America is in a precarious political position and so is the America of Homeland, which is back on Showtime for Season 7. And once again, ex-CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) might be the only one that can stop the terror from within. Usually battling bad actors in dangerous terrain across the globe, this time, Carrie’s skills are needed to right the ship stateside.

As the season opens, paranoia has taken hold at the White House and President Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) is out for blood…literally. Left shaken after a coup attempt, the she is not taking any chances, trampling on civil liberties and jailing 200 journalists and government agents including Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).

President Keane wants the decorated general she believes is responsible for trying to overthrow her not only jailed, but executed. And when the law is not on her side, and her chief-of-staff David Wellington (Linus Roache) hesitates to carry out her kill order, the job still gets done, courtesy of a prison guard.

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This is the world Carrie wakes up to everyday, feeling the burden of saving the country from this tyranny. Carrie, back to the spy games of earlier seasons, channels her manic energy (yes, she is on her meds) into attempting to get a source to testify in secret to the U.S. Congress about the unlawful imprisonments – a plan that goes wrong, ensnaring her niece in the process and leaving her back at square one.

Right-wing agitator Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber) is on the run – a hunted man while he rallies his die-hard listeners to rise up against the president. Weber’s O’Keefe, styled after Infowars’ Alex Jones, growls his way through every scene he is in, never letting up on the bombast, which gets increasingly exhausting to watch.

Meanwhile Wellington hatches a plan to make Saul National Security Adviser to the president, springing him out of jail. But Saul will only play ball if the rest of the 200 are released. Wellington convinces the president on both fronts, with the idea being that releasing the prisoners will show good faith to the American people. Also, putting a trusted face like Saul out front should calm some of the fears of the public. One hopes that Patinkin is given a meaty opportunity to shine this season.

Carrie certainly has her work cut out for her this season and it is good to see her back in fighting form. Her bipolar disorder will also come into play, judging from the first two episodes. There is some ambiguity as to whether some of her more manic moments are simply fueled by the urgency of the moment, or by her disorder, which has sometimes been positioned as some sort of superpower. Danes as Carrie, remains the beating heart of Homeland, continuing to compel and deliver the goods from season to season.


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