Review: Homeland - 2.08 - "I'll Fly Away"

Terrorist intrigue takes a back seat to soap opera on this week's "Homeland." As we've seen before, this can be either very good (Carrie and Brody's hedonistic jaunt in season one) or very bad (pretty much any other time). This week it happens to be a bit of both. Domestic catastrophe has Brody on edge, caught between his loyalties to his family and his deal with the CIA. Not a good idea to send your inside man on a critical meeting when he's teetering on the brink, as Brody abruptly tells Roya Hammad he's out. Carrie ducks surveillance and takes Brody off the grid in order to repair his shattered nerve. The episode goes a long way toward getting across the solitude that Brody finds himself overwhelmed by everyday. The deal he has cut with the CIA to avoid criminal charges and help repair his family has only torn it apart further with lies, he doesn't want any part of Abu Nazir's terrorist plot, and now his actions have only served to sever ties with the CIA. Carrie remains his only link to where he wants to be, the only person to whom he can confide fully, and the two finally reignite their affair. Unfortunately, the CIA is listening to everything. Each episode of "Homeland" lately has had a scene of unintentional, head-slappingly absurd comedy. As Carrie is getting pounded, we cut to the most epic Saul facepalm ever. Saul attempts to plead Carrie's case. "She's turning it around!" he exclaims, as Carrie and Brody are heard moaning on the surveillance line. Again, "Homeland"'s writers are capable of such great characterization and then they throw these bizarre scenes in that seem completely out of place. Meanwhile, after getting cop-blocked by her dad and Carrie, Dana goes to Mike to get away from her parents. She draws a little inspiration from Mike doing the right thing and stepping aside when Brody returned despite being firmly entrenched with Jess and the family at that point. Confession to the hit-and-run victim's daughter doesn't help much, as Dana learns that the Walden's deal is in place and going to the police would mean their financial settlement is off the table. The past few episodes have not done well for the image of "Homeland." While the first season had a few bad moments, overall it was a stellar series with a gripping story full of twists. This season started on a high note with a lot of promise of things to come but has given way to a lot of absurdity and soap opera silliness. Hopefully with the latest twist the writers can rebound, but as the weeks go by I grow less and less confident of that.

'Misfits' 4.04 review: Zombies, a femme fatale and a tragic loss

Let's be brutally honest - Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) was probably never anyone's favourite Misfits character and, despite being the sole original cast member to have stuck around for this fourth series, he's felt like something of a spare part so far. But that all changed in Sunday night's episode 4.04, which sees the former athlete further pursue a steamy liaison with 'trainee probation worker' Lola - Lucy Gaskell makes for a superb femme fatale, dark and alluring one moment, then all vulnerable and wide-eyed the next. As we later discover, Lola has a very dark past and a string of twisted relationships behind her, including one with the obsessive Jake - Andrew Gower is underused here, but happily brings the same memorable creepiness to his character that he did to Being Human's Cutler earlier in 2012. For her own mysterious reasons, Lola fakes an attack, claiming that Jake's her physically-abusive ex, sending an angry Curtis straight at him... like a bullet. Yes, the confrontation goes badly wrong and Curtis ends up shooting Jake dead. Worse still, Lola vanishes and the rest of the Misfits crew have no clue who she even is... For what feels like the first time this series, the new Misfits gang come together to help Curtis, who's decided to use his power and resurrect Jake in the hope of finding out more about the absent Lola. This sterling scheme naturally doesn't proceed according to plan - though his friends are initially unaware, Curtis is bitten by the undead Jake and is transformed into a zombie himself... Fighting off his animalistic urges, Curtis ultimately uncovers the truth about Lola - she's an aspiring actress who was transformed into her vampish alter-ego by the storm and is now deeply out of touch with reality - she's a tragic figure, forced into a never-ending cycle of death and lust against her will.