All the new shows in one blog post (09\10\2011)
2 Broke Girls - 104 - And the Rich People Problems
This still isn't funny but the bonding between the two girls was really good. For the first time there was a real sense that Max liked Caroline and would miss her if she were gone. The trip back to Caroline's town house was a brilliant idea. It gave the girls a really fun setting to play with while also being pretty emotive.
Homeland - 102 - Grace
This was a good follow up to the excellent pilot.
It started strong with a graphic dream sequence of Brody burying his comrade. And then the doubts begin as to whether he really is a terrorist. He seems so disturbed by his return to reality and haunted day and night by memories of his torture and captivity. Finally though he goes down on his knees to pray to Allah. That was a big moment because I had questioned whether religion would play a part in what turned him.
The key to this episode was the nature of exploitation when it comes to the war on terror. We see Brody's military and CIA bosses pushing him to not only talk to the media but also to come back to work. They argue it will help mould the public's expectations about continuing the war in Afghanistan. They don't mention the obvious: that it will be a boost to their own careers. They put dark pressure on his friend Mike who they know was sleeping with Brody's wife.
The sympathy that this situation generates for Brody is then cunningly mirrored on Carrie's side of thing. Rather than being the champion of justice and truth Carrie is sending her own soldier out into unknown territory. Her asset is a member of the Saudi Prince's harem. The glimpse into the auditioning process for that gig was a surprising and clever way to expand the world this story takes place in. Carrie is told by the same CIA boss to put this girl in danger with no extra protection in place. Carrie goes through with it and the whole sad chain of people exploiting those beneath them for the sake of this war goes on.
I thought it was a strong and sad message. In a way Brody becomes the hero of the piece when he says he won't go back to work for the military. But of course by episodes end he marches out in uniform to meet the media and Carrie thinks that's because he plans on playing the hero in order to get to his eventual target.
Elsewhere we see that Carrie gets her meds from her sister which gives a fig leaf of cover to something that viewers didn't find believable. On the downside though one of the implied pressures on Brody is the financial pressure to provide for his family. I don't buy that for one second. Without any real knowledge I'm still sure that the US military not only provides good pensions for veterans but for a man held for eight years as a prisoner of war I know there would be big compensation money. Not to mention of course that Brody could sell his story for millions of dollars.
Anyway, this was good dark stuff and confirms this show as the best new one to air in the fall so far.
Suburgatory - 103 - The Chatterer
This show is stalling for me. The plots are still paced like a drama and so it feels like a rush to wrap them up quickly. In both cases here the status quo (of the PTA and school newspaper) were rocked and reinstated in the blink of an eye. The bigger problem here is the lack of either comedy or emotions. As I'm not laughing at anything expect The Big Bang Theory anymore I can forgive the lack of laughs, but not the emotions. Tessa is briefly given respect and attention by everyone at school because she has the power to expose them in the school newspaper. Yet there was no relatable emotion attached to that. She was annoyed by the attention but it didn't go deeper than that. We got no sense of why the attention made her uncomfortable. I mean you can guess obviously but that's not conducive to good TV. It also seemed to go against the sense of struggle that a show like this lives on. If Tessa has already become well known by episode three then where is the story of her growing to be accepted in Suburbia?