Season three of Homeland felt disjointed. The pacing was slow, keeping Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) away from all the CIA action until the middle of the season. Carrie (Claire Danes) has acted even more irresponsible, ignoring her pregnancy as if it's just a bothersome stomachache. And the CIA leadership has been erratic with Saul (Mandy Patinkin) hatching dangerous plans and pissing off everybody, including the President of the United States.
But there were some storylines dangled in front of us that either never developed or got chucked aside.
Family played an important part, especially the Brody household. Jessica Brody (Morena Baccarin), wife of the most wanted man in the world, was a strong woman as she never suffered a lot of mental anguish. That anguish passed on to daughter Dana, who attempted suicide. Dana's pain got plenty of screen time, but where was Jessica's? Baccarin's real-life pregnancy has limited her time this season. Still, how did we not see more of how she coped with the burden of the Brody name? And what of Chris Brody, who we get to see basically nothing about his reaction?
The oversaturation of the media has been missing this season. TV followed the notorious Brody through interviews, news conferences and live coverage. The media was all over the hearing in which Saul threw Carrie under the bus regarding her mental status. Brody was in hiding most of the time, but it would have been nice to get more of his family's reaction once the world realized he had surfaced.
Finally, where was the sex? Showtime is one of the channels that can really entertain when it comes to grind sessions. Homeland didn't bring its A game. Usually there are some episodes when after one of those eye-opening scenes we just have to say wow. Not so in season three. Get busy, Homeland characters.
Last night on Supernatural we finally got the return of our favorite angel, Castiel, but it came with horrible consequences. Watching Naomi manipulate Castiel into murdering a fake Dean over and over and over until he didn’t hesitate was just so… cold. As the camera panned back to reveal a whole warehouse full of dead Deans and Castiel with a blank look on his face, I shivered. The whole scene was so incredibly disturbing.
The problem is, I don’t know whether to feel bad for Cas, fear him, or be angry at him. It isn’t his fault that Naomi has control over him: She is the head honcho in heaven right now and is clearly very powerful. And Cas did fight back later on in the hour, enough to stop himself from actually killing Dean.
But how did Cas let himself get into this situation (again) in the first place? Sam and Dean know he’s not being fully truthful — he still hasn’t revealed how he escaped Purgatory, and he’s lying about searching for the angel tablet — but they don’t know how to get through to him.
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But let’s back up. Last night saw the return of not only our favorite angel but also demon Meg as well. Turns out, Crowley has held her captive for over a year, torturing her for information on the whereabouts of Lucifer’s crypts. The angel tablet is apparently in one of them, and Meg was holding off as long as she could from revealing the exact locations (she officially chose to be on the good side for the first time, no double crosses here).
Sam and Dean rescued her, and she led them to the correct crypt. While she and Sam stood watch outside — Dean found one of Sam’s bloody tissues in the garbage, and wouldn’t put him in any more danger, since according to Cas, he’s damaged in ways the angel can’t even fix — Dean and Cas went inside to find the tablet.
Dean picked up the angel tablet — since it was warded against angels — but when Cas tried to persuade him to hand it over, Dean refused. Dean doesn’t trust Cas anymore, especially with something as big as the angel tablet. That’s when things got scary. With Naomi feeding him lines and goading him into taking the tablet with force, Castiel started to beat Dean. Really, truly, physically beat him into a bloody, pleading pulp.
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Dean's face while Cas beat him was scarily similar to when the angel saved him in the Season 5 finale, but this time Castiel was the one doing the damage. Back then, Cas was Dean's best friend, his savior, and now he’s the one inflicting the pain. From the hero to the villain. Dean’s pain — emotional and physical — was so palpable, that when he begged Cas to stop because they were family, and Dean needed him, he was finally able to get through. Cas fought off Naomi, and broke her control over him. He picked up the angel tablet Dean had dropped, fixed Dean’s face, and left. He said that he needed to protect the tablet from Naomi, Crowley, and Dean. The next time we saw Cas, he was on a bus, going… somewhere.
While all this was going down inside the crypt, outside had its own troubles. Crowley showed up, and in order to save Sam’s life (!), Meg stepped in and took Crowley’s knife in the gut (!!). RIP, Meg. You finally chose a side, and you died for it. At least you died a hero’s death!
Sam and Dean got away, and Crowley and Naomi pow-wowed in the crypt. They were both pissed that they lost the tablet and Cas got away. They are clearly on opposite sides, but they both want the same goal: find Cas and get the angel tablet. They also share a mysterious history: what happened in Mesopotamia? Crowley made it seem like they had a romance, but then again, he makes everything sound like an innuendo (quite a gift). Color me intrigued.
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Once Sam and Dean were safely out of angel and demon harm’s way, they finally had an honest and mature conversation about Sam’s rapidly decreasing health thanks to the trials of closing the gates of hell. All the secrets and lies were out in the open, and Dean promised to help Sam through it all as long as Sam kept him in the loop. I’m still worried about Sam making it out of the trials alive, but at least the brothers are finally done lying to each other. They stand a better chance of making it through whatever lays ahead if they are truly with each other — physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The best quotes from "Goodbye Stranger":
Dean, after he found vintage porn in the Men of Letters bunker: This is a first edition, dude! Do you have any idea what this would go for on Ebay?Sam: No. Why, do you?Dean: No. Maybe. Shut up!
Dean: He puts the ass in Cas, huh?Sam: He’s definitely off.Castiel: You know, I can hear you both. I am a celestial being.
Dean: I saw you Zero Dark Thirty that demon. You were more than persuasive.
Dean and Sam: Shut up Meg!
Dean: Bottom line it for me, Bill Nye.
Dean: Listen, I might not be able to carry the burden that comes along with these trials, but I can carry you.Sam: You know you just quoted Lord of the Rings, right?Dean: But it’s the Rudy hobbit! Rudy hobbit always gets a pass. Shut up.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: The CW]
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