The second series of Homeland is over. It’s been an exhausting, frustrating, exhilarating and captivating affair with plenty of action if not as much intelligence or suspense as the first series. The first half of the finale is like much of series 2 of Homeland, a little bit stagnated but still manages to keep our attention up to a certain point. The second half was tremendous, the bomb going off actually felt liberating for a series that is all about the subtle tensions between the characters.
Much of the episode is about Carrie’s ultimate choice between running away with Brody and staying in the CIA. The episode begins at the cabin which Carrie and Brody visited in ‘The Weekend’ (an episode from series 1), where they both realise that Carrie has to make the decision on where their fate lies. Quinn has followed them there and whilst Brody prays has the opportunity to pull the trigger and kill him, but he doesn’t. He then visits David Estes and tells him that there is no point in killing Brody now as he is no longer a threat.
Brody admits to his daughter Dana that he was going to kill the vice president but changed his mind. Meanwhile, Saul wants to recommend Carrie for promotion within the CIA which is slightly baffling considering Carrie’s recent history. It feels like the series is coming to a slightly melancholic and anti-climactic end, as at vice president Walden’s funeral both Brody and Carrie leave to have some private time and everything seems to be going a little too smoothly.
Then a bomb goes off, apparently in Brody’s car which has been mysteriously moved. At this point Carrie begins to suspect Brody again who then pleads with her to believe him that he has nothing to do with it and it must have been Abu Nazir’s real plan. This is where Homeland is fantastic because as an audience we don’t know what’s going on, whom to trust and what’s going to happen next. The scenes of Saul stood amongst the rubble and the dead bodies are brilliant and hugely emotive, there’s a real sense of the show having to rebuild for the next series which makes everything we see on screen feel so important.
There seemed to be a real focus on Saul towards the final act, and that’s either because he has something to do with the events of the finale or he will be a central figure in the next series, or perhaps even both. It’s also not clear who leaked Brody’s old confession video to the media, so there’s a level of doubt that still hangs over the characters in the series. When Brody realises that Carrie isn’t accompanying him on his escape, it is quite a heartfelt and emotional moment for two characters that are the cornerstones of the show being forced apart after they’ve declared how much they love each other.
As a final episode it’s totally engrossing, even if the series hasn’t been as amazing as its predecessor. It will be fascinating to see how the third series will play out now that a good portion of the characters have been killed and that Brody may not be a central figure or feature at all. There are plenty of questions to be answered when Homeland returns but the finale certainly delivered on all fronts and in turn provided a huge amount of relief.