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10 Reasons You Should Have Watched Last Night's Gut-Wrenching 'Homeland' Finale

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | December 16, 2013 | Comments ()


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1. To see Brody get out of yet another seemingly impossible situation. What are the odds he could pull off a murder clean-up with only a pillow and a small water pitcher? Brody found a handy dandy gun in Akbari’s desk drawer, composed himself enough to walk past the many guards, and smiled as he passed the General’s secretary on the stairs. On the one hand, it was completely unbelievable; on the other, you’ve got to applaud the writers’ balls—and their ability to work Brody out of the most insane situations.

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2. To watch the dichotomy of Saul completely losing control and accepting it, and Carrie, who fought her powerlessness all the way. It was fascinating to observe their respective psychologies remain true to each character, and provided the viewer a little study in therapy. Fight it or accept it, the song remained the same. To quote my old friend Daniel Faraday, “Whatever happened, happened.”

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3. To feel the impending sense of doom as the notion of Brody’s death evolved from foreboding to dread, to the moment everyone knew there was no going back and no escape. Once Carrie and Brody were surrounded outside the rendezvous compound, even the most jaded Homeland viewer had to realize there would be no last minute rescue—and that was a beautiful thing. In the back of our minds, we all knew Brody had to end, and at the moment of capture, we were as ready as the man himself.

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4. To see Javadi carry out Saul’s mission his own way. When Javadi called Saul and explained why he should give up Brody, it made perfect sense. Brody’s quick capture and justice for Akbari’s murder was indeed the only way to secure Javadi’s leadership transition; if Brody had been allowed to escape the country, there would be no guarantees. Javadi stayed true to character, and in doing so, secured Saul’s success. His speech to Carrie; “Everyone sees him through you now,” was brilliant and true—save for Lockhart—and when Javadi was finished, Carrie knew there was nothing to do but say goodbye.

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5. To feel Brody finding his peace. Damian Lewis held our hands through a man’s last days and hours; together we experienced Brody’s resolute acceptance and relief. Brody remembered his birth, and mourned his father’s death, grateful his dad wasn’t around to have his heart broken by a son’s deeds. He reminded Carrie the Marine in him was long gone, and assured her a murder can’t be redeemed by committing another. Brody washed himself clean as best he could, took solace in a few moments of beauty and freedom, and faced his death like a hero—however broken—would. And hell, that was a horrible way to go (Homeland never flinches), with the added nastiness of Nassrin spitting in his face.

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Likewise, Carrie fighting for and standing by her man until the very end—climbing that fence and shouting Brody’s name so he’d know he wasn’t alone—was so very Carrie…and heroic.

6. To wonder over and over whose side Dar Adal is on, and to be utterly delighted by the Amadeus shout-out in that final diner scene with Saul: “It’s all anyone can talk about. Know what they call you? The Maestro.” And there he sat, our wicked Salieri, complimentary, and envious as ever. It had to be Adal who turned in Brody, and yet he does seem to have a certain semi-honest friendship with Saul. As much he thinks Saul misses the work (and of course Saul does), Adal would surely love to have his old pal back by his side. Two “Old Schools,” indeed.

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7. To see Saul and Mira relaxing over breakfast at their seaside rental; Mira reading the newspaper headlines and congratulating Saul on accomplishing his lifelong dream. Whether he can stand the relaxation and truly be happy with where he is remains to be seen, but for the moment it was glorious to see Saul’s marriage survive, and his integrity and legacy intact.

