Homeland Review: “New Car Smell” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Just when we thought Homeland reached its breaking point in episode 2, episode 4 comes along and forces us to rethink what we’re used to seeing with television: long and often convoluted storylines, dragged out for maximum longevity.

Homeland has shown that it is not afraid to progress the story in previous episodes, but this one takes the cake for being the biggest move any television show could ever try to make. Brody is now arrested and revealed, something that I would have never thought would happen until at least the end of the season, but here we are with the initial premise of the show finally being solved, but to what avail?

Brody continues to fall to his lies as his marriage with Jessica has gone beyond repair. Not surprisingly, she gives him the ultimatum of telling her the truth or packing his bags. Much to her chagrin, he walks away and leaves behind any hope of rekindling their ill-fated marriage. Jessica continues to find comfort in Mike and is slowly coming to realize that what she wants is what she had when Brody was gone, a relationship with Mike.

Speaking of Mike, his character is finally getting more screentime, but in a way I wouldn’t have expected. Not only was the CIA on to Brody, but he and Lauder are as well. They know something is wrong and are the only ones who sense that the whole trivialization of Tom Walker must have been a cover-up for something larger. Brody and Walker were always a team, but how can one team member fall while the other rises?

While the first season focused solely on Carrie and Brody, this season sees the supporting characters stepping forward and finding ways to insert themselves into the ever-growing story. Jessica and Mike in particular are on their way to discovering what changed in Brody after he was rescued, a branching storyline I’m curious to see play out. Other than the inevitable reconnection with Jessica and Mike, they remain a yin and yang to Brody’s character – one being the igniter of the flames and one being the extinguisher. As interesting as these two supporting characters are, Lauder on the other hand continues to be the source of annoyance and a break in the intense fluidity this show has made a name of – get rid of him.

In an earlier review, I had hoped that Dana would be the one to discover her father’s secret life, but seeing as how that isn’t the case, her story continues to go off in its own direction. The way the show is focusing so much on Dana makes me suspect that she isn’t simply falling for Finn, but a much bigger plan is in store. Her moments with Brody still remind us he is a family man at heart, but her relationship with Finn could prove to be disastrous in the long run once we find out what the writers are doing with Dana. The way I see it, a suspenseful moment between father and daughter will happen soon.

But let’s talk about the bulk of the episode.

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