Premiered on October 2015, the fifth season of the award winning Showtime series Homeland, once again left us hanging as Carrie Mathisen looks into the light of the opening door of Quinn’s hospital room, blinded by “A False Glimmer”. This season focused primarily on Carrie departure from Langley and into the private sector, working now for the Düring Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Berlin with questionable morals. As usual this season also included real-time storylines such as the war on terrorism, the European migrant crisis, and the Snowden fiasco, along with our favourite recurring cast members Rupert Friend (Quinn) and Mandy Patinkin (Saul), who never disappoint. Filled with schemes and plots, hidden motivations, spying, explosions and action as always, Homeland was able to sustain its political thriller genre for five entire seasons, seldom ever skipping a beat. (The first part of Season 3 might be considered the only time the show flopped–– Tower of David, really guys?). I find that the appeal of Homeland continues to be the interest audiences have in what’s going on in real life, especially recently with the seemingly never-ending attacks and state proclamations on the war on terror; more and more people are intrigued by this terrorism-drama, pioneered by films such as Argo (2012) and Zero Dark Thrity (2012).

These shows and films arguably water down, temper and theatricalize the real life atrocities of this time, the same way House of Cards amplifies, exaggerates or downplays Congress’s most confidential conversations and actions. In the past, critics of Homeland have commented on how negatively Islam is (often times) represented, to which I agree, but other times it also creates a larger dialogue about culture many people wouldn’t be aware of. Arguably, it helps create a sphere where an audience can see a little hollywoodian glimpse of what life is like in the non-western world and therefore makes one sympathize and admire Islam more than it does superficially stereotype a deeply complex religion. In other words, Homeland successfully shows that war always goes both ways, only sometimes and (more specifically in the series’ smaller sub-plot) can one say a certain group was “bad” while the other was “good.”

Whether you like this kind of genre or hate it completely, the fifth season of Homeland was by far one of the best directed, and Claire Danes’s portrayal of bipolar manic is one of the most chilling displays of this mental health issue seen on screen, a characterization she hasn’t lost at all from Season 1. Season 6 comes out January 17th 2016, apparently in New York City this time….

Categories: Arts Theatre

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