Homeland Recap: 6×05 “Casus Belli”

Previously on Homeland: Dar found Carrie at Franny’s playground to warn her that Keane didn’t realize the level of the threat America is facing; Saul accused Farhad Nefisi of breaking the nuclear deal, then met with an Iranian politician to find out if it was true; Quinn saw someone watching Carrie from across the way, and followed him to a parking lot filled with Medina vans; Carrie asked an old friend for a recording of Saad talking to Agent Conlin, and used the recording to get Sekou out of prison; Sekou went to his work driving a Medina van, and it blew up.

So, I’ve been complaining that Homeland wasn’t super exciting this season. Complaint withdrawn! This episode really got the ball rolling. FINALLY.

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Links We Loved This Week — 2/24/17

This week seems to be the week that male pop culture figures do surprising things.

  • Tom Hanks is publishing a book of short stories … about typewriters (via AV Club). Which kind of makes me think he played the wrong part in You’ve Got Mail.
  • Chuck Palahniuk has published a coloring book (via Paste). This interview also reveals another famous-man-doing-surprising-things factoid: Stephen King privately distributes a small novel as a Christmas gift each year.

Critics are really liking The Good Fight–possibly more than we did. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 100% so far!

  • Pop Matters writes, “The Good Fight is great. It’s not good, friends. It’s great.” This one’s really interesting because it sees the whole “you can only get it if you pay CBS $6 a month for their shitty streaming service” not as a perverse form of self-sabotage on the part of the network (which is how I saw it) but as a signal of glass-ceiling breaking: a female-led, racially diverse drama being used as the draw for a premium service. A really good point!
  • The Hollywood Reporter writes that the show has “above-average brains, structure and humor, the kind of strong mainstream network drama that’s always welcome, only with cursing.” Ahh, the cursing!
  • Michael Ausiello gives it only a B+ but writes, “Baranski makes a helluva leading lady.”

Personal Growth Rankings: Girls 6×02 “Hostage Situation”

I can’t say enough good things about “Hostage Situation.” It was everything we love about Girls–dysfunctional coming-of-age moments, even-more-dysfunctional female friendships, hilarious one-liners about hipsters and the Pacific Northwest. And on top of all that, the entire episode took the form of a horror spoof that was simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. Not scary in the sense that you think Desi will actually kill anyone, but in the way that you can already imagine Hannah telling the story in hushed tones at writers’ conferences for the rest of her life.

Here’s a ranking of all of the Girls‘ character growth, and trust me, I was as surprised as anyone else by the winner: Continue reading →

The Good Fight Review: 1×01 “Inauguration” and 1×02 “First Week”

 The Good Fight, Robert and Michelle King’s spinoff of The Good Wife, stars Christine Baranski, Rose Leslie, and Cush Jumbo as three women working at a Chicago law firm. The show’s predecessor was a critically acclaimed drama with a similar setting. Can the spinoff live up to its example (and draw enough of an audience to persuade people to sign up for CBS: All Access)?

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Homeland Recap: 6×04 “A Flash of Light”

Previously on Homeland: Quinn seems to have thought Carrie had an intruder; Carrie harassed an informant and got Sekou’s plea bargain yanked; she got transcripts of the informant’s calls with the FBI proving that Sekou didn’t want to meet with a terrorist; Saul questioned Iranian Farhad Nefisi about possibly breaking the nuclear arms deal and then visited his sister in a West Bank settlement; the President-Elect consulted with Carrie about what Dar (falsely) said Saul said was “conclusive” evidence that Iranians were breaking the deal; and Saul got into a car outside of the settlement.

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Nashville Recap: 5×03 “Let’s Put It Back Together Again”

Previously on Nashville: Rayna used her sheer stubbornness to pressure Deacon into writing a concept album with her; Avery was taking care of Juliette after her plane crash, and Juliette was trying to get in touch with her savior; Will suggested to Kevin that they look for a place together; Rayna got a dweeby social media assistant named Randall; and Maddie told the court that she feared for her safety around Deacon.

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Links We Loved This Week — 2/17/17

NYMag published what I can only call a surrealist work of art: Night-Time Voicemails From The White House.

The Good Fight is on its way! There is a generally positive review in the New York Times. We will be watching and covering it here! To answer the inevitable questions: yes, you do have to have CBS: All Access to watch it, and yes, we have it, and yes, that’s ENTIRELY because we forgot to cancel it after The Good Wife ended. Don’t judge.

Dude who directed The Arrival (which some of us may have hated) is now announced to be directing Dune (via bleedingcool.com).

We’ve been writing a little bit about a new anti-Islamophobia attitude on Homeland‘s latest season. The intrepid Bitch Magazine has a piece where they conclude that progress may not be permanent–but that they remain hopeful. Read it here.

One Step Forward, One Million Steps Back: Girls 6×01 “All I Ever Wanted”

For its first four seasons, the characters on Girls, much like the show itself, took pride in occupying the space between self-aware, snarky privilege and straight-up myopic narcissism. Then, in season five, new life was breathed into the show when almost every single one of the characters underwent some sort of growth. That growth may have been faltering and expressed in dysfunctional ways (Hannah breaking up with her terrible boyfriend by jumping out of the car during a road trip, Jessa going to school with Adam’s money when they had been dating for about two minutes, Marnie divorcing Desi after sleeping with her heroin-dealing ex), but it was there, and that was enough to convince me that the show had been worth watching. Continue reading →

Homeland Recap: 6×03 “The Covenant”

Previously on Homeland: Quinn told Carrie he wasn’t getting any better; Sekou was offered a plea bargain for material support of terrorism, but Carrie thought he was just an angry kid; Quinn moved into Carrie’s basement; Sekou’s friend Saad turned out to be working for Agent Conlin to get evidence against Sekou; a prostitute Quinn was seeing staged a robbery to get his VA money; Saul thought Carrie was advising President-Elect Keane; Dar Adal told Keane’s advisor Rob that he thought Iran had a parallel nuclear program with North Korea; Carrie suggested Saul go on the operation; and Quinn asked Carrie to show him the video of his gassing.

Whew. That’s a lot of previouslies, for a season with—so far—no kidnappings, car chases, or explosions. Not that I’m complaining. OK, I’m complaining a little.

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Homeland Recap: 6×02 “The Man in the Basement”

Previously on Homeland: Carrie and a recovering Quinn fought; Quinn got high with a hooker who then robbed him; Carrie took him back to the VA; Madam President-Elect, Keane, questioned Dar and Saul about their practices, and Dar thought that she blamed them for her son’s death; young Muslim Sekou was arrested after being openly supportive of America’s enemies online; Carrie took Quinn home with her to save him from being put in a locked ward on the VA.

The new credits start with the end of the Star-Spangled Banner and include a few Gil Scott-Heron quotes, and a quote from Keane saying “We need a new strategy.” Very different.

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