Michael Mahin ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
With three episodes left until the end of the season, Homeland has stepped up its game this week from a few middling previous episodes. “Two Hats”, the ninth episode of Homeland‘s second season, is a thrilling, and twisty, episode that proves Homeland‘s writers still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Answering some of the season’s long-running questions while also creating endless others, “Two Hats” pushes Homeland into interesting, and hopefully rewarding, directions for the remainder of the season.
The episode begins with Carrie, Saul, Quinn, and Estes discussing what do now that Brody has been gone for 12 hours. Though there is some suggestion among the group that Brody may be dead, Carrie receives a frantic phone call from Brody, who demands that his family be taken to a safe location. Carrie commissions Mike to then take Jessica, Dana, and Chris to a CIA safe house.
Meanwhile, Virgil and Max investigate Quinn’s apartment, finding anti-intrusion devices, a rifle cleaning kit, and a photo of a woman with a baby. Saul ultimately identifies the woman in the photo as Philadelphia police officer and meets with her, posing as the IRS. She sees through his disguise but Saul is still able to identify the woman as the mother of Quinn’s child.
Brody later has a meeting with the CIA in which he explains his captivity. He claims that he saw Abu Nazir and that Nazir is planning an attack on a homecoming event in which 300 special ops soldiers will be reunited with their families. Brody has been commissioned to convince Vice President Walden to allow a single journalist, Roya Hammad, to cover the event. Brody also claims that Abu Nazir in the U.S., which troubles the CIA team.
Meanwhile, in his investigation, Max finds Quinn meeting with a mysterious figure on otherwise empty bus. He later takes pictures of the meeting and shows them to Saul who identifies the figure as Dar Adul, a man who used to run classified operations out of Nairobi. This meeting brings into question whether Quinn is actually an “analyst”.
Meanwhile, at the safe house, Jessica sneaks into Mike’s room at night and has sex with him. The next day, Brody calls his family but Dana refuses to talk to him, still angry at her father.
The day of the homecoming, Roya Hammad has been tracked to a diner where the rest of the news team is. A van pulls up beside the news team car and four men from the van replace the car batteries from the news team car with similar-looking but much heavier devices. The CIA moves and apprehends the terrorists. However, Abu Nazir is not found in the van. Quinn, who has been commissioned by Estes to pick up Brody in a limousine, takes out a gun, ready to shoot Brody. However, he is told by Estes to stand down as Abu Nazir was not identified.
The shocking revelation at the end of “Two Hats” is another of Homeland‘s many surprise developments, forcing us to question our understanding of, and allegiance to, any of the show’s principal characters. The addition of Quinn to the show has finally paid off in this episode as the writers have so successfully toyed with the character’s mysterious nature that we have begun to distrust not only Quinn but everyone. The investigation subplot at the heart of this week’s episode was interesting and engaging yet did not distract from the overall narrative arc, which some previous subplots have done.
Mandy Patinkin (Saul) was especially good this week, seamlessly portraying Saul’s growing paranoia and feelings of being lied to by Estes. Patinkin’s tense and subtle work always serves the show well, underscoring the overall feeling of dread and taut anticipation. Danes, given less to do this week than usual, still shines in individual moments, no more so than in an interaction with Brody which reminds the viewer how vulnerable, and potentially naive, Carrie can be. Lewis does terrific work, continuing to walk the fine line between our sympathy and distrust, making Brody one of television’s most compelling, mysterious, and untrustworthy characters.
“Two Hats” proves that “Homeland” is still on its way to a stellar conclusion of an already great season.