Falling in love has been described as each partner’s infatuation with the other’s neuroses. Nowhere is the adage more true than on “Homeland,” the Emmy award-winning drama from Showtime which just broadcast its Season 2 finale.
Although viewers became increasing disenchanted with implausible and irksome character behavior this season, to say that “Homeland” fell off the pedestal this season is unwarranted. Not if you appreciate how the show has managed to keep up the constant and dizzying interplay between two key archetypal energies of illusion and reality.
In Season 1, viewers became rabidly involved with the twisty psychological exploration and reveals related to returning war hero Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and the mental state of CIA operative Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). Both Lewis and Danes deservedly snagged best-acting awards for performances that unselfconsciously revealed their characters’ underbellies. Each seamlessly wove in and out of Neptune: idealism, transcendence, instinct, seduction, lies and compassion. And right when you thought they couldn’t get farther from the earthly realm, Saturn – commitment, responsibility, organization, truth and practicality – leapt to the fore. The Carrie-and-Brody love story is nothing more than each of them becoming enamored of the other’s Neptunian and Saturnine archetypes.
Carrie’s Neptune is fixated on not letting another 9-11 catch her off guard. Her idealism is supported by instinct, yet firmly anchored in taking Saturnine charge. Her bi-polar disorder makes her instinctual proclivities even more vivid and urgent, and her rashness amidst her demands for executive measures makes her appear even more of a leader.
Brody does a similar dance. His Neptune expression involves having been seduced and brainwashed by his captor-turned-savior Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). He’s suffered almost paralyzing sadness over the death of Nazir’s son which was brought about by the U.S. vice president that congressman Brody had served. And he methodically planned (Saturn) to seek vengeance through a terrorist act of his own. Having been captured by Carrie at the beginning of Season 2 – a play on his wartime captivity, described in the first season – Brody was forced this season to surrender to CIA rules, the terms of which were set in place by Carrie.
“Homeland” milked these archetypes for all they were worth in Season 2. In the finale, the illusory, Neptunian and not-of-this-world nature of their love collided head-on with Saturn business: Brody had to leave town fast to avoid yet another capture. Carrie’s Neptunian declaration to flee with him was a Saturnine ploy so that she could clear his name and not have to give up her profession (Saturn) that feeds her Saturnine desire to be respected and excel in the world, rather than just privately, as Brody’s lover. But far from being let down, with each character feeling they’re settling for second best, Brody trusts Carrie’s mission, and Carrie believes Brody.
An overlooked yet critical moment in the finale was Carrie’s nemesis David Estes’ (David Harewood) Saturnine-edged eulogy for the vice president, calling the deceased a man of conviction and principle. Truth is, just about every character on “Homeland” is a person of conviction and principle. It’s just that, more than in other television programs, Neptune gets in the way and makes the specifics of that “conviction” a debatable topic.
As long as these dual archetypes continue to eat Carrie and Brody alive, there’ll arguably be more palm-on-the-forehead moments from Saul Berenson’s (Mandy Patinkin). Now with Brody on the Carrie-abetted lam – the seemingly “reformed” terrorist and CIA-cooperative is the key suspect in the car-bombing of the CIA building that killed 200 people, including Estes – we’re heading into Season 3 with an ostensibly new al-Qaeda operative running the show. More Neptunian ideals, more Saturnine methods of implementation, and more improbable character behavior. More of the same? Count me in.
Astrology Television Rating: ♆♄ (Neptune, Saturn)