Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Homeland' Review - 2.09 Two Hats

        On the newest episode of Showtime's Homeland, things for Brody are threatening to spiral out of control, forcing him to make a phone call he has been avoiding; Saul teams with Virgil and Max for an assignment; and Carrie preps for a pivotal meeting.

        This episode of Homeland was mostly a reaction, informative and piece moving hour. A lot of stuff did happen but nothing really goes out of the realm of brilliant plot twists that we have come to love throughout the second season so far. I mean Carrie almost came face to face with Abu Nazir and yet it felt like the show was more concerned with taking down this suspected attack than capturing that terrorist. There have been very few piece-moving episodes in this season and usually there is that one great redeeming scene in them. But this episode felt more like just pure set up for what's to come in the explosive final three episodes of the year.
        What made season one of Homeland so riveting was the fact that the audience never knew the full truth about Brody. He was always shrouded in secrecy and knew information that the audience hadn't received yet. After he came out as a terrorist, that intrigue edge left for a much more stunning character piece of story narrative. This episode felt like it wanted to recapture some of that previous suspense by not revealing what exactly happened to Brody during his 12 hours with Abu Nazir. Sure, flashes of that time were seen and his story was enough to get Carrie, Saul, Quinn and Estes to move but we haven't been given the full truth of that time yet. We do have the critical piece of information - that Carrie et all don't - that he did pray with Nazir. But what does that really mean in the larger scope of things? This episode wasn't focused on Brody so this narrative switch wasn't as effective but it has the potential to be great once more information is fleshed out.
        The plot thread of Peter Quinn not being who he says he is or can't be trusted was first touched on in his first episode but has largely been non-existant until now. The past few weeks we have been focused on him dealing with the aftermath of the attack in Gettysburg. Now, we return to the distrust angle as Saul, Virgil and Max investigate him. It seems that a much bigger plot is in the works than what is just going on with Abu Nazir. "Quinn," Estes and F. Murray Abraham's character (whose name I don't want to try to spell) have their own conspiracy now as well. Much like, many of the other plots operating on this series, as soon as the story is fleshed out more the more effective it will be in terms of the show's narrative and pace.
        Throughout these last few episodes, it has been made clear that the show is building to a big reveal/event. Up until this episode, it was all about Abu Nazir's terrorist plot to attack the country. But that issue was mostly addressed in this hour with most of his top officials in the United States being arrested. There has also been the tragic arc of the Brody character with him keep being pushed into the corner until his inevitable death. That was also in the works here with "Quinn" being tasked to use his Black Ops past to eliminate him after the operation is over. All of these plots have worked beautifully together before but in this hour they just didn't quite gel enough.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Is Roya the biggest plot device/useless character ever? Is Chris? With both this show and ABC's Scandal, is Quinn the go-to alias nowadays? Did Morena Baccarin hit the show's nudity quota this season with that one scene? Share your thoughts in the comments.