Right now, if you want to get yelled at, here's what you do: Find a fan of Showtime's "Homeland" and tell him or her that you think this season is great so far and that your favorite story line is the one about distraught teenage daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor). Then, duck and cover. You only need to search for "Homeland" on Twitter to see that Dana is hit harder than a CIA analyst in Muslim garb postattack.
We have seen a lot of Dana in the first two episodes. We learned that she slit her wrists in the bathtub and has been receiving inpatient care at a mental hospital. She met a cute guy in there, Leo (Sam Underwood). And Sunday night, she ran away from home and back into Leo's arms at the mental hospital. They had a romp in the laundry room. Their interests include sexy selfies and smiling.
It's easy to rip into Dana just because she's taking up a lot of screen time and you miss Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). But here are five reasons we actually dig Dana.
1. Dana doesn't shriek as much as Carrie. Honestly, didn't you want to hit the mute button when you saw manic Carrie (Claire Danes) start screaming for the 3,576th time this season? And didn't that relentless screaming bug you more than Dana's moping? Yes. It did. Dana uses her words. She doesn't say much and she generally doesn't say it very loudly. Our ears are grateful for a female character who knows how to get her point across — "I'm not hungry" — without making a federal case of it.
2. Dana keeps it real. "Homeland" is all about how shady and deceitful everyone in government-related activities can be, good guys and bad guys alike. So we welcome Dana because she's so downright unpolitical, glib, and blunt when it comes to the politics at home. We rooted for her when she verbally attacked mom Jessica (Morena Baccarin) about the much-discussed renovated bathroom. Thank you, Dana. Jessica needs to realize she can't fake smile and cook her way through this disaster.
3. Dana goes in the garage. She is, as far as we can tell, the most human member of the Brody family. We buy her going through old photos and retracing her dad's secret steps. We feel like that moment in the garage is gonna matter later this season, somehow, some way.
4. Dana is not her brother. If anyone deserves a dishonorable mention so far this season, we would point to Chris "I have no pulse" Brody (Jackson Pace), Dana's little brother who is not yet a teenager — no sex, no moods — and not a kid — no toy trucks, no corduroy overalls. Chris is always just kind of there. Can he lose his cool once in a while so we don't mistake him for a piece of furniture? Maybe he can karate chop a plate and cry out for Uncle Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) or something.
5. Dana is getting some. OK, so she had to run away from home, wake up her boyfriend, break into a laundry room, and have sex on sheets we can only hope were fresh from the dryer, but at least she had sex. They smiled! At least someone in the D.C. area is smiling and kissing. Dana's hot new romance sure beats Saul's marriage, and we miss Carrie and Brody's heated together times in parking lots, hotel rooms, and, most of all, that cabin in the woods. Hey, maybe Carrie can give the key to Dana.
Watch an interview with Saylor on "Breakfast With Bevan":
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.