Showtime's Homeland is one of the most thrilling and captivating of the current crop of politically and psychologically taut TV series. Like The Americans, The Following, Person of Interest, and Breaking Bad, Homeland wraps us up in the world of characters whose lives seem beyond us yet in so many ways also resonate with us. It is most effective in the ways that it startles us to think of the parallels between our lives and those of the characters on the show. While most of us do not experience the dangerous dynamics of spying, espionage, and world-changing national security decisions in our own daily lives, we can experience vicariously the unsettling dynamics of the lives of characters in Homeland and consider the bigger implications of them. Here, then, are 10 reasons that Homeland terrifies us.
10. We Recognize The Power Of Deep Psychological Angst
Carrie Mathison is a character that reflects intense layers of psychological trauma. Claire Danes' gripping portrayal of Mathison illustrates what may be the most human foundation of Homeland. Carrie struggles with the extraordinary stresses of being a CIA agent, all the while dealing with her aging father, and managing her own struggles with biopolar disorder. To make matters worse, Carrie, succumbing to her own personal failings, begins a relationship with Sergeant Nicholas Brodythe man who is the subject of her obsessive intelligence investigation and who suffers from PTSD. For most of us, any one of these psychological hurdles would be monumental, and for the fact that we can imagine associated pain, we are that much more able to relate to the multiple struggles that Carrie faces in Homeland. Such struggles extend to Homeland's other main characters. Most notable in season 3 is Peter Quinn's psychological transformation from a somewhat company man in the CIA to a doubter of his own actions. Putting ourselves in the shoes of Carrie or Peter and we can only imagine the toll that such situations would have on our lives.
Scott A. Lukas has taught anthropology and sociology Lake Tahoe Community College for sixteen years and in 2013 was Visiting Professor of American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He has been recognized with the McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology by the American Anthropological Association (2005), the California Hayward Award for Excellence in Education (2003), and a Sierra Arts Foundation Artist Grant Program Award in Literary–Professional (2009). In 2006, he was a nominee to the California Community College Board of Governors. He is the author/editor of The Immersive Worlds Handbook (2012), Theme Park (2008), The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nature, and Self (2007), Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films Remade, (co-edited with John Marmysz, 2009), Recent Developments in Criminological Theory (co-edited with Stuart Henry, 2009), and Strategies in Teaching Anthropology (2010). His book Theme Park was recently translated into Arabic. He appeared in the documentary The Nature of Existence and has provided interviews for To the Best of Our Knowledge, The Huffington Post UK, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Caravan (India).