HOMELAND Season Finale Recap: “The Choice”

     December 16, 2012


There’s no denying that the back half of this season of Homeland started sliding off a cliff, and like Boardwalk Empire (which also just finished up a shaky run) many Homeland fans were looking for this finale to right a lot of the wrongs elsewhere in the season, something Boardwalk Empire did a few weeks ago with aplomb.  Promos for the finale teased high drama and emotions, and conversations this past week among friends, fans and even strangers in line at the grocery store all had the same conclusion about where the series was “clearly” headed.  But in “The Choice,” Homeland reminded us why we should never take anything for granted.  Hit the jump for more on this topsy turvy finale episode.

homeland-season-2-poster-1There was little doubt in anyone’s mind going into “The Choice” that Brody would be killed off.  It would be a tough choice because Damian Lewis is fantastic and brings so much to the show, but he was also an albatross that hung around the Homeland‘s second season.  Had Brody, and the show, “gone there” to end the first season, the series would have ended on a tragic, though rather perfect, note.  But Homeland was never meant to be a miniseries, and to keep the show running Brody has to remain on the run – from his family, from Nazir, from the CIA, from himself.

The first 40 minutes of “The Choice” seemed to back the theory of Brody’s demise, since it played out like a long, slow goodbye letter.  He and Carrie returned back to the woods, “their place” as she says.  He has a moment with Dana, and even hands his family off to Mike.  He prayed in the morning sun.

The explosion at the CIA seemed to change everything, but did it?  Homeland‘s duality is never far — Brody claims someone moved his car, but knew definitively (and very quickly) that Nazir was behind things, and had sacrificed himself and Roya to achieve it.  Does that suggest a deeper knowledge of the attack?  After all, why would Nazir have let Brody go this last time except to execute another plan?

Brody broke things off with Jess pretty cleanly, all things considered — was this part of his plan?  When he returned to his house to retrieve his suit, he also looked in the closet at the top rack.  Was he surprised at how Jess had laid out all of his things, or was he looking for the vest he didn’t detonate?  Did he put that vest in his car when he left?  Is he innocent?  Guilty?  Why was Carrie’s first instinct to suspect him for the attack?  Because he had looked sad a moment before?  Because she knows, deep down, he’s still a terrorist?

homeland-the-choice-damien-lewis-1Just after the episode aired I watched a short video featuring Homeland‘s executive producer Alex Gansa, wherein it seems Brody’s innocence is taken for granted.  I’m hoping things aren’t quite so clear cut in the third season, although it brings back the issue of why Brody wasn’t killed off … again.  Though Nazir is gone, there are new targets in his place, but what (if anything) is Brody’s connection to them?  And even if his name is cleared as being the culprit in the attack, the most shocking moment may truly have been the revelation of his terrorist video tape by Al Qaeda.  Now Brody’s lies won’t help him any more — his family knows, the nation knows, the world knows of his intentions.

The Brody Problem is one the show can’t seem to address well — can’t live with him, can’t live without him.  And as big of a fan as I am of the star-crossed lovers motif in general, there’s something boring and, well, just plain annoying about Brody and Carrie’s extended scenes together.  It’s like being stuck in full view of an overly amorous PDA couple that makes everyone uncomfortable around them, which is an unfortunate development.  ”Get a room!” (or a cabin! or a boat in international waters!)

homeland-the-choice-claire-danesRegarding the rest of the carnage, eradicating the Waldens negated any relevance to Dana’s storyline earlier in the season, as if we needed any more proof of that being a waste of time.  But getting rid of Estes was particularly strange since there still seemed so much there that was ripe for exploration regarding Estes, Quinn, Carrie and Saul (plus I’ll miss David Harewood).  Galvez was also confirmed dead, which, poor thing.  He barely escapes another terror attack, then gets blamed for Nazir’s escape because he’s Muslim, and then dies in a second Nazir attack.  Kid can’t catch a break!  Still, for what’s left of the CIA, it’s a great setup having Saul and Carrie basically running the agency to start the third season, with Quinn surely in a heavily conflicted role about not pulling the trigger when he had the chance.

Did the finale make up for the other missteps of the season: the dropped plot lines (Lauter and the search for truth about Tom Walker, Dana and Finn’s doomed romance and killing spree, Chris and that damnable game of Hearts), Carrie’s recovery from bipolar which we will only mention when convenient, the fact that Dana only has one pair of shoes, or the endless coincidences that question the credibility of the show’s believable universe?  It has certainly made things interesting for Season Three, and maybe that’s all we can ask for.  I would argue that we really should ask for more, but it’s what we have.  And it’s something.

Episode Rating: A-, Season Rating: B+

homeland-season-2-posterMusings and Miscellanea:

– “What is all this squishy bullshit” – Estes

– Quinn’s “turn” was interesting, especially because it basically allowed the explosion horror to take place.  Great scene between him and Estes though, and finally showed that he has a code.

– “You’re the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known” – Saul

– Saul for all the awards, by the way.

