One of the biggest problems for any successful television show is the development of the plot.  A hit show will inevitably lead the network broadcasting it to want more, and while the creators of the show may have a definitive ending in mind, they will often have to find ways of stretching the story out to reach that ending over multiple seasons, rather than in one.

Anyone who watched Lost from beginning to end will be used to this problem, as it often felt that the writers were deliberately avoiding advancing the plot to stretch out the series.  While Lost always had the ratings to convince ABC to keep renewing it until the creators decided the time was right to end the show, other series have been cancelled before the people who created them have been able to find a satisfying end.  When it comes to Homeland, the show was renewed for a second season after just 4 episodes, so we know that whatever happens in the 12th episode of season one, it won’t be a definitive ending.

But on the evidence of the first three episodes of Homeland, its creators (Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa) know exactly what they are doing, and have a carefully constructed show to keep you on the edge of your seat without getting to the end too quickly.  Each episode has had a dramatic ending that has a major significance to the overall plot, but the writers have wisely avoided making the show purely about Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis).

So in episode 3, Brody is facing the media, agreeing to television interviews with his family to tell his story, while Carrie has an asset working on acquiring information from a Saudi Arabian prince who may be in cahoots with Abu Nazir, the leader of Al-Qaeda, and the man who Carrie believes would have been central to any attempts to turn Brody.  Brody also works on his relationship with his daughter, who has been making life extremely difficult for her mother in his absence.  She introduces him to YouTube, and seems to win her over.  Carrie confronts Saul because she believes he is being deliberately hostile towards her after she went behind his back to set up surveillance on Brody.

The episode is another strong one, with a satisfying level of plot development, even though most of it is not specifically about the overall plot of the show.  Homeland continues to be must-see television.

David Dougan

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