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  1. S04.E01 Smoke

    I adore the artistry of this show. Smoke. A metaphor for suspicion. No smoke without fire. Without heat. Nacho has the whiff of smoke about him - he wears red, covered in black. Mike is on the trail of smoke. Howard thinks he is the smoke - black jumper and charcoal suit smothering the Hamlindigo blue at the start and end. Gene, Stacey, the taxi driver, the broken car guy, even the audience, all smell smoke. So when Chuck died of "smoke" inhalation... he literally died of inhaling suspicion. Allergic to electricity? Electricity is just what people use to heat things faster. Water quells heat like confession quells suspicion - "coming clean". Kayleigh with her hose that Mike thinks, perhaps subconsciously, about cutting dry. The river Nacho throws the pills into (also the blue highlights on his shirt which are more prominent when he seems to have escaped Bolsa's suspicions). Omaha, full of ice - surely no smoke there? Jimmy's pet fish, fed and happy surrounded by water. So when Jimmy leaves the tap running... He's literally pouring away his guilt. Until Kim turns off the tap. So what if smoke and water mix? The water just becomes impure. The coffee Jimmy drinks in happy obliviousness in the morning. The coffee he gives to Kim before she knows Hamlin is trying to call. The coffee bar guys at Madrigal, oblivious to the impurities around them. Kim pours tequila - muddy yellow even though it's from a blue bottle; it promises confession but that's not what it delivers. At the end though, when Jimmy makes the coffee... He applies heat. Controls the water. Dumps the waste. Suspicions? Guilt? Collateral damage? 'S all good, man. At least until Gene. Overflowing soap-filled water and an empty coffee cup drip, drip, dripping dry...
  2. Speculation Without Spoilers

    Great to see the Howard love. In a recent interview, Howard joked about being the moral centre of the show but as it stands he's not too far off. I love seeing him under pressure though. At some point, I can't wait to see him take on Saul in court (I know he was cross-examined as a witness in "Chicanery" but that's not nearly the same). I love this. I'm not optimistic that it's going to happen and in some respects I hope her BCS arc is definitive enough not to warrant one but it's an awesome idea. Kim is an amazing character and it would be possible to skip to the present day (which, by the time they finish BCS and get a new show off the ground, would be nearly 20 years on from the BCS timeline) and have incredible scope to tell a story with her. I've always loved the idea of a series called "ABQ" about the characters in this little pocket world they've created in BCS and BB. The only thing is, these shows are about change so she'd need an arc. I'd love to see a proper redemption arc in one of these shows. I don't know where Kim's going in BCS but my fear is that it's nowhere good so there has to be a good chance that she'll need to dig herself out of whatever hole she's in after getting sucked into the nexus of Saul. Perhaps a spin-off could find her out of prison and, since she can't practice law, working as a PI or something. In this post-BB world, it's possible we could see Skyler and Marie as well as BCS characters like Howard and Nacho. And, of course, Huell.
  3. S07.E12: Paean To The People

    Didn't do anything for me at all. Keane is such a horrible character with such an off-the-wall plot and, while I'm glad she's gone, giving her a noble send-off feels unearned and largely out of character. The whole arc, despite occasional glimmers of some real promise, has been a huge misstep. The Carrie arc was well-acted but I can't see the long-term consequences are any worse than she's already faced. I mean, she had a full-fledged psychotic break just a couple of episodes ago. The Russian stuff seems wrapped up in as neat a bow as you can get with these sorts of things. After the tension of the siege and the great stuff with Dante and the Russians, it feels like the season really fell to pieces in the third art. A pity.
  4. S07.E10: Clarity

    So Dante is definitely dead. What a waste of a promising character. Frannie... well, who cares really. Even though Carrie's brother-in-law is a bit of a prick, Carrie's so monstrously unsuited to motherhood as this season ably shows. The president demonstrates no leadership at all, just paranoid mania. She deserves impeachment. One of the least compelling fictional presidents ever. Saul... I don't really know what the point of Saul was in this episode. Really disappointing episode. "Homeland" is always a weird show and has been from the start - it can be really good or it can spin its wheels endlessly. I don't think it's ever been truly great but it's touched greatness a few times including earlier this season. But now it seems like an incoherent mess. A shame.
  5. S07.E09: Useful Idiot

    I liked the tweet trap door and the useful idiot motif, plus that was a great creepy ending but it's difficult to see what the producers' endgame is here. The Russian operation is now blown to pieces so it's hard to see where the plot goes from here. If Dante is dead, it seems like a waste of a good character; if he isn't, it seems like a weird/overly-convenient plot move. Keane and Wellington are hugely unsympathetic; so is the Senator. Whatever happens to them... who cares, frankly. Carrie is hugely unsympathetic because of her maltreatment of her daughter who probably isn't dead but you never know. There are some good elements this season but the only stakes left right now seem to be Carrie's sanity and I'm not sure I'm all that interested in three episodes of mental ward Carrie. Shame because some elements of this season had promise.
  6. S07.E07: Andante

