Homeland Season 3 Review “The Star”

For most of its third season, Homeland pointed us in an obvious direction: the death of Nicholas Brody. It was a foregone conclusion. He should have gone last year at the latest, and maybe the end of season one at the earliest. Nonetheless, it had to be clear to even the most stability-craved Showtime executive that it was time for Brody to die. Even for a show growing increasingly more ludicrous, the narrative gymnastics required to allow Nicholas Brody to still exist was impossible. By moving his assassination of Akbari into the penultimate episode, the show’s only significant goal for the third season finale was to bring Brody’s story to a close. Nothing else needed to happen. After everything that has occurred on the show, Brody’s death still would pack an emotional wallop. Granted, it would have made a bigger dent a season ago, but Damian Lewis is a tremendous actor, so his departure from the show was going to be worth something. It’s just a shame we had to suffer through some more Homeland logistical clusterfudgery to get us there.

I have never been a member of the TV Plausibility Police that seems to populate the internet these days, but to run with what Homeland presented us in this final episode is a step too far. Previously to this episode, Iran (and Akbari’s compound in particular) had been presented as one of the more impenetrable places in the world. So much so that Saul’s unbelievably insane plan is apparently the best way to get rid of Akbari. However, the impenetrable Iran didn’t serve the aims of the finale, so the show turned it into the CONTROL agency from Get Smart. Brody walks out of the military compound Akbari never leaves because of its safety while Akbari’s guards and his secretary go to… smoke? Get coffee? I sure hope it was to update their resumes.

After Brody’s escape, the subsequent conversations both with him and about him suggests the show sees Brody in a light far different than many of the people who watch the series. Javadi assures Carrie everyone now sees Brody the way she does. Who sees him like that exactly? It’s obvious Lockhart doesn’t. The Iranians didn’t seem too pleased with him. I would imagine Dana Brody probably still isn’t too keen on her dad. Javadi is right: No person is one thing or the other. However, Brody sure was a whole lot of one thing and very rarely was he the other. It seems the writers couldn’t be troubled to watch their own program, because they strongly believe he was the other. The fact that the show’s viewers have trouble seeing him as this flawed-yet-heroic martyr is a failure of the show’s writing. It’s yet another miscalculation by the writing staff in a series of them dating back to the second season.

All of the silliness does finally lead to Brody’s death. His scenes with Carrie in the finale really depends on how you feel about the two as a couple. If you’re into the relationship, then their declarations of soulmateness probably struck you as moving. If you’re not a Brody-Carrie ‘shipper, then you had one more dramatic eyeroll to make it through. Those moments aside, watching Lewis handle Brody’s impending death, and then his actual death, is almost justification for the show keeping him around as long as they did. There was no need for him to be involved with this season, but watching a few more moments of Damian Lewis was a rewarding experience. If the episode ends with his death, I would have tipped my cap and said “It was the best they could have done”. They accomplished their aims of the episode, and finally put to rest this screwy storyline. The decks would have been cleared for the writers to regroup and decide what is next after the debacle that was the past 18 episodes of television.

Instead, we cut to Four Months Later. Despite trying to commit treason on at least 3 different occasions, Carrie gets promoted to one of the best positions in the CIA. Quinn reappears to remind us about how his storyline was completely washed away by the Brody-Carrie nonsense. Saul appears to have eleventy billion dollars thanks to some job in the private sector (I wonder who will need his services…) and is hailed as “The Maestro” for bringing peace to the Middle East. Even if I’m all-in on the Mandy Patinkin-F. Murray Abraham buddy spy movie they teased (Seriously, this should be a thing), the final act is so mind-numblingly stupid I’m not sure if I should be sad or offended. Much like Carrie, I settled on sad.