Homeland, 'Gerontion' review: Plum wine

“…Which, in Iran, just means it’s Tuesday.” 

Now in its third season,Homeland is a show that hasn’t aged beautifully—or maybe that one is too easy. Let’s try a different one. “You started this,” Saul tells Javadi. “I think you’ll want to be there when it ends.” But do us viewers want to continue on that journey to the next place? I’m not so sure.

In this new episode, Lockhart is but the latest victim to fall for the show’s Triangle of Wood, but surely he will not be the last.

This week’s ‘Gerontion’ makes me feel like a soothsayer for having introduced the concept, for it opens precisely with that triangle of wood in that cabin in the woods where Saul’s operation on Majid Javadi (played by Shaun Toub) has found refuge.

Inside the cabin and amid the trees, the Beard at the head of the CIA is set for his interrogation with his old friend Jivadi, and the viewers quickly realize that his methods differ from Carrie’s.

(I’ll get back to Quinn in a minute.)

This interrogation doesn’t quite live up to season two’s ‘Q & A’ episode, because there is no possible way that it could—that second season’s episode was just about as good as any episode of drama television could ever be. Jivadi and Saul Berenson (played by Mandy Patinkin) have a history together, it turns out, but not one that can possibly measure to Carrie’s and Brody’s because I’m not sure there’s any that can live up to it in Gansa’s eyes. We still had one great moment, however.

‘Gerontion’ had plenty of forests. There was one for Dar Adal (played by F. Murray Abraham), who alternates between a game of back-door politics with Lockhart against Saul—or was it all just part of the plan?—when it looks like and one of “I’ll stroke your  Beard if you let me saddle myself to your ship when it’s not sinking.”

There was a forest for Fara Sherazi (played by Nazanin Boniadi), too. The young CIA recruit is all grown up now, and she can’t help but feel stumped just like Cedric Daniels when he realized that “one thieving politician trumps 22 dead bodies” in season 5 of The Wire. Only in Fara’s case, her outrage may be a little misplaced, as 219 dead Americans probably do deserve to trump $50 million in embezzlement.

There was a forest for Peter Quinn (played by Rupert Friend), too. Despite the minuscule operation on Jivadi, Saul apparently decided that it was fine letting the man venture away from the cabin. And once home Quinn has showered, but thankfully his poetry has gone nowhere.

Dar Adal isn’t the only one who missed the memo that the operation was to go in exile in that cabin. Quinn did, as well, conveniently—just like he was conveniently captured on camera while Javadi and Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes) weren’t. It’s tricks like this one that have turned me a little sour on Homeland. I know that I’m supposed to care, like Carrie, who may or may not have moved Sgt. Brody’s car on 12/12/12, if we are to believe a man who went from the country’s biggest enemy to its biggest asset in a manner of hours only to “stop the bleeding,” but I don’t. I can’t.

“Confession is good for the soul,” and this is mine. ‘Gerontion’ hints at WikiLeaks and The Drudge Report, hailing both as something to avoid like the plague, only that’s the story that I wish this show could tell. In this sense, maybe the inclusion of Detective Calvin Johnson (played by Clark Johnson) is just what Homelandneeds—if nothing else, it’s exactly what Quinn needed.

There was one for the viewer as well—more precisely, for the mega-fan of The Wire that I am, as two alumni of the show make an appearance and here’s to hoping that their character become somewhat regulars.

There was a near-miss forest as well. With last week’s ‘Still Positive‘ and now ‘Gerontion,’ Beard finally getting a third dimension and righting a wrong with his second in command, Mira (played by Sarita Choudhury), after he’s done the same with his first love, the CIA. As he does, he proves that ignorance truly is bliss and that you maybe should never trust a Frenchman. (Relax, that’s a joke.)

Mira, on the other hand, proves to everyone watching that facial hair is irresistible. Yet, just as soon as they make up on the phone, she’s reminded that he’ll come home late. But I’m not sure that she knows that she’s still just second in Saul’s life—though my gut says she has.

The final forest was for Senator Andrew Lockhart (played by Tracy Letts), who realized too late that everyone was in cahoots with Berenson. In ‘Gerontion,’ he’s locked in a room, in the dark and finally sees everything clearly.

He’s the “wrong crime, right guy” and, though he has a direct line to the President of the USofA, he’s all alone. For the next 10 days until he’s officially appointed Director of the CIA, Lockhart will remain stuck in a  room that he can’t get out of.

By the end, Saul reminds everyone that he’s still a pro. That he’s still able to outmaneuver his adversaries, sometimes, and that despite what he tells Javadi, that old men sometimes do control some things. He reminds everyone, too, that he can see through a successful operation, one that doesn’t end with a mess on the dress shirt of the love of his life. And he also reminds everyone that he’s got the musical tastes of an old man.