'Homeland' Season 3 premiere recap: 'Tin Man Is Down,' and so is Carrie

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Does "Homeland" work without Nicholas Brody? That's a concept the Season 3 premiere, "Tin Man Is Down," experiments with. It's been well documented that Brody was almost killed off twice during "Homeland's" two-season run, and though he will be returning in the upcoming episode 3, the Showtime series' third season premiere proved it can still stand on its own two legs without its leading man.

But just because Brody isn't in Season 3's premiere doesn't mean that his presence isn't felt. A Senate committee has been organized to get to the bottom of the bombing at Langley, which means that Carrie Mathison needs to cover for both her departed love and for her CIA superiors. That puts her in the crossfires in a way viewers haven't seen before, and she ends up being screwed over by both sets of lies she tells.

In place of the drama between Carrie and Brody, the source of conflict in this episode came between Carrie and Saul. Saul has acted as Carrie's mentor and father figure for the past two seasons of the show, but now that he's in a position of unstable power as the head of the CIA, he is quick to throw Carrie under the bus. 

Part of that is pushed into motion by Dar Adal, who makes it clear from the get-go of Season 3 that he thinks Carrie has got to go. Whether he is the person who leaked the story of her relationship with Brody to the press or someone else, it was Saul who ultimately betrayed her by making her bipolar disorder and "unstable" condition public in a televised meeting with the Senate committee.

So basically no one is happy in the Season 3 opener, and it looks like it's going to remain that way for a while. Carrie is off her meds and wracked with guilt over the Langley attack, and the betrayal from Saul looks like it will set her off on a new downward spiral. But perhaps the most tragic storyline in "Tin Man Is Down" is the reveal that Dana Brody tried to commit suicide during the 58 days since the attack on the CIA that resulted in the death of her ex-boyfriend and the reveal that her father was a terrorist. A doctor on her case says she was determined to see the job through, though she was ultimately rescued and sent to a rehabilitation center.

With the public knowing about Nick's dark turn, the Brodys have never been in a worse situation. The Marine Corps has turned its back on the family, leaving Jessica with no support and no income. Tack onto that a troubled daughter (who continues to showcase her rebellion by sending illicit topless picture to her boyfriend from rehab) and things aren't looking good for the family.

Then there's Peter Quinn, who is still an elite assassin for the CIA. He does what he is best at in this episode: killing the bad guys for the sake of national security. But during an operation Saul orchestrates to take down six terrorists who work under Big Bad Javati (the man supposedly behind the Brody car bomb in the Season 2 finale), Quinn accidentally kills a child. Will this be the last straw for Quinn, who made it clear he wasn't okay with the CIA's brand of justice in Season 2? Only time will tell.

Wherever "Homeland" goes from here, it clearly has legs to stand on without Nicholas Brody. But even with that being said, it will be nice to have him back in episode 3. How does he continue to fit into this show's larger picture? Can he clear his name, if he is in fact innocent of the attack on Langley? Is there any hope to a happy ending for him, with or without Carrie? These are the big questions that the premiere continues to leave unanswered, even as new drama and threats swirl around the central characters present.

Were you surprised by Saul's betrayal of Carrie? Are you disappointed she is off her meds again? How did you think this episode handled the lack of Brody? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo/Video credit: Showtime