If I could sum up the last episodes of Homeland season 5, I would have to argue that the overarching theme is that of “redemption.” This theme manifests in ways that are relevant not only to the narrative but also to the show in general.
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There has been quite a bit of discussion in class regarding the “feel” of this season of Homeland. I think that many of my classmates and I agree that season five has felt almost like a complete reboot of the show. It is different from the first four seasons in a number of ways, including (but not limited to) its European location, a far more politically savvy plot, and a whole new set of international threats beyond those from the Middle East. In addition to all of that, we have our three primary protagonists, Carrie, Saul, and Quinn operating largely within their own narrative arcs.
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While last season of Homeland seemed to try and push all mention of home life and children to the side so Carrie could live her exciting life as a station chief in the middle of a war zone, season five is pushing the exact opposite agenda. Now that Carrie has flipped her switch from an emotionally turned off, hesitant mother to a figure of devout maternity, every fiber of the Homeland narrative in the first episodes of season five seems to be driving home just how much Carrie’s role as a mother is raising the stakes.
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As my readers probably know by now, this is not my first time through Homeland. I think it is always interesting as a media scholar to return to something you once watched and attempt to think through the material using a more critical eye. One of the more harrowing scenes to experience in season four Homeland is Fara’s death at the hands of Haqqani. There was a part of me that wondered, not only this time through watching but also the first, whether Fara’s death is meant to be seen as symbolic. Why would a character that arguably rounded out the Homeland cast for the better be written out?
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I think that most would agree that the fourth season of Homeland has felt quite different from the other seasons. We are down a main character (i.e. Brody), much of the action is taking place in the Middle East, and, by far, one of the biggest changes of the season comes in the form of Carrie’s characterization. Many of my classmates argued last week that Carrie’s characterization in the beginning of the fourth season is highly troubling and it was hard for them to sympathize with her or to forgive her for her apathetic parenting or asserting her power (via sex) Carrie Pakistan situation roomover a much younger man
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In my last post, I was very interested in the way that Carrie was being portrayed as a mother and would like to continue with and elaborate on this topic. The first two episodes of season four deal quite directly with Carrie’s new reality as a “mother” and the way in which she is choosing to deal with this life change. Unfortunately for Carrie, and perhaps even her daughter, Carrie continues both be pressured into and pushing against the role of motherhood.
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The third season of Homeland becomes an interesting test case in how to present a non-traditional woman like Carrie when she becomes pregnant and will, ultimately, take on one of the most common female roles, that of “mother.” This week, I would like to look a bit at the way that Carrie’s impending motherhood is treated.
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The thing that struck me the most about this middle batch of episodes in Homeland’s season 3 where two titles that were references to modernist poetry. I admit that this might not resonate with just anyone, and I fancy myself more of a media scholar these days, but with my roots in English Literature, this two episode sequence stood out to me immediately. So, this week I would like to look a bit at these two episodes (Season 3, episodes 7 & 8) and talk a bit about how they might relate to the poems they reference and the movements out of which these poems come.
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Although I admit that I have spent quite a lot of time focusing on the women of Homeland during my time writing through this Homeland rewatch project, I think it is important to understand how a show like this one deals with a strong female lead protagonist and how this protagonist aligns not only with other women in media, but also with other women within the show. As a result, I will be taking up this topic again this week as it relates to the strong comparisons that are coming up between both Carrie and Jessica in the first episode of the third season.
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For women in film, the conflict that emerges between family and career often come to a head, disallowing a female protagonist from having the best of both worlds. This has often been the case for Carrie and, with Brody finally leaving his family, Carrie is presented with the option to choose a “normal” family life with the man she has come to love. However, it is made clear that choosing Brody means abandoning the career with which she has been so unabashedly faithful.
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In his work, The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault wrote of confession and how the act of confession relates to overarching societal power structures. “The confession is a ritual of discourse in which the speaking subject is also the subject of the statement; it is also a ritual that unfolds within a power relationship, for one does not confess without the presence or virtual presence of a partner who is not simply the interlocutor but the authority who requires the confession, prescribes and appreciates it, and intervenes in order to judge, punish, forgive, console, and reconcile;”
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Although I could go on in some detail about the interesting parallels of Brody and Carrie and their struggles in navigating the clash of their past and present lives, I was actually much more intrigued this week by the representation of and cooperation among women in these episodes. There appears to be a strong indication that a “community of women” can work together to get things done.
Read more "(Home)Land of Women (Homeland Rewatch S2.01-S2.04)"