Homeland Series 1 Episode 12 “Marine One”
While I have really enjoyed Homeland so far, I have some concerns going into the final episode of series 1. The show is based on an Israeli series called Hatufim, but that show only had 10 episodes over 1 series. Homeland has already been renewed by Showtime for a second series in America, and I assume that Claire Danes, Damien Lewis and most of the rest of the cast will return for it, so will it be a case of a show being stretched out too long because of its success, or will it continue to be thrilling and compelling over multiple seasons?
There are a lot of things to get through in the final episode too, with Carrie having been fired at the end of the previous episode, despite making a breakthrough with her investigations into Abu Nazir. She made a mistake by contacting Brody, who told Carrie’s boss, David Estes, about their affair, and Estes followed the vice president’s orders to fire someone by choosing Carrie. Brody himself has acquired an explosive vest, and seems ready and willing to sacrifice himself to execute Abu Nazir’s new plans for a terrorist atrocity on American soil. With Tom Walker seemingly also ready to follow Nazir’s orders, the CIA seem powerless to stop an attack from happening.
Wisely, the producers of the show have made a feature-length series finale, but where will it all end?
The episode takes place over three days, with each captioned as such, and so this is review is split in the same way.
The episode begins with Brody recording a video message. In it, he explains his reasons for the actions he is about to take, explaining that he hasn’t been brainwashed or turned by Al-Qaeda, but that he is a sergeant in the Marines, who swore an oath to protect his country against foreign and domestic enemies. His actions are taken against domestic enemies, and the people responsible for the deaths of 82 children (including Abu Nazir’s son Issa), and who refused to acknowledge that their drone attack had killed innocent children, which is a ‘stain on the soul of the nation’. After recording the message, Brody finds a quiet spot to hide the memory card containing the video.
Saul visits Carrie, who has dropped into a deep depression following her dismissal and having her work taken from her. She wants him to promise that he won’t give up on finding out why there’s a gap in Abu Nazir’s timeline, and can’t work out why Brody ratted her out. Saul believes Carrie is in love with Brody, but wants her to forget him and get better. Later Virgil spends some time with Carrie, but can’t get her to interact with him or eat.
Tom Walker is making a move, and breaks into the car of an elderly woman. She drives home while he hides in the back seat, and she passes through a checkpoint near her home. This has been set up because the vice president is set to announce his presidential candidacy in a building nearby. When she pulls into the parking lot of her building, Walker puts a gun to her head. Inside she is bound to a chair while Walker makes a circular hole in a window and moves furniture around to set up the perfect vantage point for his sniper rifle.
As Brody lies awake at night, he remembers the words of Abu Nazir, who told him that the way forward is clear and that Brody is ready for battle. He goes out to the garage to go through his prayer rituals, when he’s interrupted by Dana. He explains that he converted to Islam, but wants to keep that a secret between the both of them.
The next day, Saul shows Estes some reacted (in other words, censored) paperwork that he believes holds the answers to why Nazir went off the grid for two years. Estes wants to know if Carrie’s ‘wall of garbage’ put Saul on this path, but Saul ignores him, telling Estes that the paperwork is for a drone strike, and wants Estes to ask him about it, something he is unwilling to do.
Virgil and Carrie go out ‘for a drive’ at Carrie’s request, but it becomes clear she wants to check out the area where the vice president will be making his announcement. Virgil is reluctant to follow Carrie’s lead, but she convinces him they should stick around. Many high-ranking government officials are set to attend, and Carrie believes that Tom Walker is not working alone, and that there is a bigger plan in play.
She sees Brody arrive, wondering why he is there. Moments later the vice president arrives, and he greets Brody and Elizabeth Gaines at the entrance to the building. It’s at this moment that Walker takes a shot, killing Gaines and then firing two more shots towards the entrance. Everyone is rushed inside, setting off metal detector alarms, but no-one stops, and Brody (now wearing the explosive vest under his uniform) is bundled through too, with he and the vice president, as well as other members of the vice president’s team, are put into a room below ground level.
Carrie is now convinced that Brody and Walker are working together, and that Walker deliberately missed the vice president. She calls Saul, but he doesn’t believe what she tells him, and wants her removed from the scene.
But Carrie is right, and Brody is ready to detonate the vest. But when he tries to do it, nothing happens. Stunned, he locks himself in a toilet stall, attempting to rewire the vest.
Outside, Carrie realises that Saul didn’t believe her, and takes Virgil’s keys. She heads to the Brody house, finding Dana alone, and asks her to talk Brody down, because he is involved with Walker and the terrorist threat. Dana chooses to phone the police, and Jess arrives home when Carrie and Dana are arguing outside. Carrie is eventually arrested, but Dana is still worried, and does phone Brody. He’s fixed the vest, and is about to trigger it when he gets the call. Dana makes him promise to come home, and he is unable to detonate the vest, and makes the promise.
Unaware of what Brody had planned, the vice president announces his presidential candidacy the next day, and as Brody watches the announcement on television, Jess tells him that the police want to know if they will press charges against Carrie. Brody decides (without telling Jess) that he will talk to Carrie face-to-face, something he does when she is released by the police. Brody tells her that she scared his daughter, and that he knows she is bi-polar and wants her to get help. Carrie gives him her word that she will stay away, then she tells Maggie she wants to go to the hospital.
Saul visits the vice president to make one last play. He has discs containing footage of the vice president working at the CIA and approving the torture of suspected terrorists. Unless he lets Saul see uncensored versions of the paperwork he’s found, he’ll go public. The vice president agrees, and Saul later watches footage of Estes and the vice president okaying the drone strike, saying that ‘collateral damage falls within our perimeters’, meaning that the possibility of children being killed is worth the risk if it means getting Nazir. Saul is disgusted, and threatens to tell the New York Times about it, but Estes tells him he’d be putting every agent and marine at risk.
That night, Brody meets with Tom Walker. Walker puts a gun to Brody’s head, and doesn’t believe Brody when he tells him that the vest wouldn’t trigger. Abu Nazir is listening, and Brody tells him that he has the vice president’s trust now, something which could greatly benefit Nazir’s cause. Nazir wants to believe Brody, but he needs a demonstration from him. Brody understands, and he kills Walker.
Two days later, Saul frantically barges into a hospital. He visits Carrie, who has decided to have electro-convulsive therapy, because she can’t live like this anymore. Saul tells her she was right about Nazir being in mourning, and explains what happens to Issa. Carrie is resolute, but after she receives an anaesthetic, she remembers Brody calling out Issa’s name during his sleep. She recognises the link, but is unable to stay awake.
And that’s series 1 of Homeland. The final episode is something of a curveball from the producers, not ending in the way I, and probably most people watching the series, expected. But it is a strong end that opens up a lot of directions for the show to go in for series 2. Brody is definitely on Nazir’s side, and seems willing to do anything to avenge Issa’s death. Carrie is done with the CIA, and her brilliant mind may be lost too after her treatment.
Damien Lewis and Claire Danes have been terrific in this series, as has the whole cast, and Homeland remains a layered and complex show. The producers are in this for the long haul, and the next series play out in many different ways. I’ve enjoyed the show a lot, and can’t wait for series 2.