Homeland: Carrie's escape the most intense scene of 2012?

Since I watch a lot of TV, it's easy to be pretty jaded sometimes.

For example, now that Dexter's sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) finally knows all – or at least many – of the details surrounding her brother's benevolent serial killer lifestyle, the final season of the long running Showtime drama has certainly taken on a sharper edge (so to speak) but hasn't been riveting, literally-edge-of-seat-hands-covering-mouth entertainment.

carrie homeland

That's to take nothing away from the start of Dexter's final lap; it's been entirely watchable stuff thus far.  But in comparison to Homeland, now in its Sophomore season, it's simply in a different league.

In this week's episode, "Beirut is Back," here's how great I thought the sequence in which Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes, who shows off exactly why she deserved to win an Emmy for the role) escaped from a Beirut, Lebanon apartment building was: after my own sequence of squeaks and exclamations subsided, I compared it to the final scene of Breaking Bad's Season Three insta-classic, "One Minute."

Yes, Carrie's courageous-meets- outrageously foolhardy expedition into Nazir's Lieutenant's apartment to hunt for terrorist-related intelligence was every inch as intense and harrowing as Hank Schrader's (Dean Norris) confrontation with the unsettling Cousins over in meth-infested Albuquerque.

The scene builds tension organically, starting with Carrie's decision to rush into the apartment building (which stemmed from the failed attempt to take out Nazir himself). As Saul and crew wait in a conspicuously upscale SUV, bystanders start to get a little curious… and we get the strong suspicion that outsiders in conspicuously upscale SUVs are not going to do well in this neighborhood for very long.

As a riot methodically develops around the SUV, Carrie's escape route is cut off, kicking off one of the better chase scenes that I've ever seen in film or TV. We saw last week that Carrie is quite adept at throwing off a tail with a well-timed knee, and this time around she uses a piece of cement to similar effect. And as scary as the action is for the viewer, we get the sense that the bi-polar Carrie gets a rush from such brushes with the abyss.

I was also reminded a bit of the end of the underrated political thriller, The Kingdom, in which Jason Bateman's character desperately attempts to fend off being executed in a Saudi Arabian apartment building while an American team searches for him.

In any event, I couldn't agree more with the usually buttoned up Saul Berenson, played by the always magnificent Mandy Patinkin, when he screams just after Carrie arrives in the car (mostly unscathed): "F—k Carrie, what the f—k!?"

The bottom line is that this scene currently stands in as the most intense I've witnessed in 2012 thus far.

Let us know if you have any rival contenders! 

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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