TV Recap: Homeland, “Yoga Play”

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The Debriefing: The Iranians have taken the bait and have come into the U.S. about Carrie Mathison. Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Leo (Jason Butler Harner) are still on the run. In an extremely unexpected turn of events Jess (Morena Baccarin) goes to Carrie because of Dana’s disappearance, hoping that Carrie can help her locate her missing child. She employs the “yoga play” involving Virgil (David Marciano), a diversionary tactic to lose her tale. She puts the heat on the FBI to find Dana…the manhunt immediately increases. Saul (Mandy Patinkin) heads out to a “goose hunt” with some high powered politicians (including William Sadler) to talk about a permanent fixture as the Head of the CIA but it turns out, Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts), the man who grilled Carrie earlier in the season, is going to head up the new C.I.A.

America’s Most Wanted (Best Overall Performance): This may sound odd given my hatred of the storyline, but Morgan Saylor was great tonight as Dana Brody. I think the character is written in such an overly dramatic and cliched way that it’s hard to appreciate the performance behind the character. Saylor is actually very talented and she has too do a lot of emotional acting with not a lot of really good material. Tonight, through the puppy dog eyes and crappy dialogue you saw real, pain in Dana Brody — the pain of being lied to, which is the most real and honest thing we’ve seen from her.

The Sleeper Cell (Best Supporting Performance): Mandy Pantinkin really amped it up tonight. At one turn he was a ruthless, no-nonsense director of the CIA who uses his employees as pawns in a chess game. His relief that Carrie had been abducted is a bit unnerving, but it was his smile when he uttered “She’s always been on her own” was particularly jarring. Has absolute power corrupted him absolutely? Then there was the wounded Saul who realizes that his wife is now conducting an affair. Then there’s the ever-renegade Saul who doesn’t give a damn about authority. His spiteful, spit in your eye speech to Lockhart was vintage Saul.

A “BOO” Nazir (The Worst Part of the Episode): The Dana Brody storyline sucks with a capital S. The teenage melodrama is just so ridiculous. The whole part where she bolts from the car and walks into the arms of the police…seriously?

The Key Evidence (Best Part of the Episode): Carrie’s abduction sequence was intense. It seems that every season she’s put in some physical danger, but for some reason this one was the most intense. Maybe it was because she’s put herself in the dangerous situation (S1 when she got shot at in hostile territory; S2 while she was hunting Abu Nazir) but this time the “bad guys” got the jump on her. It was unnerving to watch the Iranians make her strip then when they put the hood on her and take her to their HQ, man…chills up the spine.

The Analysis (Overall Thoughts on the Episode): This was a really strong episode of Homeland. The Jess/Carrie meeting was completely unexpected, but really well done — not over the top but too the point. The Dana Brody on the run storyline is finally over, but we’re still going to be subjected to more melodrama. The two sides of Saul were really compelling and it’ll be interesting to see where they take his character this season — will he be the Saul of old or will he become a ruthless cut throat. Also, will his two-weeks left as CIA Director cause the Carrie operation to speed up? And what of these Iranians? How menacing are they? I like the fact we’re getting loaded up with a lot of mystery and a lot of questions.

Photo Credit: Showtime

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites