Homeland: “The Star” Season 3 Finale Review

Photo Credit: http://www.avclub.com/review/the-star-106502

Homeland‘s third season came to a close with one of the greatest returns to form in television history. I’m already counting down the days till season 4.

There’s a moment in the finale when Brody recants what the Doctor told him in Caracas. He’s sitting with Carrie in a safehouse and admits that he is a cockroach, un-killable while misery spreads around him. This mission, he says, has been about his redemption. Anyone who’s been following this mishmash of a season, however, knows that the writers weren’t just referring to his character when they wrote this line.  Brody’s arc, and this episode as a whole, served as a sort of redemption for the entire show.  After a season of desperately trying to work itself out of the corner it was backed into, Homeland seems to be finally coming out on top.

The major scene that everyone will be talking about at the water cooler this week is [SPOILER ALERT] of course Brody’s hanging. I’m greatly relieved to see that the show wasn’t afraid to take the risk and off one of its major characters, having realized that his time was up. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I could take another season of this show with Brody. His death came as somewhat of a relief.

Even more surprising was the brilliant way in which the show led up to this moment. I haven’t felt a thing for Brody all season, and yet watching Carrie scream his name from behind a fence was effectively wrenching.  This is due in part to some truly phenomenal acting from Claire Danes.  Her performances have been the most consistently good thing about the show each week, but here she really outdid herself. Carrie’s “oh God…” on the phone to Saul as she realizes there’s nothing she can do for Brody was totally heartbreaking.

The other aspect of the episode that worked so well was the script. Returning series writer Meredith Stiehm did an amazing job in making us believe in these characters again by giving them smart, grounded dialogue.  Carrie’s conversation with Brody in the safehouse reminded me a lot of their time at the lake from season 1.  The one diversion from this occurred when Carrie dramatically revealed her pregnancy, followed by her admittance that she believed she was put on this earth so she and Brody could cross paths.  Um, yeah…no you weren’t, Carrie. I guess they had to clue Brody in on the baby somehow, but this was just ridiculous.  It’s a shame because everything else in that scene–and everything else that followed–worked so well.

Speaking of the baby, it’s the one loose end that the show leaves us to ponder while we’re waiting for next season.  Carrie breaks down and confesses that she wants to give up the baby after it’s born.  She doesn’t think she would be able to raise it, especially now that she’s accepted a Station Chief position in Istanbul. Personally, I think it’s the smartest decision she’s made all season. From what I’ve seen, Carrie doesn’t have a motherly bone in her body.  She’s much better off in a control room than a nursery. Though Carrie’s father offers to raise the baby, there’s never a clear indication of her final choice. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how this resolves itself next year, but I’m glad the writers are leaning toward not making her a mother.

Other than that, everything about this finale felt…well…final. Saul succeeded in using Javadi to change Iran’s political climate and is now off to work in the private sector. (Quick Aside: does anyone know the location of the cliffside property where he and Mira were staying? I want to move there immediately. End of Aside.) Senator Lockhart is now the new CIA director, and Dar Adal is his right-hand man. I’m still unsure of his necessity as a character, but I did appreciate his diner scene with Saul where they ordered “two Old Schools.” Perhaps Dar will serve as the voice of reason when things get too heated for Lockhart.

The show did a lot of work to completely put this season’s story to bed. In a way, it felt like more of a series finale than a season finale. Which is exactly why it was so perfect. Homeland is finally rid of all the nonsense that was holding it back for the past two years. Now it can begin anew, and completely rebuild itself from the ground up. The Sharpie star that Carrie draws on the CIA Memorial Wall is an excellent symbol for what’s to come.  The saga of Nicholas Brody will not be forgotten, but it’s definitely time to move on. His death, coupled with the news that Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor will not be returning as series regulars, makes me think that Homeland has a bright future ahead of it. Grade: A-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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