Homeland is back after the quadruple Emmys triumph last Sunday. First season of the show earned Showtime's first best drama series Emmy ever. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis were recognized as best actress and actor for accomplishing their mission of portraying two extremely complex characters: CIA officer Carrie Mathison and Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, a former Iraq prisoner Mathison suspects for plotting against America. As for the show's writing trio, Gideon Raff, Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, it is thanks to them the viewers fell in love with the characters from the moment the pilot aired.
Remember the edge-sitting? You must have missed that really bad. The writers have now an even greater duty to keep the audience on the edge of their seats for yet another season.
Apparently, they already proved that in "The Smile." No doubt, season two is off to a superb start. Brody is a freshman Congressman and Carrie deals with the aftermath of being kicked out of the CIA and undergoing shock treatment.
Brody's wife Jessica is the vice-president's wife's new BFF and everything seems to work out well in their family apart from Dana's attitude. Brody even gets a visit from the VP himself and is suddenly considered for the vice-presidential ticket to run with the man he nearly killed: William Walden.
Settled for a peaceful life with her family, Carrie spends her time between tending her vegetable garden and teaching ESL. She's stable and, under her sister's care, she's recovering.
Meanwhile, Saul is in Beirut. And, suddenly, Saul needs Carrie's help. The wife of a Hezbollah commander may know something about an imminent attack on America and she would only speak with Carrie. Carrie accepts just because she trusts Saul. Otherwise, she would have no reason to face Estes, her former boss who kicked her out of the CIA and sent her to a mental hospital.
Just when everyone thought all is well in the Brodys house, Jessica has a revelation. She learns her husband is a Muslim. Dana blurted this out at her new school. Jessica confronts Brody and he admits it. She's hurt, outraged, silently wondering what else he's been hiding from her. She finds the Qur'an and throws it on the floor.
While Carrie is being trained in Cyprus for her Beirut cover, Brody gets the unexpected visit of Roya Hammad, a journalist and, he soon found out, a close friend of Abu Nazir. His poker face from season one, when he passed a polygraph test lying, just goes out the window.
Brody squirms in his seat when he hears Nazir's name and, most importantly, when he's told what his task is for the next day's meeting with Estes on US security: opening Estes' safe and copying targets information. This was certainly not part of the deal he had with Nazir. However, Brody does what he's asked to do while the same Roya pretends she wants to do a last minute interview with Estes, and ends up flirting with him as they set a dinner date. Of course, viewers had to hold their breath watching Brody being nearly caught with the safe door open and his notebook on the desk.
As Carrie lands in Beirut, she attempts to meet Saul but picks up a tail. Saul tells her to drop the phone and meet him at the safe house, but the adrenaline kicks in. She says she can get rid of the tail while she's being chased through a busy bazaar. Her CIA officer instincts work perfectly. She drags him near her, kicks him in the groin and, as she pretends he's her husband who needs help, she makes a smart getaway through the crowd with a victorious smile on her face, hence the episode title, "The Smile."
In the end, Brody buries his Qur'an, desecrated by Jessica. Dana shows up and helps him with her empty hands, understanding how meaningful this moment is for her father.
Homeland's next episode will see Carrie more involved into a high-level operation as Brody and Jessica's relationship is put through the test. Tune in Sunday at 10 pm, only on Showtime.