You'd think after last week's 'Homeland' shenanigans - Brody forced to kill a man with his bare hands because the phone rang, Jessica's ultimatum to her husband, Carrie's realisation that her instincts for a terrorist hadn't deserted her after all - this would be an episode to sit back, take stock, and slowly build a fresh strategy based on shocking new information… not a bit of it.
Carrie and Brody's long-awaited reunion brought with it some startling consequences
'Homeland's second series has suffered from criticism that it's unrealistic - agents talking over Skype, Brody sending texts from inside the Situation Room - so obviously the solution to this is to speed everything up. In plot developments that would generally take half a series to unfold, everyone important knew about Brody's ideology in the first five minutes, and the CIA was back on the case, with Carrie at the helm.
So it was business as usual, except for a CIA interloper Peter Quinn 'supervising' the operation. Handsome, clever, mysterious, hardly what Carrie needed to complicate matters (and another Brit actor to boot, this time Rupert Friend - what IS it with' 'Homeland' and Brits?) as she prepared to play Brody bait.
Rupert Friend is another loose CIA cannon, seemingly sent to unsettle Carrie
It could all have gone wonderfully to plan… but all had reckoned without her palpable chemistry with Brody, which made her vulnerable, and sped events up beyond the Agency's control.
By the end of this episode, Carrie and Brody's much-anticipated first meeting of the series brought firecracker results. Carrie knew, Brody knew she knew, the Agency had his confession, and he had one of those ominous bags over his head. To borrow from Churchill, this may not be the end… and this being 'Homeland', it's probably by no means the beginning of the end, but it is definitely the end of the beginning. If the series had finished at this point, I'd have been happy. Cross fingers the writers can sustain the momentum of everything that's gone before, silence their critics and keep fans ever happier.