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Homeland – The Star Review: A Solid, if Predictable End

“It was always about him.”


Nicholas Brody’s journey has officially come to an end. It is a conclusion that we have been awaiting for quite some time, even with Homeland’s obvious reluctance to   actually go through with it. Since the events of the season two finale, his death has been an inevitable end-game and the real question became, “How will it happen?” As soon as Saul’s great plan was unveiled, we knew he would never make it out of Iran. Despite what you could call predictability, Brody’s final moments were effective and highlighted a performance that captivated us all in the show’s beginning. Essentially, the third season was an elaborate set up to this pivotal moment, momentous not only for the characters in the story, but also for the series itself. Just as it was for the show, the best thing for Carrie to do was to let go of Brody once and for all, even if she did so begrudgingly and was fighting it till the very last second. The first part of the episode was stereotypical Homeland, with our character facing seemingly impossible obstacles. Brody has just assassinated Akbari and has to somehow leave the office and the compound without getting caught. Yes, that opening sequence was probably offensively implausible, no way that the most guarded man in Iran could have such shitty security, but it was so much fun to watch. The suspense is almost unbearable and despite the ridiculous situation it washard not to root for Brody to get out of that building. The tension was built very well and never dissipated, even when the guards stop Brody because of the badge he was wearing, which was an obvious fake out. But seriously, how lucky can he be? Brody managed to miraculously escape, find Carrie and get to the safe house unscathed. It was so unbelievable that it played as a fantasy (much like the one Carrie warned Brody with in “Good Night”).As Carrie and Brody got closer to their goal without much trouble, the tension and anxiety rose pointedly because we all knew that at some point it would all begin to fall apart. 640 But before it all came to a head, there was of course enough time for the two of them share one last emotional connection and share their feelings to each other. Most importantly, Carrie is finally able to unburden herself of the pregnancy news in a surprisingly low-key way. Again, the writers seem adamant in portraying these two as soul mates and a couple we are supposed to root for, but it doesn’t stick. Sure, the chemistry between the actors is wonderful and they play off each other very well, but the romantic angle of the show has always been its weak point. Still, the moment allowed Brody (and Carrie) some kind of peace and contentment before the unavoidable disintegration of their plan, as it is prone to happen on television. Carrie’s blind determination to attempt to help Brody, even when it was obvious that there was no helping him was to be expected. But seeing as we had seen her go through with countless irrational actions throughout the season because of her obsession with him, it was yet again annoying to see her in her stubborn-Carrie mode. Despite that, I quite liked her conversation with Javadi in which she insists on getting him out, failing to see that the mission was a success and done. “Everyone sees him through your eyes now,” he tells her, she was able to give him (Brody) the redemption he longed for. And finally she can have some kind of satisfaction that she was right about him all along. At the very least, the conversation led to Carrie’s acknowledgment that it was all over, there was nothing left for her to do. Except, of course, going against Brody’s dying wish. homeland-season-3-finale Sigh. Of all the eye-roll inducing moments on the show and specifically in this last season, this was the cherry on top of the sundae. It is one thing to show up at the execution even though he told her not to, she clearly loved him and wanted to be there for his final moments, that is understandable and touching and romantic, blah blah blah. But did she really have to scream out and let him know that she was there? Really? Couldn’t even keep her mouth shut and let him die peacefully. It really took away some of the impact of his death because we are too busy being irked by Carrie. While I though that Carrie’s little outburst would be the most annoying part of the finale, in came the “four months later” title card. I’m not against any time jumping in television, generally such a narrative tool is welcomed as it gives the writers a fresher place to work in and they can introduce new things, etc. But, there was so much compelling material to hash out in the immediate aftermath of Akbari’s assassination as well as Brody’s execution. How did the country react to the news? How was public opinion of Brody affected, if at all? How did Carrie reintegrate to her work environment and become such a trusted employee again? Even, how did Brody’s family deal with yet another shocking development? No matter how irritating and tiresome a presence Dana and to an extent Jessica became on the show this season, seeing how Nicholas’ ultimate fate would affect them is a compelling story and one worth exploring (much more than Dana’s affair with what’s his name). It would certainly have been much more interesting to see them deal with this aftermath, than everything else the writers did with them this season. Also, how did Javadi manage to come out of the whole situation scot-free and how was the transition of power? While it was nice to see where the characters ended up, it felt like a missed opportunity for some truly intriguing material. homeland-620x400 The extended epilogue definitely sets up the upcoming season, with some uncertainties. Will Carrie give up the baby and move to Istanbul as badass station chief? How long will it be until Saul is back in the CIA? What will Quinn’s role be in all this? And it provides enough of a new start for those that did not enjoy the third season to be intrigued by where the show is going next. I like to think that without Brody and with the fresh, clean slate set up for the next season that the series has an opportunity to improve and become something other than the pile of contrivances and implausibility it has become, but there is no denying that the second half of the season, in which Brody became a more prominent character, is notably more successful and entertaining. Is there a future for Homeland without Nicholas Brody? Without Damian Lewis, who, no matter how ridiculous the writing got, always managed to pull off a compelling and effective performance. I think so; so much of the issues in both the second and third seasons arose from the writers’ reluctance to get rid of Brody, precisely because of Lewis’ amazing talent. They contrived for the character to stay around and tried to sell a “true love” story between him and Carrie that never really got much traction in an engaging way. The Homeland writers have an immense opportunity to breathe a new life for the series and they should take advantage of it. homeland-season-3-the-star-finale-showtime   Final Thoughts:
  • It has already been announced that Morgan Saylor and Morena Baccarin will not be back as regular cast members next season. But I would actually like them to make one final appearance and give those characters, especially Jessica, some closure. That last scene between Dana and Brody was enough closure for her, but Jessica was really underserved this last season.
  • Though Carrie didn’t mount a very strong opposition in her argument with Lockhart, I am looking forward to the two of them butting heads in future episodes. Also, to the exploration of Lockhart as an actual person and not a one-dimensional character.
  • As for Carrie’s impending baby bomb, I’d rather not see Carrie having to juggle the demanding job and being a mother. It just reeks of clichéd, Lifetime-y drama and the show is better than that. I liked those scenes of Carrie questioning her competency, it felt realistic and a believable reaction from Carrie.
  • Suspense done well
  • Great performances
  • Clean slate for next season
  • Highly implausible situations
  • Carrie is still annoying
  • Questionable narrative choices


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