Emmy Episode Analysis: Claire Danes (‘Homeland’) hangs in there as Drama Actress

After two consecutive wins as Best Drama Actress, Claire Danes (“Homeland“) is looking to make it three in a row. If successful with her episode submission “The Star,” she will join just two other leading ladies who went undefeated for three consecutive years: Barbara Bain (“Mission: Impossible”) from 1967-1969 and Tyne Daly (“Cagney & Lacey”) from 1983-1985 (she won a fourth in 1988). Can Danes pull it off?

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SYNOPSIS: In the Season 3 finale “The Star,” Danes’ character, Carrie Mathison, meets up with disgraced soldier Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) in Tehran immediately following his killing of General Akbari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Carrie is under the false impression that she and Brody will travel back to America where they will live together and be parents to their unborn child. But the CIA has other plans for Brody and gives him up to the Iranians in order to ensure their Middle East asset Javadi will inherit Akbari’s job.

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Despite her efforts to save Brody’s life, there’s nothing that can be done and Carrie watches in horror as Brody is hanged in the street in front of dozens of spectators. Four months later, Carrie is back at home agonizing over the impending birth of her daughter. At a CIA memorial, Carrie pressures Director Lockhart (Tracy Letts) to honor Brody’s sacrifice with a star, but he refuses, so Carrie draws her own star on the wall.

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Can Danes take home her third Emmy in a row for this role for “The Star”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:

PROS:

“Homeland” always has been “The Claire Danes Show,” but that was never more apparent than in Season 3 when her co-lead Lewis was sidelined for half of the episodes. Danes appears in almost every scene of the hour-long finale. And even in the scenes she’s not in, her presence is still felt as the other characters discuss her and the mission.

There are many moments in this episode where Danes shines, including the big impact scene where Brody is hanged and she climbs up onto the fence, screaming his name. Another great showcase for Danes comes near the end, where she breaks down in front of her father and sister about how scared she is to be a mother.

When comparing this submission to her Emmy-winning submissions from 2012 (“The Vest”) and 2013 (“Q&A”), it’s clear that this episode offers voters yet another side to Carrie they haven’t seen yet: the grief-stricken mother-to-be. Such versatile range could be the key to another Emmy win for Danes. However….

CONS:

As mentioned above, only two ladies throughout Emmy history were able to go three-for-three in this race — Bain in the 1960s and Daly in the 1980s — suggesting that history is not on Danes’ side to three-peat.

Unlike the past two years, there are many buzz-worthy alternatives in this category for voters to rally around, like Golden Globe champ Robin Wright (“House of Cards“), Emmy favorite Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) or overdue Kerry Washington (“Scandal“). It would be a great year for voters to spread the wealth.

Critics and fans relentlessly bashed the third season of “Homeland” for its many creative missteps. The Emmys seemingly agreed with the consensus, snubbing the show in many categories for the first time ever, including Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor, Best Drama Writing and Best Drama Directing. There goes Danes’ Emmy momentum.

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Danes is currently in fourth place in our predictions with 20/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we underestimating this Emmy magnet? Make your own predictions below.

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