If you’ve been watching Showtime’s Homeland, (which is often cited as the president of the United State's favourite television program) and which just last week swept the Emmy Awards as this year's winner for Best Drama, Best Lead Actress (Claire Danes - Drama) and Best Lead Actor (Damian Lewis - Drama) there's a simple moment in the season 2 premiere of the uber-adrenalized drama which strikes a chord that seems entirely out of left field, yet fits the pieces that may yet come together as we set up season 2.
When we last saw Carrie Matheison (Danes) she had lost all credibility and had been fired from the CIA and was in the process of a desperate effort to regain her sense of sanity after having it undermined in a thorough and humiliating way-- as a result mostly, of Carrie's own recklessness. Her sense of failure was so consuming and complete that she willingly accepted the risk of short-term memory loss as part of her ECT (Electroconvulsive (Shock) Treatment).
Carrie must attempt to construct a new life that is separate from what she viewed as her raison d'être of old, so we find her in Season 2, present time, (about six months past her last-ditch attempt at screwing her head back on straight) using a very different skill set, living a life of domestic simplicity, and trudging off to work at a job that would have bored the old Carrie to tears. In the premiere, she’s calm and seemingly without the intensity that colored her judgment and ultimately destroyed her career and her sanity in Season 1.
It becomes apparent just how structured and planful her life has become when her dinner plans to make lasgana with the vegetables she'd picked that morning appear to be about to be changed at the last minute--and she reacts in a very non-Carrie-like way. It's almost as scary as watching her veer off the rails in season 1 because it seems like we've lost 'our' Carrie completely.
Despite having been repeatedly misunderstood or ignored and having suffered the indignity of being kicked out of the intelligence community--for all of that that nearly destroyed her, Carrie was also right that former POW Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Emmy Award winner Damian Lewis), is indeed not who or what he appears to be.
Meanwhile, the man she was so very sure of as not being who he presented himself to be and who in fact was a potent threat to National Security continues to present himself as he did-- as a former soldier, a true patriot, and a devoted family man.
Though his former function as a United States Marine was to protect his country with a willingness to sacrifice himself in the name of democracy and freedom, that mission is long since past him. During his captivity in Afghanistan his official mission was methodically aborted by Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), through torture and brainwashing, to be replaced with a fanaticism and desire to destroy the thing he once placed high above all others. He may look like Nick Brody, Marine hero, but that man 'died' as a prisoner of war, replaced as we meet him in Season 2 as a newly-elected congressman—and a potential vice-presidential candidate(!)
Life is moving very, very fast for Brody and just as Carrie's old life was disassembled, so too has Brody's and he is also showing ever-more cracks in his life's veneer.
The frantic pace of both Homeland’s narrative and Carrie’s high-risk profession continue undermine her fragile new sense of sanity, something that plays out within Brody too, as his double life—that of the American war hero and politician, is sharply juxtaposed against the ideology he is concealing as a secret Islamic jihadist and that carries the ever-present risk of exploding spectacularly, blowing everything he holds dear away, not unlike what happened to Carrie in Season 1. Season 2 has lept out of the starting gate with the story-lines unfolding at high velocity, amping up the tension of Homeland to an edge-of- your-seat, squirmy-yet-highly satisfying degree.
Homeland Episode 2.01:
"The Smile" Season 2, Episode 1 Episode Synopsis:
In the Season 2 premiere, Brody learns he is the political "future of the party," and receives a tantalizing offer from the vice president, while a recovering Carrie receives a disturbing request from a surprising source. In Beirut, Saul gets involved in some cloak-and-dagger doings. Original Air Date: Sep 30, 2012
Guest Cast: Zuleikha Robinson, Valerie Cruz, Timothee Chalamet, James Rebhorn: Frank Mathison, Amy Hargreaves: Maggie Mathison, Clara Khoury Hrach Titizian: Danny Galvez, Navid Negahban: Abu Nazir
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