Monday, November 3, 2014

'The Walking Dead' and 'Homeland' Hit Their Stride

Sunday delivered two of the most satisfying episodes of two of the most talked about shows on TV. Both The Walking Dead and Homeland have really hit their stride. Some complained that while enjoyable, both shows had uneven seasons last year during the 2013-2014 season. They've come back refreshed and with a bang.

First The Walking Dead, which finally answered the question of "Where's Beth"? Beth (Emily Kinney) got the spotlight, stuck in a hospital after being found fighting off a walker on the road. Multiple new characters were introduced in the episode (titled "Slabtown"), further proving that The Walking Dead has a knack for making you invested in new characters in a one hour span. 

Beth herself has instantly become one of the most interesting characters on the show, along with Carol (Melisa McBride). Both characters have been developed from flawed and vulnerable to strong survivors. Carol went from being an abused wife, to now rescuing Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the rest of the survivors by blowing up Terminus. Beth went from contemplating suicide a few seasons ago, to helping newbie Noah (Tyler James Williams from Everybody Hates Chris) escape the hospital. She got caught, but with a smile on her face. Just as she was about to launch an attack against other newbie Dawn, Carol is wheeled in and she stops, realizing a new plan can form. It'll be great to watch these two together, The Walking Dead's version of Thelma and Louise (minus the driving off a cliff part).

Homeland has also returned to form. Carrie (Claire Danes) is back in a vulnerable state following two big revelations at the end of the episode. The biggest addition of the season was Ayan (Suraj Sharma). They built him up all season as a sympathetic character caught in the middle of a battle, and we thought he would be a major factor possibly beyond this season. Then his situation deteriorated quickly, and he was shot dead by his terrorist Uncle Haqquani. Haqquani showed he only cares about using his family and is not afraid to sacrifice them, becoming the fiercest bad guy Homeland has seen. Oh, he also has Saul (Mandy Patinkin) in his grasp, keeping him alive knowing the CIA won't use a drone attack on him.

Brody (Damian Lewis) may be gone, but that was necessary to keep the series moving. It would have been too implausible for him to continue to survive. This season has returned to feeling like Season One, with lots of mystery and not knowing which way it will turn. 

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