The wait is over and the third season of tense CIA drama Homeland has returned, well - for US viewers anyway. Broadcast last night (29th September), the episode began with a handy summary to bring us up to date and resurface the scorching memories of last season's final episode that saw an explosion at the CIA, Brody on the run and Carrie and Saul left to pick up the pieces.

The Episode's A Dark Follow-Up To Last Series.

"It's 58 days since the attack on Langley in which 219 Americans lost their lives," we hear. "It is now plain that the Central Intelligence Agency is crippled, its managerial ranks are decimated and its reputation in tatters. The plain question is how can the CIA be expected to protect this country if it can't even protect itself?"

Opening to a committee hearing to analyse the failures of the CIA, Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) are interrogated by new character with a stern stare, Senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts). Under fierce scrutiny, Lockhart wants Carrie to take responsibility for the attack. With Abu Nazir dead, Carrie must admit that she was outsmarted by the terrorist: "If you're asking me, did Abu Nazir outsmart me: yes he did. If you're asking whether I will ever forgive myself: no I won't."

Watch The Homeland Season 3 Official Trailer:

"Just what is it that you're smoking, Ms. Mathison?" Carrie was asked damningly. The erratic CIA agent held her own but her calm face was destroyed by Saul, now struggling to run the agency, who revealed that not only was she bipolar, she had also been sleeping with Nicolas Brody (Damian Lewis), a key suspect in the bombing and a man she is convinced had nothing to do with the massacre.

Though Brody didn't appear, and won't be seen for a further two episodes, we were given a glimpse into the post-bombing lives of his family. His wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) is trying to adapt to single life whilst wondering where her husband is and what he really did. It is revealed that daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor) tried to kill herself sometime in the past 58 days and is now under close watch and son Chris stayed mainly in the background, as usual.

During this first episode, we begin to gain appreciation of Carrie's depths of despair. Picking up a random one-night stand whilst shopping for tequila, she then confronted Saul whilst he was at a lunch after learning an important document about Brody had been leaked. "F**k you!" she yelled in full meltdown mode. "F**k all of you!"

It's a promising first episode: the masks are slipping as Saul betrays Carrie in the middle of an organisation hanging in shreds and Carrie's manic demons come flying out.