Homeland: a visual maze

So the second season of Homeland is well and truly in full swing on Channel 4 and it’s shaping up to be as tense and exciting as the first. On Sunday, the third episode aired and it was full of edge-of-the-seat moments that would make even the most avid of TV fans writhe in the unpredictability of it all. It is primarily about an American soldier, who was a prisoner of war for eight years, return to America and the doubts that the C.I.A have with regards to whether he has ‘been turned’.

At the end of the first season, we saw Sgt. Brody (Damian Lewis) foil his own terrorist attack on the Vice President and C.I.A agent Carrie (Claire Danes) undergo serious therapy for bipolar disorder. It was only in the final seconds that she realised her suspicions about Brody were right but by then it was too late. So now we’re facing the aftermath of a highly charged finale and the game of cat and mouse between the two main characters looks set to heat up once again.

Sadly, so far, the two actors have not had any shared screen time, which is a shame as, in the first series, their onscreen chemistry was fantastic, fuelled by a razor-sharp script. The brilliance of the show lies in its seeming simplicity. At first, we were only presented with one problem: is Brody a terrorist or not? Since then, there have been so many twists and turns, it’s the television equivalent of a tricky maze (the opening credits feature both characters in front of a maze) and each episode challenges the audience’s perceptions and instincts. What you knew to be true, what you were shown to be the answer, is just as easily contradicted and other reasons are dangled in front of our eagerly anticipating eyes!

So now in season two, Brody is a potential Vice Presidential candidate, someone that is ever increasingly failing to cope with the pressure of being a ‘double agent’. Things seem slightly better for Carrie, she is facing the potential for readmission into the very company that spat her out.

This show very much captures the zeitgeist of the attitude to terrorism post-9/11 and is uncompromising in its presentation of each characters flaws and struggles. The episodes are brilliantly written and executed, but it’s always in the final minutes of each one that another vital piece of the plot is revealed and we’re allowed to proceed deeper into the maze. The cliffhangers at the end of each episode are unbearable but the very reason that you’ll want to keep coming back for more!

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