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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray)
Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray)
Fox // Unrated // February 6, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $45.49 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted April 19, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
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P R I N T
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THE SEASON:

I have a self-diagnosed TV series ADHD that often forces me to abandon shows midway through their lifespan. Showtime's Homeland is one of the few series that I have kept up with from inception. The fifth season was a strong outing for the series that pulled the action away from the Middle East. This sixth season maintains the same excellent production values and performances, particularly those of Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Rupert Friend, but this United States-set storyline is not as compelling as last season's globetrotting thrills. Still, Homeland remains timely and compelling, and, unlike similarly themed political thrillers, manages to stay relevant and polished year after year.

If you recall the end of last season (spoilers ahead), Carrie Mathison (Danes) worked to stop a bomb from being detonated in a Berlin subway. Her friend and fellow CIA agent Peter Quinn (Friend) also almost died after terrorists released a deadly toxin in his presence, and Carrie made some questionable decisions regarding his medical care in the final moments of the season. Cut to New York City, where Carrie lives with her daughter and reluctantly agrees to house an alive but ailing Quinn after finding him in a drug and prostitution den. Carrie works at a Legal Aid-like, non-profit law group and Saul (Patinkin) continues work at the CIA. President-Elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) has ruffled feathers of patriots and the military, and CIA Director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) works to keep his agency ahead of the curve despite outside interference. When a terrorist detonates a bomb in New York City, Carrie becomes involved in an intricate game of sabotage and cover-ups.

There are a couple of interesting things happening here. First, Carrie's representation of a young Muslim man, Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree), who is locked up on federal terrorism charges. Carrie realizes the young man is likely innocent, and accuses an iron-grip FBI handler (Dominic Fumusa) of manipulating a confidential informant into weaving falsehoods about Sekou. She gets him released, but then Sekou is tied to a truck bombing in downtown Manhattan, which unleashes a firestorm of angry citizens and prying reporters on Carrie's townhouse. Second, Carrie is also secretly advising the President-Elect, despite Saul's cautions not to do so. Keane is angry that her son was killed in combat, and is out for blood with the CIA, FBI and military branches. It is clear early on that Adal is very much aware of this collaboration and is not pleased. Third, Quinn is not in good shape. Suffering from PTSD and plenty of other physical and mental demons, he is a powder keg set to blow. I knew the moment Carrie asked him to babysit her daughter that trouble was brewing.

Without diving too far into the plot, I can say that Homeland: The Complete Sixth Season is somewhat less compelling than in previous years. Gone are the days of truly crazy Carrie, Nicholas Brody and Middle East-based terrorism. The show-runners are obviously setting up Keane to be a major character in the seventh and eighth seasons, which are apparently the show's last. Marvel is a wonderful actress, but I am not sure I like the direction and tone Homeland is taking. Quinn's character arc this season is just sad. This highly trained, loyal agent has gone through hell and back, and still the writers cannot allow him dignity and peace. This season also hits on too many hot-topic issues without diving below the surface. There is still powerful, entertaining drama here, but Homeland seems to be losing its footing.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Each 1.78:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is crisp and clean, with abundant fine-object detail and texture to support the theatrical quality of the productions. The digitally shot image offers robust colors and HD pop. There is also the expected dip in detail and spike in digital noise during low-light scenes. Black levels are reasonably steady, though, and shadow detail is still apparent. Other than minor aliasing, I did not notice overt technical flaws.

SOUND:

Each 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix effectively balances dialogue, score and effects. There are plenty of sound pans for these effects and directional dialogue, and action bits, like an explosion, rumble the subwoofer. These are not as active as theatrical action mixes, but the clarity and range are steady throughout. French, Spanish and Italian 5.1 DTS mixes are included, as are English SDH, French, German, Spanish and Italian subtitles.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This three-disc set is packed in a hinged Blu-ray case that is wrapped in a slipcover. The twelve episodes are equally spaced over all three discs. On Location: New York City (2:10/HD) is an extremely brief EPK, as is About Season 6 (2:58/HD). Better is the Paley Center for Media Q&A with Cast and Creative Team for PaleyFest NY 2016 (55:36/HD), which offers more substantial interviews.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The narrative exigency dips somewhat in this sixth season of Showtime drama Homeland. The characters are still compelling and production design remains professional, but there is a moderate decline in the stakes this go-round. With two seasons left in the pipe, I hope Homeland can finish with a home run. Recommended for fans.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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