Posted in Television

Resetting “Homeland”

homeland_recap_rect

It arrived when it was most needed.

“The Choice,” last night’s season-ender of “Homeland,” was a long-overdue reset of the show. We saw Brody hike off into the woods toward Canada, and never was this series more in need of a time-out. I love “Homeland” and want it to stick around, but the show has been in need of adjustment for a while.

The powers-that-be have been painting themselves into a corner with Brody for two seasons.  Where were they going to go with the character after he murders Tom Walker, kidnaps and kills the tailor from Gettysburg and ultimately furnishes Abu Nazir with the means to kill the Vice President, topped off by his refusal to summon help in time to save him? He’s a U.S. Congressman who disappears for hours and days at a clip and nobody says anything? I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but this verged on the ridiculous some time ago.

There’s been a lot of critical chatter that this season saw a perceptibly weakened Carrie—that the Carrie of Season One who was strong in spite of her bipolar disorder was lost along the way. To my way of thinking, yes and no. Was she a fool for love? In the latter half of the season, yes, but only after she had Brody arrested for treason and proceeded to break him in interrogation. What’s more worrisome to me is that her radar’s been de-calibrated. She’s at her best when she trusts her gut, and you knew her gut told her to shoot Brody after the explosion in last night’s episode. She was straining to do it, every fiber of her being told her to do it, but Brody and her heart overrode her instincts (nicely done, Claire Danes).

Too bad she’s backing the wrong horse. I think he’s guilty as sin and has been playing her all along. But that’s the beauty of “Homeland”—you just never know.

I really enjoyed the twist of Brody’s confession resurfacing, taken out of context from the aborted suicide bombing and applied to the mega-explosion at the CIA. While I disliked the character at first, it was great to see Quinn ask the right questions and finally sing Carrie’s praises. His confrontation with Estes was so quiet, yet so epic: “I’m the guy who kills bad guys.” Eeep.

What does the future hold? In no particular order, hopefully less Dana. Her involvement with the VP’s son, the subsequent hit and run, and her interminable meltdowns created an absolute sinkhole. On the other hand, I expect more Quinn, and I’d love to see F. Murray Abraham back as Mr. Black Ops with the ever-changing addresses.

Before “Homeland” I was never a Mandy Patinkin fan. Now I’m a card-carrying member of the club, because his Saul Berenson is indispensable. He knows Carrie like no one else, and he’s nobody’s fool. And now he’s Acting Director of the CIA? And Carrie will become a section chief? Bring it on, please.

We still don’t know who the mole at the CIA is—oops, maybe was. I had my money on Estes, but I’m sure there will be confederates surfacing next year. And what happened with Roya Hammad, who managed to turn the tables on Carrie? And who was the Al Qaeda spokesman who appeared on the broadcast of Brody’s confession?

All the more to look forward to.

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