Just how often are politicians frozen with indecision, pleading “Tell me what to do” to their Chief of Staff like the chilling moment on this week’s Homeland? Sleeping wide awake, while everyone else is forced to dream everything’s okay.
This article contains spoilers for Homeland Season 8 Episode 5 (“Chalk Two Down”).
Millions go to sleep at the end of a tedious commute to their wage slaving of ‘choice’ every night believing their votes will keep them safe. Their leaders sweet talking them into another lullaby, while the kitchen wallpaper peels away just a bit more. What if these silver tongued suits don’t have the faintest clue? Petrified of a real decision arriving on their desk with expectations of a signature. That’s the scenario presented on this week’s Homeland, an acting President Benjamin Hayes who tirelessly talked down his predecessor… Only to turn pale and mute after moving into his oval office. Trying to defer responsibility to the military’s discretion. Asking Chief of Staff David Wellington, a man he’d resented, “Tell me what to do” when out of proxies to delegate the blame to.
What about you? Could you live with yourself knowing your choice will have implications on future wars, lives, and history itself? Acting President Benjamin Hayes could barely face the optics of sitting in a private situation room to see his decision out. One that forever robs the populace of knowing if President Ralph Warner and President Daoud’s helicopter went down due to mechanical failure or as an enemy’s act of aggression. While at the same time, rescues President Ralph Warner’s remains and the United States’ dignity from being desecrated for the world to see. Escaping televised humiliation… While losing your one and only chance at ever knowing the truth.
It’s a tough call… But one the new acting President Hayes is expected to make without deferment to his subordinate and advisor. Yet, the Homeland scenario felt as grounded in reality as dirt itself. Something the public shoves aside to the back of their minds to function each day. These undercover bureaucracies must have been vetted throughly. After all, they own the official insignias and rubber stamps.
You might remember Depeche Mode’s famous lyric, “Everything counts in large amounts” as written by band member Martin Gore. It’s true, no detail comes without consequence. Good or bad. Homeland’s General Owens told President Hayes “I need you to be specific, sir,” after Hayes tried to be vague about his confirmation… Likely to shoulder less responsibility. That’s what it takes to lead, to be exact in no uncertain terms of what you’re asking for. To be thrown into the wild and accept 100% absolute blame for events that you had no direct prior involvement in.
The Walking Dead’s Negan once articulated a core tenant of life, “Not making a decision is a BIG decision!” There is no time to hesitate, just the illusion there ever was any.
Be sure to read The Natural Aristocrat’s Homeland Season 8 Episode 4 Review and a look at Carrie Mathison’s fragmented memory, Homeland Season 8 Premiere: What if your Memory lied to you? Need info on how to watch Homeland online? No problem! Here’s recent Homeland live stream info to guide you for next Sunday’s episode.