(This review includes spoilers on the first four episodes of the second season)
A lot has happened since Homeland's season 2 premiere. A lot. In four episodes, this show has done what others do in a whole season, which leads me to the titular question. What now? After a pretty good first episode, the show has sped through the next episodes, with a lot of intense moments and unexpected twists. Saul discovering that Brody is a terrorist, and his eventual capture, came as a shock to me, and I'm sure to most viewers. This is not new to the show. The writers did the same during the first season, when they unexpectedly revealed Brody's nature way earlier than most people expected. And still, they managed to deliver a kick-ass season with a gripping finale. So, perhaps we shouldn't worry about where will they head now.
Until now, the show has been one of the best. The second episode, "Beirut is Back", delivered some extremely intense moments as the CIA tries to kill Abu Nazir, and then when Saul and Carrie go to pick up Fatima Ali in the middle of Hezbollah-controled Beirut. And to finish things off, Saul discovers the video where Brody confesses to be a terrorist. Wow. I mean, I was expecting this on maybe episode 4 or 5.
The third episode, "State of Independence", was equally solid, although seeing Brody handling the extraction of The Tailor required a bit of a stretch in believability. I mean, you have a deep-seated terrorist within the highest ranks of the US government, about to become Vice-President, and you send him to do a routine extraction? C'mon! I'm still waiting for them to reveal that there was something else going on that forced them to have Brody do that. But still, the episode had its share of great moments, as we see Carrie's psychological struggles. The scene where she goes back to her apartment and prepares to go out, only to swallow a dozen pills later, was excellent.
Fourth episode in, Saul shows Brody's confession to Estes, who agrees to have a surveillance team on Brody in order to identify his mission and his superiors. As we get to meet the leader of the surveillance team, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), and see all the logistics put in place for the operation, it seems that the show is preparing for it. At this point, I'm thinking "well, they'll probably milk the whole surveillance plotline for a couple of episodes." Which is why I was baffled when, after meeting with Brody at a hotel bar, Carrie went up to his bedroom and blew the whole mission to him, forcing the CIA to detain him. Again, this is something I was expecting to happen maybe on episode 7?
I must also add that I'm very pleased with how the show is handling the character of Dana. The performance of Morgan Saylor is so subtle. I love her.
But anyway, as I've said, I'm shocked at how fast the show is moving. I have no idea where are they taking the story now, and what will happen to Brody. Or Carrie, for that matter. After all, she blew an operation that was set to capture one of the most wanted terrorists after just one day of work. The way the writers handled the first season gives me faith that they know what they're doing, but I won't deny the fact that I'm worried they've run out of steam too early. We'll have to keep watching to find out.
(All pictures belong to Showtime and its affiliates)