And just like that, "Homeland" is another kind of show. One of the real shames of Season 2 is that the writers couldn’t start from the place of ignorance that propelled the tension of the show. The first season, at least the beginning of it, turned us all into conspiracy theorist. It dangled evidence and red herrings, and didn’t bother to explain too much about how they fit together. The engine that drives "Homeland" is the audience, and the writers are, in a way, like expert puzzle makers. We had to keep trying to make sense of the muddle. After Brody revealed his ties to Abu Nazir definitively, that illusion was dispelled. But in the fifth episode, impossibly, we seem to be back to that land of half-knowing, not quite sure which team Brody is working on.
The interrogation scene between Brody and Carrie is a thing of beauty. Claire Danes does a great job cajoling Brody, half good cop and half therapist. But the real prize for acting here goes to Damian Lewis. In the 20-minute chunk where he’s trapped, you can clearly read all conflicting the emotions Brody has — defiance, despair, heartbreak, and, ultimately, relief. Carrie and the CIA team know that Brody won’t respond to threats. It took a plot of far more serious scale to get him on Nazir’s side in the first place. But it’s Carrie’s deft pulling of the string that attaches Brody to this life, and not the promised afterlife, that causes him to unravel.