This latest season rivals the intrigue of the first and weaves a compelling plot without a wasted episode.
“HOMELAND” season five takes place two-years after the events of the last and follows former CIA agent Carrie Mathison played Claire Danes, who now splits her time as a mother and working for a philanthropic security organization in Berlin, The Düring Foundation. When classified German documents are stolen by hackers Mathison will quickly find her old life pulling her back in.
— Spoiler Free —
As a longtime fan of the “Homeland” series I found this season to be particularly refreshing. I did enjoy the fourth season for the most part, but after a strong initial run in the first, the second and third seasons, to me did fail to completely intrigue like I would have hoped. Mathison’s unrealistic decision making and implausible actions as a CIA agent are gone, and this season offers fans a grounded story-line that still delivered all the developments, intrigue and suspense one could ask for.
Right off the bat in the first episode it is easy to see the direction of the show will be much different. Mathison is no longer in the CIA, she has embraced the life of being a mother and you can immediately feel her character is much more grounded that in past episodes. While she was nothing short of compelling in her past season performances, this season makes her much more easy to relate with as you can connect with her attempts to leave the past behind and start fresh with her daughter, the last remembrances she has of Brody.
After getting caught up early in the first episode as to how the time-line has advanced, the main plot-line that fuels the season kicks off and much to my delight the season really does not slow down over the course of the following eleven episodes. New cast members from The Düring Foundation are quickly introduced as well as some familiar faces. From there the story begins to advance its handful of plot-lines in a swift, attention getting fashion. Miranda Otto is also introduced as the CIA Berlin station chief and with her performance she delivers the best of the new characters and clearly helps make this season the riveting one it was.
Returning stars Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend and F. Murray Abraham are back in full form and continue their excellent portrayals of the shows long lasting characters. Danes continues her masterful performance of Carrie Mathison and Patinkin again effortlessly builds on the intellectual mind of Saul. Rupert Friend returns with his strong performance of Quinn and continues to makes him one of the shows most vital characters much like that of Daryl from “The Walking Dead”.
What made this season so enjoyable was the balance of the current story-line and the continued building on the familiar characters, their singular story-arcs, as well as their relationships with one another. Throughout the episodes the flow of story and character development was seamless and it never felt like the focus was lost. One of my complaints from some of the not so riveting seasons was the pacing seemed to slow in many episodes where suddenly the attention would be spent on characters dynamics that really had no impact. With this season the structure is tight and time never feels wasted.
The overall plot, without going into spoilers was also the most compelling since that of the first and to some extent the fourth season. Also with the various subplots, none of the popular characters feel left out, with each being given their own moments to shine in the spotlight. The current world issue of cyber-crimes, hacking and its effect on terrorism was well captured and easily lures the viewers attention. Which, in a subtle way gives the entire plot a cultural relevance that only adds to the appeal.
Is the end “Homeland” season five was much more than anticipated and delivers a tightly organized, plausible plot that will compel you from the first episode. The show has maintained its level of quality writing, but over the years the series did seem to falter somewhat with some angles that seemed over-the-top, and often far-fetched. This newest season however returns the show to its true form, one that makes it worthy of being in the category of great cable shows out there.
– Starring –
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend, Miranda Otto, F. Murray Abraham, Sebastian Koch, Alexander Fehling, Sarah Sokolovic, Nina Hoss
– Created By –
Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon
Episode Count: 12