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SEASON FINALE RECAP & REVIEW: Homeland “The Choice” S2 E12

20 Dec

The Choice.  What a perfect title for the finale.  So many choices had to be made in this episode.   Do you do the right thing or the wrong?  Do you follow your head or your heart?   Do you stay or do you go?  Do you kill or be killed?   All of these conundrums were up for grabs in the season finale of Homeland.

Let’s start with an easy one…Brody and Jess.  The writing has been on the wall for a while with these two.  You could argue ever since Brody came back they were doomed to fail.  But I give them both credit for trying.  After betrayals on both sides and two annoying kids, Brody and Jess gave it the best they could, but it wasn’t enough.  They weren’t enough for each other any more.  So they officially ended their relationship and decided to part ways.  Jess gave Brody her blessing to be with Carrie, and Brody did the same for her and Mike.  Brody even went as far as to go have a beer with Mike and tell him to go be with Jess and the kids.  I thought it was fascinating to see, and I thought the show did a very good job of showing how hard it is for soldiers when they come back from war, to go back to their old lives.  On the flip side, you also see how hard it is on the family they are coming home to.  And even though what happened was no one’s fault and they did still love one another, it just wasn’t the same.  That has to be what makes it even harder.  They didn’t hate one another or become intentionally disrespectful towards one another.  They just couldn’t take a tragic situation, that changes everyone to the point they couldn’t go back, and make it work.  It’s really sad to see and I’m sure happens more often than it doesn’t.

Then you have David Estes.  He made a deal with Quinn to have him kill Brody as soon as Brody was finished helping them get Abu Nazir.  So once Nazir was gone, Quinn had to assassinate Brody.  He followed Brody and Carrie to her family’s cabin and watched and waited for his opportunity.  When it finally came, he couldn’t pull the trigger.  Later he shows up at Estes house, in his room, with a gun.  He tells Estes that his job his to kill bad guys and in his estimation, Brody isn’t a bad guy.  Quinn confronts Estes telling him that the real reason he wants Brody dead is because Brody knows Estes was linked to the Drone attack and therefore only wants Brody dead to protect himself.  I’m not so sure that’s true otherwise Brody would also be going after Estes as well as Walden but I could be wrong.  Now that I think about it, I’m sure he didn’t know but that’s probably why Estes wants him gone.  If he does find out, he’ll go after him.   But Quinn tells him again, he only kills bad guys and if Brody ends up dead, he’ll be back in Estes room.  Wow has Quinn made a 180.  I hated him at first and now, I wouldn’t hate it if he were back next season.   As a result of this conversation, Estes releases Saul from custody and tells him the hit on Brody is off and Saul can go back to work.   I wonder if Saul will ever learn the reasoning behind his release.

Next we have Brody and Carrie and Saul and Carrie but before we jump into their choices, we have to discuss what happened to alter original decisions and what changed their courses significantly from the middle of the episode to the end.

Everyone gathers for the VP’s memorial.  I did find it odd that Jess and the kids weren’t there considering how close their families had become but whatever.  These are also the same people who had Nazir and Brody skyping without tracking so I can overlook the Brody family not being in attendance.  Estes is at the podium paying his respects to Walden and his time not only as the VP but as the head of the CIA.  Brody and Carrie can’t take their eyes off each other and Carrie motions to Brody to leave the room.   They go to another wing of the CIA offices and She announces to him that she’s decided to leave the CIA and start a life with him.  They are about to get down and dirty in someone’s office to celebrate when Brody notices his car in front of the room where the memorial is taking place and mentioning to Carrie that he never parked his car there.  She drops the F bomb and the next thing you know an enormous bomb explodes taking everyone in the memorial with it, including Estes, the VP’s wife and son and many ranking members of the CIA.

Again I know I have to suspend my disbelief but really?   You are having a memorial for the Vice President of the United States at the offices of the Central Intelligence Agency where not only the head of the CIA but many high-ranking members of the agency are in attendance…and there’s no security outside?  No one notices a car parked in a no parking zone, completely out-of-place, right next to the room where the memorial for the VPOTUS is being held?  Seriously?  That’s another tough one to swallow.

