I liked the first season of Homeland. It was a tense thriller with a strong (meaning well-defined) female character at its center starring one of my favorite actresses – what’s not to like? It definitely had moments of surprise, but for the most part, the plot seemed to sort of chug along to inevitable conclusions – No one believed Carrie about hero Brody’s involvement with a terrorist, Brody does not go through with the bombing of the Vice President et al, Brody still looks like a hero and Carrie gets locked away in the loony bin. These endings felt set up from the beginning. But all of that left me wondering where the show was going to go during its second season. I find that character based shows can often go on indefinitely because you can always put your character in new situations to react to. But Homeland, while it has great characters, wasn’t really a character based story in its first season. It was the story of a C.I.A. Agent trying to take down a spy and capture a terrorist. From the outside, it appeared to be plot driven – but don’t tell the Homeland writers that.
Last night, Homeland basically blew up its main plot! After finally being proven right about Brody’s nefarious intentions, Carrie and Saul set up a new surveillance (welcome back Virgil & Max!) to see if they could ferret out his handler and build a case against Nazir. However, after “bumping into” Brody and then having one drink with him, Carrie brazenly called him out as being a spy and took him into custody. WHAT!?!? I don’t think I was ever necessarily bored with Homeland, but I certainly had become complacent to its awesomeness and the end of last night’s episode ripped me right out of my comfort zone. Homeland just threw the rule book out of the window. It proved that taking risks and subverting an audiences expectations just draws them in even more. I cannot wait to see how the writers get themselves out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into. For the first time in a long time, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what’s going to happen next.
P.S. What’s going on with Brody’s daughter Dana and the Vice President’s son, Finn? I mean, I know what’s going on – they’re being totally adorable and teenagery and awesome – but in the grand scheme of things, how will it fit in? One of my absolute favorite relationships on this show is the one between Brody and Dana. They have a great connection and a great honesty between them that is really refreshing. But she trusts her dad a little too much and is bound for some great big hurt and that makes me really sad. It also makes me think that her relationship with Finn is more than just a cute aside. Am I being too conspiracy theorist?