TV Review - Homeland: Season 4

Suraj Sharma is featured in Season 4 of "Homeland"
As Season 4 of Homeland begins, you get the impression that nothing was learned from Season 1. Season 1 was probably the single best series of episodes ever created for television. The essential plot was that an airstrike or a drone strike that killed an innocent child causes a Muslim man to become a terrorist and wage jihad on the United States, or at least get revenge on the people who ordered the airstrike. Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, is the CIA analyst who figured all this out. It was particularly difficult for her because she fell in love with this terrorist, and in Season 3, she even had a baby by him.

Again, as Season 4 begins, you get the impression that nothing was learned of any of this. Carrie claims to want to stop terrorists, but she knows first-hand what caused a terrorist and other terrorists connected to him to do what they did, the airstrikes of innocent men, women and children. Instead of addressing that, Carrie now works in the Middle East, Kabul, Afghanistan, and she specifically is the person ordering airstrikes. The title of the Season 4 premiere is "The Drone Queen."

Of course, she thinks she's taking out high-value targets, the technical term for terrorists, but what she ends up doing is killing 40 civilians at a Pakistani wedding party. Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi and Million Dollar Arm) co-stars as Aayan Ihrahim, the college student who attends that wedding and is the only survivor.

The terrorist from Season 1 was a white man, a converted American soldier. Aayan, however, is Middle Eastern. He's Pakistani. The show seems to be giving him a lot of time on screen to explore and dig into his character and give his point-of-view, a point-of-view we normally don't get. Aayan lost close family members in this airstrike. Seeing how someone deals with that is important, and often over-looked in film and TV.

The problem is Carrie. She is becoming even more disconnected from humanity. She brushes off and doesn't even acknowledge killing 40 civilians. Her fellow CIA agent Quinn, played by Rupert Friend, acknowledges and is way more concerned than her. Lt. JG Edgars, played by Bradley James, the soldier who carried out Carrie's order for the airstrike feels more badly about the civilian deaths than her. Her resistance to be with her baby is indicative of that.

The first episode lays down a rabbit for her to chase. A field agent named Sandy Bachman, played by Corey Stoll, is killed by a mob of Pakistanis right in front of Carrie and Quinn. Sandy's cover is blown after he's given false information, which led to the bad airstrike. Carrie wants to track down who's behind turning on Sandy.

There's a lot of crazy things that Carrie does, which are in-line with crazy things she's done in the past, but it's sad that the lessons from Season 1 haven't been carried over. The rest of the season might prove me wrong. The show is still chilling and thrilling in great moments.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on Showtime.


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