Entertainment Magazine

Review #3854: Homeland 2.9: “Two Hats”

Posted on the 29 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Alexander Cary
Directed by Dan Attias

The zeal by which Carrie wants to prevent “another 9/11″ permeates throughout a show like this. It colors her actions in a way that makes it seem like her mental state is contingent on stopping any attack that comes back onto American soil. So I would imagine that alarm bells went straight up after Brody returned from his “captivity” under Abu Nazir to tell her and the CIA about a possible attack on a large group of US military personnel. Saul and Estes have the benefit of sitting back behind the scenes to take a more objective view of this new piece of information.

Review #3854: Homeland 2.9: “Two Hats”

Their points are just as valid as Carrie’s: This could be a trap, and that they should consider the remote possibility that Brody is playing them. He is, after all, a master liar and that he’s been conditioned by Abu Nazir for a longer period of time than the CIA has had with him. The paranoia is extensive here. The final scene was wrought with it, as what looked like camera batteries might actually be bombs intended for the military targets. Since Carrie is the de facto hero of the show (as is Saul), we’re inclined to go with her line of thinking. The attack is going to occur, and the bombing is the first stage of that. But questions still linger, and that’s what makes this show delicious, if sometimes maddening, to watch.

Of all the damaged characters on this show, it’s Dana that points out that everyone has gotten worse since Brody came home last season. Her parents are barely speaking to each other, Brody has been in a secret mission for the CIA where he is unwilling to divulge details about, and now, her family is whisked away to a CIA safe house because of a vague threat to their lives by Abu Nazir. It’s a wonder how all of these secrets have been sustainable for this long a period of time. All of these events could serve to fully isolate Brody, even as the majority of his actions save the country from being attacked again. He is unlikely to know about Mike and Jessica re-kindling their relationship for one night.

That might not even matter because Jessica rightfully doesn’t believe much of anything coming out of Brody’s mouth (even their phone conversation in this episode has a distance and detachment about it that ramps up the discomfort), and Brody seems to be getting closer to Carrie. If it ends up that Brody goes through with his betrayal of the CIA, the ultimate irony would be that Carrie, not Jessica, might save him from ruin. This is all hypothetical, of course, and the chief problem with this episode was that it hinted at the possibility of bigger things to come, only to pull back from triggering those events. There is ambiguity in a lot of what happens in this episode. The paranoid feeling comes from what the show is about at its core: how difficult it is to combat something as dangerous and unknown as terrorism.

No one trusts anyone else all too fully. Secrets come out about Quinn for the first time here. He has a kid by a Philadelphia police officer and lives in a sparse apartment that isn’t even decorated. There is heavy implication that Quinn might end up being a mole that has been helping Abu Nazir coordinate the attack on America. The show hasn’t telegraphed many of its twists in such an obvious manner before so I might not react too well to Quinn’s character throughout the season if that ends up being the case. It’s revealed that Quinn reports to a man named Dar Adal, a terrorist Saul has known about for years. This promises to complicate things in the future, especially if Adal is part of Abu Nazir’s larger infiltration network.

For now at least, the CIA has Roya Hammad in custody and might have prevented a major attack on American soil. Even that is fraught with danger, though, and technically, the CIA doesn’t have much to hold her on beyond the photographed meetings with the mercenary and Brody. Again, Brody will likely become more isolated with Hammad in custody. She cannot know that the information that the CIA used to take her down came from him. He’s burned and very much in danger if that occurs. There still remains the possibility that all of this is a long, complicated game orchestrated by Nazir.

Maybe I’m reading too much into one brief sequence where Brody prays with Nazir (that he conveniently leaves out of the debrief session with the CIA), but the attack hinges on Brody getting closer to the Vice President. He can’t do that if the CIA continues to disrupt any of the plans of the other Nazir operatives. This is mostly setup for the future so the unease I feel while watching this show will only increase until the season ends. The big question is how much damage will occur by then.

Score: 7/10

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