At the start of this weekâs episode, it looked like the worst fears of those expecting a quick reset were about to be met. Saul was detained and the card carrying the game changing recording taken from him. But clever old Homeland knew better; Saul had another card. The series knows what its cynical, media fatted audience expects and is happy to cuff you around the back of the head for patronising it.
Itâs a pity more hasnât been built on Saulâs discovery yet – it takes him the length of the episode to get back from Beirut. So far this series, weâve had plenty of action, but little actual movement in the main plot. Happily, the intrigue this week was pretty compelling.
Weâre beginning to see an interesting reversal in the showâs conceit. The intrigue now lies in how far Brody will go to protect his family from his misdeeds. That hope of absolution seems to have replaced the desire for revenge that motivated him in the first series. Itâs not Hitchcock – our heroâs guilty as sin – but Brody is a man on the run. In his murder of the tailor, we got a reminder that we still canât be certain of his depths.
Brody has been honed into a killing machine by both sides of this war – how is he meant to adjust to normality after that? Whether she realises it or not, thatâs what Jessicaâs speech was about. Cutting to Brody furiously hosing off the filth of his latest kill was not accidental. There are shades of the first Rambo movie; before the series went all jingoistic and it still had something intelligent to say about the nature of combat.
The expositionâs as blunt as ever (âMust I remind you that heâs the one man who knows the truth about you?â? No, but thanks for reminding /me/). Homelandâs been talked about as if itâs the next Wire or Mad Men, but the concern to keep grabbing the hand of casual viewers reminds you itâs more like the new 24 (the shows share some significant backstage crew). To do it down for that would be a terrible value judgement; itâs a tight, intelligent, character-led thriller. I canât wait to see where it leads us next.