While You Were Studying: The Homeland Edition

While you were studying hard this semester, I was keeping up with everyone’s favorite bipolar CIA operative. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything. Here’s my cheat sheet with the ten biggest things I “learned” from the third season of Homeland.

10. Craters in parking lots are hard to fill: The writers pull out the dustpan for season three as they start cleaning up the infamous crater left by season two’s bombastic finale. If you don’t remember, season two ended with a bang that killed over 200 at the CIA, labeling Brody as the “Langley Bomber,” and basically making it near to impossible to save his character. With the help of Carrie, Brody managed to escape, but how do the writers dig themselves out of this hole? Read on and see…

9. Never go joy riding with boys you meet in rehab: While Brody stays off screen for some time the first half of the season, Dana fills his time slot with her own storyline. After trying to kill herself and going to rehab, she recovers only to get non-stop worried looks from Jessica. Her storyline culminates in a mid-season joyride as she runs off with some homicidal guy she met in rehab whose name we barely have time to learn. She escapes his clutches (of course), changes her name, and leaves home to go work as a maid at some dirty motel. Don’t know how much of her or the family we’ll see in season four (slim to none?), but how much room does a show about Homeland security really have for angsty teenagers?

8. Chin quivering equals Emmys: This season, Carrie flies off the handlebars, then gets back up on the bike and flies off the handlebars again. From her public disownment by Saul aired on CSPAN for the whole world to see, to the padded cell she spends the first half of the season getting out of, Carrie has her share of chin quivering moments. And while I’m all for watching Claire Danes act up a storm on her road to Emmy number three, there’s only so many times her character can melt down before we start to ask why the CIA still keeps her around.

7. Heroin is addictive: While we’re on the topic of meltdowns, Damien Lewis crazies it up this season as Brody gets discovers the big “H” down in Caracas. And yes that “H” stands for heroin. He goes down to Venezuela and gets hooked. The tortured ex-Marine-turned-suicide-bomber-turned-congressman-turned-suicide-bomber-again is now in Venezuela shooting up heroin, because, well, what else is he suppose to do while the writers are figuring out this show?

6. Arm slings heal everything: It’s probably faint in your memory if you watched this season, but remember when Quinn shot Carrie in the parking lot of that motel six? You should, because she had to wear an arm sling for almost twenty minutes of the next episode. But Quinn was only trying to stop her from ruining another mission on her quest to exonerate Brody. And don’t worry—the bullet went clean through her shoulder so the baby was fine. Oh yeah, did I mention she’s pregnant?

5. Always use birth control: So, Carrie’s pregnant with Brody’s lovechild and she keeps a drawer full of used pregnancy tests in her bathroom, right next to the prescription meds she guzzles down with white wine. Don’t really know what else to say about that other than, “good luck kid!”

4: Homeland Security loves to scheme: Halfway through the season, the writers develop a plot about taking down some leader in Iran’s government (at this point I’m not combing the show for details). The storyline, though, brings Brody out of Caracas as Saul cleans him up (cue drug recovery montage) and ships him off to Iran to infiltrate the regime under the guise of being the “Langley Bomber,” but in reality his goal is to kill that leader dude.

3: YouTube will make you famous: Well, Brody gets to Tehran and the Iranian terrorists welcome him with open arms. He accepts their hospitality and even starts making YouTube videos with them, talking about how much he’s loving his vacation in Iran.

2: Cranes can be used as gallows: After his brief taste of YouTube fame, Brody comes to his senses (with the help of a CIA hit team), and finally follows through with the scheme to kill that leader guy whose name I never learned cause he’s only in one scene before Brody smothers him to death with a throw pillow. Carrie then enacts a plan to extract Brody, but the new director of the CIA (forgot to mention Saul gets fired and some villainous Senator takes over) decides to let the Iranian leaders have Brody because, well, why would they keep him around? As Carrie watches, they sentence Brody to death and hang him in the public square from a piece of rope slung off a crane. And while I knew it must’ve been coming, I can’t help but feel disappointed that the writers’ only option was to cut their losses. I guess they dug a crater that Brody just couldn’t climb out of.

1: Sharpie stains: The season ends with a commemorative ceremony in the newly built wing of the CIA where stars are added to the wall to symbolize fallen CIA personal. In her final goodbye, Carries pulls out the Sharpie and adds a lopsided star for Brody. And with that, season three comes to a close, leaving us guessing where the show could possibly turn next. Other than the Carrie/Brody lovechild, the writers have an open field to work with. Let’s just hope they use this new opportunity and bring this show back to its espionage roots. Otherwise, I just might start doing my homework instead.

Grade: B

Michael Cummings is a senior in the English and Creative Writing Departments.