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Terrorism Comes Home with Homeland
The Dichotomy of Homeland
It’s hard to know what to think or feel when watching Showtime’s hit series Homeland. Season one was filled with a dissonance of thought that left me feeling conflicted at best – downright torn at worst. It’s hard to know where to draw the line between loyalty and treason. What defines a traitor to their country? What makes a terrorist a terrorist? Sometimes the lines are not clearly drawn in the sand and instead of intense variations between black and white, you’re left with indistinguishable shades of grey.
Edge-Of-Your Seat Excitement from Beginning to End
Season one opens with a bang and keeps the adrenaline flowing throughout. Each episode is packed with personal conflict, loyalty and an underlying question that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat with each heart-pounding revelation. It is impossible to guess every twist before it comes to fruition. For a person drawn to psychological thrillers in general, this show does not leave me wanting.
Every time viewers think that they have a handle on what's going on and try to predict what's coming next, there's another twist and another surprise waiting right around the corner. Things happen at a brilliant pace that you'd think would be unsustainable, but they carry the excitement throughout with little room to pause and catch a breath.
To say that Homeland is brilliantly written is an understatement of epic proportions. The creators, writers and videographers of this series are cinematic geniuses of the highest caliper. The character development is at a constant climactic state. Damian Lewis and Claire Danes both deliver believable portrayals at opposite sides of the spectrum. Lewis plays a rescued POW who may or may not have joined the Taliban during his eight years of captivity. He faced torture, interrogation and the mental anguish of being separated from his country, his home and his family. Claire Danes plays a mentally disturbed CIA agent with everything on the line with a need to prove herself and to correct past wrongs.
The way that the characters interact with each other and engage with the audience is purely remarkable. It leaves the viewers guessing, and without a clear picture of who is good, who is bad and who you should trust, this series truly creates edge-of-your-seat excitement. Every episode gives insight into further events that need to be evaluated, forcing the viewer to re-evaluate all of the beliefs and ideas that they previously held. Because of the way that the point of view is portrayed, it's impossible to get a handle on what's happening, but while this continual shift is often an annoyance in other shows of this magnitude, it works for this show. Psychologically engaging on multiple levels and with layers and layers of complexity around each new revelation give this show the edge that other shows only dream of achieving.
Trailer for Season 3
The Review: Question Everything
Overall, the crux of the matter is difficult to decide and distinguish. Reality is often a matter of opinion. On the one hand, America has united in the post-September 11thattacks that rocked the nation and set us apart as a force to be reckoned with in the continued war in the Middle East. While Americans view the Taliban and Muslim extremists in general in a negative light using words like terrorist or extremists or radical, the Middle East sees things differently. To them, Americans are the terrorists. What side of the line do you come down on? What brings the battle of ideologies to light more than a conflict of interest? These questions are brought into stark contrast in the light of day throughout the entire season and leave the audience with a lot more than a beautifully written and beautifully filmed presentation at the end of each episode. It leaves viewers with an overall sense of question, begging for additional conversation among families and individuals alike. Homeland asks a lot of questions that do not come with easy answers. We know how we’re supposed to think and what we’re supposed to believe, but with every plot twist and revelation, our loyalty to the characters shifts and often becomes blurred in the process.
Who do you cheer on? Who do you want to succeed? What makes a terrorist, and is it more complicated than simply geography? Do the ends truly justify the means, and should we simply believe whatever we’re told just because it’s promoted by the majority of political pundits nation-wide? In the end, what do we choose to believe – and who are we to make judgment calls on situations that most of us will never be forced to face?
With season two promising just as much punch on the heels of its illustrious, award-winning first, Homeland is a show that will do more than give viewers a fictional portrayal of real, every-day events from a side that is not often presented in a believable manner. This is a show that keeps you riveted and will leave you continually coming back for more. The characters are not only believable, they come to life, and you're constantly on the fence about who to root for, who to discard completely and who - if anyone - to give your trust. Nothing is as it seems, and each gripping episode leaves you hungry for answers, hungry for the truth and reevaluating your experience and stereotypical views on terrorism, terrorists, religion and the government. What an epic, mind-gripping series that leaves everything to the imagination and makes you examine a lot of current issues that have rocked our country, our consciousness and patriotism at whole new heights.