Whether it's mental illness or life experience, once again with Carrie it's all about extreme highs and extreme lows.
Extreme high: successfully evades capture and meets up with her source. Extreme low: she subverts protocol to do so and consequently calls into question everything she's learned. Extreme high: what she learns seems worth the risk -- the infamous Abu Nazir will be meeting with her informant's husband imminently. Extreme low: she learns this without mentor Saul present to verify the source and confirm the legitimacy of the information. Director Estes is concerned that this may be a false lead designed to lead U.S. special forces into a trap during a tense stand-off between Iran and U.S. ally Israel.
With everything Carrie learns being called into question, the already shaky walls start to close in. In one particular scene, Claire Danes is pitch-perfect at conveying the inner tension her character feels, breaking down in her hotel bedroom in a hostile city with everyone around her handling her sanity with kid gloves.
Stateside, Congressman Brody's life is less about highs and lows and more about conflicting allegiances. Does he honor his allegiance to his wife, eager to continue rubbing elbows with the Washington elite? His friends and fellow soldiers who have questions about the questionable death of sniper Tom Walker? His political backers, intent on circumventing the president and providing death-dealing "bunker bombs" to Israel? Or does he stay true to his allegiance with Abu Nazir?
Brody and Carrie's stories converge in a scene reminiscent of the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden. Brody gets a front row seat at Central Command as special forces converge on the Beirut meeting area of Abu Nazir's inner circle. The scenes that follow are a prime example of what "Homefront" does best -- white-knuckle suspense. Whether it's in the claustrophobic setting of Central Command or a tense chase scene along the rooftops of Beirut, it's pulled off masterfully and I watched with a knot in my stomach.
The biggest game-changer comes in the episode's closing minute. I won't spoil any surprises, but suffice to say if the information gets outside that room it has the potential to completely alter the landscape of the series going forward.
Following a great but flawed season premiere, the second episode absolutely delivers in a big way.
Final Grade: A+