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8. To find Carrie dealing with her pregnancy and her feelings in a realistic—and not completely outrageous—way. Up to this moment, Carrie’s made a point of trying to ignore her pregnancy. When finally she has the time to face what’s happening, the reality of how she feels as a mother-to-be, and a person who just lost a person she loved, Carrie’s reactions felt right. She knows she can deal with international crises, and terrorism and life-threatening situations, but she’s terrified of being a mom. She wanted to keep her daughter in remembrance of Brody, but even just acknowledging the baby reminds her of him and causes pain. It was lovely to see Carrie’s father and sister swoop in; for once, she has a support system there when she needs them. And that moment when Frank said he wouldn’t let Carrie abandon the baby like her mother did to her—he’d take his granddaughter—it really did seem to sink in to Carrie that she had people who love her. She’s lost Brody, she’s lost Saul (at least for now), but she isn’t completely alone. Maybe that’s all she needs to know.

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Carrie drawing Brody’s star before leaving was yet another act of defiance, but this one was justified. Brody gave his life for his country, and while he may not have been able to find redemption or honor, his final act was heroic and Carrie rightly acknowledged him.

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9. Quinn giving parental advice. Yes, our severely underused Rupert Friend—ostensibly a series regular—got his own two minute scene. Of all the characters who need backstory filling, Quinn is at the top of the list. Whatever small moments Friend gets, he makes the most of them, and so it went with Quinn when he listened to Carrie talking about working a baby into her life. “Everyone has problems.” When Carrie remembers Quinn had a child, commiserating, he tells her, “That kid is a gift. I fucked it up and it would be really sad to see you do the same thing. ” Shazam.

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10. The emotional beauty and truth that ran throughout “The Star.” In its images, from the desert ride to the compound where Carrie and Brody found temporary sanctuary, to the execution scene, to the ocean backdrop of Saul and Mira’s refuge; the tone of most of the episode was solemn and sad. It was a proper memorial for these characters we’ve followed these past three years. Brody gave his last great heart-pounding escape attempt, and then the whole mood shifted as it became apparent his fate was sealed. Each character stayed true, and the writers did the only thing that made sense.

Other thoughts:

Is it plausible that in light of everything, Carrie would be handed Station Chief? For me, it’s believable as the whole conceit of a bipolar agent was in the first place. As Claire Danes related in a recent Charlie Rose interview, when the Homeland group sat across from the real CIA and explained the premise, everyone laughed; it’s preposterous to think someone could get in without the agency knowing she had this disorder. If we can accept that much, we can accept the events that followed.

Will Saul be back? I’ve no doubt the series will be fine without Brody; I’d feel slightly less confident about a Saul-less Homeland. But I don’t think we have to worry—it was evident in every Patinkin eye-twinkle—Saul can’t stay away. Men like him are bonded to their work. Whether Lockhart suffers a monumental misstep (and that would be the most satisfactory move), or Adal lures back Saul with some side project, I feel certain Saul will be back.

The logistics of Carrie’s baby are a bit perplexing. Will she take up Frank’s offer to raise the child? I’ve mixed feelings over how things should go. The realistic side of me would want Carrie to find a way to connect with her child; the series viewer in me wants no part of a season of Homelandian intrigue interrupted by poorly placed baby crises. While tonight’s episode beautifully brought the emotional side of things into harmony with the events, we don’t watch this show for family—we watch for the spy games. If the writers delve too much into mother Carrie, they’ll lose whatever audience is left.


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I have to say I was disappointed. The last three seasons were a great ride but it just seems a little meaningless after the finale last night.

    I will miss Damien Lewis and hopefully he finds another TV gig soon.

    *Chris is totally the Langley Bomber.

    **Thanks for your recaps Cindy.

  • Jelinas

    Dude, Cindy. This was a perfect chaser after watching the ep.

    I agree that the idea of a bipolar CIA agent, much less station chief, is super-implausible. But the show's delivered enough to me to make me suspend at least that much disbelief.

    My biggest problem with Carrie's pregnancy is that it happened in the first place. Come on, writers. This isn't the same audience as "Friends" (full disclosure: I totes watched "Friends").

    All in all, I super-enjoyed this ep; they wrapped up the Carrie/Brody beautifully. And I was very glad they didn't just end it there, but gave us a peek at life in the aftermath.

