Homeland: Season 2, Episode 1 “The Smile” (B+)
Expectations for the second season of this newly minted Emmy winner for Best Drama Series are high, and this episode worked hard to deliver. Carrie’s trip to Lebanon is most jarring because of the tranquil nature of her new life, and her resistance to going was quite intense. Saul’s concern with her abilities was unfounded, as she followed up a nervous preparation for a cover with a daring getaway from a pursuer intent on arresting her. That smile on her face as she walked away after felling her assailant was telling, and it suggests that she’s excited to be back in the field, which is just going to make her want to stay involved. This imagined bombing of Iran by Israel is an extremely hot-button topic, and it’s being handled well on all fronts. The scenes involving Saul in Lebanon are genuinely thrilling, and everything back home with Brody is very intense as well. A vice presidential nomination isn’t entirely shocking, but to have Abu Nazir make contact at that point through Zuleikha Robinson’s reporter turns the tables considerably, making Brody into a clear asset, despite his assertions that he is not a terrorist. Morena Baccarin did a hell of a job in this episode freaking out at Brody after she learned of his Muslim identity, and he’s not going to have an easy time getting her to accept it. It’s nice to see Brody bonding with his daughter after she stuck up for him against her ignorant classmates, and maybe that will help him stay on the right side of things, for the moment, at least.