Homeland (9 p.m. Sundays, Showtime) has always been a psychological drama. The series began as a mind-bending story centered on “turned” prisoner of war Nicholas Brody and CIA officer Carrie Mathison (the role for which Claire Danes just nabbed another Emmy). But the bombing in last season’s finale has turned Homeland on its head, along with most of the show’s characters. Beyond the political thriller/spy mystery aspect of Homeland, the show makes a point of highlighting mental health issues and the fragility of the human mind.
Sinec Season One, we’ve seen Carrie struggle with bipolar disorder and the stigma of the illness and prescription drugs. This season, her battle continues. She blames herself for the terrorist attack, believing medication fogged her senses. We also discover Brody’s daughter Dana (one of the most realistic teenage characters on television right now) tried to commit suicide after the bombing and her father’s subsequent disappearance. Homeland’s focus is not (yet) on whether Brody committed the terrorist act, but how the bombing affects each of the characters as people. In fact, Brody didn’t even appear in Sept. 29’s premiere.
Thankfully, we will catch up with the wanted congressman early this season. This week, Carrie must deal with the fallout of Saul essentially throwing her under the bus in court (OK, it was more like Saul drove the bus over her himself), while Saul remains pressured to find who is responsible for the terrorist attack. The Brodys, sans Nick, go to therapy to support Dana’s recovery and cope with their family issues.
WEDNESDAY OCT. 2
Super Fun Night (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m., Fox) – Rebel Wilson stars as junior attorney Kimmie who has a standing Friday girls’ night-in date with her two equally nerdy besties
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FXX) – Everyone in the gang gets one day devoted to them, when the others must do whatever he or she wants. Today is Mac’s day; Seann William Scott guest stars as his cousin who is decidedly not from Philly.
The League (10:30 p.m., FXX) – When Ruxin misses his flight for a business trip, he hides out in Chicago instead of returning home. Also: Taco Corp. Worldwide Headquarters.
Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (Series Premiere, 11 p.m., Fuse) – New Orleans gender-bending Bounce Hip Hop artist Big Freedia twerks her way to the small screen in this new docu-series.
THURSDAY OCT. 3
Parks and Recreation (8 p.m., NBC) – Leslie and the crew visit neighboring Eagleton when news breaks that the rival town has gone bankrupt; April attends veterinary school orientation. Kristen Bell guest-stars as Eagleton City Councilwoman Ingrid de Forest.
Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Infants and engagements and elections — oh my! Amber’s big announcement receives mixed reactions, particularly from Sarah. Julia meets a fellow parent she can relate to. Kristina’sn ew campaign manager looks to dig up any family dirt.
SATURDAY OCT. 5
House of Versace (8 p.m., Lifetime) – Unfortunately, Maya Rudolph will not be reprising her impeccable Donatella Versace impression from her SNL days. Instead, the always-fabulous Gina Gershon takes on the role of sister and muse to fashion designer Gianni Versace. After Gianni’s murder in 1997, Donatella overcomes addiction, family struggles and business woes to bring the Versace brand back to the forefront of the fashion world.
Saturday Night Live (11:30, NBC) – Hang onto your latex nude panties — Miley Cyrus hosts and performs.
SUNDAY OCT. 6
The Simpsons (8 p.m., Fox) – Every year around Halloween, The Simpsons goes all out with a special spooky episode. “Treehouse of Horror XXIV” features Homer’s take on The Cat in the Hat, a Bart and Lisa head-swap and a 1930s travelling freak show.
Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Nucky is left picking up the pieces of Willie’s laxative prank-gone-wrong; Agent Knox turns to physical and psychological tactics in his interrogation of poor Eddie Kessler; Gillian’s addiction leads her to Dunn, who is now selling heroin for Dr. Narcisse.
Masters of Sex (10 p.m., Showtime) – When Masters’ study is shut down by the hospital, he relocates his research headquarters to a new location — the local brothel!
TUESDAY OCT. 8
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (8 p.m., ABC) – Coulson & Co. investigate the abduction of a mad scientist.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern