I’ve been wanting to get to the fourth season of Homeland and the half-season of season two for Agents Of Shield for a while now, but time didn’t permit me to do so. Well, I have a laptop again, so it’s on, so here are a couple of recaps, along with a bit on Serial, which became something of a phenomenon, although I was mad late to the party. Let’s go….
I was fully prepared to throw Homeland in the bushes after a terrible third season, but they pulled me back in at the end, so I decided to give it a go. This was probably the best season since the first, and the middle part, basically after the kid died, might have been the best stretch that Homeland has ever had. Claire Danes was great as usual as Carrie Matheson, and I’ve given up on getting mad about the CIA allowing her to do what she wants, because there is no show if they don’t. I hope that people weren’t surprised by Carrie sleeping with the kid who was Haqqani’s uncle, because we know she’ll do ANYTHING to get the information that she wants. Saul being out in the field and becoming a hostage for half the season was pretty good, and Quinn was probably the MVP of the season, although he should have known that Carrie isn’t a relationship person.
However, the season wasn’t perfect at all. I’m not buying Carrie as a mother and even though the finale showed us a glimpse into why Carrie is how she is (a strained relationship with her mother), I just don’t care. Also, there was no resolution with Tasneem, the ISI agent who didn’t let Aasar Khan call the troops after Carrie and Saul’s motorcade got bombed. She was straight up evil, and I would assume she’ll be back next season.
I didn’t mind the finale as much as a lot of people did, although it took me a minute to process that Saul is actually getting behind Dar Adal’s deal with Haqqani (or is he?). I never trusted Dar Adal anyway, and I think Saul has a plan to set him up somehow. Carrie gave him a good Carrie Face, but she has to trust Saul, although I wouldn’t be mad if Saul was tryna fuck her after what happened in “Halfway To A Donut” (episode 8).
Thumbs up, Homeland, that was quite the recovery. And the less we see any members of the Brody family, the better.
Marvel’s Agents Of Shield
I got into AOS after watching Captain Marvel: Winter Soldier, and I still need to go back and watch the first season, but I got enough information to figure out what was going on. First of all, fuck an ABC budget, Marvel must have brought their own money to the table because I keep forgetting I’m watching a TV show; the special effects are incredible. Anything that involves cloaking, I’m in. It was fun getting to know all the characters, which is why I need to watch season one, but based off the ten episodes I’ve watched so far, I’m not really partial to any characters; they all play their roles very well. Skye obviously stands out because, well, she’s part-friggin’-alien and her father is nuts. May is a beast and will wreck shop anytime she gets a chance; that fight scene between her and Agent 33 (aka bad May) might have been my favorite of the half-season so far.
I’m still unsure as to how Hydra even works other than to know that they’re some bad mufuckas, but again, I think watching season one will help with that. It has been somewhat refreshing to come into AOS without knowing much about the characters or the story because anyone that knows me, knows I’m not much of a comic guy. That allows me to focus on the story more and how they’re telling it, but I’m definitely missing out on some pieces of information. Meh. I’ll figure it out.
I’ve been entertained by AOS so far. There hasn’t been much I haven’t liked about it, outside of the Lance Hunter character, but that’s just me being picky and really, it’s not that big of a deal. As far as network shows go, Agents Of Shield makes you forget you’re watching a show; each episode feels like a mini-movie.
Alright, so I got into Serial super late. I saw a couple of Facebook friends talking about it and decided to give it a shot on a Tuesday since Sons Of Anarchy and Agents Of Shield were done. I burned through the first 11 episodes by the finale on that Thursday and for those who are all, “how did you do that?”, it wasn’t hard. That is the beauty of podcasts (yeah, it’s not on TV, in case you didn’t know); you can listen to them as you’re doing other stuff and the longest episode of the season was 54 minutes or something, so it doesn’t take that long. It was explained to me as an old-school type of radio show in which there is a narrator telling a story, and that, for me, was the best part of Serial. Sarah Koenig did an excellent job of just telling the story and laying out the facts as she saw them, and that is why I’m not even mad at the ending, which was less than concrete. Remember, she isn’t a lawyer and I’m not even sure she’s a real journalist, she was just someone intrigued by the story. I figured out about halfway through that it was gon’ end like this. She gives off the proper amount of “shit, I don’t know”, that we as listeners have.
So, as for the story? My biggest problem with the entire thing was that Sarah never got to speak to Stephanie, who was Jay’s girlfriend and very close to Adnan. I don’t think she wanted to speak to Sarah, and that’s fine, but she knows something, she has to based on her relationships with the two people that are most important to the case. Also, I’m not sure if Adnan’s lawyer, Christina, was occupied with being sick, or she did throw the case to get up on the appeal (and make more money), but one thing is for sure: she didn’t do a very good job. I don’t buy the story of a serial killer based on that story about another Asian woman being strangled in her car and buried, it just all seemed too convenient. My money is on Jay, who had more to do with it than he let on. We know he helped Adnan bury the body, so he says, but I think he helped with the actual killing, or even did it himself because he was jealous of Adnan and Stephanie’s relationship. He had Adnan’s car and phone to go shopping for Stephanie’s birthday at Adnan’s request. I pretty much got that feeling by the end of the first episode, and nothing that I heard over the last 11 episodes did nothing to dispel that theory. Not to mention, the cops were fucking shady (where have we heard that before) with Jay, who somehow didn’t get in any sort of trouble for admitting to helping bury a body. I don’t know how plea deals work, but damn. And remember that the prosecutor yelled at Don (Hae’s new boyfriend) for not making Adnan sound worse on the stand? Yeah, that side was shady, but the defense couldn’t (or wouldn’t, depending on who you believe) take advantage of it. What I do know is that Adnan didn’t do a lot to help his cause, saying that people will think what they’re gon’ think, and that is enough to leave the door open for people to suspect him.
Overall, I think the way that I listened to it (basically the entire series in a 48-hour span) has an effect on how I view the case. Had I had all week to wait for another episode, I probably would have come up with more wacky theories. But Serial might have changed the way people look at podcasts, and I know I’ma give This American Life a go now. I’ve been meaning to as a number of podcasters I listen say that is their favorite, so that will go down in the new year. It was an engrossing experience that got me from the very beginning, and I’m interested to see how the second season goes.
Shoutout to the opening theme. That piano loop, though? My goodness. That is so nice.
Thanks for rockin’ with me in 2014, folks. Happy holidays however you celebrate, hug your loved ones, and I’ll holla in 2015.