In the Season Two premiere of Homeland, Jessica Brody (Morena Baccarin) learns that her husband Nicholas (Damian Lewis), now a congressman, is a practicing Muslim. Furious, she goes into the garage where he prays and destroys his copy of the Qu’ran. “I thought you had put this crazy stuff behind you,” she says with tears in her eyes. If we have learned anything about this show, it’s that whenever something appears tranquil and serene, you can expect it to not last for very long.

When we last saw agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) she was undergoing excruciating shock treatments to treat her bipolar disorder. The first scene of the new season shows Carrie tending to a vegetable garden and living with her father (James Rebhorn) and sister (Amy Hargreaves). She is also teaching English and trying to lead a normal life, but as we see, she is still very much drawn to her former one. She watches the news and scours the Internet looking for information on the situation in the Middle East.

Nicholas is also getting adjusted to life as a politician. However, when a reporter, who is also a friend of Abu Nazir, tells him that Nazir wants him to retrieve encryption codes of potential targets from the CIA’s David Estes (David Harewood), he is reminded of the promise that he made and that he is still very much under Nazir’s watchful eye.

Meanwhile, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is in Lebanon, where he learns of a female asset, recruited by Carrie, who has information of an attack against America. The catch? She will only talk to Carrie. As a result, Estes goes to Carrie’s home to inform her of the situation. This leads to one of the most satisfying scenes for anyone who is a fan of Danes’ character, as she gets to tell Estes to shove off after the events of the previous year. There is also a great moment between Danes and Patinkin when Saul is trying to get Carrie to meet with Estes. Patinkin’s character is protective and concerned about Carrie, and you can hear the disappointment in his voice as he is telling her what she will need to do.

Every great story has great conflict. What makes Homeland so special is that it can illustrate the conflict through complex characters and moments of sheer tension where your hands are sweating in anticipation for what will happen next. Whether it is Brody in Estes’ office looking for the codes or Carrie trying to get into Beirut and subsequently shaking off someone working for the other side, you are compelled to watch.

The funniest and probably the happiest moment of the episode is when Carrie finds herself in danger and she has to resort to combat. As she walks away, there is a grin on her face from ear to ear, as if to say “I miss this.” That’s the thing about the dangerous life; no matter how far you run from it, it is always underneath the surface, waiting.

Read more about: