HOMELAND: 2.12 The Choice — REVIEW

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Homeland‘s Season 2 finale gave Brody and Carrie one last moment in the sun before blowing them apart as Abu Nazir’s legacy came back to haunt, changing everything in the process. But can love survive? Here’s what we learned..

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

  • Brody and Carrie revisit the cabin in the woods for some ‘rest and recouperation’, unaware that Quinn is watching them, waiting for Brody to be alone before taking him out.
  • Quinn decides not to go through with it and warns Estes that if anything happens to Brody he’ll return to kill him. Estes starts backpedaling and releases Saul, redacting his report.
  • Saul observes Nazir’s ocean burial.
  • Brody and Carrie leave Walden’s memorial early, he notices that someone (ghost Nazir?) has moved his car. A bomb goes off killing Estes, the remaining Waldens and hundreds of others.
  • Carrie holds Brody at gunpoint believing he was responsible. Brody convinces her that Nazir set him up. They make a break for the border.
  • Brody’s confession tape has been leaked to the news, Jessica and family watch on in horror. A terrorist group claims responsibility for the CIA bombing.
  • Carrie makes her choice – she tells Brody that she can’t go with him, not now. They kiss and part.
  • Saul’s now the highest ranking CIA officer. His wife says she’s returning to be with him.
  • He believes Carrie died in the blast. As he prays, Carrie calls out his name. (If anyone’s a winner here it’s Saul.)

In many respects the finale did what he had to do. It gave Brody and Carrie their moment of nostalgia, but this time with the genuine hope that they could be together. All that remained was for them to burn the last of their bridges which had somehow reconstructed in recent weeks. Letting go of his family was rather easy for public enemy number 1 Brody.  Letting go of the CIA was a harder decision for Carrie. It’s been her entire life, the one thing she excels at in spite of her health issues, if not because of them. But if her job is medication for her overactive mind, perhaps true love would be the cure, or at least a greater counter-balance?

Perhaps it could have worked out or maybe they would have hit trouble, especially outside of the heightened circumstances that brought them crashing together, but either way that wouldn’t have been very interesting to watch. It was hard enough as it was without the tension. Of course they had to come crashing down together, it was only a matter of time.

I thought Quinn’s decision not to kill Brody was a convenient beat. In fairness his conflict was hinted in the previous episode, but I don’t feel as though I know Quinn well enough to truly place his motivations. Did he do it for Carrie? Out of some convenient sense of morality? I’m not sure, I guess either could be made to fit, but his ‘transformation’ was rather quick. He describes Estes as a “bad guy”, which paralleled Carrie’s earlier assertion that Brody is “good”. I’m not sure Brody can be described in such terms by anyone other than his mother or his lover after all that he’s done. Of course, Carrie is projecting, Brody’s “good” in her eyes because she’s in love with him. The narrator knows best, until she’s proven unreliable. And funnily enough, it didn’t take her long to doubt everything she thought she knew once again.

I was disappointed we didn’t get ghost or clone Nazir. I think that was the only way to really ‘redeem’ the character, as crazy as that would have been. In all seriousness, the show tried to salvage the ruins by having Nazir haunt proceedings in another way, getting the last laugh, so to speak, by using his most prized chess as a vessel for revenge. As a plot move it wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure it fits the Nazir we knew. He struck me as the kind of guy who would want to witness his devastation at work. Of course, he did vanquish Walden which I guess was his moment of victory, but it doesn’t feel as though the writers have eked the most potential from the pieces they had in play.

In comparison to last season’s finale, this one lacked genuine tension and emotion. But on the up side, the articulation (and resolution?) of the Carrie/Brody love story has been interesting, including the parallel with her transition from being the only one who doubted him last season to the only one who believes him this time round. That’s a nicely hit narrative mirror that doesn’t feel overly contrived when looking back at their arc. We also have some sense of where the ongoing tension will come from next season, which I feel is important.

Perhaps the most satisfying finale moment came at the end during Saul’s prayer. From Saul’s POV, it almost played as though he ‘resurrected’ Carrie, and of course, there was only one way to bring the curtains down — with the smile.

