The sixth season of the Showtime series Homeland is touted on its home release cover as its “timeliest storyline yet”; a big call from a long running series which has always lifted its storylines from the real world – albeit in a typically exaggerated, over-the-top, fashion. But in spite of a few speedbumps along the way, it’s made for some routinely addictive and entertaining television. And at face value, this season is no different.
The sixth season of Homeland takes us back to New York, where Carrie Mathison (Claire Daines) is finally living comfortably and happily with her daughter. She seems to have her medication in order and she’s heading up a non-profit for Otto Düring, who still eyes Carrie’s heart. Their main objective is to provide free legal aid to unfairly detained Muslims. Naturally, drama is never far from Mathison’s lap, and taking on the case of one such individual opens up a can of worms that brings her, unwittingly, right back into the world of the CIA, and a storyline that interweaves with the brilliant Saul Berrinson (Mandy Patinkin) and the ever mysterious Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham). It doesn’t help, too, that she’s struck up an unlikely connection with the new president elect (Elizabeth Marvel, who plays Heather Dunbar in House of Cards).
But the heart of the storyline is with Quinn (Rupert Friend), who we last saw in a comatose state after almost dying at the hands of terrorists in Berlin. He’s now struggling with physical and mental handicaps, and a guilt stricken Carrie is tasked with looking after him, bringing him into her home – which naturally doesn’t have the best results for either party. Friend’s performance is remarkable, and really makes this season stand apart from the rest, as he balances his past with his present.
Whether or not this is the most “timely” season of Homeland yet is debatable, but by sitting on home soil for the first time in many seasons, they are able to tackle an impressive array of topics. Though it seems that even they were expecting a female President to be able to mirror. While the storyline does get pretty ridiculous at times, even by Homeland standards, it does all come together by the end… well mostly. You may have to forgive yourself for having some flashbacks to the first season of 24. And though it’s inconsistent along the way, the character progression and the action within both make the twelve episodes of Season Six very much worth the ride; an impressive attribute by any standards, but particularly for a show this far into its run.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The three disc Blu-Ray release comes with two (very) brief special features on the last disc, “On Location: New York City”, a behind the scenes look at filming in New York, and “About Season 6”, which provides some more insight into the long running series’ latest storyline.
Given you can stream Homeland through multiple digital services – though it’s worth noting that Season 6 is not currently available in its entirety on any platform bar the home release (but it will be eventually) – it’s become even more important for makers of these series to add value to the discs in the form of exclusive special features. The two features here are decent in quality, but short and readily available elsewhere. I found them easily on the official Homeland YouTube channel. Some additional features like audio commentary, recaps of past seasons and additional behind-the-scenes material would have been welcomed.
This series looks wonderful in HD, so if you are going for the home release, definitely get your hands on the Blu-Ray edition.
Special Features Score: ONE STAR (OUT OF FIVE)
Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.