HOMELAND Season Three Finale Recap: “The Star”

by     Posted 348 days ago

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For all of the complaints about Homeland this season, “The Star” was a really great ending to a season that, in so many ways, felt like a series finale.  The show has positioned itself in a way to make options wide open for its fourth season.  It’s mostly an exciting prospect, but then again, had the show ended here it would have felt finished.  Homeland also could have ended after its first season, and it’s taken two years to figure out how to fix the fact that it kept going.  “The Star” did that, and provided emotional catharsis for those onscreen, and probably some of us offscreen as well.  Hit the jump for more.

homeland-season-3-posterThere really couldn’t have been a better way for Homeland to end the season.  The show proved all year that it didn’t need Brody, but his inclusion did build up this his final moments really, really well.  It doesn’t excuse the unnecessary drama, but it was completely believable that Brody was at peace in the prison, waiting to die.  It was the perfect way to complete his arc after the end of the first season; when he didn’t detonate that suicide vest, he needed redemption both for himself and with his country.  His actions regarding the Akbari assassination achieved this.

Brody asks Carrie, “in what universe are you redeemed for taking one man’s life by taking another?”  On Homeland, it seems.  The men Brody killed deserved it, Carrie stresses to him.  The Vice President was always painted as a bad guy by the show, and Carrie fills us in a little on Akbari’s atrocities.  In the end, Brody — who was torn between Nazir and his country — committed sins for both.  He killed the Vice President for Nazir, and he killed Akbari for the United States.  A conflicted man without real allegiance dies having served both sides.

But Brody’s final act was much more far reaching than the simple murder he committed earlier.  Here, Saul’s plan to infiltrate Iran was already in motion — Brody just needed to help put the final piece in place (for Javadi to replace Akbari).  Mira reads out the result (echoing real-life situations), where Iran will open its nuclear facilities up for inspection, in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.  Everything is going according to plan, and as Carrie later says to him, “you won.”

homeland-season-3-damian-lewis-1It was a victorious ending not only for Saul and his life’s work coming to fruition, but also for Carrie, who (as Javadi said) could know that everyone — Javadi included — now sees Brody as she saw him.  Which means Brody himself was redeemed, and that he finally paid his debt for his earlier betrayals.

Moving forward, the show has positioned itself in the best possible way.  Brody was gone (also in the best possible way), which means Carrie is free to be the star.  Saul’s future is uncertain, but as Dar Adal planted, he would surely return to the CIA if asked (although maybe his path will cross with Carrie’s via the private sector now).  The series could go anywhere from here, and with the recent news that Jess and Dana’s characters will be downgraded from series’ regulars to special guests is heartening.  Brody is gone.  Let’s move on.

On the other hand, Brody was also the raison d’etre for the show.  His struggle, his loyalties, his conflicts really drove the drama.  Homeland might turn into just more of a pure spy show now, which, honestly, has been its strongest suit this year.  It may not be the show we signed up for, but with the Brody arc complete, it could turn into something else that’s still pretty darn good.

Episode Rating: A

Season Rating: B

Musings and Miscellanea:

homeland-season-3-damian-lewis– R.I.P. Brody.

– I surely wasn’t the only one staring at every aspect of Brody’s hanging to see if there was any way that they had switched out a body double or anything that would bring him back alive next season.  I still don’t trust the show to have really buried him, but we’ll see.

– In the news about Jess and Dana, there was no mention of Chris … #WhatAboutChris.

– Carrie: “What’s going on with you?” Brody: “I just took a man’s life today.”

– I love how Carrie, eight months into her pregnancy (and is still pretty small, all things considered), is finally like, “maybe I made a mistake … I don’t think I want this baby.”  Her sister could be right about it grounding her, and as much as I did not want any Carrie-as-CIA-Mom! plots next year, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad … maybe …

– “Sounds like the only sane fucking thing to hold onto.” — Brody.

– I kind of like the fact that apparently for public hangings in Iran, the family of the slain gets to put the noose around the murderer’s neck.

– It was very moving, if improbable, that Carrie was able to call out to Brody before he died.  I almost expected him to squeak something back to her.

– What Lockhart did makes sense.  If Brody escaped it would have been obvious who he was working for, and it would have jeopardized the whole op.  But how typical that Brody ran and hid first.  Brody has never been brave — the final season ended with, in one interpretation, an act of cowardice.  It’s what makes his character so hard to like.  The cockroach analogy was not as wrong as it really should have been …!  Still, the finale felt earned.

– Lockhart ended the season with more shades of gray that he started with, but he’s still a dick.  Put that star up, Carrie!

– “When it’s over, it’s over.  Pull down the shades and go home” – Saul.




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  • derek

    Im excited for next season. Yes, Brody is gone. But lets not forget; Claire Danes is still the major draw here. Cant lose Saul and Brody though. He better work private sector in Istanbul. lol

  • derek

    Im excited for next season. Yes, Brody is gone. But lets not forget; Claire Danes is still the major draw here. Cant lose Saul and Brody though. He better work private sector in Istanbul. lol

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      ▃▄▅ ♛♛♛ ▆▅▄ ♛♛♛▃▄▅ ♛♛♛ ▆▅▄♛♛♛▃▄▅It was very moving, if improbable, that Carrie was able to call out to Brody before he died. I almost expected him to squeak something back to her.

  • Mars

    Really? Brody is so hard to like? He loves his family and often went through such pains to have them after being locked in a fucking cave for years and being tortured. Meanwhile Carrie is a fucking unhinged bipolar asshole to everyone, yet she’s brilliant so we forgive that. But hey, you got what you wanted…Brody dead! Hooray for you. Now you can have your simply-just-another-spy-drama series.

