Five Questions For HOMELAND Season 2

     September 28, 2012


Those of you who just marathoned the first (and newly minted “Emmy award winning”) season of Showtime’s exceptional psychological thriller Homeland won’t need much of a refresher course since your mind is probably racing as fast as Carrie’s trying to connect the dots about who’s lying, who is working for the good guys versus the bad guys, who isn’t sure, and the biggest question of the season: does Morena Baccarin look better with chin-length hair or a pixie cut?  Still, maybe it would be helpful to organize our thoughts into a rainbow chart of time anyway.

Hit the jump for a few reminders of the biggest points from the end of last season, and a few questions that may get answered in season 2 (spoilers abound!).

damien-lewis-homeland-season-2Question 1: Is Brody Still A Terrorist?

Damian Lewis‘ Marine-turned-Al-Qaeda-Operative Nick Brody really spun us around in circles in the first season about his allegiances — had he been turned? Is he still loyal?  In the end, though torn, he was willing to pull the trigger (literally), which fizzled out and created a second option: “Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?” With Brody running for political office, he and top Al-Qaeda player Abu Nazir seem to agree that his being close to the likely soon-to-be President Walden will create far more opportunities for their revenge than a single act of suicide bombing.

Of course, Brody half lied about the vest — his adjustments to it may have allowed it to explode, but his daughter Dana’s pleading to him on the phone kept him from initiating the attack.  So “crazy” Carrie, once again, was right and probably saved the day: Brody’s relationship with Dana was such that she would be the only person able to talk him out of completing the act.  At least, in this way.  But what exactly are he and Nazir planning now?

homeland-claire-danes-imageQuestion 2: Will Carrie Remember About Issa?

The final harrowing scene of the first season showed Carrie undergoing electroshock therapy (i.e. Claire Danes showing us why she won that Emmy), which (she assures Saul) is no longer like a 1950s B-movie but a potentially helpful procedure.  Unfortunately, one of the side-effects is short-term memory loss, and while Carrie said that could be temporary, it seems unlikely that she would remember about the epiphany that came during her anesthesia fog: that Brody had called out Nazir’s son Issa’s name during a nightmare that Carrie witnessed, and now she can personally connect him with the boy whose death launched this revenge attack (even though she doesn’t know the deep personal connection Brody had with Issa).

One of the most complicated narrative threads in the series is the relationship between Carrie and Brody — despite her suspicions of him as a terrorist and her sworn duty to protect the country, she does truly seem to love him.  He obviously cares for her, too, but in a way that’s difficult to measure.  But Carrie is never willing to let her feelings for him cloud her judgement of his guilt, a frustrating side-point given her bipolar which allows people to dismiss her ideas.

homeland-morgan-saylorQuestion 3: What Does Dana Suspect?

Other than Carrie, Dana seems to have the most cause to suspect her father of strange things.  His (secret) conversion to Islam, erratic behavior, the mysterious package in the car, his vacant stares at Gettysburg, not to mention his evasion of her request to promise he was coming home, something she saw through immediately and begged him to swear by.  Unlike many TV series that portray teenagers as having the emotional and intellectual intelligence of people twice their age (maybe because they are often played by actors twice the age of the character), Homeland makes Dana feel like a real teenager, something that Morgan Saylor plays to perfection.

Dana is very smart, but she is only sixteen, has just gotten her father back in life (which thrills her given her nonexistent relationship with her mother) only to discover … what exactly?  That he’s a terrorist?  The idea is difficult for anyone to fathom, but Dana clearly knows something is up.  If and how she approaches her father with it though will surely be heart-wrenching to watch.

As for the rest of the family, Brody’s wife Jess ended the season without any suspicions about him, despite Carrie’s seemingly wild claims.  But promos for the upcoming season seem to show her gazing at him with mistrust.  Is it fueled by political suspicions or personal ones? (i.e. does she suspect Brody and Carrie could still be involved?)

homeland-mandy-patinkin-claire-danesQuestion 4:  What Future Role Will Carrie Have With the CIA?

It seemed pretty clear cut by the end of Season One that Carrie has no future in government intelligence, being struck down even by her mentor Saul about appealing her termination.  Obviously, this isn’t going to stop Carrie’s investigations one bit, and it will be interesting to see how much Saul shares with her or how much she schemes to uncover on her own (what good any of that might be — who will listen to her now?)  The CIA was a huge part of the first season, and Carrie going rogue would definitely take the show in a very different direction.  Leaving the bureaucratic shackles of the agency behind may be a good thing, but having to give up the depth and breadth of their resources will be difficult.

The second part of this question is of course how Carrie’s mental health will affect things for her.  Will the electroshock help stabilize her moods?  Will she have a doctor other than her sister now that her secret is out of the bag?  Will her mania illuminate her work or will the crippling depression suffocate her?  Carrie’s bipolar wasn’t really dealt with much until the last few episodes of the first season, but when it was it changed everything.  Where things go from here is anyone’s guess.

Question 5: Who Has Brody’s Taped Confessional?

One would suspect that the file Brody hid was picked up by a Nazir operative (the deceased-a-second-time Tom Walker?), but it seems easy to assume that regardless of who exactly picked it up, Nazir has control of it.  If Brody has changed his mind about exacting an attack or crosses Nazir in any way, would that be the leverage that Nazir would use over Brody?  Would Brody try to get it back?  The promo shows someone handing something that looks like the video chip to someone else, so we definitely haven’t seen the end of it.

Season 2 of Homeland premieres Sunday, September 30th at 10pm EST/PT on Showtime.