I think one thing the writers of Homeland have always done a fantastic job with is making you doubt Brody…is he a good guy or a bad guy?   I was watching the finale waiting for the bomb to drop.  Not literally of course the way that it did, but because of the false security that I and Carrie had been led into thinking Brody was a good guy under the manipulation of a horrible terrorist, only to find out that Brody was on the dark side the whole time.  I was so waiting for that to happen and then the bomb went off.   For a split second, like Carrie, I thought “damn it, he is a bad egg after all!”   But, again like Carrie, I realized that wasn’t the case.  I think the show, while playing with our emotions towards Brody during the first season, made a decision that Brody was going to be a good guy and stuck with that through the end of this season.  Ever since Brody had that vest on and decided not to blow up a bunch of innocent people, the show really did make it clear which side Brody was on.  And we saw all throughout this season with his conversations with Roya, Carrie, Quinn, Nazir, and others, that he wasn’t on the terrorists’ side.  Did he want Walden dead?  Absolutely.  But did he want to destroy the lives of innocent Americans?  Absolutely not.   Brody wanted a normal life.  And he wanted it with the woman he loved.  And Carrie, who was very torn on what to do, made the decision to leave her job at the CIA and live a peaceful life with Brody.  And then the bomb went off.

As to be expected, all breaks loose.  Saul comes rushing back (he was on a naval ship overseeing the burial of Abu Nazir at sea) only to find out he is now the highest ranking CIA agent.   He’s trying to find out of Carrie is alive and since they hadn’t found her body, she was presumed dead…as was Nicholas Brody.  Once Saul heard Brody was also unaccounted for, he knew she was alive.  Well, his gut was telling him she was alive but he couldn’t be 100% sure.  Brody and Carrie are on the run and she gets him a new passport, ID, money and tells him of a contingency plan she had set up for her in case she ever needed it and now he is going to use it.  While this is all happening, the national news releases a very interesting video.  It was the video Brody made when he was planning to blow up the VP last season.  Somehow, someone got their hands on it and released it to the press and now Brody looks like the terrorist he was feared to be and he is being set up.  Only problem is, his family is seeing this video and in order to protect himself and them, he can’t contact them to let them know that he’s being set up.   So Brody is on the run.  Of course he wants Carrie to go with him but she can’t.  She needs to stay behind and not only find out who’s responsible but to clear his name.  He understands completely and they have a heartwarming and tearful “see you later” instead of good-bye and we watch Brody take off into the darkness to his new life without Carrie.   I’m glad it ended that way instead of having Brody killed (which I would have bet my right arm was going to happen.)  Now we can have Brody return to the fold, if it makes sense, or he can stay off the canvas and in his new world.   Smart choice by the writers.  Carrie goes back to the scene of the crime and sees Saul praying over the victims.  She calls his name and he tearfully turns to her with a smile on his face as we fade to black.

So early when I brought up the choices for Brody and Carrie and Saul and Carrie, there really weren’t choices at all for the men….just Carrie.  Brody was clear he wanted to give their relationship a chance and Saul was clear she was a lunatic if she decided to leave a job she loves and is good at to go make babies with a known terrorist.  “He’s a man who put on a suicide vest Carrie.  That’s who he is, that’s who he’ll always be”  warns Saul to Carrie.  He also states one of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard in the history of TV “You are the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”   No truer words have ever been said about Carrie Matheson.  In Saul’s mind, there is not choice.  He knows Carrie so well that he knows she can never be with a man like Brody.   But you know how women can be!  Sometime it takes a national disaster to change our minds.  And that’s what happened for Carrie.  She was ready to leave her CIA world behind.  But then two things happened, a new threat emerged and her man was being framed for it.   She’s not going anywhere!  In fact, she probably prime for a huge promotion since half of the CIA was wiped out.

I like the fact that we have wrapped up the Abu Nazir/Brody storyline and are moving on to another phase of the show.  The tough part about a show like Homeland (similar to 24) is that it can get very stale very quickly.  But keeping it fresh with new faces and stories, while still maintaining a strong core, should be the key to longer term success.  I still don’t see Homeland as a 10 season show…more like 5 or 6…but since I’m always wrong, it will probably run longer than Law & Order!

What did you think of the Homeland finale and of Season 2 as a whole?  Are you on board for next season or are you out?  Let me know what you think!

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