After last week’s incredibly polarizing episode, would Homeland recover in its second last episode of the season?
Let’s bitch it out…Let’s be honest: ‘Broken Hearts’ – last week’s episode – was not a high point for the series. Whether it was a colossal misstep or merely a minor annoyance, it wasn’t Homeland‘s best episode in what has become a season under scrutiny following the show’s explosion in popularity (Side Note: For those who would use a certain term originating from events of a Happy Days episode, can we all agree to retire the term ‘jump the shark’, or at least stop using it for knee-jerk reactions whenever we don’t agree with something a show is doing?).
So let’s move on…Brody (Damian Lewis) has allowed the VP (Jamey Sheridan) to die in front of him and Carrie (Claire Danes) has disappeared into a random darkened doorway in the middle of a random factory. What’s next?
Well, from the looks of it, the season finale is setting up the final destruction of Brody. In a single episode, everything that dictates his double-life is removed as Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) is shot and killed and Brody’s marriage with Jess (Morena Baccarin) similarly ends (though with far less murder). For all intent and purposes, this is the happy ending Brody and Carrie have wanted, but as the final shot of Quinn (Rupert Friend) suggests, Brody’s time likely won’t stretch past the final episode.
In a way, haven’t we all been expecting this? As the second season has stretched on, it has become increasingly clear that Brody’s marriage to Jess never fully recovered from his miraculous return. Eventually both he and Jess ended up spiraling back into their adulterous affairs with Carrie and Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) respectively. The relationship with daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor), meanwhile, arguably the relationship that has grounded Brody and tied him to his family the most (even going so far as to prevent him from detonating a bomb) has evaporated in the wake of his reaction to her hit & run accident.
So what does US Congressman Brody have left? Nothing but Carrie…which is why he ends up turning up on her doorstep after everything is said and done. Of course, this, too, can be problematized since one of the strongest – and occasionally the most infuriating – elements of Lewis’ acting is that we’re never certain who is the real (true?) Brody and what is a mask. Does he legitimately have feelings for Carrie and that’s why he traded her for the VP last week? We’re lead to believe so, but the ease with which the lies roll out of his mouth always makes me wonder how much of it is an act. Now that Nazir is out of the picture and Brody seemingly has no further need for angles and deception, will we finally get to see the real him? Or is his attraction to Carrie genuine and I’ve simply misread the cues? Whether he lives or dies, I imagine these are some questions we’ll have answered in the finale.
- For me, the strongest scene of the episode occurs at the end when Brody and Jess quietly realize that their marriage is over. Their time in the swanky apartment is done, they’re back at home, and Brody realizes that he can’t come inside. And just like that they both throw in the towel. I really liked the moment that Jess realizes he’s in love with Carrie because she “knows everything” about him and she puts her hand on his. In that moment, it’s as though Jess is looking for confirmation or denial. Had Brody refuted her statement, I wonder if her hand would have stayed on his and they would have tried again. We won’t know; his inquiry about what to tell the kids confirms that their marriage is done and she removes her hand, symbolically separating their connection to each other. It’s a great moment that’s marvelously well played by both Lewis and Baccarin
- Another nice, quiet moment: Carrie half crying, half smiling over Nazir’s body as it lays in the back of the police van. This is a man that she has given everything for over the last few years. On one hand she nearly died (twice) at his hand, but one the another, it’s the end of her own chapter. Everything she did was in service of his pursuit and capture and, as Estes (David Harewood) states, “You always had a sixth sense about him”. It was her connection to the terrorist, and his methods, which is what finally allowed her to find him and finish the job. Between Danes and Jessica Chastain in Kathyrn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, there’s some pretty powerful, determined women chasing terrorists this year
- The future is looking pretty grim for Saul, who is being pressured by Estes to quit over his knowledge of Brody’s forthcoming assassination. The polygraph scenes give Patinkin something to work with, but they have a ring of obviousness to them. Saul knows that he’s being set up by Estes and that the results will provide Estes with whatever he needs to get rid of Saul. It’ll be more interesting to see if (or how) Saul manages to prevent this from occurring next week
- Another scene that felt dodgy is the interaction between Carrie and Roya (Zuleikha Robinson). Were we meant to believe that Roya would crack because Carrie was empathetic to her, because I saw the “stupid b*tch” comment coming from a mile away. This is a woman who routinely manipulated Brody for Nazir’s gain; she is not going to get taken in by a chance to redeem herself after nearly killing American soldiers and their families. She was prepared to do that – she is that hardcore! Although their conversation does conveniently contain the clues that Carrie needs to return to the warehouse, find Nazir and have him killed, it makes her seem stupid for being unable to correctly read and understand Roya’s motivations
- Finally, Dana remains a dick. Whiny, whiny, wah wah. Yeah…we get it. At least if Brody is killed, we won’t have to put up with any more Dana (Saylor I will gladly follow – she’s a talented young actress). Although she remains a believable character in her motivation and reactions, she’s also taken a turn for the worse in the latter half of this season. It’s not very enjoyable to watch her take a sh*t on everything and cause juvenile drama every time she shows up on screen
So that’s our penultimate episode of S2. What are your thoughts for the finale? Do you think Brody will be dead by the end of the finale? Will Quinn be exposed? Can Saul find a way to warn Carrie, or salvage his career? Who’s more punchable: Estes or Dana? Sound off below and return next week for the season finale!
Homeland airs Sundays at 10pm EST on Showtime