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"Homeland" — "Two Hats": Great Expectations

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | November 26, 2012 | Comments ()


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The best thrillers rely on unpredictability and intrigue to take us down twisted paths; complicated relationships and unknown intentions keep the audience on its toes trying to work out what will happen next. "Two Hats" is one of "Homeland's" best episodes, dropping us right into the middle of the CIA confusion and speculation--we share in their disorientation. Instead of the straight story about what happened to Brody after he was spirited away to meet with Abu Nazir, only bits and pieces are revealed, and we're left as unsure as Estes and company as to what the truth really is. Brody omits that he prayed with Nazir, what else is he hiding? After he's assured by Carrie his family has been moved to safety, Brody shares Nazir's plan of attack against a group of soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. But is that the real plan? Is it the whole plan? Did Nazir give Brody correct information, or is he just being tested or set up?

We'll just skim over the business with Mike moving the family, grumpy Dana and cheery, naive Chris who's thrilled to find there are televisions in every room of the safe house. Jessica uses the opportunity to get laid, and who can really blame her? Brody is clearly gone from the marriage, and Mike is a hot, willing and much less complicated replacement.

And if sorting out the truth between Brody's lies and omissions isn't intrigue enough, Virgil and Max finally pay a visit to Quinn's booby-trapped apartment, where the agent lives like he's ready to run, and keeps a sniper rifle cleaning kit. The oddities cause Saul just enough suspicion to head out on a little side-reconnaissance mission, and we're again left wondering who is on which side. Saul puts on an unconvincing IRS agent act, and doesn't find out much about who Quinn really is, but when Quinn is alerted (by the *supposed* estranged mother of his child, who asks Quinn if she "did good") that someone is asking about him, the more-than analyst has a secret bus meeting with an operative Saul recognizes as Dar Adul (F. Murray Abraham). While it's a relief to find out Quinn is still with the good guys, it's also disconcerting to find that Estes is keeping Saul in the dark--even though we don't mind when Saul does the same to Estes. But the shocker of the episode comes, as it often does, right at hour's end. Acting on Brody's information, Carrie, Virgil and Max follow Roya to a restaurant, where she ostensibly meets her camera crew for breakfast. Outside, a group of Nazir cohorts pull up alongside the news crew van (in the easily recognizable black SUV of evil intentions) and start switching out camera batteries for what are presumed to be bombs (in full view of anyone and everyone). Since they're being so obvious, the CIA team swoops in and nabs the bad guys; the SUV purportedly holding Abu Nazir is stopped from escaping and Carrie runs over to identify him--but of course it's not him. In the final moments, we become privy to that second hat Estes told Saul Quinn was wearing...and no, it wasn't his job to sneak out and kill Abu Nazir. It was Quinn's job, just like the rest of them, to kill terrorists. Quinn was sent out to kill Nicholas Brody.

Brilliant.

Notes: Is Estes keeping secrets from Saul because of Saul's relationship with Carrie, or simply because he knows Saul's conscience? Beyond taking out Brody and Nazir, is there a bigger mission at play?

Just need to throw out a big cheer for F. Murray Abraham. I cannot wait to see him interacting with Mandy Patinkin.

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Cindy Davis still harbors mad Abraham/Salieri love.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • lowercase_ryan

    Really good episode. My personal highlight was Mike calling Dana out and telling her to get her mopey shit together. I ugly laughed.

  • Blake

    Outside, a group of Nazir cohorts pull up alongside the news crew van (in the easily recognizable black SUV of evil intentions) and start switching out camera batteries for what are presumed to be bombs (in full view of anyone and everyone).

    I have to say this is where the episode lost me. Why swoop in and take down the bad guys when they are switching the batteries? I thought they were going to follow the plan through?

    I will give Estes credit for his willingness to kill Brody (by Quinn no less, who's cover as an "analyst" I never bought), but in the limo on the way to the event? Is he (Brody) just going to disappear or is Estes some how going to explain it away ? There are far better ways to deal with the situation (Nazir / Brody) which could hide it neatly away and save his career.

    Side Note: Why would they even think Nazir would be driving the SUV?

    Side Note 2: Nazir has proven to be a horrible asset manager, first using Brody to steal info and then having him pick up the tailor. Now he's lost Brody (maybe), 4 terrorists and Roya. (Unless this was all part of his plan and the attack will happen later. I don't think giving up the attack is Nazir's way of testing Brody, but rather a way of covering his (Brodys) loyalty and his part in a future attack).

    Thanks for the recap (as always) Cindy!

  • lowercase_ryan

    Totally agree that it was moronic to think Nazir would be anywhere near that SUV.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I think they swooped in when they were switching the batteries because prior to that they had no idea when anything incriminating was going to happen. For all they knew the bomb could have already been in place at the ceremony. So they waited until they saw the bomb and Nadir associates and went in.

    Also, the production costs of that ceremony would have blown the budget.

  • Buck Forty

    Yes, I didn't understand why they would swoop in once the batteries were swapped. It's blown Brody's cover, surely? It'll be yuks ahoy next week if it turns out the we're just swapping flat batteries for charged ones.
    Shooting Brody in the back of the limo wouldn't be an issue - its a black op so they'd just say he was assassinated somewhere else by a swarthy middle eastern type...

  • Blake

    One other comment. I just started reading Gideon War which Homeland is based on, has anyone else read it?

  • No, but I'd love to know if it's good.

  • prairiegirl

    Great episode - my favorite so far this season. Very well-done recap, as always! I need to rewatch it as tending to a sick three year old split my attentions this morning.

    I definitely don't trust Brody. He was FULLY playing Carrie in the interrogation room and she seemed wise to it, even if her heart wanted to believe what he was saying. I hope they sustain the momentum they've built so far.

    I, too, am excited to see Patinkin and Abraham go head to head. Have
    they ever appeared together on screen before? I can't think of anything but that doesn't mean anything. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to pull out Amadeus for another viewing and now my desire is further confirmed.

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