Monday, September 17, 2012
Keep The Home Fires Burning
Such is one of the conflicts at the core of emotionally-complex Homeland, now available to those of us who don't have Showtime. (NOTE TO READERS: There is no spoiler alert necessary. Everything I will discuss is revealed in the first 10 minutes of the series). A husband goes to serve in the Iraq War, disappears during that conflict, and is declared dead, officially, as in a Marine coming to the wife's door and telling her that her husband is dead. After 8 years, he is discovered as a prisoner in a camp by some U.S. soldiers, and when he is brought Germany and able to reorient himself, the first thing he wants to do is to call his wife. When she answers the phone, she is in bed with another man.
But Homeland, it understands. For these are real characters trying to reunite, and the sex is awkward and out-of-sync, the husband seeks someone who gets what he's been through, the wife misses her lover in ways that don't cancel out the effort she's making with her returned husband, and all of the other disconnections, about the children she's raised alone and about the years that have passed, get in the way of everything.
No, this isn't the central issue in the show, but all of the rest of it would seem cheap and sensational without the anchor of family. And I mean that both in terms of stability and weight. As is said of another character on the show, his family is his "Achilles' heel," and that seems to be true of all, warrior and, especially, wife, who thanklessly kept the "homeland" all together for those long, lonely years.