Homeland is back with insane conspiracy theories, nail-biting twists, bizarre plots and storylines that loosely resemble 2018 America. The Showtime drama's seventh season picks up in the aftermath of an action-packed season six finale which left one of show's main characters dead and another in jail.
The first episode picks up with Gen. McClendon's trial for his role in the assassination attempt of the new president. The president is angry and somewhat neurotic with a disregard for constitutional rights. She pushes for the death penalty and she's already imprisoned 200 individuals on the basis of their alleged involvement in the coup. McClendon is sentenced to life in prison, only to be poisoned after entering the federal facility.
In another plotline, the president's alt-right nemesis, Brett O'Keefe is on the run from the president. O'Keefe is egotistical and selfish, and willing to risk the lives of innocent Americans for his personal well-being. His demise ends in a deadly, Les Miserables-style anti-government holdout in Virginia.
The new question stands: Who is responsible for McClendon's death, and is a foreign body behind the chaos and fake news circulating throughout the country?
Confusing is but one way to describe the plotline of Homeland, especially season seven. But confusion is one of the niches that lures viewers in season after season. Homeland is an immensely intricate television drama and even when the plotline begins to make sense, show writers take it in a complete 180.
Admittedly, season seven initially comes off as disjointed and somewhat confusing. Unlike other seasons, there's minimal action in the opening episodes. There's also multiple plotlines and much uncertainty surrounding who is responsible for a death, a fake news scandal and multiple other subplots. Additionally, it feels familiar — cunning conspiracy theories and a narcissistic president.
While the first two episodes of the seventh season are slow-moving, episode four picks up with an insanely smart plot twist, as does episode seven. These episodes begin to resemble the Homeland viewers know and love. Homeland, notorious for tying these subplots together in unfathomable and admittedly mesmerizing ways, will likely deconstruct the confusion by the finale.
Like most seasons, the acting is overdramatic, but also raw and vulnerable. Claire Danes effectively plays a distraught and obsessive Carrie who has comes to terms with her mental state. Mandy Patinkin lends vulnerability and naivety to a headstrong and eloquent Saul Berenson.
In the first two episodes, Carrie is back to her old tricks, snooping around town and conducting undercover work, even though she no longer works for the president or the CIA. In some ways, her snooping comes off as old and unoriginal. Her sudden insights as a result of her bipolar disorder seem repetitive and overdone. In addition, Carrie trades her daughter and motherly responsibilities for her "important" undercover work. She's irresponsible and compulsive. Carrie has already encountered child services, but is she willing to push its limits again?
Carrie's plotline is both annoying and unrealistic. In season seven she is lured by a hacker and ends up appearing at his house sans gun or backup. It's proof of the strength and independence of women, but also extremely dangerous and irresponsible. Carrie is known for her irresponsibility — she's cheated death before. However, how many times can even a main character survive kidnappings among other near-death experiences?
I've been watching Homeland since season one. The crazy terrorism plots, internal government coups and bombing threats have always scared me. Homeland has covered government takedowns before — Brody in season three, Javadi in season four, — but there's something terrifying about the seventh season's eerie resemblance to our current president.
Homeland's president is narcissistic, self-absorbed and almost entirely self-motivated. There's a burning hatred for the president raging throughout the country, specifically amongst alt-right Americans, primarily those in the Bible Belt.
Homeland attempts to relate to viewers in 2018 America, and in many ways it succeeds. It's scary, thought-provoking and leaves viewer questioning the unthinkable capabilities of our government. Even in our society, founded on constitutional law, how confident are we in our rights to free speech? How confident can we be that no governmental power may trample these rights? In many ways, Homeland season seven is a carpe diem reminder to internalize democracy, the rights and the values that come with it.