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Cult Recap

'Homeland': 'Grace' episode 2 TV review - Did you watch?

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Season 1, episode 2 | Aired Monday, Feb 27 2012 at 21:00 GMT on Channel 4

"It's happening... he's out there playing the hero." Whatever you think of the first two instalments of Channel 4's US import Homeland, you've got to give the show credit for one thing - they don't half know how to do a cliffhanger ending.

The final scenes as Sgt Nicholas Brody flipped between flashbacks to his years of torture and him praying to Allah in his garage were head-spinningly good TV. Last week's episode left us on a similar note, believing that Brody had been turned and was not the great American hero that the public believe him to be.

Homeland S01E02 still

© Channel 4



But as with everything in Homeland, it's not quite that black and white. Despite the flashbacks and the evidence of him being a traitor, this isn't a simple story of a bad guy on the run from the CIA.

Whether it's senior US army leaders attempting to cash in on the Brody family's financial plight or the ongoing tension between him and his best buddy Mike (the chap bonking his wife while he was being tortured in Afghanistan), there are plenty of reasons to sympathise with Damian Lewis's character.

If Brody has been turned, who is really to blame? His bitter rant about being "left to rot" and his anger at becoming "a poster boy for some bulls**t war" is about as far away as you can get from a tubthumping celebration of American imperialism.

Brody's behaviour and unravelling is mirrored by Mathison, whose dedication to connecting al-Qaeda's Abu Nazir and Brody has reached ugly levels of fanaticism.

Homeland S01E02 still

© Channel 4



Brody is punching nosey journos, grabbing his wife's arm and screaming in the night from nightmares about his time in Afghanistan, and he's flipping in his mind between the real and fake events of his capture and the death of his marine partner.

Meanwhile, Mathison is begging her sister for psychotic drugs, living off gone-off yoghurt and coming up with jazz-inspired theories about finger-tapping codes that currently have no foundations. So who's the crazy one?

Mathison's biggest concern at the moment should be the safety of her informant Lynne Reed. Despite being told by Estes that there is no way the CIA can offer her security, Mathison is determined to use Lynne's tip-off about Abu Nazir to get closer to the man.

We don't want to be doom-mongers, but Mathison's vows to Lynne that she won't end up in any danger looks like a foolish promise to make. Lynne looks like the sort of person who can handle herself and we'll certainly miss her no-nonsense take on screening potential bits-on-the-side for Prince Farid Bin Abbud ("Do you enjoy anal sex?" and "you need to wax that" were not lines we ever expected to hear in Homeland). However, we'd be surprised if she's still around to offer lady gardening advice come midway through the season.

Homeland S01E02 still

© Channel 4



Some of the real question marks after episode two are not just around Mathison and Brody. Mandy Patinkin is playing a doozie as CIA mentor and beard-stroker Saul. He's managed to land Mathison four weeks of legal investigation into the life of Brody thanks to some shady talks with a judge that he has some leverage and history with. But we're currently in the dark as to what secrets Saul is holding close to his chest. Quite what he sees and what inspires his faith in the pill-popping Mathison isn't clear either.

It may feel like we're piling unanswered questions on to unanswered questions, but when you actually watch Homeland it doesn't ever feel sprawled or confusing. No scene is wasted and no line is uttered without cause or purpose.

When Brody spoke with his son Chris after his offspring witnessed him punching a man in the throat in his back garden, it could have been a scene tossed aside to fill in five minutes before the latest wild-eyed Mathison antics. But the marine's one-on-one with his son was so much more than that, encapsulating everything that is so delicate and dark about this show.

Were his words to Chris a warning of what's to come and the terrible things that he may see his dad do or were they the glimmers of hope and light, keeping Brody grounded and holding him back from turning on his country? No doubt we'll find out by the end of the season.

Homeland continues on Sunday nights on Channel 4.

What did you think of episode two of Homeland? What secrets did you spot and who is telling the truth? Share your thoughts, theories and conspiracies below

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