Worst: "Broken Hearts"
Hands down, the worst, sloppiest hour the series has produced. Granted, on Homeland even the weakest episode still features a battle of the wits between renowned actors like Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham, and even the most contrived means feature an almost justifiable end, like the chilling final scene shared between Brody and VP Walden (Jamie Sheridan).
Nearly everything that preceded the scene, however, was filled with more plot holes, contrivances, and smart people suddenly behaving very idiotically than any season of 24. In fact, these hurt even more than 24’s, because Homeland exists in a much realer universe, but, more importantly, it's just not supposed to make these mistakes.
That brief shootout/raid in the season’s sixth episode that you all complained about? It wasn't that bad. However close to reality Homeland exists, it's still a fictional series designed to maximize dramatic effect. What was bad, though, was Abu Nazir (Navid Negabhan) abducting Carrie in broad daylight, through a perfectly timed car-crash that he’d have no actual way to time or rehearse. The same goes with the random, out-of-left-field plan B to give Walden a secret heart attack, even though viewers have been told time and again that Nazir is a theatrical terrorist who goes for maximum effect.
And speaking of mild character assassinations, sure, Carrie loves Brody, but she still pursued him doggedly when she was sure of his intentions. Covering his hand in the vice president’s murder? Not sure if the show adequately prepared us for such a morally compromising move on her part. And in regards to laying narrative track, it would've been nice to know Walden even had a pacemaker before using it as a device for his death (the actor, Jamey Sheridan, said himself, before this episode, that he always envisioned the character as a physically fit clean bell of health.)
Worst of all, the great Damian Lewis couldn’t even rise above the episode's many shortcomings. He completely overacts and Brody becomes a twitching, bug-eyed mess. Why the CIA safe house handler wouldn’t pick up on it, or why Walden’s staff would be so cool with him wandering around the crib when he’s clearly nervous or tweaked out of his mind, is beyond us. You’re better than this, Homeland.