It's hard to criticize a show like Homeland when it's somehow able to make even the bad choices dramatically compelling. The Showtime series knows how to write and stage a sequence even if the story is not particularly strong or even the least bit believable. What do you call it when you're simultaneously rolling your eyes and biting your nails? Whatever it is, that's how Homeland has been for a few episodes including last night's "A Gettysburg Address."

I can't possibly be the only one who thinks the show has gone a little off the rails? The problem might be that the first season was presented with such authenticity than even the slightest bit of bullshit smells way worse than on another series but either way, Homeland is a bit harder to swallow each week. It's like they all have these characters and, instead of allowing the story to unfold naturally, feel forced to wedge them into or create entirely extraneous conflicts.

One of the major offenders is the Dana and Finn fiasco, which was executed really well this week (like I said, they know how to write a compelling scene) but it's no less ridiculous and unnecessary. I stand by my statement that the Secret Service would put two and two together but sadly it's not just Dana's hit-and-run story that's increasingly far fetched. The whole Tom Walker investigation angle starring Uncle Mike and his cliche war buddy is pretty terrible (one bullet missing, come on!) and just another distraction from the terrorist thread and how that affects everyone involved.

That said, "A Gettysburg Address" still contained a lot of intense scenes revolving around the terrorist plot and Brody's increasing involvement with the CIA. This was initially a bit of a stretch too but I'll buy that they'd want to use the asset even if not completely trust-worthy. I loved the moment when Carrie tells Saul that she was the one who came up with the whole don't trust Brody movement. Although, again, it's ridiculous for that guy to remove his mask but I get it, we have to see him and I'm interested to see what they pulled out of that wall. I wonder if the that's Episode 7's titular "Clearing?" Here's a look at next week...

Looks like our buddy Quinn survived past the blood spluttering! But he's not too keen on Carrie and Brody getting close. I wonder why he continues to be suspicious of the former terrorist turned agent? Could it be the bullets in his stomach? Carrie, however, is off galavanting in some forest with Brody. She says she's using him to figure out what's going to happen with all this C4 but it looks more pleasure than business. Also, Dana and Finn's problems seem to be found out and then taken up by their moms. I'm sure Mrs. Walden's 'lead' will be the most honest approach.

Homeland airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. It stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin. It was adapted for American television by Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon from the Israeli series Prisoners of War (or Hatufim) by Gideon Raff.

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