Thursday, 4 October 2012

Homeland series two starring Damian Lewis and Claire Danes PREVIEW

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes
Watching their backs – Brody and Carrie. Pic: Channel 4
Rating: ★★★★ 

Channel 4: Sundays, from 7 October, 9pm

Story: Having been kicked out of the CIA and undergone electro-convulsive therapy, Carrie is working as a teacher and on the road to recovery. However, events in Beirut mean her former boss, Estes, has to turn to her again for assistance. Meanwhile, Brody is approached by an ally of Abu Nazir…

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
Carrie's dangerous mission to Beirut
The first series of this thriller from Showtime in the US was such a hit, and also won a bundle of Emmys and a Gold Globe for best drama, that it was always going to be back for another series. And here it is, just a few short months after the first success.

The question is, does it have the puff to stay one pulsating step ahead of the audience again? On the basis of episode one, that looks like a yes.

Carrie's been humiliated and kicked out of the CIA
It is interesting to see how Carrie, Brody and the other characters have emerged from the explosive end of series one. Brody, the war hero Carrie suspected of having been turned into an Al-Qaeda terrorist during captivity, backed down from killing the vice president after a phone call from his daughter, Dana.

Now Carrie is in a frail but recovering state, having been humiliatingly kicked out of the CIA, and received shock therapy for her bipolar condition. She is being looked after by her sister and dad, and is working as an English teacher.

Estes
David Estes (David Harewood)
Will Brody be chosen for Presidential running mate?
Brody, meanwhile, is enjoying a stellar political rise as Vice President Bill Walden asks the Congressman if he would be interested as becoming his running mate when Walden goes for the presidency.

It's not long before Carrie and Brody are stretched in new and dangerous directions, however. A prime asset in Beirut, the wife of a Hezbollah commander, says she has info on a planned attack on the US – but she will only speak to Carrie.

World on edge – Israel bombs Iran
At the same time, the screws are being put on Brody by an ally of Abu Nazir – glamorous journalist Roya Hammad – who wants the Congressman to steal security information from Estes, Carrie's former boss and the CIA's counterterrorism boss.

Damian Lewis as Brody
At the seat of power – Brody
As usual, the writers are riffing on real world events to create an alarming backdrop to the story. So, Israel has bombed five Iranian nuclear facilities, killing anything up to 3000 people, and raising global tensions to boiling point. Revenge is in the air.

Claire Danes is terrific again
Homeland works so well because the writing team spend a lot of time breathing life into the principal characters. Carrie – another fine performance by Claire Danes – is brittle in her recovery from the last series' frantic mania and obsessive vigilance, wonderfully supported by her sister and father, and when called on by Estes, she is clearly in no state for the pressure of further field work.

Similarly, Brody's complex domestic life is convincingly done, with his being close to daughter Dana while a little distant from wife Jess. Here, she lets slip a secret about Brody that stuns her classmates but dismays and infuriates Jess. And once again, Brit Damian Lewis is at ease as a former US Marine turned Congressman.

The result is that when the heat is on, we're deeply invested in the fates of these people.

Homeland two gets off to a dramatic and intriguing start, and it looks like being another tense ride.

Cast: Claire Danes Carrie Mathison, Damian Lewis Nicholas Brody, Morena Baccarin Jessica Brody, David Harewood David Estes, Diego Klattenhoff Mike Faber, Jamey Sheridan William Walden, David Marciano Virgil, Navid Negahban Abu Nazir, Jackson Pace Chris Brody, Morgan Saylor Dana Brody, Mandy Patinkin Saul Berenson, Zuleikha Robinson Roya Hammad

Read on…
Channel 4
Showtime
Emmys