Homeland Season 2 Review “Two Hats”

Homeland Season 2 Episode 9 Two Hats (4)

What’s interesting about watching a show like Homeland is the patience that is required of its viewership. In many ways, it’s very similar to the surveillance work that is the backbone of the program. Just like Carrie following Roya Hammad’s various breakfast meetings, we’re constantly waiting, waiting, waiting. On other shows with different content, the waiting becomes interminably boring. On Homeland, the waiting becomes interminably exhilarating.

For the last few weeks, the show has closely resembled what it was in season number one. It’s not a step backward. It’s merely a step to the side. We are back to not knowing the true intentions of Nicholas Brody, embracing the brilliance of Carrie Mathison, and admiring the stoic beardedness of Saul Berenson. Everybody has their own secret angle to spin out of a terrorist plot on America. There are red herrings, secret meetings, and Morena Baccarin gets naked. It’s a welcome return to some of the best television of last season.

This week’s episode in particular featured 42 minutes of pulse-pounding drama. Damian Lewis was fantastic playing the possibly hedging Brody. It seems like he’s back in the same situation as last season: Lewis is not sure what side he’s on, so he sells every scene beautifully. The fact that we only see Brody’s “memory” of his conversation with Abu Nazir should tell you what Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon want you to think. They want you to believe in the possibility that Brody is running a game on the CIA. Maybe he’s not, but a lot of the tension of the last three episodes of the season may rest on how much you believe in that possibility.

While the tension levels remained as high as ever, I was pleased by Homeland taking the time to acknowledge the absurdity of Abu Nazir’s presence in America. With the 24-like ending of the previous episode, a lot of people (including some nerd who writes for this site) spent time railing against the nearly complete impossibility of something like that ever occurring. Homeland could have proffered some ridiculous means of travel that would have allowed Nazir to come to the Beltway, but instead they just had various incredulous reactions of various high-ranking government officials that served as proxies for everyone on the internet. It was the best possible way to handle a plot point that seems absurd on its very face. If you have everyone on the show discussing its absurdity, it somehow makes it more credible. Confused? Me too.

While Nazir’s odyssey to America dominated much of the episode, Estes double-secret plot to ice Brody as soon as his mission is complete really hammers home the point that there is no escape for Brody. Barring something more absurd than the most wanted terrorist in the world easily traveling into the United States, Nicholas Brody will not survive the season. What’s more interesting is what the move says about David Estes. Sure, he’s interested in keeping his job, but going to the extreme of putting out a hit on Brody (through the continually surprising Quinn) is a pretty nefarious move for a person whose judgment should never be called into question.

Through that scene and many others, Homeland reminds us that nobody wins the War on Terror. You just have to be the one left standing. Though the terrorist cell has taken a dramatic hit, Abu Nazir still stands. With only three episodes remaining, it’s hard not to wonder who won’t be.