    Oh, Carrie. It's painful to see Carrie's decision-making with regard to Frannie be so poor and, to be honest, I find it hard to credit. Carrie does a lot of things wrong but deliberately putting her infant daughter in the home of a possible Russian spy who the National Security Advisor is gunning for really pushes credibility. Although when they introduced Frannie, I thought she was a terrible idea, she's actually been good for the show on balance. A tether for Carrie to stop her going completely off the deep end and I don't find her overused or annoying. This was the first time she's been in the spotlight much at all and I didn't find her a problem so much as the credibility of Carrie's situation. That said, I can't see how this ends with her alive. With the show entering its final season, the character is too much of a lead weight on them. Dante is a great character and I enjoy his ambiguity. They've done a good job of bottling the mystery with Brody that made Series 1 tick and I hope, like Brody, they don't rush to pin him down. (Incidentally, someone mentioned Dana upthread. Probably a really unpopular opinion, but I'd quite like to see what became of Dana and Jessica. They were such a huge part of the first season and Dana is Frannie's sister-in-law. Did they even know about Frannie? That said, I can't see any logical reason for them to turn up so perhaps it's as well they're kept off-screen. I don't get why Max put himself at risk of jail time for Carrie in the first place so I don't have much sympathy for him here. In fact, in 7 years, I've never understood his character really. Wellington though... that plot isn't working for me at all. I can't get over the strike he ordered over her explicit instructions and I just don't see how he's that essential. Where was he last season? The Keane plot is floundering again. It feels like they're giving her things to do to justify her role such as manipulate the funeral arrangements or bicker with the Veep. And I have to say, the Vice-President didn't interest me as a character one bit which is a real shame because offing Keane and installing a new character might have been their best course-correct at this point. It's not that the actress is bad but trying to write in the Trumpian elements feels increasingly difficult to sustain with her underlying characterisation. Saul is good value as ever but feels like he's going through the motions at the moment. The man has gone from prison to the top of government but is still acting like a spy kingpin and through it all I really don't have much of a sense of who he is. I hoped we might get more follow-up on the siege but I guess that's died a death. If this was Moscow's big play, it's hardly succeeded. I hope we get some closure on O'Keefe at least.
  7. S07.E06: Species Jump

    Yes! Love 24 but they used this exact episode at least four times and it wasn't exactly their best to begin with. Johannesson and Harbinson collaborated on the last 24 outing of this plot with Renee but, to be fair, weren't on staff any of the previous times. Hopefully they'll dig a bit deeper. Enjoying the way the season's going. The Russian stuff feels chillingly topical and well-acted although I was disappointed to see Saul's contact offed so quickly -- I liked the old/new Russia tension they were just starting to explore. And the exposition on the way fake news is generated and distributed was excellent. Carrie's trap for Dante was excellent. I was spoiled for the possibility that Dante was a traitor which is a shame because that twist was served perfectly. I'm not convinced he is though although I can't see how it would be anything other than anti-climactic if he weren't. Keane's death-smile at Wellington was priceless but I can't figure out the dynamic between these two for the life of me. His betraying her a few episodes seems to be completely forgotten? It looks like they have but I can only hope there's a really excellent pay-off for that plot twist because right now it just makes the whole White House dynamic look deeply stupid (and not a dramatic, dysfunctional way). Still, the show is on good form again. Can't wait for next week.
  8. S07.E05: Active Measures

    Interesting episode. I'm not sure I bought the business with Keane and the funeral but I guess it was a nice grace note. Slightly worrying that Keane only seems to have one advisor around. O'Keefe seems to be on his way out although I'm interested to see if there's more in his storyline. And Russia is touted as a link but nothing is conclusively proved. After its wobble by betting on the wrong candidate last year, the show manages to seem eerily prescient once more. Surprisingly, the most interesting plot is Carrie's. Good to see Lee Ashworth off Broadchurch in the mix. It was a nice bit of spy stuff. So who's Simone working for? Russians presumably. Keane possibly as she tries to keep an eye even on Wellington (who, to be fair, showed himself to be treasonously unreliable not two episodes ago although this seems to have been forgotten already) but this seems a bit arch even for this show.
  9. S07.E04: Like Bad at Things

    Excellent episode. Second season in a row the show has had a really ropey start but rallied in the fourth episode. The Wellington plot is still ridiculous - both he and the general should be awaiting trial for treason. And Carrie's upper and downer story still feels like a slow ticker. But the siege plot was excellent. I thought the dog shooting was believable and reasonable under the circumstances. The fake news photograph was an inspired way to twist the knife. The only ridiculous thing is that O'Keefe's signal wasn't jammed and no attempt appears to have been made to do so. But it all felt grimly inevitable. This episode is in general a hit but even when it's missing, I love that Homeland still feels ambitious and cutting-edge. I wish 24: Legacy had bottled a bit of this instead of being so generic.
  10. S07.E03: Standoff