  • Thank you!

  • Dominic

    Hit the highlights perfectly here , yes Thanks ! Cindy

    Let me add to 7. : Sarita also got to show her legs look younger than her face ...nice shorts ....
    Had they admitted before that Carrie's mother abandoned her ? This looked like a way to explain her mania for this season , if not for all its 3 seasons , and the indifference toward the pregnancy .. and yeah she has to give it up before going to Istanbul . Tho the writers can still use threatening the baby as a blackmail route . that scene WAS much better than a miscarriage scene ...

  • ellie

    It's time for my weekly comment about the lack of Peter Quinn. And now I must spend the next 9 months Peter Quinn-less and hoping for a Peter Quinn-centric season 4.

  • JoeNiqua

    Please cast the guy who plays Dar Adal as Jaffar in the live action Aladdin movie so I can die happy.

  • Three_nineteen

    Javadi's speech really crystallized exactly how this season ruined Carrie. Carrie has done all of this for Brody. Not because she loves her country, not because she's CIA and she believes her job is important, but because of a boy. Ugh.

    And I agree with everyone that says who bombed the CIA headquarters and how they did it is important. Javadi says it was one of his men? Fine. If it was, it doesn't matter exactly which guy, but how did it happen? How did that guy get there? How did he get to Brody's car? Did Javadi set up Brody on purpose for some reason? I would think that a security failure like that would be important for the CIA to follow up on since they now know that Brody didn't do it. Or do they still think it was Brody?

  • This episode felt like a series finale and that is what it will be for me. It took three seasons to unravel the sweater that was Carrie and Brody. The possibilities of where the show goes from here doesn't really interest me. I don't think Carrie as a solo act isn't enough to carry the series and if they bring in "Brody 2, The Quickening," the show will be as fresh as yesterday's fish. Thanks for the ride Homeland, but this is my stop

  • RilesSD

    I've really enjoyed the entire season, credible or not. But I was really annoyed with the finale. Almost the entire episode was basically the audience explaining to Carrie, over and over again, that she has to let go of Brody. I'm glad it's finally done, but it was painful to watch. And for it to be a big deal for Carrie and Brody to be connected in Iran, there are a hell of a lot of people that knew and saw them. She's the only white person in town and no one notices her? She climbs the fence? She tells the soldier she knows Javadi???

    Also, I'm still unclear on who moved Brody's car before the explosion. I still think it might be Mira (or that would be a good twist at least), and I thought Javadi might tell Carrie to calm her down at the end. Speaking of Mira, she looked damn good reading that newspaper on the sun deck.

    Lastly, Saul needs to be back next season. He's the show's rock. Tracey Letts did great work, hope he's back too.

  • Sean

    The only woman at the execution. The only foreign woman in a country where every foreigner is followed and bugged. She probably would gotten shot climbing the fence like that.

  • Dominic

    no they showed other women walking that way . Just that the men all pushed to the front ....(Sighs) whaddya want them to do ? It's a soap opera , you don't kill off BOTH lead characters same show .... or get Carrie imprisoned ..tho i would remind you all not ALL Muslims are dusky-skinned . As long as she wears the scarf she's fine . It's not that Muslim cities are lawless like the WW West ... maybe they could have put a rape threat scene( like it happens in India - Read the WaPost story from Monday .. ) channel the Lara Logan assault , have the uncle have to rescue her ... But it'd have slowed down the show

  • Guest

    I have to say I was disappointed. The last three seasons were a great ride but it just seems a little meaningless after the finale last night.

    I will miss Damien Lewis and hopefully he finds another TV gig soon.

    *Chris is totally the Langley Bomber.

    **Thanks for your recaps Cindy.

    ***Where was "Cool Hand" Brody from last night's finale in Season 1 and 2? Or was all that was needed was a training montage?

    ***Where was Fara?

  • Thank you for reading.

  • lowercase_ryan

    wtf is Chris?

