I tend to avoid TV shows since I prefer to program my own entertainment mostly through netflix or amazon prime, but a few still capture my attention, like The Borgias and Boardwalk Empire. But after Homeland won all these awards, I thought I better check it out, and like the dude said, “start with episode one,” so I did.
I’ve already discussed Richard Condon’s amazing and groundbreaking Manchurian Candidate, which was a book and a film. I have a unique interpretation, btw: in my version the Sinatra character is brainwashed and just walking through a guided script that will eventually enable the shooter to kill his own mother, who has slipped off the leash and begun meeting secretly with the Pope. In my version Communism is just a scam being run at the highest levels of Freemasonry and was invented primarily to prevent the rise of democracies as the old monarchies were fading, all part of the dialectics of controlling the future by carefully managing the playing field and teams involved.
There’s no doubt Manchurian Candidates are real and the technology to create them has passed from the Nazis, to the CIA, to some off the-shelf-operations that will likely never be exposed. In real life, male Manchurian Candidates do not have living fathers, which is the most prominent sigil in their subconscious minds. Lee Harvey Oswald is a prime example. Also, the younger you start working on your Manchurian Candidate, the more successful your brainwashing is likely to be. Five or six would probably be ideal, although Oswald was already 13 when a CIA doctor started his “treatment” in New York City.
Since Homeland is about Manchurian Candidates, you’d think I’d love this show. I do enjoy the acting, and I like the idea of a bipolar patient investigating conspiracies, but the show unfortunately falls short and jumps the shark frequently. Let me count the ways.
1) You can’t take a middle-aged Christian with a wife and family and turn them into a Muslim through torture. Using trauma and drugs, the best you could hope for is a split personality, one Christian, one Muslim, but even that would be difficult if you started at such a late age. And this is the fundamental problem with Homeland and why it never rises above the level of a propaganda piece supporting the war on terror: The Manchurian Candidates are being constructed by the side with the most money and best resources, and just as the size and scope of the Russian military was greatly exaggerated during the Cold War to amp up tensions and work that dialectic for increased military budgets, the capabilities of the jihadists are greatly exaggerated, when, in fact, all the jihad groups are heavily infiltrated by spooks from a wide variety of intelligence agencies from around the world, so much so that its often hard to tell who’s really running the jihads. One of my favorite spy films, Munich, shows how an assassination team from the Mossad was killing off all the moderates while the extremists were routinely protected by the CIA. That’s why Munich is so brilliant, and why Homeland is so shady in comparison. It would be way more interesting if a group of jihadists under CIA mind control were to have slipped off the leash and needed to be eliminated before they could spill the beans.
2) The construction of Manchurian Candidates is a very complex and expensive operation; so when you have a Manchurian Candidate that works, you protect him and only destroy him when absolutely necessary. Which is why I found it absurd Brody is all torn up inside because he thinks he killed his buddy. That’s the trauma running Brody’s mind control. Then, after he learns his buddy is still alive, he happily shoots him to prove he’s still a working Manchurian Candidate? Why kill your best shooter to prove your loyalty when you can kill anybody to complete that mission? It makes no sense, just like a lot of the plot developments in this script, which are designed around shock effect but come off as exercises in shark jumping.
3) The greatest TV show in the late 1960s was easily The Prisoner. And the really great thing about that show was you never knew who was running the prison, where it was, or who had abducted the McGoohan character. In the real life spook-filled world of drugs, guns and terror, the players actually sometimes wonder who they’re really working for, since so many of them are double and triple agents playing all sides against the middle, and that is the mystery a show like Homeland should be feeding off of. Instead, we get a knee-jerk good-guys versus bad-guys melodrama that actually inflames the already existing paranoia surrounding Arab-Americans? Sorry, I am disappointed.