In case you are one of those people who doesn’t like television and prefers to read books: “Homeland” is an American psychological thriller/drama series on Showtime. The show stars DiCaprio’s Juliet aka Claire Danes and British ginger Damian Lewis who i remember most fondly from the war themed miniseries “Band of Brothers”. The show starts with Lewis’ character Nicholas Brody being freed after 8 years as a POW, and his return home. Danes’ Carrie Mathison is a bipolar CIA offer who suspects that Brody was turned while prisoner in Iraq. This is the premise, however…oh so many twists and turns follow.
Season 1 played out like a game of chess where every episode was like a new move that revealed something about the player’s strategy and brought us closer to a win or a loss. No matter how unstable Carrie is she has a way with people and strong instincts and that makes you feel for her struggle to make everyone see the truth even when they refuse to see what is in front of them. At the same time, Brody is not the quintessential bad guy, you know he is a terrorist but he is also a conflicted human being, a father, a wounded warrior who has realigned the scale of right and wrong for himself. Brody’s wife, family and friends are demanding him to be back to his old self, it doesn’t play out like in old movies where one struggles, the family leaves everything to help them get better no matter how long it takes and a happy ending ensues. No, Nicolas’ wife Jessica wants to get laid, his kids are now annoying teenagers and he is pulled into a world of politics that he despises but at the same time he just can’t seem to believe he is out of Iraq. Carrie’s mentor is the superbly talented Mandy Patinkin who was on two other favorite shows of mine, “Criminal Minds” and “Chicago Hope”. Patinkin (and his beard..not a gay thing, i mean his facial hair) play Saul Berenson, a no non sense father figure with a troubled private life who offers some balance to Carrie’s crazy.
What captivated me most was the great writing and acting in this show. It feels so new and unique that it doesn’t need to rely on stereotypes like for example “24” did, it manages to effortlessly be clever and keep me wanting to find out the truth without force-feeding me a conclusion. However, i thought the season 1 finale was a major let down. While the majority of the season left me guessing and wanting more i felt like the ending gave me a whiny Carrie who had lost so much of what made her my flawed heroine. They watered down the amazingness and instead gave me soap opera. I know this is not a popular opinion but after watching it i was thinking “oh great, now she is officially mad, no idea how they will get away from that and don’t really care either”. However, then season 2 came along.
OMG season 2 is soooo good. People claim i don’t show much emotion but take it from me as a television lover and FTV graduate- that is television at its finest, just some well crafted storytelling! The show recovered from the whole Carrie needs electroshock therapy as quickly as Carrie recovered from having had electroshock therapy. “Homeland” took on a different nature in the sense that not much was needed to be revealed anymore, the chess game was over. Instead we got tug of war. Some of the best scenes from the whole season had Carrie and Brody sitting behind a desk talking to each other but every look said more than a thousand words. Definitely Emmy and Golden Globe worthy (again). Funfact, since Claire Danes is pregnant in real life i believe a lot of the great close up shots are thanks to the director trying to hide her belly. Great choice either way. Saul Berenson’s role was dialed down and instead we got Peter Quinn, an analyst/hired killer who is almost as cleverly written to be subtly terrifying as Sylar was in the early episodes of “Heroes”. The only negative i can think of was the really unnecessary storyline involving Brody’s daughter killing some woman. The young actress had good chemistry with Lewis but on her own she came of as simply moody and annoying.
Don’t you just hate when you follow a show for a whole season and then the series’ finale blows, yet they still expect you to wait for half a year and care about the characters again?The finale of season 2 of “Homeland” aired this week and… just kidding, the finale was great. This show seems to be getting better and better. Can’t wait to see what they will do with season 3!