Homeland, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4 | reviews, news & interviews
Homeland, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4
Homeland, Series 3 Finale, Channel 4
Scorched-earth policy leaves 'Homeland' facing an uncertain future (warning: contains spoilers!)
Homeland's coming home? Well not exactly, but the conclusion to this crazy, mixed-up third series did suddenly feel as if the writers had finally managed to express something that they'd been groping towards for the last three months. Namely, if the show was to stay on the road (series four is in the works), Brody had to go.
The endgame to Brody's assassination assignment to Tehran was brutal and shocking, but given the stakes being played for it kind of had to be. True, you had to swallow enormous skip-loads of steaming disbelief before you could allow yourself to experience the cathartic shock of the whole thing. For instance, the way the pitifully broken and drug-addicted husk of Brody had been briskly knocked into shape by plenty of manly exercise and buddyhood with a squad of Navy SEALS, then sent off into the heart of enemy territory on a lone suicide mission, would have been fine in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but maybe not so much in an adult drama series. The nerveless efficiency with which Brody approached his task made James Bond look like Alan Carr.
There were also some jarring interventions by Basil Exposition, like the speech to Carrie by Iranian deputy intelligence chief Majid Jivadi (played by the sinister Shaun Toub). For her, everything had always been about Brody, he pointed out sagely, suddenly sounding more like a relationship therapist than the black-hearted murderer he in fact is. It was as if the writers had turned apologetically to the viewers to say, "You know what, we never quite expained this properly." Meanwhile, Brody's wife and kids had been airbrushed out of the picture entirely.
Nonetheless, the episode contained possibly the most powerfully emotional moments ever seen in Homeland. The scene where Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin, pictured above), the outgoing CIA chief, had to grapple with the notion of letting Brody be captured in order to further the strategy of getting their mole into the heart of the Iranian state was truly agonising, and made you wonder how anybody can ever stand to do this kind of work.
It was a life-changing episode for Carrie Mathison too. Having endured the horror of seeing Brody publicly strung up from a giant crane, she was left awaiting the birth of his baby after being appointed CIA station chief - the youngest ever, we learned - in Istanbul. Claire Danes rose heroically to the watershed moment when she gazed back at her past life across an unbridgeable chasm, and it all suddenly collapsed on top of her. "I'm so fucking sad," she sobbed.
For Brody (pictured left in Iranian captivity), the ending couldn't have been more harsh, but at least it was an ending. "I want it to be over," he told Carrie. Brody has been a ghost ever since his initial return from years in captivity in the first series, a lost soul wandering in no-man's land. His absence from most of this series reflected the difficulty of finding a role for a man who had become the War on Terror's own Flying Dutchman, and in the end all they could do was send him back to the other side.
In a piteous coda, Carrie drew a commemorative star for Brody on the CIA's Memorial Wall with a felt tip pen, after new boss Lockhart had denied him that honour in view of his previous treachery. This was despite the fact that he'd finally helped bring about a diplomatic détente between Iran and the USA. Series four will start with a newly-levelled playing field, but an uncertain future.
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