Showtime’s hit CIA drama returns for a second season. After season one’s explosive (okay, bad choice of words) finale, Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) finds himself on the path to being nominated as vice-president of the United States. Which is great news for Brody and no one else because Brody’s a terrorist trying to kill the man he’d be serving under as vice-president. On the other hand, season 2 sees Carrie (Claire Danes) recovering after her psychological breakdown. She’s brought back into the CIA temporarily to make contact with a former asset who will only talk to her, and ends up staying on after Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is able to find Brody’s confession tape.
This is what I really like about season 2 of Homeland – it doesn’t stretch things out for too long. In season 1, it felt like the writers had enough story to fill about 6 episodes, and then were forced to expand to 13. I didn’t see a lot of the twists coming in season 1, but that didn’t make them interesting to me. Hinting that Brody’s a terrorist, then convincing us he’s not, then revealing that yes he is in fact one is really boring to me, and the great thing about Season 2 is that all of those cards are on the table. There are still secrets, but the characters have finally reached a point of understanding with the audience that should have been established much sooner.
The twists keep coming in season 2, but unlike the first season, the twists are fresh and interesting. Brody’s survival instincts as well as his connection to Carrie keep him constantly on a moral fence. Newcomer Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) isn’t all that he seems. Even Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) has something to hide this time around.
It took me a while to get through season 2 because I had heard rumors when it aired that there was some big “jump the shark” moment this season where everything went off the rails, and I guess lost some of its audience. Honestly, I don’t know what all this refers to because I had no major problems with how the season unfolded. It’s nicely paced, keeps you guessing, pushes the characters forward in interesting ways, and is at its core a solid season of television.
I haven’t received a screener copy of this yet, so I can’t comment on any special features that might appear on the release. Also, I can’t suggest buying the Blu-ray over the standard DVD because Homeland tends to be a pretty darkly lit and generally ugly show. It plays to their themes well, but it’s not imperative to watch it in HD. Available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17.