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Homeland - New Normal - Advance Preview

It was the year ago episode that saw Homeland deliver one of its most intense hours to date, seemingly attempting to emulate the heydays of 24. New Normal is a far more relaxed episode, keeping things moving and doing a lot more of the groundwork for the main event to come.

That’s a smart move to make here. While last year’s 13 Hours in Islamabad was a great hour of television, the final two episodes that followed stalled out somewhat in terms of pacing - particularly the finale - as much as I enjoyed both instalments.

My main concern with the season since I last wrote about the show in its third episode is the pacing of the season overall to this point. It’s not that I’m against slow pace and just want things moving along at a hundred miles per hour - both can work equally as well depending on an episode’s needs - but the season has suffered somewhat as a result of trying to do both. Particularly in Quinn’s storyline, which has been a mess since the end of the third episode, it’s been difficult to engage with what’s happening because the storyline isn’t very interesting, and it’s going around in circles. Other issues such as the build-up (or lack thereof) for the Allison reveal in episode four is another notable example, though the show has gone to great lengths to develop her in the aftermath of said reveal, and has done so well.

New Normal does continue to have pacing issues, and the episode feels much more like two 25-minute episodes rather than one 50-minute outing. An event in the middle of the hour turns things from meandering along to “let’s get moving”, and while I appreciate the show stepping things up with just two hours remaining in the season, it does frustrate me that we get this split.

It’s especially troubling given that, despite what I mentioned above, this season has shown on occasions that it can get the pace right. Just look to last week’s The Litvinov Ruse, which played fantastically well and, aside from some time spent with Quinn, didn’t lose its much-needed focus on Allison.

That being said, both halves of the episode do a pretty good job of what they’re doing. The first half spends time with Allison after her clever misdirect last week, while Carrie looks for Quinn and Jonas takes on a new client. As mentioned, it’s quite slow and it doesn’t feel like things are really going anywhere. The introduction of Jonas’ client in particular is somewhat frustrating at first, but there is an eventual payoff to the story.

Things pick up in the second half and it’s more like the kind of intensity that the show has been building to. It doesn’t quite get there, but you can certainly feel that the season is coming to a head, and given that there are only two weeks remaining after this, I’d be concerned if that feeling wasn’t there.

Claire Danes has some good material to work with this week, with multiple scenes giving us her most overtly emotional performance since Super Powers. One of these towards the end of the episode, in particular, is pretty difficult to watch. Mandy Patinkin gets a really enjoyable scene with Miranda Otto’s Allison, which, after he learned of her betrayal last week, comes across as extremely earned.

In a world where characters ‘come back from the dead’ more often than they actually die, in instances where there is any doubt to be seen by any single person on the internet, theories go up everywhere suggesting that said character is in fact alive. So the downside of watching this screener is that I have to mention Quinn, because if I don’t, I’ll inevitably be asked about him in the comments. If you want to know if Quinn is alive or dead, you’ll have to wait and watch the episode. That is all.

New Normal is a solid episode, developing its plots reasonably well and setting the stage for what is going to be, presumably, an explosive final two episodes. Make sure to tune in and watch on Showtime on Sunday 6th December at 9pm.

About the Author - Bradley Adams
17 year old based in England, currently Senior Staff at SpoilerTV. Most of his posts are news/spoiler based, though he is currently the reviewer of Person of Interest, co-host on the SpoilerTV Podcast. Created and is in charge of the yearly Favourite Episode Competition and currently runs the Favourite Series Competition. A big TV fan, his range of shows are almost exclusively dramas, while some of his all-time favourite shows include 24, LOST, Breaking Bad and Friends. Some of his current favourites include Person of Interest, Banshee, Arrow, The Flash, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul and many more. He also runs an Arrow fans site, ArrowFansUK, and aside from TV, is a keen cricketer. Get in touch with him via the links below or via email
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