– So will Carrie confess to Saul she helped Brody escape?  How else can her whereabouts be accounted for?

– At least if Mira comes back maybe Saul won’t be so mopey.

– The idea of Nazir still pulling the strings from beyond the grave is fitting.

– As soon as any character says “I have a second chance! A clean slate! We can be happy, right?” they’re doomed.

– How was Brody going to know where to go 20 miles in the dark woods?

– Dana is going to throw a lot of milk over Brody’s terrorist revelation.  I don’t think he can come back from this regarding his relationship with his family.

– Homeland didn’t “go there” in Season One, and now repeated the theme to end Season Two.  Mistake or brilliant twist?

– This has been great fun — thanks to everyone who accompanied me to this Cabin of Trust.  See you next year!


  • Bb

    Yes it’s here! Couldn’t wait for this recap!!

    It’s obvious that Brody is guilty. The look he has when getting out of his car, looking around cautiously. Entering in a very deliberate fashion. Sure Carrie is the reason he left the room, but lets not forget he was willing to die with a vest before… He can do it again.. It’s only when he finds out he could have a life with Carrie that he seems to care at all. The only thing is he always claimed not to be a terrorist and this was always about walden dying.

    Why drag out the internal dilemma to kill walden for Nazir? Did his death spart some antipatriosm?

    All I know for sure is that Damian Lewis may be too good of an actor because his emotions this entire episode made his motives clear.

  • Deuterium

    It would be ridiculous behavior, on the part of Brody, to notice and comment on how his car had been moved…if he truly was behind the bombing. Why would he say anything at all? And for that matter, if it was a suicide mission, why would he leave the ceremony and accompany Carrie to a safer location, further from the blast radius. It makes no sense…that is why I believe that Brody was innocent of the bombing, and did not know that the C4 was planted in his SUV.

    • Bb

      He makes notice of the car when realizing he has a chance to be with Carrie, knowing that it would eventually get out (as it did) that it was his car, he needed to plant the seed that he was oblivious. We will never know if it was truly a suicide mission because Carrie had him leave.. Maybe he was going to leave on his own either way. And of it was a suicide mission, he’s been known to get cold feet… The idea of staying alive and still completing the mission would be nice. I think you, like Carrie, are only seeing the pieces you want to see. Plus, Carrie takes him away from the blast, not the other way around so he had to play the part to make sure things went off without a hitch. I suggest you rematch him as he enters the building, very intentful and deliberate.

      • Danny

        Nah, I think Brody’s innocent. First, as it was stated above, Brody pointed out his car was moved. Second, I’m pretty sure Al Queda planned on Brody dying with everyone else. That way he can’t defend himself after he’s already dead. Thirdly, what does he have to gain from doing this? Walden and Abu Nazir are already dead. And lastly, why would Brody put the bomb in HIS car and walk OUT of the ceremony? If he was in on it and wanted to survive, he would have put it in another car, not put it in his car, leave, and survive the blast so everyone can blame him for it. His life would be over and he would be forced to run for the rest of his life. Al Queda framed him, IMO. Then again, anything is possible with this show.

      • Bb

        Well to your point of it being in his car, how else would he get a large bomb there?. But taking that point, lets assume then it was a suicide bombing like last time. As for what he has to gain, he believes in the cause… Plain and simple. And again he pointed out the car realizing 1 he will now survive given The blast radius, and 2 Carrie wants to be with him, so he is setting up his “innocence.”

        There’s a million ways they can bend this in s3, but there is no way given his reaction to nazirs death, walking out of his car, the way he looked at wardens wife, and his overwhelmingly obvious “oh shit” face when he was given a better option in life, that he is not behind it.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think it can be Brody. He always said he doesn’t want innocent people dying. He was adamant about that since season 1. No way he would kill 200 people just to get Estes

  • tee

    Because of the all the twists and turns of the first season, everyone is understandably suspicious of Brody. But the conspiracy theories are getting tiring. At no point this season has Brody revealed to be smarter than he appears, which is why we should take his innocence at face value.

  • Mauricio V.

    Oh Allison, I love your reviews, you are such an amazing writter!
    At the begining of the episode was thinking that this season final was bullshit compare with the glorious season final 1, but clearly, I was wrong, very wrong.
    When the car exploted everything change, I never though something like that could happened!
    I love that they used the old video of Broddy to show the world who they think he really is, that was brilliant.
    I like to think that Brody is innocent and Saul is behind everything, but in the deep of my heart, I know that’s no true.
    Anyway, I just want to said: That final scene, with Saul and all those bodies covered was creepy, really creepy and emotional, I think Michael Cuesta will won the Emmy for best direction next year for that scene, was incredible.

  • Bob

    Lost me when she threw Brodys cellphone out the window. Whomever gets it-oh well!!! She would have drowned it before she broke it into 1000′s of pieces!!

  • Keigniz

    If you watched Inception, the viewer has a choice at the end: to believe in reality or to believe in an alternate, dream-world reality. Much of the same can be said for this finale; viewers are left with questions needing to be answered and look for any detail that can give anything away. I’m aware now how much of a fool’s game this is, immersed in it as I am at this moment.

