Homeland: Carrie back to save the day

By Hannah Tattersall

Finally back on our screens this week is a third series of Homeland. The show, which began with bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison in pursuit of a United States prisoner of war, who may or may not have been turned by al Qaeda, begins its third series in the aftermath of season two's last episode, which saw the agency headquarters devastated by a bomb.

Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), implicated in the attack, has been whisked off to Canada by Carrie (Claire Danes).

The former marine-turned-Congressman won't be seen until later in the series.

Meanwhile, Carrie is off her medication, believing she's smarter when not trying to numb her condition. "She is convinced that had she not been on the meds she would have had her full mental faculties and been able to anticipate terrorist Abu Nazir's moves and thwart this horrible attack," Danes says. "It's a risky move and she ultimately gets in trouble for it."

Danes has worked closely with both therapists and patients to try and understand her character's illness, and adds: "There is that thing about manic states. They do allow at a certain point on the continuum, for exceptional thinking. You kind of can achieve this super-human state but only for a finite period and it's not long before it dissolves into a chaotic jumble. But she's hoping to maintain that for as long as possible so she can save the world."

Although viewers and critics lauded the first season of Homeland, series two lost some fans with its implausible storylines. One of the show's directors, Lesli Linka Glatter, says season three does some resetting and tries to delve further into the characters' personal lives and motivations.

Danes says the new series is a reality check. "I saw a trailer for this season ... and I was just struck by how mournful the tone is. It's really sad, which makes sense because you can't have a bomb like that go off and not have real consequences."

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The show's complicated central protagonist also resonates with viewers who feel a genuine desire for Carrie to succeed.

In this season "she's more isolated and more disillusioned than she's ever been", says Danes. "In the beginning of the second season she was estranged from her job and here she no longer has her lover, her mentor.

"She's really in the corner but will survive because she always does. Well ... so far."

Despite its critics, the season-three finale in the United States was the show's highest-rating episode with 2.9 million viewers.

What: Homeland series three
When and where: SoHo, Wednesday 8.30pm

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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