The Homeland Premiere Makes Me Ask ‘Did You Actually Just Say That?’

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Fresh from winning big at the Emmys last weekend, Homeland returned last night for its second season on Showtime.  I have to admit, I was curious to see how the writers and showrunners would handle the sophomore season after one of the best premiere seasons in television history.  Especially after season one ended with CIA agent and heroine/anti-heroine Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes)  undergoing electric shock treatments while her career and reputation were shattered and disgraced.

Last night's season premiere did not leave me disappointed.  Those 50 minutes did a great job of catching us up without getting choppy, and the preview of the next 11 episodes didn't cast a single doubt that the the entire second season will be just as gripping as the first.

What's with the Newsies notepad?
I'm sure everyone who watched last night's premiere has differing opinions on which scene really stood out from the rest, because with a show like this every moment is crucial.  Watching Brody (Damian Lewis) write out the names of each of the targets found in David Estes' safe-locked file seemed a little odd to me.  Either the writers were slightly lazy and couldn't think of other ways to build suspense and draw out time. Or perhaps they purposely chose to have Brody do this because he was, in fact, locked away for nearly a decade and it might not dawn on him that taking a snaphsot with an iPhone would be a hell of a lot faster than jotting down classified information in a notepad that should only be used by 1920's reporters who shout “Extra! Extra!”  Then again, I'm just a working-class copywriter from Pittsburgh, so what do I know?

Oh noes! The Quaker School is mad!
For me, the most emotional and significant part of the episode was when Brody's wife, Jessica, confronted their daughter Dana about shouting out that her dad was a Muslim in front of all of her douchey Quaker school peers and uptight teachers. [By the way, can someone please explain to me what the fuck a Quaker school is? I'm not WASPy/rich/nerdy enough to understand.]

This confrontation prompted Brody to blurt out the truth: Dana said her dad is a Muslim because, well, he's a Muslim.  Props to Morena Baccarin for nailing the pearl-clutching, scorned-politician's-wife look of horror.  Jessica couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that her U.S. Marine/POW husband had chosen to seek solace in a new religion, particularly the same religion of the people who captured and tortured him.  Fair enough, but something tells me Jessica is more concerned about how this will look if it ever gets out–her position in her newfound political social circle would undoubtedly be compromised.

In shock and completely outraged, Jessica runs to the garage where Brody admitted he prays and practices.  She turns the whole place upside-down, looking for anything that resembles the religion that she doesn't understand or care for.  She finds Brody's Quran, the book that Muslims believe to be the word of God.  She slams the book to the ground, horrifying her husband who sputters out “It's not supposed to touch the ground,” further angering his wife.

“Did you actually just say that?” 
Morena Baccarin did a fantastic job showing Jessica's anger, disbelief, confusion and feeling of betrayal.  He not only lied about a major part of his life by keeping it from her, but he had ultimately let his daughter in on this part of his life.  As a potential candidate for the vice presidency, Brody knows he has to either part with this way of life permanently, or at the very least keep it under wraps.

Something tells me that even though the episode ended with him wrapping up the now-tainted Quran and burying it almost lovingly in the backyard with his daughter's help.  he won't be able to part ways with the religion and way of life that provided him the only peace and human contact he experienced during his captivity.  I'm sure he'll find a way to keep it a secret, because that's what Homeland does best.

And that's just one of the many reasons why we watch.


(Photo: WENN)