Homeland
Tower Of David

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 177 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
But By The Dead Commended
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

PREVIOUSLY

Carrie Mathison and Nick Brody spent two seasons on parallel missions to save the world: They both wanted to kill the head of the beast, and they both accomplished it. Within minutes of each other, VP Bill Walden and Abu Nazir both went to hell. The story was over and the monsters were dead.

What happened next was the direct result of both: A gathering of the heads of our country's darkest sacred institutions were gathered together for two funerals. Saul saw Abu delivered to the extranational depths without ceremony, while the ranking officials of our shadow government stood to deliver platitudes and empty gratitude for a monster. In a petty continuation and grudge strike, the bombing at Langley took out the majority of our ministers and sent Carrie and Brody back into their separate emptiness.

It's a pretty classic story, the hero descending into the underworld at the conclusion of his mission, but for some reason it seems more confusing here than in most cases. Peter Quinn can tell you, Sergeant Brody could have told you, that being a soldier is about taking on damage and taint in order to save other people from having to play a part in war. Carrie does it -- warps her way from high to low and back again -- as a matter of course, as a function of her calling. What is happening now is the price these people pay, having elected themselves to the higher calling of killing our monsters for us, or war, which never changes.

I think we're at a point in our relationship to culture where relying on the delivery of content, reliably and to our whim, gives us a sense of ownership that storytellers never had to -- and still shouldn't -- service. That's not the purpose of stories. The role of ratings, a hollowed-out dinosaur that doesn't actually mean anything anymore, was always to mediate that conversation. But I think we're at a time where even the people who call themselves reviewers and critics and recappers can fall into that hole, by appealing to their readerships' sensibilities in a way that can feel very Emperor's New Clothes, if we're lazy enough to conflate our own confusion with disappointment. (As a friend once said, the central geek fallacy is believing that your consumption of and investment in a given product makes you "as important as a scientist.") But the story goes on, and in this case it seems obviously to be going exactly where it should be: Into the shitter. Because at no point in the telling of this story could it have gone anywhere else.

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Homeland

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