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Homeland: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2012)
Carrie Mathison, a brilliant but volatile CIA agent, suspects that a rescued U.S. POW may not be what he seems. Is Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody a war hero...or an Al Qaeda sleeper agent plotting a spectacular terrorist attack on U.S. soil? Following her instincts, Mathison will risk everything to uncover the truth - her reputation, her career and even her sanity. Packed with multiple layers and hidden clues, Season One offers something new every time you see it...watch carefully.
For more about Homeland: The Complete Second Season and the Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 17, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Jackson Pace, Morgan Saylor
Directors: Michael Cuesta, Lesli Linka Glatter, Clark Johnson (I), Guy Ferland, Daniel Attias, Jeffrey Nachmanoff
» See full cast & crew
Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 17, 2013
Note: If you haven't watched the first season of Homeland yet, you probably don't want to read this review, as it discusses several major plot points in that season, including at least one major spoiler, and how they ripple into the current season.
There was an old Clairol hair coloring ad campaign that made the phrase "Does she or doesn't she?" instantly recognizable. Fans of Showtime's Homeland might be forgiven if they slightly tweaked that tagline, asking "Is he or isn't he?" as the series played out its first season in a tantalizing tease surrounding long lost (and presumed dead) POW Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis), who is found after close to a decade, and who is ostensibly rematriculated into a picture perfect American life. Of course as anyone might be able to guess, the picture is in fact far from perfect, and FBI Agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) thinks she knows why: Brody has been "turned" by his Al Qaeda captors and is in fact now a kind of Fifth Columnist, or post-modern Manchurian Candidate. But Homeland played its first season cards very close to its vest, not giving up solid answers about Brody's true motivations easily, and further muddying the waters by revealing that Carrie herself suffers from mental issues, something that may be clouding her judgment. The first season of Homeland gave us a rather artful, and ultimately incredibly tense, cat and mouse game between Carrie and Brody, as they became romantically involved while also warily circling each other in an ever increasing arc of paranoia and duplicity. When the actual truth was revealed well into the season, it was further colored by some typically smart irony, something this series tends to exploit with fair regularity. Carrie had spent most of the season unsuccessfully trying to convince everyone who would listen that Brody was a terrorist, ultimately only seemingly proving that she was bat guano crazy. When we finally realize that Brody is in fact an Al Qaeda operative, the knowledge comes too late to help Carrie, who has checked herself into a mental hospital to have her memory erased with electroconvulsive shock therapy.
The second season begins with both Carrie and Brody being pressured in unexpected ways, finding themselves seemingly unable to fight some inexorable forces of fate. Carrie seems to be mentally balanced, even on the chipper side, living with her father and sister and tending to her late mother's garden. That illusion comes to a crashing halt when an operative she used to mentor turns up on Saul's (Mandy Patinkin) watch, saying she has valuable information but that she won't talk to anyone but Carrie. That sets Carrie off on a mad scramble to Beirut for 72 hours, in a rather unlikely but nonetheless exciting sequence that sees her regaining some of her mojo as an agent who has to think (and run) on her feet.
Brody, meanwhile, is now a member of Congress and has been short listed to be the Vice Presidential candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections, where current Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan), who got Brody his Congressional seat, now thinks Brody would be the perfect running mate. Brody is still receiving instructions from his Al Qaeda handlers, including Washington reporter Roya Hammid (Zuleikha Robinson), a woman whose family has long ties with Brody's terrorist mentor, Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). Brody has already been tested rather dramatically, as fans of the first season will well remember, but Nazir has more plans for his plant, and despite what appear to be Brody's pangs of conscience, he repeatedly gives in, especially when he's reminded of his ties to Nazir and especially Nazir's late son.
