Homeland shocks with Corey Stoll’s series debut

SPOILERS: The House of Cards star was handed a rollercoaster first episode

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[CONTAINS HOMELAND SPOILERS]

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Homeland is back. And they are not easing us back in gently…

If you tuned into Homeland’s series four premiere this evening, you can be confident that you weren’t the only one left a little open-mouthed by the shocking end of the episode.

The opening instalment, which introduced us to a world post-Brody – with Carrie living as Station Chief in Kabul while her sister looked after her ginger-haired baby back in America – followed Islamabad’s Station Chief Sandy Bachman, played by House of Cards star Corey Stoll.

Sandy is Carrie’s counterpart in Pakistan – he finds the targets and she flies the missions. A partnership which works well until they unknowingly bomb a wedding and the evidence, in the form of an iPhone video, is uploaded to YouTube. 

Clearly Carrie and Sandy are living dangerous lives – and Homeland isn’t afraid to kill off its characters (even the really important ones…) But who could have guessed that Stoll’s Homeland debut would also be his exit? 

The climax of the tense episode saw Carrie and Quinn try and fail to save Sandy from a violent and angry mob after his image was leaked to the press, driving off and leaving him, helpless at the hands (and makeshift weapons) of the protesters.  

Thankfully, showrunner Alex Gansa has already had his say on Stoll’s fleeting role in the hit CIA series. “I thought Corey did a fantastic job,” he told Entertainment Weekly after the episode premiered in the US.

“He established and conveyed a character in the most economical space. He’s one of these guys you just believe him the minute he steps in front of the camera. Especially that moment where he’s outside the apartment where he’s supposed to meet his asset and the lock has been changed and he’s been informed that he’s blown – that moment is the worst moment any case officer can confront – and that moment when he drops his head and realises his entire world has gone to s*** and he may be in deep danger. He just conveys it in the most powerful way. And obviously where he winds up at the end of episode, it’s the worst thing.”

If episode one has shown us anything, it’s that the showrunners are keen to prove that Homeland can still be tense, gripping and shocking now the pivotal character of Brody is no more…

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Homeland continues on Sundays at 9:00pm on Channel 4