by David Dougan
Believe it or not, it’s actually quite difficult to review Homeland on an episode-by-episode basis. It’s difficult because the show is so good that I end up just saying ‘It’s really really good’ in every review. But I say that because it’s true. The acting is terrific, it’s well scripted and the plot is engaging, realistic and filled with new twists and turns every week.
Having spent most of the first series teasing the idea that Nicholas Brody had been turned by Al-Qaeda and was set to be involved in a terrorist attack on US soil, a huge curveball was thrown when it was revealed that Brody’s friend, Tom Walker was still alive, and that he was the man turned by Al-Qaeda, and was planning to assassinate the president. The CIA got lucky and foiled that plot, but the end of last week’s episode was another game changer, when Brody turned up at the house of a man who had passed the location of a sniper rifle onto Walker, and told him he was no longer onside with Abu Nazir.
As young people might say, it was a ‘totez like OMG’ moment. Brody had previously told Carrie he’d become a Muslim while held hostage in Afghanistan, but it seemed that he was an innocent man, wrongly assumed to be a terrorist by the CIA. What is his role in all of this?
In episode 9, we learn that Brody spent some time in Iraq with Abu Nazir, as the Al-Qaeda chief allowed Brody to live in relative comfort, as long as he taught his son, Issa how to speak English fluently. The two are wary of each other at first, but Brody bonds with the boy and his English improves. Brody dreams about this time after he is attacked in a supermarket car park. When he comes to, he speaks to Nazir via a webcam link. Nazir reminds him of his time in Iraq with Issa, and what happened to his son. A US airstrike hit the school Issa attended, and he and many other innocent children were killed. The vice president later denied that there had been any innocent victims. Brody is told that the vice president will run for the presidency, and that he will ask Brody to run for office. If Brody agrees to this, it will be a sign to Nazir that Brody is still with him.
It now seems certain that Walker and Brody are both involved in a terrorist plot, and we find Walker in a forest outside the city. He finds a spot to practise his shooting, but his first two shots are high and wide of a paper bull’s eye. He’s interrupted by a hunter, and the two share an awkward conversation. When Walker offers to show off the quality of his rifle, he nails the bull’s eye. The hunter returns to his truck, and he has a newspaper with Walker’s face on the front page. But before he can do anything about it, Walker assassinates him, taking his truck.
The fallout from the failed FBI attempt to capture Walker continues, and Carrie visits the mosque where two innocent men were killed. The agent in charge of the operation tells Carrie that Walker knew exactly how to escape the mosque, meaning he must know people who use it. The Imam of the mosque seems to know something, but refuses to reveal it unless the FBI admit to their mistake and compensate the families of the two men. The FBI won’t throw their men under the bus, so Carrie tries a new tactic, pleading with the Imam while his wife is present. Although the Imam refuses to help, his wife later contacts Carrie, who reveals that Walker has been visiting the mosque, but not to pray. Instead, he has spoken with a man who drives a car with a Saudi Arabian diplomatic number plate.
The episode ends with Saul and Carrie pulling up outside the diplomat’s house, with plans to speak with him very soon. It’s the end of yet another captivating and engaging episode of Homeland, and it continues to be the best program on television.