Homeland: “One Last Time” Season 3 Episode 9 Review

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One thing as become abundantly clear: Nicholas Brody has to die.

For many fans of Homeland, I’m sure that Brody and Carrie’s relationship has been a driving force to keep coming back week after week. It’s not difficult to see why. By this point their pairing has developed so many layers, it’s like the world’s largest onion of emotional intricacy. Onscreen, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are hypnotic. They have the sort of alluring chemistry that you rarely find on TV today. The scene at the beginning of the episode where Carrie first sits down next to Brody’s bedside was electrifying. Yet, everything that followed proved just why it’s time to put these moments to rest.

Remember back in the first season when Carrie was a real character? She was brilliant, albeit deeply troubled, and had a lingering intensity that you couldn’t look away from. We’ve seen glimpses of her throughout this season, but ultimately that Carrie jumped ship a long time ago. Now, it seems like everything she does is for Brody. She breaks protocol, puts her life in danger, and constantly makes rash decisions because she’ll try just about anything to bring him back home. Sure, it could be argued that season 1 created the whole Carrie-Brody dynamic in the first place, but the show also allowed each of them to exist in their own right. It seems like the only way we’ll get back to where things were, is if Brody is out of the picture completely.

I say this because the writers seem to be keeping Brody around for the sole benefit of having him in more scenes with Carrie. Everything else they’ve labored him with in this episode feels a little ridiculous. I’m not sure which was worse: his gruesome withdrawal period, or his strangely upbeat training montage. No, it was definitely the training montage. It only seemed to benefit Saul, who’s concocted a rather confusing mission to put Javadi as the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. He’s putting a lot of trust in some extremely volatile people, so I won’t be surprised if his plan comes crashing down.

The riskiness of this mission, however, makes me think that Homeland might actually have the guts to kill Brody off.  That, and Brody’s final scene with Dana, are effective ways of showing him out the door. Their interaction was intriguing, and allowed for Morgan Saylor to do something other that grumble. Still, I have to admit to being pulled out of the world of the show for several minutes during this scene. Did anyone else find it amusing that Brody was so desperate to see Dana, and yet made no mention whatsoever of his OTHER CHILD?  Way to play favorites, dude. Although, can you really blame him? Chris Brody is such an underwritten character, that his whole existence has become unintentionally hilarious.

I’m not really sure where else to fit this in, but I absolutely detested the subplot involving Alaine and Senator Lockhart. It seems that Mira’s lover was nothing more than a plot device so that Saul could extend a deadline.  Seriously, this entire storyline resulted in Saul and Co. now having more time to complete their mission. That’s it. After seeing the subtle turmoil of Saul and Mira’s marriage, I feel pretty gypped.

This entire episode felt a little absurd, but I think it will be somewhat worth it if it works to put a permanent end to Brody’s storyline. Recent reports have confirmed that Meredith Stiehm, one of Homeland‘s original writers who left to work on FX’s The Bridge, has returned to pen the season finale.  For those who don’t know, Stiehm is responsible for much of Carrie’s initial character development. She also wrote the gripping season 1 episode “The Weekend,” where Carrie first takes Brody up to her cabin by the lake.  Hopefully, this news means a big turnaround.  Things have been going fairly well this season, and I would hate for everything to be marred because the writers are afraid to pull the trigger. Grade: B-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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