I'm going to stay this right now, if "Homeland" wins the Emmy for Best Drama for its recently completed second season, it will be a major upset. And that's without having seen any of the contenders that will be airing in the spring and summer.
That's not to say that the second season was bad. In fact, the first half of it was very good; well-written, tight, well-acted, interesting. It was must see television every week.
Then something happened along the way, and I can't even point to what. It wasn't the misguided run-over-the-homeless-lady plot that was borrowed straight out of "Friday Night Lights" DO NOT REPEAT bag. It wasn't Carrie working for the CIA, but at the same time not working for them. Was she ever hired back? Was she paid? How did we let this happen? It wasn't Abu Nazir, the world's most famous terrorist, being able to sneak into the country undetected just because he shaved his beard. I would have liked to see him wearing one of those glasses with the fake mustache and bushy eyebrows.
It wasn't because of that, but it may have started there. Then we got Brody video chatting with Nazir, Nazir hanging out in an abandoned mill, Nazir getting shot and killed in the most anti-climactic bad guy killing of all time.
This led directly to the bombing of the CIA at the end, killing Walden's entire family, Estes, and everyone else at the memorial (but not the President, because thankfully, he wasn't allowed to attend his right hand man's own service. He must have not been allowed, because I can't figure out any other reason he wouldn't be there). I have no problem with that bombing, as it seemed like an actual act of terrorism, unlike the killing of Walden. But the way it was set up seems to leave a lot to be desired.
So the bomb was in Brody's van. Which we all saw him park in Lot C. Then presumably, at Langley, someone was able to move his van without being detected by any video cameras and park right next to the window where the service was being held. Keep in mind that this is the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.
This is where the show struggles. They ground everything in reality, but then something so outrageous happens, that it makes you question everything else that has come before. The second season has had a really difficult time with this balance, and it has suffered because of it.
My main struggle with the show, though, is the Brody-Carrie relationship. By all intents and purposes, this is the main relationship of the show, and the one that is necessary for pulling in viewers. But for some reason, I have a problem feeling sympathy for an affair between a terrorist and a crazy analyst. I can never tell if they're playing each other, or if there are actual feelings (and maybe that's the point, and I concede that that is well done).
Add that to the fact that Brody is a terrible father, hasn't been there for his kids, and made the kids' other father, Mike, move out, and it is harder and harder to find someone to root for.
I hope the third season isn't too much of a stretch, and I hope the characters don't find themselves in a position that stretches the imagination. I'm sure we're in for a long bout of trying to clear Brody's name in the CIA bombing and trying to figure out who did actually do it.
Here's a hint: check the video cameras in the parking lot.