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Shaun Toub (#110 of 9)

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 8, "Alt.Truth"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Alt.Truth”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Alt.Truth”

On his third tour overseas, Andrew Keane’s (Ryan Shibley) unit was overrun by a barrage of sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades. This soldier died a hero, a fact that’s been inconvenient to Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and his cabal of war hawks, because it’s given President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) a righteous, audience-pleasing “gold-star mother” narrative in the media. Tonight’s episode of Homeland, “Alt.Truth,” eerily and effectively depicts how such stories can be readily orchestrated and flipped on a dime, and rarely for the better good. It’s in Real Truth host Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber) manipulating the reality of Andrew’s demise, running a sort of retcon game for his right-wing audience; in Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) shamelessly turning on his country, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), and the truth for personal gain; and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) again suffering the consequences of taking stock of the wrong truth behind his paranoia.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 7, "Imminent Risk"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Imminent Risk”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Imminent Risk”

From the moment Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) first met President-elect Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) in Homeland’s season-six premiere episode, “Fair Game,” he’s been convinced that she poses a threat to American sovereignty. It’s appropriate, then, that when he tunes into Keane’s latest interview with ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, she’s opening up about her soldier son and their differing opinions on the war that would later claim his life: “He was doing what he believed was right, and I was doing what I believed was right.”

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 4, "A Flash of Light"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 4, “A Flash of Light”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 4, “A Flash of Light”

Up until the literally explosive final two minutes of “A Flash of Light,” Homeland’s sixth season has taken a radically different approach to its narrative. Rather than dealing with an immediate threat, the series has revolved around the hypothetical threat of a nuclear attack, one that’s at worst still several years down the road. Instead of establishing an obvious villain, the series has criticized the F.B.I. for essentially inventing homegrown terrorists like Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree) and suggested that Mossad might also be fabricating threats with the use of false-flag operatives like Iranian moneyman Farhad Nafisi (Bernard White). The people doing all the threatening in this episode are the ones who’re supposed to be the good guys: the C.I.A.’s Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), casually accosting Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) as she picks her daughter up from school, and the Israeli government’s Etai Luskin (Allan Corduner), politely detaining Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) on his way back to America from the West Bank.

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, "The Star"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, “The Star”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, “The Star”

One’s enjoyment of “The Star” and, really, the entire third season of Homeland boils down to whether one is a fan of redemption stories. For three seasons, Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) has spent her time sparring with her C.I.A. boss, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), attempting to prove that her gut instincts are always correct. Initially, this was in regard to her suspicion that former U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) had been flipped by terrorists during his eight years of captivity. Later, after falling in love with him, she sought to prove that he could still be used as an asset. This season, secretly pregnant with Brody’s child, she tried to prove that this soldier was, above all else, a human being. In this, she—and “The Star”—succeeds.

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 11, "Big Man in Tehran"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Big Man in Tehran”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Big Man in Tehran”

For three seasons, Homeland has been having it both ways with the exceedingly charismatic Damian Lewis, who plays the tortured Nicholas Brody. A good guy one episode and a bad guy the next, he began as a presumed-dead American soldier turned into an Islamic terrorist before being “saved” by the C.I.A.; he was then disavowed again and propped up on heroin in a basement in Caracas before most recently being re-recruited by Saul (Mandy Patinkin) in the hopes that he could get close enough to assassinate the Director of Iranian Intelligence, General Akbari (Houshang Touzie), thereby promoting Saul’s true asset within Tehran, Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub).

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 10, "Good Night"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Good Night”

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Good Night”

C.I.A. Director Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) has spent months putting his plan for an Iranian regime change together, and yet as he watches his team attempt to smuggle Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) across the Iraq-Iran border, it feels more like gambling than a major intelligence operation. (In fact, a slightly comedic subplot—and an extension of the casino metaphor—revolves around Saul’s fixation on Black Jack chewing gum, which he keeps running out of.) The truth eating away at operatives like Carrie (Claire Danes) is that she’s thousands of miles away, watching the man she loves through a night-vision camera feed, trusting in blind luck to avoid an international incident. Even the White House Chief of Staff (William Sadler) and his C.I.A. liaison, Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), can do little more than exert the limited influence of a drone’s Hellfire missile: In the end, for all the big plans and grand strategies, this mission boils down to little more than faith.

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 7, "Gerontion"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Gerontion”

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Gerontion”

At the conclusion of last week’s episode of Homeland, the acting head of the C.I.A., Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), had successfully captured Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub), the man that was essentially his counterpart in the Iranian intelligence agency. The operation left behind two bodies in its wake, and it’s there that “Gerontion” picks up, with police officers investigating the brutal murder of the two innocent women. “You think I’m just some dick, jacking you up because I can, because you were unlucky enough to get caught on camera,” says the lead detective, interviewing his only suspect, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend). “But actually, I’m just trying to understand this shit that you people do. This shit that we’re party to because we pay taxes. This shit.” This exchange offers a bit of editorializing on par with the contextual critiques offered by The Wire, and serves as a cogent reminder of how a constant state of subterfuge can have negative emotional and societal effects not only on agents like Quinn, but on the ordinary citizens swept up in the wake of all these lies.

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 6, "Still Positive"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Still Positive”

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Still Positive”

Based on the title of this week’s episode of Homeland, “Still Positive,” the question seems to be how much anyone can actually know, or be “positive” about. Senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) is preparing to move into his new role as Director of Central Intelligence, but before that, he wants to know all of the skeletons that Saul (Mandy Patinkin) has left behind. No more surprises like Damian Lewis’s Sergeant Brody, he cautions, and no more bipolar operatives like Carrie (Claire Danes). And so he enlists Saul’s number two, Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), to feed him information, inspiring him with a jingoistic pep talk that promises a new direction for the C.I.A.: “What happens next is that we reclaim the respect and the fear that the world used to have for this agency’s hard punch.” (Adal swiftly reports this to Saul, but it remains to be seen if this is out of loyalty or if he’s playing both sides.)

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 5, "The Yoga Play"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 5, “The Yoga Play”

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 5, “The Yoga Play”

“The Yoga Play,” both the episode and the spy tactic that Carrie (Claire Danes) uses within it, is little more than a distraction. After all, nothing really happens until the end of the episode, and everything that sets up the climax happens off-camera, which has been a recurring theme this season, problematic for viewers who are stuck wading through 40 minutes for the good stuff): Carrie’s secret mission with ex-spy Virgil (David Marciano) and his brother, Max (Maury Sterling), doesn’t accomplish anything, and Dana’s romantic road trip simply fizzles out.