‘Homeland’ season 2 review

6:30 pm EST, December 19, 2012

After Sunday evening’s thrilling finale, where will Homeland go from here?

Homeland concluded its second season on Sunday evening with a thrilling episode begging fans for more after such a roller-coaster season. Some fans will ask the question of whether Homeland lived up to its first season’s expectations, after that Golden Globe and Emmy-winning season, as Alex Gansa hits back at some of the critics.

Gansa, the executive producer, has described that it’s “natural” that critics would attack such a successful television show. However, Gansa has already ignored the criticism and is already plotting season 3 with his writers, saying that, “Dana will get another pair of boots [and] I imagine the cork-board wall will return next season!”

The success of the show has been overwhelming for Homeland‘s network Showtime, who has boasted record-breaking viewership with Homeland as well as television fan favourite, DexterIn light of Homeland‘s recent success, it is great news that Showtime has tied Damian Lewis down for an incredible seven-season contract, but insists that Nicholas Brody could be killed off at any point. This move gives flexibility for all parties, and is great for Homeland. If Lewis moves on to newfound territory from the limelight of his starring role in Homeland, the writers have the freedom to act quickly, and whether in the seasons to come, Homeland could of course flop, the contract negotiations would be relatively simple. What matters most is that the writers have excessive freedom, and sharp plot directions need to be more frequent to keep Homeland fresh.

But, this post is a season review, and what has happened this season with Homeland? We’ve seen the true side to Nicholas Brody, finally. Brody, the main protagonist, is the heart of Homeland, and thus, carries the main plot that at times has dragged, but has kept the fans keen for more. For many of the episodes, including the first season, we feel that Homeland did a brilliant job at prompting questions, but only hinting at the answers. Nicholas Brody is not a terrorist, but came exceptionally close to working solely for Abu Nazir. There is no question that he loved Issa, and that becoming a Muslim made him a character who appeared to be on both sides. 

Brody also finished ties with Jess, finally. We feel a little sorry for Morena Baccarin, whose character, Jess, the wife of Brody, hasn’t exactly changed whilst still being an integral character, she’s undoubtedly an incredibly good mother. Yes, she got a bit more feisty and confrontational, but she is still written into the hands of Mike Faber. Jess, who has stuck through the turmoils of her family life, and her on-screen affair with Brody’s ex-best friend Mike, just weren’t enough to keep us fans wanting more as this was always inevitable and too predictable. It felt too familiar to season 1 between the pair and the writers could have done much more.

However, staying within the Brody family, Dana and Chris have had more airtime and character development has flowed. Dana has had her own sub-plot, with an interesting storyline within Homeland. Dana was involved in a hit and run incident with Finn Walden that has given fans an insight into the potential Dana, played by Morgan Saylor, has as an actress, and definitely has the attitude to carry Homeland for such a mature 18-year-old. She’s definitely a keeper for the Homeland producers.

Our main female protagonist, Carrie Mathison, played by the cultured Claire Danes, turned up the volume on her struggle with bipolar disorder. Dispatched from CIA, Carrie becomes a “freelance” CIA agent. She’s mentally unstable, but she’s knows the score. Saul drafts her back in, and she’s absolutely all over the place. Carrie soon calms down, and her crazy theories and leads take her from looking like a complete fool in front of her colleagues, to the woman who solves the puzzle.

She’s onto Nazir from early on, with a little help from Brody, and eventually catches on to his plans before tracking him down in the abandoned warehouse. Carrie’s love for Brody goes from strength to strength and she is desperate to see him at any given moment. Brody is spending more and more time away from his family and he is constantly cutting them out in favour of Carrie. Brody undeniably loves his children, but he does not love Jess any longer. A huge result for Carrie. However, the writers haven’t been creative enough with Carrie and Brody’s love life, as it is almost identical to season 1 again, even revisiting the cabin for some romantic sex. We all knew it was coming, but it was just a long wait for it to happen. All Carrie wants is to be with Brody for the foreseeable future, but this just isn’t to be.