  • Guest

    This guy:

  • lowercase_ryan

    !!

  • lowercase_ryan

    First and foremost, thank you Cindy for your recaps and for our frantic FB discussions about this show all season. I will miss them (at least until Justified starts in 2 weeks).

    Now thoughts:
    This felt like the series was wrapping up, which is odd because it isn't. I do applaud the writers for having everything flow logically, or as logically as required by the premise. He did have to die and any attempt to save him would have cheapened the whole thing. Carrie remains one of the most selfish characters on TV, but I get it and it makes sense, but I'm also over it. I can accept a bi-polar nutter becoming station chief, but I can't accept an insubordinate, rogue, bi-polar nutter getting the position.

    I don't think the show survives without Saul. His relationship with Carrie was the soul of the show and I don't see it surviving without him. But I pray they are careful about how they bring him back into the fold. Don't make it silly or stupid. I don't want it to feel forced.

    I'm convinced that Dar Adal is 110% team America. He's going to do the right thing for the country and the company, no matter what. In some ways I actually trust him more than Saul now.

    My biggest gripe is that the whole CIA bombing plotline appears to be done and that is just bullshit. I want to know how that whole thing went down. How the hell are we just supposed to forget about it??

    Also, if the following things don't happen to Lockhart next year I will riot;
    - political ruination
    - public humiliation
    - physical beatdown

    I won't settle for anything less than all three.

  • Dominic

    She won . And Saul won , so that washes down to her . She was right twice - 1st that Brody didn't do it 2nd that he could finish the mission ..

    whether they admit that publicly or not they KNOW . Winners get compensated , In This Town
    You want Lockhart to be their Homie ?? Lol he's the comedy thread next season .....

  • Thank you for reading!

    I'm not sure selfish is the right word for Carrie--very internalized, maybe? Almost unaware, but that's not the right word either. She does what she thinks is right, rest of the world be damned, but I don't believe she consciously does things for herself. In fact, she puts her own well-being toward the bottom of the list. But I get where you're coming from.

    I think Langley was explained--Javadi had a guy who placed the bomb in Brody's vehicle. He traded having someone held responsible for getting Javadi into the leadership position he's in; I'd guess the American public still thinks it was Brody--and no one will bother trying to change that perception. What more is supposed to happen?

    Agree on Lockhart, and fully expect that to happen.

  • RilesSD

    I'd still like to know who moved the car. Or did I miss that explanation? That's a big deal.

  • THE MOLE, of course! I mean, why get hung up on this one detail? How did a bomb get on the grounds at all? Theoretically, someone could have brought the car round for Brody. Someone could have pretended to be Brody on the phone, asking for it to be brought round. A million different possibilities.

  • RilesSD

    It's important though. The Langley bombing is the entire reason that Brody was escaped out of the country, was finally irreversibly made persona non-grata to Lockhart, led to Carrie's never-ending tirade to clear Brody's name, etc. I find it odd that they didn't wrap that plot point up.

  • I don't think it's all that important who drove the car around, since we know one of Javadi's guys placed the bomb. It's only important if that guy gets up to further no good. I do agree there's a security problem and presume it's being addressed in some way, but important to the overall story now? Nah. It falls under Javadi, who's been turned (to an extent).

  • Dominic

    Gotta save SOMETHING for next season , guys ...

  • lowercase_ryan

    no, they never said

  • Guest

    My biggest gripe is that the whole CIA bombing plotline appears to be done and that is just bullshit. I want to know how that whole thing went down. How the hell are we just supposed to forget about it??

    I totally agree, that has to be season 4 which I totally see going the Rubicon route.

    *Pours one out for Rubicon.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I need to go back and watch that. Rubicon I mean.

  • No you don't. Zzzz.

  • Guest

    Boo to you Cindy, Rubicon did really take the "slow" in slow boil to heart but was totally worth it and had a fantastic cast.

  • I tried; I slept.

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