I wish I could offer a more substantive take on last night’s season anticlimactic season finale of Homeland, but all I can offer is that it was a donkey turd hanging precariously from a thin string of intestinal coil. What the hell was that?
I mean, I understand that Game of Thrones ushered in this whole “the penultimate episode is the real finale” trend, but it seems like their season finales did more than simply provide the groundwork for the next season. That’s almost all that “Mother Lode” did last night, and after a phenomenal, bounceback season of the Showtime series, I had hoped for not only more for this season, but a more compelling glimpse into the fifth season. If that’s the storyline that’s going to play out next year, I’m not that interested.
Essentially, the finale was an epilogue to this season, and a prologue for next, and on both counts, it was a disappointment. How did this season wind down? Everyone came back to America to attend the funeral of Carrie’s father (RIP James Rebhorn), sat around and had a few drinks, and Carrie finally reciprocated Peter Quinn’s romantic overtures. Momentarily, at least.
Because, see, Carrie had other things on her mind besides Quinn. She had decided to become a mom to her daughter, Fannie, and it turns out, she had a mother we’ve never been introduced to reappear in her life after a 15-year absence. Apparently, she also has a half brother in Missouri. Guess who cares about this turn of events? NOBODY. Last week, we’re dealing with a dangerous Taliban terrorist and a shadowy American conspiracy orchestrated by Dar Adal to keep Haissam Haqqani in power, and this week, Carrie is confronting her mom on a school playground about her decision to abandon the family.
I can’t even.
That turn of events, however, did discourage Peter Quinn from romantically pursuing Carrie any further (for now, at least). And after vowing to get out (for the third time, at least), Quinn heads out to Iraq via Syria to, presumably, do some more bidding for Dar Adal, which means that — come this time next season — Peter will probably vow to get out once again (no, really! This time it’s for real! What’s that? You have another mission for me? Oh, well, nevermind then).
Peter’s trip at least has the potential to be an interesting wrinkle next year as long as Carrie gets out of suburbia and follows him. Saul’s turn of events — agreeing to prioritize his career over “sedition” and put his hat in the ring to become the head of the CIA, much to the consternation of Carrie — also has some intriguing potential. However, there could’ve been far more interesting ways to play that out than the exchange of a memory chip at a diner.
Mostly, the episode was a letdown of epic proportions, in part because we had come to expect so much from the series. Given the events that unraveled over the course of the last 12 episodes, I couldn’t help but flinch every time Quinn came on screen because I feared that he’d be taken out by Dar Adal at any moment. As much as it might have pained us to lose Quinn, it might have salvaged the otherwise inert finale. There was also a small part of me that had hoped that Carrie’s house would blow up while she was in Missouri, which — while a devastating cop-out — would’ve at least taken her family out of the Homeland equation.
Indeed, Homeland came too far this season to return to its old chicken-shit ways and punt a character into the next season to keep a romantic torch burning. If the second and third season of Homeland taught us anything, it’s that we don’t care about Carrie’s love life. We also don’t care about her baby, or her mother, or her sister. Stick with the spying, and spare us the rest. You’re better than this, Homeland. You proved it over the course of the last four or five episodes.