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50 shades of Claire Danes (spoiler)
So it turns out last week's new season opener of Homeland was the smooth, slightly slow, soupy starter before this week's flambe grill - not going to mangle metaphors any further but a truly explosive episode like this one deserves a few helpings of effusive.
The two Emmy-winning leads, Claire Danes and Damien Lewis, were, as usual, brilliant. Danes especially so: in an episode in which her character was all action, she had the power to create astonishing intimacy and empathy. When she had a panic attack after eavesdropping on Saul's conversation about her trustworthiness, you gasped for air with her as she fought her way to the top of the building and then feared for her when you realised her fair, shining hair (and head) was exposed to the danger of sniper fire all around.
Damien Lewis' character had a relatively restrained episode, but was no less powerful. During the conversation with the returned US soldiers about the death of Tom Walker, he bubbled with barely restrained ferocity and it is the patience and pace the writers take with the character of Brody that make him all the more enigmatic, compelling and chilling.
The writers also deserve credit for a plot advancement that will have come as a surprise to many viewers - the outing of Brody's murderous intentions to Saul, the ever-so-slightly-shady CIA agent. I expected Brody's secret to be a drawn-out affair dominating most of the story arc for the season but this advancement means that more delicious complexity and unpredictability lies ahead.