Homeland continues to be an incredibly exciting and well written series, one which builds to its various boiling points rather slowly but surely. There are some aspects to this second season which tend to strain credulity. It goes without saying that the whole gambit of getting Carrie out of the CIA is a temporary artifice and, while dramatically effective, seems overly calculated and even trite. What really tends to chafe—if only slightly—in this second season is the frankly incredible plot developments surrounding Brody, machinations which assume that a potential Vice Presidential candidate wouldn't have been more thoroughly vetted or, at the very least, been put under more authoritative surveillance (Brody's late night assignations with contacts and in fact with Carrie herself are numerous).
The performances continue to be uniformly excellent here. Danes doesn't quite have the eye popping "looney tunes" moments here that she did in the first season, but she manages to convey Carrie's sense of desperation and often roiling emotional substratum with incredible authenticity. Lewis' Brody is increasingly tamped down as this season progresses, something that's kind of at odds with his vulnerability vis a vis Carrie. The supporting cast is fantastic all around here, with Mandy Patinkin especially moving as Saul in the season finale, which has a rather shocking event that ironically binds Saul to Brody's once secret recitation of prayers in his suburban garage. Morgan Saylor is another standout this season as Brody's petulant daugher Dana, who has discovered at least some of her father's secrets and is attempting to wend her way through both her family's dysfunction as well as a new school environment.
I have to be honest and state openly that I have a couple of fears as Homeland moves into its third season. One of the neat twists of the first two seasons is that the premiere year ended with the viewers convinced that, yes, Brody's a terrorist, while the second season ends with a somewhat more ambivalent conclusion. But now we have a situation where Brody's been identified as a terrorist, putting him on the lam while Carrie, now devoted to proving his innocence, is left behind to clean up the mess. The series has at least the danger of tipping into soap operatic territory. The good news here is that Homeland has managed to continually surprise and even confound expectations so far in its first two seasons. Hopefully the third year will continue that tradition.
Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Homeland is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. As my colleague Casey Broadwater discussed in his Homeland: The Complete First Season Blu-ray review, this series is digitally shot in native HD and boasts an extremely strong presentation. I in fact may be marginally more impressed with Homeland's overall look, and thus my video score is a bit higher than the first season review. Colors are very accurate looking and while some sequences have been moderately color graded, overall this series offers a very natural looking palette that pops very well throughout this season. There's some excellent use of locations in this season, including everything from bustling Israeli urban environments to some sylvan climes outside of Washington, and they all look great, without any stability issues to report. As Casey noted in his first season review, some of the darker scenes have very minor crush, but this seems to be an intentional approach on the part of the creative staff, an appropriate visual metaphor for never really being able to see the whole picture.
Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Homeland's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix gets a definite workout in at least a couple of big set pieces in this season, and during those it really springs to vivid life with abundant surround activity and some great LFE. But this is often a very quiet, dialogue driven series, and one that in fact tends to deal in hushed whispers and intense private conversations, something that this track also supports very well. Even some of these quieter sequences boast some great immersion, including the cabin scenes where Carrie and Brody have their trysts in the latter part of the season. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is extremely wide.
Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Homeland continued to deliver visceral, thought provoking entertainment in its second season, but it also had a few admittedly minor stumbles. This season, much like the first, keeps the viewer guessing what will happen next, and few will probably predict the denouement that makes the final episode such an emotionally wrenching experience. We live in dangerous times, and we frequently wonder whom to trust. Homeland plays brilliantly on those fears, but it may have produced a few fears of its own in some audience members. Is this series going to become a soap opera? The third season will tell the tale. In the meantime, this great looking and sounding Blu-ray set comes Highly recommended.
Homeland: Other Seasons
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Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Homeland Season Two - September 18, 2013
Blu-ray.com and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are offering two members a chance to win a copy of Homeland: The Complete Second Season. This series follows the twisting stories of a long missing American POW who may be an Al- Qaeda operative, and ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: September 10-17 - September 8, 2013
For the week of September 10th, Warner and Paramount Entertainment are releasing the long-awaited Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray. Other titles include Paramount's Star Trek Into Darkness, the second season of Showtime's Homeland, the catalog ...
• Homeland: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray - June 25, 2013
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will bring to Blu-ray Homeland: The Complete Second Season. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United States on September 10th.
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