    Mixed feelings about this season so far. I'm kind of in awe that the threats in the show are now almost entirely domestic and it completely works. I do like the O'Keefe plot although it feels like it's moving quite slowly. I like Carrie's illness resurfacing -- it's been years since it's been a major part of the drama and in such a paranoid world, it makes a lot of sense. My problem is that so much seems to route in characters behaving stupidly. Carrie got herself in hot water last week by being careless and while this turned out to be a character point, we basically had the same character point this week that she put herself in danger and nearly lost everything. I didn't need it twice. Moreover, the stuff with Wellington and the General is utterly ridiculous. It's the sort of twist you can get away with on 24 because of the extreme tension of the day and you know it'll be addressed within an hour or two (but even then, they literally had a whole story arc about the Chief of Staff acting to force the president's hand to launch a strike). Keane has the potential to be an interesting president but at the moment the show is struggling with the credibility gap of wanting to tell a Trump story with a superficially similar but actually quite different president. I thought at the end of last season they'd managed to pull off the impossible and re-cast her as a paranoid authoritarian but it's hard to stick the landing.
  11. The Comics: Same, Yet Different

    I think there are many places for the comic to go. Once they start getting some proper vehicles in place and transport opportunities open up, we can look at how different communities have evolved and how the dead are dealt with in different locations. Yes, I think there will be wars but also I'm interested in how they rebuild society. Is there a sense of people belonging to countries any more or will new countries be forged? Will they ever go to the White House? There are mysteries do with the nature of the dead: Eugene early on was investigating why some roam and some lurk plus there were observations about how they respond to winter and how some seem to keep going lost past when they should have rotted; I don't think they'll get too deep into pseudo-science but this could be the basis of a scientific management strategy. Also, what happens when all these dead congregate into an ultra-herd -- imagine a vast moving seam of the dead across America. And there are all sorts of weird and wonderful enemies we could see: cannibals, doomsday cultists, militia groups, etc. As the level of technology ramps back up, we could start to see the dead being used as spies or manipulated in a much more precise way than the whisperers managed. I'd like to see them rebuilding a city. And you know what, eventually, if there are 500 million or so dead in North America and maybe 50,000 survivors in total, assuming some bigger communities are out there... that's 10,000 to dispose of per person. Which, yes, is a lot but the likes of Rick, Michonne and Maggie must already have disposed of thousands each. Over a few decades, we dedicated, armoured and armed teams, it should be possible to drastically reduce the threat from the dead. Beyond that, from a character point of view, I kind of want to see Negan's redemption. I do think he and the Princess seem a perfect couple and I do think Negan will outlive Rick. It's the Negan/Carl relationship that's fascinating to me and although we haven't seen it in play for a while, I think it will come back.
  12. 24: Legacy in the Media: Verified Reports

    The casting wasn't great but it was the writing that really messed things up by trying to slip too closely into the old show's shadow without having plausible characters. An anthology series pushing the series in a different and fresh direction would work. I do think the 12 hour format may suit other real-time plots besides terrorism. Having said that, S7 was originally going to move away from terrorism and it ended up successful but still very rooted in terrorism. So who knows.
  13. There's precedent in legend for magical children ageing at an unnatural rate -- Merlin, for example. I think Goliath and Elisa made a lot of progress in the comics -- it took them 65 episodes just to kiss. It's not a surprise Elisa would have second thoughts. She makes a mistake out of fear, realises she's made a mistake and sorts it out quickly. It's a shame we didn't get more than the 12 issues so we could see more sides to their relationship but remember that the whole of #3-5 is the equivalent of one episode and a subplot within an episode at that.
  14. S01.E12: 11pm - 12pm

    I'm really sad to agree with the consensus. Even the S6 finale centred around the insane plot with the Bauer family ended incredibly strong with that Heller/Jack scene. This had nothing of interest because the characters were so undercooked. Tony was wasted. Donovan... it seems like we want to think he's another Palmer but Palmer was shrewd and actually a lot more moral than Donovan is turning out to be (in a twist that was way more interesting on "Homeland"). None of the CTU crowd are of any interest -- Locke didn't even merit a line. It's nothing to do with Jack. Kiefer's amazing but the show could survive without him. What it can't survive is the repetitious plots and dull characters. I still hope against hope that there's a S2. The format is phenomenal and these writers have pulled it out of the bag before. I certainly hope that they remember how they got panned for S6, learned from their mistakes and came back with a very strong S7 instead of thinking that all is okay. And while I've enjoyed Eric, a whole-cast reboot wouldn't be a total loss -- there's no burning need to see any of them back.
  15. S01.E11: 10pm - 11pm

    Great episode. Helped that there was no Nicole & Isaac and no Papa Donovan. And while John was still a bit annoying, his principles were really put in a vice here which was fun. He's no David Palmer though. Mullins stepping up was brilliant and the Tony/Eric confrontation is awesome. I agree the compressed time is annoying and it's been like this all season. The original show did this as well but it seemed to cover it better a lot of the time. Rather than have a single time skip to make it 24 hours, I'd almost rather they just said that each episode represents 2 hours and use the act breaks to absorb the extra time.