    • pinkincide

      Carrie has a mental illness and she’s only an asshole to people who deserve it. Brody flushed his awesome wife and family down the toilet by acting as a wanna be terrorist.

    • pinkincide

      Carrie has a mental illness and she’s only an asshole to people who deserve it. Brody flushed his awesome wife and family down the toilet by acting as a wanna be terrorist.

  • doctor_robot

    brody was the show for me. i won’t be watching anymore… i’m just not interested now. and to the person who will type.. “yes, you will”. no, i won’t.

    • Redjester

      Funny, the highly-implausible Brody storyline was the one thing making me question whether I wanted to keep watching the show.

      Now that its gone (and Carrie is out of her ridiculous love story with him) this show can finally get back to, as the writer of this article correctly stated, being a badass spy show. I’m thinking Rubicon with more operations/action and a bigger budget.

      As long as they writers can stick to plausible/grounded in reality story lines this go around, they should have a hell of a show on their hands.

  • Redjester

    Granted Damien Lewis killed it as Brody, but I for one am relieved the show can finally explore other (more plausible) story lines. With Carrie running things in Istanbul and Saul doing his private sector thing, this show might finally become the grounded-in-realism badass spy show we all hoped it would be.

  • crafty

    bring on more Peter Quinn and Carrie missions.

  • Leo Spaceman

    What bugs me is that one of the show execs promised that the Dana story line mattered. Had the only scene we saw of Dana for the entire season have been the hotel scene right before Brody was deployed would have been much more powerful.

    I am kind of hoping that Brody’s son gets passed on to Brody’s wife so that the baby can be in their family and hence written out of the story. I am really not into the idea of Mommy troubles and in all seriousness how could that baby not have Down Syndrome at this point.

  • Marilo Garcia

    Brody no se merece este final. Toda la temporada ha desaparecido y cuando reaparece es yonqui, le mienten, mata, sufre alucinaciones, su hija le odia, se queda sin conocer a su hijo, nadie dice que él no fue el culpable de la bomba, en fin, que es un sinsentido todo. No me creo su muerte. Y no veré la cuarta temporada. http://yonomeaburro.blogspot.com.es/2013/12/homeland-3×12-finale.html

  • Brad

    No idea where this “it was always a bad-ass show about bad-ass spies being bad-ass” mentality comes from, but it is way, way off-the-mark. The series was initially about shading familiar types with unexpected qualities and irony: a Marine hero with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a surveillance expert with serious self-control issues. At its best, it challenged our ideas of what a ‘hero’ or ‘villain’ was, how those labels are inadequate and perhaps destructive and the institutions we fight for can grind us and our loved ones into self-destruction. The problem with the show is that – in its second season – it completely lost credibility and strained under the pressure to deliver BIG STAKES, in turn writing itself into corners and losing the psychological credibility that interested people in the first place. Brody IS the show: his tragedy, his pathos is far more moving than that of the other characters and you only have to rewatch the Brody-Dana phone-call at the end of the first season to recognize the show’s true strengths.

  • NeoGeo12

    Season 3 was basically a 24 clone, Now The Americans on FX is the current best show about spies and desrves the prestige that Homeland lost with this mediocre season. Homeland only has a lifespan of 2 or 3 more seasons now. Because they made characters eratic and depended heavily on plot mechanics. This season use more 24 conventions then the past two seasons. Which means the writers are out ideas.

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  • buttabean

    I have a feeling Carrie and Brody both made a deal with Iran. When brody was being hung, they choose to slowly lift him up via a crane. You could tell Brody was using his neck muscles which could have prevented injury and allowed air to pass through. I doubt it, but it’s a tv show and he was the star of the show.

    They really enforced the hatred of US government actions toward Brody. They back stabbed him, treated him with no respect for what he had actually done. Carrie loved him and you can tell she had resentment for how the US treated him. Three things that pop into my mind is…

    she didn’t talk to Saul between the time she was in Iran up to the stars being placed on the wall. Her drawing a star for Brody. And they enforced the idea that the president allowed Brody to die. They choose to kill him off. And Carrie knows this. Her whole story arc was about Brody. First finding out he was a fake, then converting him, then trying to tell the world he isn’t a terrorist, to now what? I really don’t think Brody’s story is over with. They established this relationship with Javadi and Carrie. She was technically supposed to be working for Iran as a inside whistleblower. What’s stopping her from actually leaking real evidence if she made a deal for Brody? The government shit all over her.

    I really doubt that Carrie would switch sides, and it would be really preposterous if she did, but you never know. She’s known for doing reckless decisions. She is bi-polar and pregnant lol Other than her nationalism, what’s keeping her from going to the other side at this point?(not talking real life, but tv) Who’s left at the CIA that she wants to communicate with? Didn’t Peter Quinn say he was done after the mission was over?

    Just seems like a lot of little clues left behind to make you think this can’t be finished yet.

  • GrimReaper07

    Uh this year proved the show could live without Brody? Really? Cause this season was really mediocre until Brody popped up.

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  • Paulette Andria Hamilton

    i am finished with homeland this is season final for me I don’t care for
    a run of the mill spy show . Brody and the family was the reason i
    watched the show and sorry Clare Danes is not. she is not the female
    version of jack Bauer and Brody with his complex character was the
    reason. if the creators were planning to kill off the main character
    they should have done it in season 2. now my Sundays are free to watch
    other shows.

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