Review of Homeland ‘New Car Smell’

Homeland 4 300x225 Review of Homeland New Car Smell

(Channel 4)

SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 4, series 2 of ‘Homeland’

After last week’s episode which contained some action scenes that bordered on the ludicrous, it was reassuring that this weekend’s installment marked a return to realism.

With Estes being the only major player not to have seen Brody’s suicide tape/uniform dating video, his viewing of it is a logical starting point for the episode and instantly quashes any of the more outlandish conspiracy theories about how Brody might get off.

While Saul and Estes are constructing a plan to further ensnare him, things are not going exactly going well for Brody at home either. Not entirely surprisingly, given his behaviour in the last episode, only half of the ‘espresso and an apology’ peace offering to his wife is accepted and it’s the heavily caffeinated part. Although you do slightly wonder why he hasn’t at least shown her that the spare tyre is now on the car.

Once again it makes you wonder how he has stayed undercover for so long, Brody then shows off his fantastic ability to freak out about quite minor things. His panicked reaction to the revelation that his car smells of smoke would make you think the now ex-tailor from Gettysburg was the only person in the world who smoked.

However this week’s episode is mostly well done, with key parts of what made the first series a success making a welcome return. Back into the fold come series one’s lovable surveillance duo, Virgil and his brother who looks exactly like a nerdier version of Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends) as the trap is set around Brody.

Another of Homeland’s most watchable qualities is the way in which the interactions between the characters seem to be largely very realistic. Carrie’s first and subsequent meetings with the newly introduced cocky CIA analyst Peter Quinn largely consist of the two locked in competitive discussion. However when Carrie needs reassuring about something, he is hugely supportive, demonstrating that there is realistically more depth to his character than just being an abrasive upstart whose sole purpose is to wind up Carrie.

Brody’s meeting with Carrie outside the CIA headquarters is also very well done. The scene is almost torturous to watch but as excruciatingly awkward as you would imagine (if indeed you could imagine) a conversation being between ex-lovers, who between them either accused the other of being a fundamentalist terrorist or caused them to have electroshock brain therapy.

Dana’s slow burning romance with Finn Walden, the vice-president’s son, also gathered pace this week. Although things seem to be going so well between the two of them you get the sense that, in true Homeland style, disaster can’t be far away. Possibly being raised on a diet of ungodly Western television, presumably deplored by jihaddists all over the world, has made me cynical.

Perhaps the main shame this week is that it appears that after only one episode, the stealthy surveillance is already at an end. Carrie’s insistence on flagrantly disregarding direct orders strikes again, which does make you understand why it appears she has managed to annoy so many people over the years.

However more importantly, it leads to Brody being captured, with Carrie at her manic best – not to mention most bulgy-eyed – hissing “You’re a disgrace to your nation” as he is led away with a bag on his head. It is certainly a shock ending because I certainly thought Brody was going to manage to evade capture for a little bit longer. What happens to him now is difficult to imagine and once again leaves us waiting anxiously until next week to find out.

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  • Emily Thorne

    Thank you for the enjoyable review. Exactly how the cab driver and the car valet service man were being watched and then ended up on the suspicion board was rather amusing. Particularly as the cab-driver pointed out this very risk! A little sympathetico dig about how easy it can be to end up on a watch list when you have “dark skin” perhaps?..

    Why oh why they didn’t suspect the mysterious and glamorous Palestinian handler lady who seems free to wander at will all over the corridors of congress and even upstairs near private offices of Vice-Presidents as she did last week?

    i must admit i was thrown by the mention of Xander as being separate from the other look alike study buddy of Dana’s? i thought they were one and the same? Obviously the more evil seeming one is going to land Dana in trouble..from which dear Daddy Brody will have to rescue her i predict. Or:alternatively the V.P

    File under It writes itself:
    who of course knew that the phone-call Brody would make at the bar would be to Carrie? well i did. & also that she would defy orders and follow him up to his hotel room. Of course they still fancy each other..

    However: wtf? why did Carrie blow the whole shebang like that and escalate things to a point which resembled the end of a series which had just begun? Was Carrie right? that Brody had “made her”? it didn’t seem so in the room. However Brody is good at doing poker face. In fact all Brody does is poker face really. With the occasional squint, like the sun was in his eye.

    Homeland is so good at how it deliberately (for it’s teachable moments) gets us to like Brody whilst we remind ourselves he has cold bloodedly killed two people so far. Yet i don’t think he was going to harm Carrie. My feeling was he was going in for a pass!
    (Perhaps Carrie had a plan which didn’t include multitudinous balaclava’d men bursting in on them and they should have left her to it?)

    Still we must have faith in our soothsayer of kinds, Carrie, she has been right so far..
    Nb. Hip hip hooray that Stepford wife Jess has finally broken out of her catatonic cocoon! Did like the pairing of forever drunken Lauder with eponymous good guy Mike. Rather a lot of drinking going on from Brody for a good Muslim methinks..

  • Emily Thorne

    by the way:is it really likely that C.I.A. surveillance crew say”Roger that” to each other?!

  • Argovius

    Only when one of them is called Roger?

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