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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, “Fair Game”

Homeland‘s season-six premiere provides a plausible dissent and voice for those who’ve been silenced.

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 1, “Fair Game”
Photo: JoJo Whilden/Showtime

The F.B.I., in full riot gear, breaks down the door to an apartment in the projects of New York City, screaming at a mother (Zainab Jah) and her daughter (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) to get down on the ground, the stove left unattended. The target is Seikou Bah (J. Mallory McCree), an intelligent, tech-savvy Muslim teenager who’s been posting videos online that are critical of the United States government; when the family refuses to answer questions from the icy agent Ray Conlin (Dominic Fumusa) without a lawyer present, he abusively kicks them out of the apartment in the cold and dark of midnight so that his team can execute their search warrant. Under Keith Gordon’s efficient direction, this entire sequence takes little over two minutes, and it’s a jarring (and potentially critical) acknowledgment of the increasingly jingoistic actions America takes in order to protect itself.

As Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) and her ally, Professor Reda Hashem (Patrick Sabongui), soon discover in their work as defenders against Muslim-American discrimination, Seikou is being charged with “material support of terrorism,” thanks to the jihadist tracts he’s translated online. The episode’s most chilling moment comes as Seikou realizes how little protected speech and his lack of a violent past matter in light of such fearful and preemptive accusations; as an example, Carrie asks him to consider why it’s been so long since he last heard his imam question the legality of Guantanamo. This is where Homeland differentiates itself from the stockpile villains of predecessor 24 and the more cartoonishly Bond-like foes of Strike Back: It provides a plausible dissent and voice for those who’ve been silenced.

Seikou is a righteously enraged teen, seething over the political deportation of his father 14 years earlier. Gordon’s direction filters much of that argument through the shaky lens of a camera phone, putting Seikou’s reckless questioning about the 1990 assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane and Faizal Shahzad’s attempted bombing of Times Square in 2010 in proper context against the cold and precise press conference later held by Conlin and the F.B.I.. Seikou’s (and Homeland’s) thesis is that “There’s two sides to every story,” and his intellectual—as opposed to violent—call to action brings the series onto the same extremely fertile ground as in the first season, once more finding the same sort of indoctrinated yet sympathetic, radicalized yet charismatic character it once had in Brody. (In that light, it hardly even matters if Seikou is innocent or not.)

Homeland also benefits from an unexpected parallel between the disenfranchised dissent of Seikou and the empowered doubts of president-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel). Like Seikou, Keane is filled with questions about America’s foreign policies, but whereas Seikou can be preemptively imprisoned, C.I.A. director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) can only weakly splutter that they’re “containing the enemy” when Keane objects to his reed-thin intel: “If the war isn’t winnable, what are we still doing there?” Dar, a war hawk through and through, really can’t understand that someone might genuinely want to limit his ability to launch unsanctioned drone strikes. This detail is to the show’s benefit, as it quickly introduces conflict with both his more curmudgeonly and analytic associate, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), and the president-elect, both of whom he end-runs by meeting in secret with General McClendon (Robert Knepper).

Just as Seikou is meant to stand in for a large number of citizens suffering from religious persecution and wrongful imprisonment, former black-ops agent Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) now bears the weight of telling the story of the many disabled and disaffected former soldiers being mistreated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But whereas Seikou’s plot is capable of seizing the narrative and is easily connected to the many scenes spinning around it, Quinn’s tale is disconnected: To counteract the pain and embarrassment of his wartime injuries, he’s sneaking off to smoke crack and sleep with hookers. These scenes are incredibly lazy and heavy-handed, especially when this former black-ops agent is mugged by a skinny, sniffling punk (Bobby Moreno), as if Friend weren’t already doing magnificent work to sell Quinn’s physical and mental state, from the retardation of his motor skills and halting syllables to the way he seems to be wishing for the floor to swallow him whole each time Carrie gives him a pitying look.

That said, Quinn’s instability serves to place a tidy, metaphorical bow on “Fair Game,” as Carrie, her heart breaking for the man, decides to take him out of the indignity of the VA hospital and into her Brooklyn brownstone. Quinn has saved her life multiple times, and he’s a part of her family; yet, with her young daughter in the house, she locks the door connecting Quinn’s downstairs unit to her own more spacious apartment. Trust, even for those we may perhaps love, only goes so far against fear.

For more Homeland recaps, click here.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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