Homeland – The Smile

We return to Homeland after a pulsating season 1 finale, ties have been severed, friends have been lost and holy cow Brody is now US congressman. Season 2 begins with the typically American recap which gives the poor souls who missed the first season a chance to understand what’s going on.

It kicks off with Clare Danes living with her father and seemingly still having to deal with the effects of her electroshock therapy whilst working as a language teacher. We learn early on that there’s been unrest in Iran after bombings by Israel which is obviously going to be a catalyst for the rest of the season. Saul’s back with his mighty beard and he soon finds out that there’s some intelligence on a possible attack on US soil which sounds awfully familiar already.

If you compare this opening episode to the opening of the first season, it isn’t as engrossing, but that’s always going to be difficult as it’s more obvious as to which side of the fence Brody sits on, so that mystery doesn’t quite hang over the season like before. It’s probable that this series will be more of a slow burner than the first but the characters all hold up so it should work perfectly.

It’s set about 6 months after season 1 and although it’s hard to believe that Brody has moved up the ladder so quickly, the situation that each of the main characters find themselves in never feels unrealistic or forced. There are a couple of hokey moments though, for instance the scene with the journalist who slows down David Estes so Brody can break into a safe to retrieve secret documents, it’s a little too far-fetched. It reminds you of how the first season was so much not like 24 and all the better for it.

However, the scenes with Dana at her new school are great and excellently portray the alienation teenagers feel, even when they haven’t moved to a new school like she has. Also the scene where Carrie is chased through the market in Beirut is really pulsating and has a massive amount of energy ebbing through it. Claire Danes is fantastic once again and Damian Lewis is as confusing as ever. It’s hard to tell where the next episode will take this season but Homeland definitely hasn’t lost any of its ethereal quality.

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