Which Game Is It?
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
All hell on deck, apparently. The Dana storyline in the opening is God-awful and no fault to any of the actors at all, even though it had a sweet moment where Dana reveals that the last time her father had been honest with her was the day he had departed to his deployment in Iraq. It’s a phenomenal sentence marred by the things that had just preceded it. But everything else is spot-on, well, perhaps cutting out the very end scene. The third season’s fourth hour, Game On, is hopefully literal for the rest of the season because despite some really good narrative build-up that’s been going on, the opening outing has been quite rough so far.
The best part of the episode and in reality the vast majority of it revolves around a lawyer named Leland Bennett, who represents a bank that has ties to Iranian terrorists. It’s Homeland’s first notable foray after Season 1 into the financial institutions who have become fronts for terrorism money laundering. It’s a complicated web to navigate and a welcome one for the show, which proves again that when it sticks to foreign policy and spycraft, it’s one of the best things on television. He wants Carrie to give him information about the CIA’s dealings into Iranian affairs and in turn he will provide her with full protection against the CIA. He knowingly tells her that the agency will completely destroy her credibility in order to preserve its own foundations, a threat that sounds incredibly plausible. Carrie agrees to the deal, with the caveat that she won’t name any agents in the field, which is a reasonable clause to place within the contract.
Now, let’s turn to what isn’t plausible. The reveal at the very end that the entire time Carrie and Saul had been in cahoots was supposed to be shocking and cathartic, according to show runner Alex Gansa. It’s shocking, but for all of the wrong reasons. There isn’t a single moment in the entire series that’s felt as emotionally wrong (except for Abu Nazir as the slasher horror movie villain that almost had me writing a personal grievance letter to Showtime). I can buy that Carrie didn’t expect it to go as far as Saul did and to the show’s credit, there is dialogue from Carrie evidencing that: “You left me in there too long,” Carrie whispers and Claire Danes is so good she almost sells the whole twist. But coming from the team that brought us some of the most brilliantly written television in history, it’s hard not to feel incredibly disappointed.
Title: Game On
Written By: James Yoshimura & Alex Gansa
Directed By: David Nutter
Image Courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter