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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.