Tuesday, 14 October 2014

HOMELAND, 4.3 – 'Shalwar Kameez' • are you in or out?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


From the start, HOMELAND has been a show that likes to have a 'male mirror' for its heroine, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). That role was filled by Brody for three seasons, and now Quinn (Rupert Friend) appears to have assumed that mantle. This third episode split its time between Carrie embracing her new CIA role, while Quinn tried to leave the CIA. It won't come as a surprise to find that Quinn was ultimately drawn back into the spy game, because of his feelings for Carrie.

"Shalwar Kameez" gave us a delicious taste of Carrie in her new job, buoyed by the power it's given her after blackmailing Lockhart for the position in Pakistan. Her predecessor, Sandy Bachman, was only recently killed, so his subordinates are still mourning the loss of their illustrious leader, and naturally aren't too pleased when Carrie comes waltzing in with a theory Sandy was selling state secrets in exchange for intelligence on high-value targets. It was great fun seeing the typically hard-headed Carrie get everyone's backs up—especially new colleague John Redmond (Michael O'Keefe), who was set to succeed Sandy as Station Chief until Carrie pulled some strings. I'm sure everyone in Islamabad will come to see the genius that lays beneath Carrie's prickly demeanour, but for now I'm enjoying the tension and irritation her presence is having on everyone.

Unexpectedly, it's the CIA who are keen to make contact with drone-attack survivor Aayan (Saraj Sharma), because they know the young medical student's been approached by radicals and suspect he must therefore have important knowledge worth intimidating him into keeping quiet about. I have no idea if Aayan knows something that hasn't been made clear to viewers at home (maybe flashbacks to the bombed wedding will illuminate us?), but I'm pleased this storyline is going down a slightly more unpredictable route. It also allowed for the return of Fara (Nazanin Boniadi), who was little more than an office gopher last season. Now she's posing as an English journalist (allowing Boniadi to use her native accent), and is a key ally alongside Max (Maury Sterling) in Carrie's spycraft team.

The main subplot was focused on Quinn back in the U.S, coping with the aftermath of Sandy's public murder. He's under psychiatric evaluation because he wants to leave the CIA, and scary mentor Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) isn't going to let him go without a fight.

How interesting that the vibe to this story feels similar to Brody's fruitless attempts to leave his terrorist puppetmasters, with the CIA also written as a broadly insidious organisation you can never really leave behind. Black ops specialists like Quinn are a wealth of information rival intelligence agencies would love to dig into.

Quinn was ultimately brought back into the fold after this episode—partly because he's discovered the Sandy Bachman murder was being orchestrated by a man in a crowd wearing an earpiece, which unburdens him of the guilt that his actions weren't enough to save Sandy; but also because Carrie simply asked for his help and, despite some reluctance, he can't really turn her down. It seems almost certain he loves her, which isn't the most original of directions to take Quinn's characters. The writers are certainly risking him becoming nothing more than a Brody analog (handsome, brooding, damaged), with a few obvious differences regarding his loyalty to the US of A. But is anyone actually excited by the prospect of a Carrie/Quinn romance this year? Is that something a corner of the internet was pining for last year? The writers just seem convinced a dash of romance was always the key to Homeland's success, when it was actually just one component.


  • Homeland's opening titles sequence and theme tune continue to be amongst the worst on television. Even this year's visual revamp hasn't salvaged it.
  • The title is comprised of two items of clothing very common to the region; the Shalwar (pajama-style trousers with wide legs and thin ankles) and the Kameez (a long tunic with collar).
written by Alexander Curry • directed by Lesli Linka Glatter • 12 October 2014 • Showtime