Homeland – “The Yoga Play” (Season 3, Episode 5)

Mandy Patinkin in Homeland Season 3 Episode 5 - "The Yoga Play"Ridiculous twist aside, last week’s episode of Homeland at least gave the series an opportunity to return to what it clearly loves best: high-stakes spy shit (even if it as at the expense of realistic consequences for its protagonists). Unfortunately that opportunity was squandered in an episode that’s compromised my already waning faith in the show. I was a big fan of Dana’s storyline circa the second episode of the season… so why did they have to resort to yet another “her boyfriend’s a killer” plotline? And why drag Carrie into her wake to no apparent purpose?

“The Yoga Play” should have been an episode immersed in tension from its opening moments, as Carrie prepares for her meeting with Iranian honcho Javadi, but aside from the admittedly engaging climax, it’s a damp squib, and without any sense that the show is treating these events with gravity, it’s testing my patience. I liked Mandy Patinkin’s work throughout the episode, particularly as he tried (and failed) to contain his frustration at being ousted by what has to be a loose Dick Cheney analogue (bird hunting and everything!), but it’s hardly compelling television. Hopefully Carrie’s encounter with Javadi leads to more fertile ground.

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