Homeland: Season 2, Episode 1

The Smile (30 Sep. 2012)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Thriller
8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 1,689 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 8 critic

An asset from Carrie's former life comes in from the cold. Freshman Congressman Nick Brody discovers that Abu Nazir may not be content with his nonviolent approach to affecting change in American foreign policy.

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Mike Faber (credit only)
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Virgil (credit only)
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Abu Nazir (credit only)
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Storyline

It's 2011; Israel bombs five sites in Iran, and the CIA hears rumors of a retaliatory attack within the U.S. When a Lebanese woman offers intelligence but will only speak with Carrie, Estes and Saul are forced to bring her in from the cold for a couple days. (She lives with her sister and father, and she teaches English to immigrants). Once in Beirut, with a Canadian cover, an initial meeting goes wrong. Meanwhile, Brody, now a member of Congress, receives an assignment from a messenger of Abu Nazir. Things have come to a head with Brody's wife, as well, when their daughter has a problem at her new upper-crust, private high school. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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30 September 2012 (USA)  »

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Dana is told that she needs to understand the "Quaker meeting" better. The Society of Friends is called "Quaker" colloquially; No Friend would ever refer formally to a meeting as a "Quaker" meeting. See more »

Quotes

Carrie Mathison: ...then I moved to Calgary.
Major Joy Mendez: So what's the hockey team?
Carrie Mathison: Uh, I don't follow hockey.
Major Joy Mendez: You're from Calgary you follow hockey. It's the Flames.
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Homeland Main Title
Written by Sean Callery
Performed by Sean Callery Feat. Chris Tedesco
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Homeland (Channel 4) - Review
8 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

World politics is these days mostly represented by a single flag: The Stars & Stripes. The Americans wave it proudly while the rest of the world soak it in petrol and set it on fire.

Last night's Homeland kicked off with that very image, as anti-American feeling ran high on the streets of the Middle East – immediately grounding the second series of this acclaimed blockbuster firmly in reality. There's been a noticeable dearth of good new drama on TV recently, so what a relief to see this series back on our screens.

Read daily TV reviews at mouthbox.co.uk

Homeland is the best drama on TV by a country mile. The characters are believable. The storyline is topical and relevant. The performances are outstanding, throughout the cast.

This series is good for many reasons, but mainly because it is scary. Homeland connects to us on a very deep level – using that part of our brain that fires up just before we go to sleep and keeps us awake through the night with dark fears and complex anxieties.

The recap of series one turns out to be almost as long as episode one of series two. When the backstory finally grinds to a halt we discover Carrie (Claire Danes) recovering from her bipolar meltdown by doing a little light gardening and cooking dinner for the family.

She also appears to be working as a supply teacher and is snowed under by a great big pile of extremely boring marking. When you've worked in the field for the CIA it's hard to immerse yourself in a task which mostly involves using a red Biro to draw circles around spelling mistakes.

Lucky for Carrie there's a girl in Beirut who has information about an imminent attack on America, and she refuses to give it to anyone but her. So it looks like the marking is going to have to wait.

Carrie pops a mouthful of anti-depressants, dyes her hair a fetching new shade, and takes on a brand new identity. Soon she is in Beirut, where men sit in parked cars looking through huge pairs of binoculars and no-one takes a blind bit of notice.

Carrie quickly returns to her favourite pastime – that of running around in crowded markets being pursued by beefy foreign agents. She has to do this, because, as every good promo director knows, it's those shots that make the best series trailers.

Brody (Damian Lewis) is now a congressman and his office is a busy place. In his first meeting of the day he is offered the job of vice president of the United States. In the second meeting he's asked to betray his country by passing on crucial security information. All of this before he's had his first cup of coffee.

Soon we find Brody rifling though a safe and copying top secret documents – not by photographing them, for some reason, but by very slowly and meticulously writing out what he sees in long hand in a little notebook.

I am puzzled by this. Surely even in the nineteen-sixties spies had cameras for copying documents? So why this weirdly retro step? Surely he could have done it way quicker with an iPad? Or have the White House got something against Apple? While all this is going on Brody's daughter (Morgan Saylor) is at the school debating society and accidentally blurts out that her congressman father is a practising Muslim. Strangely, no-one at the school seems particularly bothered about this revelation.

Even Brody himself tells his daughter not to worry about it. But the guano really hits the fan when Brody's wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) finds out. She dashes out into the garage, grabs a copy of the Qur'an, and throws it roughly onto the dusty floor. Careful Jess, Fatwas have been issued for less.

The paths of Carrie and Brody have yet to cross, and it will no doubt be that rekindling of fierce sexual chemistry which will take the tension and suspense to the next level during the coming weeks. I, for one, cannot wait.


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