Season 2 also unravelled the supporting cast with David Estes, head of operations for the CIA. Estes, who had been quite a cool head within the CIA, turned out to be a power-hungry snitch. Estes constantly interrupting Saul’s effort to help bring in Nazir and wanting to assassinate Brody were Estes’ highlights of the season. Eventually, both scenarios ended in failure, but what we did not see coming was the surprising end of David Estes. Estes died at Vice President Walden’s funeral, when Brody’s SUV is parked up outside of the venue, with a bomb blast killing almost everyone inside the funeral.

Estes had become an important part of Homeland, being the character who directed Carrie, Saul and Quinn primarily, and helped the plot move along at the pace he dictated. It was a complete surprise that he was killed off, when trailers and interviews hinted it could have been Brody. But the deaths of Estes, Nazir and Walden do give room for other characters to blossom and new characters to be introduced. Cue, Peter Quinn.

But what can we expect from season 3? Alex Gansa is quoted as saying, “Before I start talking the particulars of season 3 in terms of the narratives and the story, but we will begin filming season 3 sometime in the third week of May and the show will air in the last week of September 2013. Everyone is going to have to just take a chill pill during our time away.”

No surprise there’s no leaks as of yet as the series hasn’t even begun to be written, but the promos and the rumour mill will begin around May. The setup for season 3 looks pretty mouth-watering, with Brody on the run from the CIA, and the media pinning him as a terrorist after getting ahold of his suicide-note video earlier seen in season 1. Now he’s being framed. The man they all thought was a hero seems to be gone in their eyes. The writers have six months to decide the fate of season 3 and the pressure will be more than ever to deliver, especially with Homeland‘s Damien Lewis and Claire Danes nominated in the upcoming 2013 Golden Globes.

But what did you think of the second season of Homeland? Will you return for the third season? And if so, what do you think will happen? Let us know as always in the comments below.

Be sure to check out Hypable, for all the latest fandoms, and Homeland will return in 2013.

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

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Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.

‘The Space Between Us’ set report: What if a human was born on Mars?

Hypable visited the set and spoke to the film's stars.

12:00 pm EST, January 17, 2017

Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

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Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

He never would’ve guessed what was going to happen when he spoke to them.

“I called a group of NASA scientists and said, ‘So what would happen if an astronaut turned out to be pregnant on a flight to Mars?’ and there was just silence on the other end of the call. And they said, ‘Are you listening to our phone calls?’ I said, ‘No, I’ve never spoken to you in my life.’ And they said, ‘It’s going to happen, and we don’t know what to do.'”

That was when he teamed up with screenwriter Allan Loeb and started fleshing out an answer. “I thought, wow, that’s the beginning of an interesting story.” Lewis even worked with his father, a heart specialist, to examine how that muscle would develop differently on Mars, and aspects of this research became a big part of the story.

The Space Between Us is an interplanetary adventure following a human boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) born on the distant red planet. His mother, an astronaut, only realized she was pregnant with Gardner after leaving on her mission to colonize Mars.

Once Gardner reaches his teenage years he becomes interested in leaving East Texas (yep, on Mars) and returning to the home of his species. Not only is he curious about Earth, but Gardner has also fallen for a girl named Tulsa who’s literally tens of millions of miles away in the state of Colorado. The two met online and can relate over their outsider perspectives.

There’s just one problem: Tulsa doesn’t realize that Gardner is literally living on Mars.

Hypable visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Space Between Us starring Butterfield, Robertson, and Gary Oldman in late October 2015. On the day we visited, Asa, Britt, and crew were at the tail end of their 37-day shooting schedule which took them through New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Malibu.

It was Day 31, and indoor and outdoor shoots were taking place at Highland High School located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque. Since it was a weekday, real classes were in session as Asa and Britt shot outdoor scenes.

