Homeland S03E03 – Tower of David (Television Review)

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Many of Homeland’s weekly viewers were probably expecting ‘Tower of David’ to be a return to form for the show, with popular opinion of late being that Brody screen-time = good TV. However, last night’s episode proved to be almost as disappointing as the previous two of this season, despite Brody’s long awaited return.

To quickly summarise episode three: Brody is found by a group of men in Venezuela whom take him to a housing project in Caracas; he is barely conscious and bleeding heavily. The housing block is run by criminals and is rife with drugs – Brody is told he cannot leave, and the man who saved his life tries to force heroin on him (This unsavoury depiction of the Venezuelan people is slightly problematic in itself – the show consistently participates in the Othering of non-North American or typically Western cultures).

Meanwhile, Carrie has seemingly had a change of heart regarding her meds, in a bid to get herself released from the psychiatric ward in which she is still being held. In the final moments of the episode, Brody reaches for the needle that has been plaguing him since his arrival in Caracas, while Carrie sits alone in her darkened cell.

What is made very, very clear in this episode is that both Brody and Carrie are trying to escape, both mentally and physically. Both are incarcerated against their will, and both have caved to drugs they’d previously resisted. The question is: why? What purpose are such grim punishments going to serve for either one? This season inherently seems to lack any kind of direction or intent. ‘Tower of David’ was at times both harrowing and (unintentionally) hilarious. The show is currently treading a fine line between award-winning drama and nonsensical farce, and is in dire need of a gripping sub-plot to win back its audience.

Sophie Stephenson

Aired (UK): 19th October 2013
cast: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin, David Harewood,