Homeland season 2 Blu-ray Review
Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen the first season, I wouldn’t read this review
After the brilliant first season of ‘Homeland’, the showrunners had a challenge entering into the second season of the hit Showtime series. The first season revealed that Brody (Damian Lewis) had strong ties to the terrorist Nazir and was, in fact, a terrorist himself. We also learned that Carrie (Claire Danes) was, in fact, crazy and she was subsequently kicked out of the CIA for her illness. Essentially, the second season started with two very different characters than the first season and the challenge was to add the same intensity and drama from the first season to the second season. Although still a great show, the drop off can’t be ignored.
The second season begins with Brody sitting comfortably in his Congressional seat and Carrie teaching English to immigrants while she recovers from her mental disorder. But Carrie is drawn back into the CIA when an asset refuses to talk to anyone but her. Around the same time, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) stumbles across a file containing Brody’s confessional video for the bombing he didn’t commit. Of course, the video proved that Brody is a terrorist and Carrie wasn’t wrong about her accusations. Once they talk things over with Estes (David Harewood), the decision is made to make Brody a double agent to try and get as much on Nazir as they can, with hopes of actually catching him.
One of the biggest things that worked with the first season was the slow reveal of the true character of Brody and Carrie. Without that, ‘Homeland’ tended to struggle, particularly when the show moved away from the potential terrorist plots and started to focus on their personal lives. Damian Lewis and Claire Danes don’t have much chemistry together, but even if they did, I had a hard time rooting for their characters to ever be together. Their “love” for each other always felt forced and the second season spent way too much time focused on it. The show also spent a lot of time on Brody’s family drama, which I also had a hard time getting into. In fact, the show really didn’t get going until the last few episodes, when the real threat of a terrorist attack first reared its head. At that point, the show reminded me of how great it can be and in essence, saved the second season.
Mandy Patinkin was criminally underused in the second season and that was highlighted when I realized I didn’t like any other character. Carrie’s obsession with Brody seems out of place for a CIA agent that’s supposed to be one of the best. Brody’s indifference to everything gets frustrating since he’s in a position where he has to pick a side and all of the supporting characters either mope around or serve as annoyances. Truth be told, I like Brody better as a bad guy, but the second season spent a lot of time making him out to be a victim. But Saul is a fascinating character and I would like to see him used more in future seasons.
I might be being a little hard on the second season of ‘Homeland’, but that’s only because the first season set the bar extremely hard. The unfortunate truth for the show is that there’s nothing more to reveal about Brody and Carrie, so it desperately needs some running drama to keep us interested. And that drama needs to center around a terrorist plot. Without it, the show feels more like a soap opera, which is probably not what they’re aiming for.
HOMELAND THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: ‘Homeland’ looks beautiful on Blu-ray, whether the show is in a dark room or outside, ‘Homeland’ always looks great.
Audio: The audio was also very well done.
Deleted Scenes (5:09): There are several scenes spread out over all three discs. Most of these are filler scenes and nothing that would make a difference to their respective episodes.
Returning to Homeland: Filming in Israel (7:51): The cast went to Israel to film the scenes that were set in Beirut. This featurette takes a look at some of the locations.
The Border: A Prologue to Season Three (1:41): This is a sneak peek to season three, mostly focused on Brody.
A Super 8 Film Diary by Damian Lewis (11:03): Damian Lewis narrates some of his home movies.
The Choice: The Making of a Season Finale (15:40): The season finale is the highlight of the season and this featurette looks at the episode and the choices that were made.