(I’m not the first person to have used that line)
This review contains major Season 1 and 2 spoilers. As such, I’m giving you a ten second warning.
Well, you were warned.
So, Brody turned out to be a wrong 'un after all, working with evil terrorist Abu Nazir... but no-one believed poor Carrie, who lost her job and got electroshock therapy.
As Season 2 opened, Carrie is working as an English teacher for immigrants, while Marcus Brody is now a newly elected Congressman for Virginia being viewed as a possible running mate for Vice-President Walden.
Then Israel bombs Iran and Abu Nazir plans a strike back at the US for the act. The wife of one of a Hezbollah commander has some important information on the plot, which she will only share with her former handler… who just happens to be Carrie Mathison. Carrie is brought back into the fold temporarily, nicely answering a question that I’d had at the end of Season 1 of how we were going to get her back into the story. So our favourite blonde intelligence officer is flown to Beirut to meet with the wife.
We get to Beirut and after Brody tips off Nazir about a hit attempt on him, Carrie gets chased over roof tops (I am so going to use the line “as conspicuous as a blonde on a Beirut rooftop” somewhere) but manages to escape. Her boss, Saul Berenson (played by Mandy “Inigo Montoya” Patinkin), gets hold of the intel she has recovered, takes a look… and finds Brody’s suicide video from Season 1! Dun dun dun!
A lesser show would have dragged out this whole reveal for seasons on end (possibly by having Saul lose the evidence), but Homeland casually detonates a metaphorical IED under the entire set-up three episodes into Season 2. Saul shares this with Deputy Director David Estes and the cat is truly out of the bag.
So, armed with this evidence, Carrie confronts Brody and after an intense interrogation scene (which I commented at the time is probably the episode that they’d send to the Emmy committee), Brody agrees to turn triple; helping to stop Abu Nazir in return for immunity and being allowed to make a quiet resignation from Congress.
Thus the stage is set for another tale of duplicity, double-dealing and characterful exploration of what it is like to have divided loyalties. It’s not all dark; there is a hilarious scene where Carrie, noticing that Brody is losing confidence, engages in a bit of naked confidence-boosting with him… while Saul and other CIA folk are listening in. The look on Saul’s face… poor guy.
One reason why Brody is so conflicted is the fact that his daughter was the passenger in a fatal hit-and-run where the VP’s son was driving, something Walden is covering up by paying off the relatives. This bit and the whole continuing problems with his family (with his wife Jess sleeping with his best mate again) is basically the cougar in the room of the whole season. For those of you not familiar with 24, its second season had a pretty poor subplot re Kim Bauer, who was trapped by cougars at one point. This whole bit bored me considerably – I did puzzles during these bits.
Abu Nazir’s apparent main plot is stopped and then things start to drag. Carrie gets kidnapped by Nazir and in return for her freedom, Brody gives Nazir the key bit of information he needs to remotely kill the Vice President, who we all know is a bit of a sleaze. Nazir is however found and commits suicide by Tac Team. Despite knowing what Brody did (I think so) Carrie falls in love with him and is prepared to leave the CIA to be with him. The two of them sneak off from a memorial at the CIA for Walden and are preparing for a bit of you-know-what in David Estes’ office (get your own office!), when the literal IED detonates under this series.
Just as this was starting to get boring, the big twist comes. Brody’s car has been packed with explosives and detonates next to the memorial, destroying a good chunk of the building and killing over two hundred people, including David Estes (always a bit of a slime ball) and the rest of Walden’s family. Saul, having gone to Nazir’s burial at sea, returns and finds himself ranking officer on site, possibly the acting head of the entire CIA. Brody has been framed for this and Carrie helps him flee to Canada, before returning to slightly cheer up Saul, who thought she was dead.
Thus concludes another season of a show likely to win yet more awards. Danes and Lewis have a much-deserved decent shot at Golden Globes and Emmys for their acting, but I don’t think the show was the best thing I’ve seen in 2012. It may well have jumped the shark – it’s certainly not as good as Season 1 – but time will tell.
While there were some superb elements in this – a great of them in fact – the rather large problems prevent me from giving this any more than the score below. Where on earth do we go from here?