Homeland, Season 2, Episode 2: “Beirut is Back”
Written by Chip Johannessen
Directed by Michael Cuesta
Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on Showtime
Well, it would appear that the greatest issue with Season Two’s credibility is about to be eliminated. In the “holy shit”-worthy final moments of “Beirut is Back,” Saul Berenson witnesses the videotaped confession of one Sgt. Brody, for an act he never got to commit. Why anyone would keep this confession on a hard drive knit into a secret pocket in a handbag has yet to be established, but there’s plenty of time to sort that out. What’s important is that Saul now knows Carrie was right, and that changes everything – including, of course, Brody’s political ambitions. He won’t be in Guantanamo Bay next week – that would sort of counter the show’s narrative thrust as we know it – but it’s inconceivable that his bid for any higher offices won’t be quietly, and definitively, undermined. So that’s that; well played, Gansa, Gordon and company.
In many ways, “Beirut is Back” is a reminder of Homeland‘s best characteristics, especially its willingness to speed right through to narrative developments we might have otherwise assumed would be reserved for many episodes (or even a season or two) later. Saul finding out about Brody is a surprising development, but really, given the way Season One absolutely barrelled through its many twists and turns, we should really have seen it coming. After the last moments of the episode, we ask, “how can the show continue much longer from here?”, much as we did back when Carrie and Brody had their climactic chat in the first season’s “The Weekend.” Whatever Homeland‘s deficiencies are, narrative expediency and the subversion of expectation are not among them.