The season finale of Homeland cemented that this is not just the best new show of the year, but one of the best shows on television full stop. The show has the makings of a classic if it can sustain the kind of quality this season had. Season two the characters are all starting off in very different places and I don’t even want to think about what the writers have up their sleeves – I just hope it’s in the vein of Breaking Bad, not Dexter.
But let us talk about this episode, shall we? Damian Lewis has a real serious chance of upending reigning champ Bryan Cranston at the Emmys, and this episode should without a doubt be his submission tape. The scene where his daughter calls him was so perfectly played, the directing – having the camera right up there on his face – was brilliant, allowing Brody to have the big meltdown that he had without alerting anyone in a room filled with State and Defence Secretaries and Secret Service agents that he was indeed having a meltdown. The writing of this scene was truly magnificent – what could have been dismissed as a deus ex machina (Brody’s suicide vest malfunctioning) wasn’t because the writers made it very clear that Brody was totally willing to blow himself to smithereens, then went out and fixed the vest, and was once again about to blow the room apart when he daughter called.
Watching Carrie descend into paranoid insanity and irrationality as she starts terrorizing a sixteen year old is very scary indeed. It’s actually humiliating watching Carrie scream out that the world is ending (kudos to the makeup people for managing to uglify Claire Danes) in the front lawn of lovely suburbia. The worst thing is that she’s completely right, but she’ll probably never know she’s right and everyone else will think she’s insane even though we, the audience, knows she just saved the United States from some kind of hell.
I’m in awe of this show, managing to juggle so many criss crossing plots while never making it feel like they’re jerking the audience around and always keeping this batch of fascinating characters front and center. From the beginning this was a show told from Carrie’s point of view, so we know as much as she knows, and then we know a little more because we get to see Brody and Saul and Estes, even if they’re never our way into this world.
This was a brilliant season and a brilliant finale. I cannot wait for season two.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.