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.
There 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.”
It 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:
— 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.