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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homeland 2.1-2: Sneak Preview Review

I caught the first two episodes of the new season of Homeland last night - Season 2, to debut on Showtime September 30 - courtesy of a Showtime screener.  Better than last year - which was excellent - especially 2.2, which is one of the best episodes in the series.  Spoilers follow.

The harrowing ending of last season has Brody not setting off his suicide bomb, in response to his daughter's plea that he come home.  But he could do far worse damage to the United States, if he gets elected Vice President.  Meanwhile, Carrie's manic-depression has all but taken her out of the game.

These two are the essential antagonists in Homeland, with the question being how much damage Brody will do before Carrie is able to stop him, if she is able to stop him.  The two are evenly matched, as brilliantly set forth in the second episode, when Carrie almost manages to get Nazir killed in Lebanon, who escapes because of a text message sent by Brody, seated in the war room in Washington where the strike is being managed (in TV narratives, cell phones almost always work when you need them).

Brody's exact relationship with Nazir - just what Brody is wiling to do for him - was the not all that clear last year, and it's made slightly more clear in 7.1-2.  Brody, having pulled back from the suicide mission last year, does not see himself as a terrorist at Nazir's command.  Rather, as he says to Nazir's attractive new operative (who's trying to get to know Estes more personally) in Washington, he'll use his political position to help Nazir.  That not only includes saving him from a bullet, but, as indicated above, could also be extraordinarily damaging to the U.S., should Brody, now a Congressman, get on the Presidential ticket as VP candidate.

Meanwhile, Carrie is working herself back in the CIA's good graces, the hard way.  She's not quite believed when she says has reliable info on where Nazir will be, but Saul believes her just enough to authorize the strike.   Nazir escapes - because of Brody's text - but no one blames Carrie for this, and in fact, as Saul tells her, she'll be taken much more seriously now, since her info about Nazir proved true.

Carrie tells Saul how haunted she is about being wrong about Brody.  We of course know she was right.   And by the end of 2.2, Saul does, too.  Carrie manages to grab some Nazir-relevant materials in a breathtaking chase scene in Lebanon.   She gives them to Saul.  In the last scene, he finds the video that would have been sent out had Brody blown himself up last year - Brody telling his terrorist story to the world.

So now Saul - if he lives (I'm now especially worried about him) - knows that Carrie was right about Brody, too.  The stage is set for an increasingly high-powered battle in this top-drawer series.

See also Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional

"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

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