning. This is Lesli Linka Glatter has yet to win an Emmy despite five previous bids in this category, so this better-than-expected finish wouldn’t be a bad reason to finally give her a trophy.

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