Homeland Season 2 Episode 12 (season finale) recap

We knew it would be dramatic.  There was no way things could go on as they had been, when every story was played out as far as it could go – especially in this episode where a lot of people had a lot of conversations they wouldn’t have otherwise had, thanks in large part to the extra 10 minutes designed to lull us into a false sense of security.

That didn’t work, of course.  I knew Brody handling a gun was supposed to make me cringe but I went ahead and did it anyway.  I saw Estes in his bedroom and I was supposed to breathe a sigh of relief when Quinn left but not really, and I didn’t, and neither did you.

The question of whether or not Brody is still a terrorist is not actually the question at hand, although every time he put his hands on Carrie’s neck I thought about that tailor from Gettysburg, in the woods somewhere, his body a clue that’s somehow never been added into the mix.  He’s still a man who racked up a body count of two or more this season.  And so the question was never really “Is he a terrorist?” (as opposed to just a terrorist by circumstance, I suppose), but “Can Carrie do her job at all if he’s in the mix?”

And the answer is no, and so, like a modern woman forced to choose between love and career, she rather neatly ships him off to Canada.  By and large the finale felt better than the episodes before it but can I just say – Is Brody not a BIT too famous for a fake passport?  At what time does that seem like just an exercise in futility?

Carrie and Brody were sweet this week, I guess, even when he was convincing her he didn’t place the bomb in his car; I guess the support for that statement could be that he pointed it out to her, but we also know Brody loves Carrie, as much as he can, so it might have been about giving her the split-second of  warning to, I don’t know, twist her body properly?  But then, she was the one who was leading them around the CIA building to be alone.  What if she’d chosen a more vulnerable room?    The love between them always seems kind of selfish, doesn’t it?  We’ll be together if I give up my work; we’ll be together if you don’t call your family.  Carrie + Brody has always meant the exclusion of everyone else, and it was never more clear than in the moments after the bomb.  So willing to give up everyone and everything to be with him – until he essentially “confessed” to the act?  Was that what made Carrie change her mind?  The idea that she couldn’t have the “normal” life she hoped for now that Brody was forever sullied?

Everyone has their theories about Homeland –the most famous, recently, has been the one from spectacular TV critic Emily Nussbaum.   Mine has always been that Carrie saw manipulating Brody romantically to be part of her duties as a CIA agent – until such time as she fell in love with him.  It’s why, in my mind, having sex when she knew was being recorded was just another day at the office.  But the most mercenary part of me says that now that Brody’s face is out there as a terrorist – as a pariah – there’s nothing more Carrie can gain from being with him.   Am I too cynical? Do I give her a little too much pragmatic credit?   It could be that I do.  I’ve always had such a vested interest in Carrie being smarter than we give her credit for.

Either way, the bomb did exactly what we needed it to – it reset the balance of power, and revamped the structure of the CIA.  I’m glad Saul is in the position he is, though I didn’t need to hear Mira say she’d come home.  I’m glad he and Carrie have one another.  I’m especially glad that Quinn got to say “I’m a guy who kills bad guys” because he is now my number-one suspect for the CIA bombings, which makes me happy because I don’t entirely hate him.  It still doesn’t speak to how convenient it is that Carrie and Brody got out on time, but I’m sure there’s time for that next season.

Oh, and though I know there’s a lot of time to mock Dana Brody and while the family did mostly become a punchline this season, I thoroughly appreciated the irony of realizing, in order, that your father was about to commit a terrorist act, but not this particular terrorist act, and that you can’t tell anyone why you know that because it would indict him still further, as if there was any way he could be saved in the first place.  That is the kind of thing that feels like being a teenager, although, you know, usually on the really micro level, rather than actually being a fact.  Mock, but nobody’s actually justified in their angst more than Dana Brody.

As for season three?  Sure, I’m interested, but I no longer feel that the show can yank the ground out from under me like it used to.  I’m not one of those types who feels Carrie and Saul are sacrosanct – in fact, thinking about them imbalancing one another is exciting – but it seems like that’s all there is left.  Obviously Damian Lewis won’t be going anywhere permanently, and obviously there are still Threats At Home – but I’m not sure the show has the upper hand on us anymore.