Tuesday, December 17, 2013

End Of Season 3

TigerBlog is on record as saying that "Homeland" is the greatest TV show of all time.

That's what he said shortly before the end of Season 2, by which time many people had already begun to turn on the show. TigerBlog didn't; he still thought it was amazingly well done, and he chalked up the anti-"Homeland" sentiment to nit-picking over the extraordinary standard the show had set for itself.

Go back to Season 1, for instance.

TigerBlog watched all 12 episodes in a three-day span, which is an average of four hours per day. It was time well spent.

TB had no idea what to expect when he first started to watch. He'd never heard of the show and had no expectation for it. He didn't even realize that he was watching Part 1 of 12, and he had no idea how he'd be captivated the way he was.

The first season set up the two main characters and the main storylines - Carrie and Brody, their relationship and whose side exactly is Brody on.

Season 1 was ridiculous. Season 2 was also ridiculous.

At least TigerBlog thought so. The many critics thought the plot had become a bit contrived, and TB can't tell you how many times he read something about how "that would never really happen," such as "Brody would never have been left alone with the Vice President."

To TB, that's obvious, but it's also something that has never bothered him about the show. The viewer has to suspend reality a bit, otherwise none of the plots would work.

And besides, the writing and acting and especially intense character development more than made up for any shortcomings in reality suspension. To TB, each episode was incredible.

All of which brings us to Season 3.

Most"Homeland" fans aren't nearly as high on the show now as a year ago. TigerBlog isn't among them. Whereas many think Season 3 was bad, TB thinks it was pretty good, that it got off track a little and that it got on a really strong run at the end.


What it also did was try to cling too long to the original Carrie/Brody dynamic, and that's ultimately what dragged it down a little. Brody - described the the quasi-doctor in Caracas as a "cockroach" for being unkillable - had outlived his usefulness as a character.

TB thinks the show would have been much better had Brody's death come not in Teheran in a public hanging at 4 a.m.  but instead in Episode 4 or 5 in Caracas or somewhere else, when the viewer never would have see it coming. Had that been pulled off, then the rest of the season could have gone down the whole Iranian storyline without having to figure out how to integrate Brody into it.

And TB is a bit disappointed that Brody's daughter Dana was phased out so badly in the second half of Season 3. Her performance was so breathtaking that in many ways she stole the entire show while she was given a chance.

So what's up for Season 4?

TB thinks there are some who don't believe Brody is really dead, but they can't bring him back. No viewer would put up with that. There's still a big place for Saul in the show, as the one who operates outside the company but who figures out what's coming next.

And there's still Carrie. Will she keep the baby? Will she move to Turkey? Who will be the next villain?

The show has a great number of storylines that it can explore. TB might advocate for a prequel, or at least a few episodes of prequel, that show what happened to Brody while in captivity during the war and Carrie's early CIA career. This would enable "Homeland" to use Damien Lewis as Brody again without completely destroying its credibility.


Anyway, TigerBlog still gives the series very, very high marks. It's not what it was in Season 1 or 2, but it's still riveting television, and the last three episodes of Season 3 were awesome.

The women's basketball team had a weekly "Homeland" watch party last year, and TB isn't sure whether or not that was a graduation loss with the Class of 2013.

He does know that graduation took names like Niveen Rasheed and Elena Delle Donne out of the Princeton-Delaware women's basketball rivalry, but Sunday's 81-79 Princeton win over the Blue Hens at Jadwin was still a very entertaining game, and a very good win.

Delaware came in at 6-1 and with some serious size and talent. Princeton had control most of the game but was pushed big-time as Delaware took the lead with a little more than five minutes to go. The Tigers would never lead again in regulation, tying it at 70-70 with 2:29 to go and then again at 74-74 after trailing 74-70 with 90 seconds left.

Delaware led 76-74 and 78-76 in the OT, but Princeton tied it and then took the lead for good when Blake Dietrick knocked down a three-pointer with 1:05 to go. Dietrick finished 22 points and earned Ivy Player of the Week honors for her performance.

The biggest thing for Princeton through the early part of the 2013-14 season has been figuring out what to do during "winning time" without Rasheed and the other graduates the last two years, the one who always took over when things got tough.

Now, in 2013-14, Princeton can't go to Rasheed or Lauren Edwards or Devona Allgood or the others.

Against a very good Delaware team, Princeton showed it has multiple weapons. Four players were in double figures, and Kristen Helmstetter had an 18-point, 11-rebound afternoon in addition to Dietrick's 22.

Beyond just the points, Princeton had five players with at least four rebounds, the team shot 25 for 32 from the foul line and the defense held the Blue Hens to 38.9% shooting and just a single three-pointer. In fact, the three-pointer that Delaware made was reviewed to make sure it was a two and not a three.

Princeton hosts Illinois State Wednesday night and then is off until playing at a tournament Dec. 28/29 at Virginia, where the Tigers take on Alabama and then either UVa or Coppin State. The first game of 2014 is at Drexel, and then it's into the Ivy League.

Princeton opens at Penn on Jan. 11 and then is off for three weeks for exams, returning to host Harvard in a matchup of the teams that are 1-2 in the preseason poll.

The Tigers are 6-4 through a tough 10-game stretch. They can definitely score points, and they continue to be an exciting team to watch.

It's not easy the "year after," as it were, but Princeton is still the four-time defending champ.

There's a lot of pride that goes along with that.

It was evident down the stretch Sunday that that is something that won't go away easily.

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