The real students who walked by the production had mixed reactions. Some watched and Snapchatted the excitement, while others passed by as if a Hollywood production wasn’t filming right before their eyes. Later in the day, after the real students went home, production moved inside the school to shoot a scene where Gardner and Tulsa meet in person for the first time. It’s one of the more touching moments in the movie.

Earlier, Asa walked into our press tent carrying a drone in tow. He had recently purchased it to try and capture aerial footage for fun, and was learning how to operate it in between filming his scenes.

Both the aerial device and Gardner struggle to deal with Earth’s gravity.

When asked how he handles playing a character who has never been on Earth before, Asa describes it as a very unique experience. “It’s hard to put yourself in that kind of position because we [as humans] are so experienced in the world, and to completely strip all that back and be absolutely in awe at everything you see — a tree, a doorman — everything’s interesting,” he says.

space-between-us-asa-britt

Tulsa (Britt Robertson) experiences zero gravity with Gardner (Asa Butterfield).

Living on Mars your whole life doesn’t mean you’re missing hormones, so girls are also of interest in Gardner. On the relationship between his character and Tulsa, Asa tells us, “They both have this longing desire for being somewhere. Belonging somewhere. Tulsa’s been jumping around through various foster homes, she’s never really settled anywhere. Gardner spends his life on Mars. No one knows he exists. They’re kind of united by this experience.”

“He’s an alien, and she’s an alien, and this is the journey of the story,” Lewis tells us. “Watching these two characters connect, and the disconnects, the misunderstandings, and then ultimately they have a connection.”

Those good and bad connections were present in the scene we observed, which finds Gardner surprising Tulsa in her school hallway. As someone who is tough and reserved, Tulsa is understandably frustrated by Gardner’s sudden appearance. The two still haven’t communicated well with one another — Adorably, Tulsa is unaware that when he says he’s from “East Texas” he means the establishment on Mars.

With Gardner now on earth, the two begin to form a close bond as the Mars-born boy tries to discover his roots.

Co-starring in the movie is Gary Oldman, whose character originally organized the trip to Mars. He wasn’t on set the day we visited, but the actor has a very important role in the movie.

The Space Between Us opens in theaters February 3, 2017.

‘Rogue One’s’ best scene doesn’t involve the heroes

It's a nameless character who saves the day.

8:15 am EST, January 17, 2017

Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

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Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

This character has no name, and we know nothing about him beyond this scene. But faced by the most fearsome threat and terrible odds, he abandons fighting and uses his dying moments to get the plans across the doomed ship, and to Princess Leia.

It’s not common to see a scene like this one – scenes that convey the power of the collective action of many people across different areas – done so skillfully, especially in movies that are so character-driven.

In Star Wars, we’ve always focused on Luke and Leia and Han, and more recently on Rey, Finn and Poe. Although we knew that the Rebellion was the fruit of the efforts of many, we never had such a clear look into just how many lives were involved.

Rogue One the Rebellion

This final scene brings it all together, tying together the various storylines we know in an epic finale, and finally connecting them to Episode IV in a perfect mix of excitement and nostalgia. Without this character, driven by desperate hope rather than fear of his imminent death, Rogue One’s mission would not have ended successfully, Leia would have never received the plans… and none of the story we already know would have taken place.

For once, it was a character whose face we didn’t even see properly, dressed just like everyone else, fulfilling his own small role in a much bigger mission, who saved the day.

This ending, maybe even more meaningfully than the stories of the heroes we know and love, shows us the very essence of the Rebellion: a movement of dedication and sacrifice, full of people like the ones that died on Scarif, that put themselves between the plans and Vader, that drove the mission to success in their dying moments – and that stopped the race to save their own lives in favor of securing the mission’s objective.

We, as the audience, can find ourselves in the nameless rebel soldier and his sacrifice – a realistic and emotional portrayal of what makes any movement for change possible: the sacrifices of a vast number of people whose names and faces we may never know, whose stories may never be recorded, but whose lives were spent in search of a better future for the generations that follow.

What scene in ‘Rogue One’ impacted you the most?