Homeland: Season 2 - Final episode reviewed
Review by Rob Carnevale
IF THE word from America was to be believed then the second season finale of Homeland represented a disappointment among certain critics and fans.
Admittedly, the sophomore run of the show has had as many lowpoints as high ones, while credibility has suffered, but when it’s mattered it has delivered the goods.
And the final hour or so was no exception. Things began slowly… Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) got to hang out at their cabin in the woods discussing the prospect of a future together, all the while being watched by black ops assassin Quinn (Rupert Friend), who has orders to kill Brody.
The scenes in question were intimate and often quite touching. Carrie displayed a greater vulnerability than we’ve recently grown accustomed to and was actually less irritating, while Brody wore the look of a man at ease with himself, grateful for the second chance that Carrie had afforded him. Both Danes and Lewis were on superb form.
And then, roughly 10 minutes in, came the first moment of truth. With Carrie out to get croissants, Brody took to the lakeshore to pray and Quinn crept up behind him, lined him up in his sights and placed his finger on the trigger… was Homeland about to lose one of its primary characters? You could have cut the tension with a knife.
But Brody survived. Quinn decided that he was no longer a bad guy and that the CIA should honour its side of the bargain they made with him to capture Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). His decision even extended so far as to threaten CIA boss Estes (David Harewood) that if he touched Brody, then he could forget his own life in the process.
So far, so brilliant. But what next? The next half an hour or so was filled with questions. Who would Carrie decide to spend the rest of her life with? The CIA or Brody? Would Estes remain true to his word? Would there be a sting in the tale?
Carrie did eventually decide to run off with Brody, much to the disdain of Saul (the ever excellent Mandy Patinkin). But she would first attend the funeral of former US vice president Walden to support Brody.
And therein lay the sting that the episode had long been threatening to deliver. Just when a happy ending appeared to be on the cards for these two unlikeliest of love-birds, a bomb went off that destroyed the CIA building all were assembled in, killing Estes and Walden’s wife and family in the process.
Carrie and Brody survived. But the bomb had been planted in his car and with 200 people dead the blame was now firmly being laid at his door. To make matters worse, the suicide tape he had made prior to failing to complete his original plan (at the end of season one) was leaked to the media.
Suddenly, Brody was America’s most wanted. Carrie, for her part, had a moment of doubt. But then decided to help smuggle him out of the country, initially planning to go on the run with him.
But she couldn’t go through with the decision and returned to Langley, where new acting head of the agency, Saul, was waiting for her. The episode ended with a smile from Saul. But what are the implications for season three?
How much will Brody feature? And who was responsible for the bomb? Was it, as Brody suggested, part of Abu Nazir’s elaborate plan all along? Surely not, for the number of coincidences required for that to have worked would strain the show’s credibility still further.
So, did Quinn leave Brody alive for another reason (to make him a patsy)? And will we see more of his superior, played by F Murray Abraham, in the future?
What’s more, will Saul believe and support Carrie in her quest to clear Brody’s name? And will the show be focused on reuniting this pair of tragic lovers? Or will the focus now shift more to being the Carrie and Saul show?
No matter what lies in store, the final moments of Season 2 had us gripped, while simultaneously scrambling to keep up. We didn’t want it to end and we couldn’t wait for it to continue.
Hence, while Homeland has fallen somewhat from the lofty standards set by Season 1, it remains in good shape to continue moving forward, albeit with a constantly evolving scenario.
And with all of its three central players intact, as well as season two hit Rupert Friend also set to return to the mix, the ingredients still look pretty mouth-watering indeed. We’re looking forward to seeing where this show takes us next.