HOMELAND Season 3 Finale: Some Thoughts - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOMELAND Season 3 Finale: Some Thoughts

December 15, 2013 by  

[This post contains massive spoilers about the third season finale of HOMELAND. Please do not read unless you’ve seen the episode.]

Well, HOMELAND finally (figuratively) pulled the trigger: Brody is dead.

This wasn’t exactly a shocking development. Between some of the more on-the-nose comments, his redemption mission (which included him completing the task in the place “where it all started”), and then the good stretch of time in tonight’s hour after he was captured and then sentenced to death, they were basically flashing in strobe lights that, nope, Brody wasn’t going to make it out of this one, no matter how much some people might have wanted him to; heck, Brody surviving season 3 would have almost been more surprising than his death. But as much as the Brody storyline felt played out in some ways, there is a large part of me that is deeply concerned this was a big mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the series could — or should have — sustained another year of “is Brody a good guy?” narrative. And realistically, I’m not sure how they could have worked him into the story if they weren’t playing that card. (I would have been fine if they had sent him off, somewhere, alive, but I also recognize that would have been repeating what they did at the end of last season.) But for me, so much of what has made this show work, what made it so grippingly compelling, was the dynamic between Carrie and Brody. They never were meant for a happily ever after (I’m surprised Carrie didn’t miscarry), but putting Claire Danes (Carrie) and Damian Lewis (Brody) together in a room and letting them do their thing produced some of the best hours of television in the past few years. (“The Weekend” and “Q&A” to name a few.) Even when HOMELAND was at its lowest, they made it better.

HOMELAND almost prepped its audience for the loss of Brody with season 3 (he was absent in half of the year’s episodes), but quite frankly, that’s what makes me concerned about this move: Danes continued to shine, but so much of the plot (and the show) felt unfocused for the first two-thirds of the year…until Brody came back and the mission of the season became clear. It’s entirely possible that if I had felt the first portion of the season had been stronger overall (it had its moments, especially after Carrie and Saul’s long-con was exposed), I’d feel better about a Brody-less HOMELAND. But…

Of course, the show told us repeatedly in the hour why this was a good thing: Brody was now redeemed. (At least, as much as he ever possibly could be given his terrorist past.) People finally saw the Brody that Carrie saw. That was basically the most that she (and we as viewers) could have asked for, realistically. And, heck, I can admit that Carrie’s phone call to Saul, when she finally realized that Brody was going to die and she had no more cards to play, made me cry. I can completely admit the hour made me feel more than the show has in a bit.

Of course, in theory, Saul is gone from the CIA, too. I doubt Mandy Patinkin (Saul) is off of HOMELAND, but the Saul/Carrie relationship was equally as vital to the show’s DNA and what made things work. Right now, he seems firm in his desire to stay far away from things. And if we’ve lost the Carrie and Brody back-and-forth, it’s absolutely depressing to think we might be spending part of next season without Saul and Carrie, too.

Of course, these are all issues that are months away. It’s possible HOMELAND will surprise me completely and season 4 will be its best yet. Right now, I’m just hoping this massive reset button the writers just pushed won’t take away the magic from the show.

Enough from me…what did you think of HOMELAND?

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