    That being said, I believe in Brody, I believe he probably has some answers to the attack in some indirect way, and I believe Carrie will be a force to be reckoned with in the 3rd season, Quinn and Saul pushing her to pursue her intelligence instincts and holding her back when personal matters arise. Gonna miss Estes, and I hope that Brody’s family survives what is sure to be tremendous backlash without him, truly the biggest losers in the storyline.

  • Mars

    Umm, I don’t know a single person stupid enough to even think they were going to assassinate Brody. RIP Estes, they always kill off the black guy (RIP Tom Walker). Now they’ll just play the mystery of whodunit and Brody probably won’t get much play in s3. Saul sure acted kinda suspicious in this ep.

  • Northern Star

    With ‘Homeland’ now wrapped, let’s hope executive producer Howard Gordon can turn his full attention to getting the ’24′ movie greenlit for production next year… make it so HoGo!

  • homeland

    IT WAS QUINN WHO DID IT. Why else would he have been so intent on Brody living? Also at the end Saul says to check if the c4 was the same as the stuff in Gettysberg. Quinn could have gotten some of that C4. Quinn wanted Brody to live so he could plant the C4 in his car. HES AL QUEDA!!!!!

  • Mike

    I’m not so sure about Brody’s innocence. I rewatched Brody’s and Carrie’s exit from the ceremony and it seems he initiates it. It also seems it was a deliberate omission on the editor’s part to not show Carrie walking outside like they did for Brody. This could have just been the path they both took. Maybe there was a courtyard from one part of the building to another. However, they make it seem Brody is immediately behind Carrie following her to the elevator. Could he have had time to move his car then and this was all just clever editing? If he is guilty, he needed Carrie to get him out of the country. It seems Brody was satisfied with just Walden’s death. Could Nazir have recruited him again to kill Estes and everyone else at Walden’s ceremony? This also may have been why Nazir let Carrie go and threatening to kill her was all a show for Carrie.

  • hg

    why does’nt this site review dexter which had a superior finale and was quite a game changer?

  • Andy

    the episode was dope….what a way to sends fans off til the next season. It seems a lot of you believe brody was the guilty one but all things considering i think its saul who is up to no good. What was up with that convo between him and carrie ab out her taking over estes job and his whole demeanor after he was let go. Him and galvez did it i think suicide mission for galvez and saul the mastermind. that would be pretty fuckin sweet twist for next year. Just a couple thoughts.

  • Lance

    Carrie has turned traitor. While he held her captive Nazir performed a mind-meld on her, so after he died he can still carry out his evil plots in Carrie’s body. But the REAL mastermind behind everything is Dana. That’s why she can creep up on people all the time the way she does. She knows all, and sees all.

    • jb

      The “Dana” logic is brilliant. Way to go Lance!!! You Rock.

    • jb

      Lance, the Dana thing is brilliant!!!!

  • patl

    I enjoyed the finale….was’nt expecting the explosion. The only thing i can say is i wont be watching next season without Lewis….the show is pretty much dead to me without my favorite characters….bad Showtime.

  • jb

    Dude, that was brilliant!!!!

  • tmmm

    still think the flashback of brody’s encounter with nazir suggests there was other stuff said between them that is unseen by the viewer.

  • cap

    I can’t believe how many people think Brody did it. To me it makes absolutely no sense at all. Just rewatch the episode when Nazir kidnaps Carrie and makes Brody do what he did. How would that make any sense if the plan was to set off the bomb and Brody was part of it all along? If Brody’s actually guilty and they reveal it in season 3 I’m giving up on this show. Because it would mean creators are willing to throw red herrings that disregard elemental logic.

    • Mike

      It doesn’t mean that Brody was in on all of it. Nazir may have manufactured all of this to get his key chess piece back in play. Brody is mentally and emotionally unstable. Why is it such a stretch of logic that Nazir may have been able to manipulate that vulnerability again? Brody made it clear he did not want to kill innocent civilians, however, it’s unclear what Brody thinks of the civilians at the CIA and it’s not far fetched to think his latest interaction with the CIA motivated him to kill more than just Walden. Sure, Nazir gave Brody the opportunity to kill Walden without any collateral damage but that wasn’t their only target. Like someone else said, there was definitely more conversation between Nazir and Brody that we haven’t seen. Consider Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation tends to be the right one. Brody is a terrorist. He will always be a terrorist. Are we forgetting he assassinated the Vice President? Is Brody less of a terrorist because the VP was a dick?

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  • Hello

    Hello, I hate to point this out for free, but next season they will be dealing with a Lee Harvey Oswald Brody. Conspriacy Theories and Cover Ups and public sympathy and distrust. Might explain the whole Oswald thing a little clearer, because lest you forget Brody is guilty of A LOT of shady shit.
    Think John McCain turned Oswald. And Claire Danes will be the only one pining for him saying it was an inside job.

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