Homeland's second season broke all of the rules regarding typical television narrative pacing. It wasn’t long ago that the cable drama came through and crushed broadcast’s plot development flow chart with a new set of expedited story advancement. The first five episodes of this season, however, blew those fairly new standards out of the water, cashing in every loose thread left dangling in last year's season finale, kick-starting the year with reveals, twists and discoveries that most series would’ve saved for the season climax.

Saul (Mandy Patinkin) found Brody’s (Damian Lewis) would-be confession at the end of episode two. He skirted around the Contrived Information Delay boulevard that most series would've detoured down, and Carrie (Claire Danes) was granted her vindicating screening by episode three. The following week, she threw espionage tip-toeing to the wind and put the figurative gat to Brody’s chest…and the week after that they broke and flipped him into a triple agent.

The general message conveyed by the Homeland team: Fuck your expectations.