To be continued…

8/10 Seriable Stars

 

Comments

  1. Peanut says

    Ghost Nazir? Bad Roco. Are you using ghosts (or clones) to fill in plot holes? I still enjoyed your review, Roco.

    I’m not the most visually oriented person, but I was struck by several scenes in this episode. I have praised the acting & writing of the series, but the filming, editing, & directorial choices also deserve credit. The “cabin in the woods” setting (such as the scene where Brody is praying by the water) was beautiful, contrasted with the underlying tension of the serpent (NotPeter Quinn AKA John) lying in wait to disrupt Carrie & Brody’s paradise, & then the danger is past without Carrie & Brody ever knowing that it existed. I like how the Quinn-Estes scene was shot so that Estes, an experienced CIA guy, isn’t prepared for Quinn’s popping up at his house, shifting the menace from Carrie & Brody to Estes.

    Of course, with Estes (RIP) eliminated & Saul going from practically drummed out of the agency to top dog, Carrie’s return to & rise in the agency is virtually assured–although she certainly has some ‘splaining to do to Saul once he stops smiling. Carrie called Saul’s name several times as he recited the kaddish for the bombing victims (another wonderful scene), but it struck me that it didn’t initially register with him–he thought that he was imagining her voice because he believed that she was probably one of the dead victims. Roco, you’re right–it did seem that Saul “resurrected” her. Also an interesting parallel (& a beautifully shot burial at sea) that Saul is there for Nazir’s ceremony & then is at the CIA for the victims that Nazir ensured were killed after his death.

    Brody & Carrie callously leave the memorial service for Walden (RIP) early to make out. Really, what would Miss Manners say about that? Better tacky than dead, I suppose.

    No more Finn (RIP)-Dana angst. I think that Dana redeemed herself in this episode. I’m still trying to figure out why she has a brother because he hasn’t had a significant role in the plot that I recall throughout the entire series.

    Galvez (RIP) & Major Joy (RIP?) are gone. We never have found out who that darn mole is, have we?

    You’d think that Brody would have at least dyed his distinctive red hair & put on a baseball cap or somehow tried to disguise his appearance. His escape to Canada answers a question that some have asked. If a person as well-known as Brody can leave the country without being detected, Abu Nazir could certainly do the same in reverse. Wouldn’t it be fun if Nazir entered the country using the same route as Brody?

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    • says

      Peanut, you’re right, the direction and editing was of a high order, subtly informing the story without being overbearing.

      The landscape certainly has shifted. How will the CIA recover from this wound? Carrie and Saul have risen up the ranks , but how will they balance their rise with their new relationship situations? It’s going to be interesting to see how much of a role Brody has next season.

      Thanks for picking up on all the other parallels. It would be fun if Brody and Nazir shared the same entry/exit paths.

      I’ve got a feeling Dana’s brother (that’s his name, right?) is actually the big bad of the entire series. I’m still working on the ins and outs, but that whole not eating very well thing? It’s all a cover for his true motivations. Look out for him in Season 3, you heard it here first. ;).

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  2. Residents Fan says

    This was a good finale, which kept me on the edge of my seat with
    tension. However, I was very disappointed at the decision to keep Brody
    alive, and I hope he has a far lower profile in S3 (maybe check in with
    him once or twice a season, and have a sub-plot with Carrie
    trying to clear his name without actually meeting up with him).

    Also, Mandy Pantikin was marvellous throughout.

    Like: Thumb up 0

    • says

      “I was very disappointed at the decision to keep Brody
      alive, and I hope he has a far lower profile in S3 (maybe check in with
      him once or twice a season, and have a sub-plot with Carrie
      trying to clear his name without actually meeting up with him).”

      You hit on an interesting point, Residents. There are arguments to say he should have died in the season 1 finale, though I do think his relationship with Carrie has been one of the better aspects of the second season.

      Perhaps, though, he should have died this season. Are they sustaining his character for reasons other than story? I guess it could be argued both ways, though I’m curious to see what they do with him next season. Having put him on the run, I hope they commit to that trajectory.

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      • mesa says

        Knowing the producers of 24, these guys don’t have the willpower to move Brody down to a smaller role. This is unfortunate, because his involvement next season will really strain the show.

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