Homeland Season Finale Recap: Didn't they almost have it all?

The problems of two little people and a fetus don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that, Carrie Mathison.

We open this week’s Homeland season finale just after Brody’s “mission accomplished” call to Carrie. Brody is moving Akbari’s body behind the desk. Is he going to tell whoever comes in that Akbari just stepped out for a cigarette? He cleans his bloody hands with a pitcher of water. He finds a conveniently placed pistol because that’s the kind of luck Brody has.

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He walks out of Akbari’s office. The secretary is not at her desk. The security guys don’t go in to check with the boss after this very unusual meeting. Brody is about to leave the building when he gets stopped. Uh-oh!

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Turns out he forgot to hand in his visitor’s pass, and can’t remember any of that pitch-perfect Farsi he was denouncing the US with last week.

After nearly shitting himself, he continues to his car where the driver is waiting. Just as the car has passed the gate, people are yelling and trying to stop them. Brody puts the gun to the driver’s head and forces him to drive real fast.

Carrie sneaks out of her hotel through the kitchen because that never attracts attention. She calls Saul who won’t initiate the extraction plan until there’s confirmation Akbari is dead. He suspects a trap. Carrie sits down at a table in some lovely park.

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Brody has managed to elude the authorities. He takes the car, leaving the driver up on a hilltop without a phone. He gets to the now empty table in the park. No one recognizes him even though last week he was a big man in Tehran. Tough town. He goes back to the car and waits. Someone knocks on the window almost giving Brody a heart attack. It’s Carrie and she’s in take-charge mode.

Saul calls Javadi for confirmation. Javadi tells Saul there’s a problem. He’s now in charge of the manhunt, and he’s going to look weak if he doesn’t find Brody. Plus if Brody and Carrie are found together, it’s going to be an even bigger problem. Weren’t contingencies like this mentioned in the big book of plan Saul showed the Chief of Staff? Javadi wants Saul to give up Brody, and he’ll protect Carrie. Saul tells him he’ll have to get back to him on that.

Dar who is always hovering, thinks this is a swell idea. Saul listens to the better angels of his nature and not Dar. He initiates the extraction plan.

Carrie’s driving. Brody’s ducking. They are on a lonely road and they are traveling, traveling, traveling. What do they see? Not much. Outside of Tehran, Iran looks a lot like Kansas.

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They make it to the rescue site, a small deserted house. Brody is mopey because he just killed a man, and he really doesn’t get what any of this is for. Carrie is psyched because they’re spies on the run together, and that’s the only part of her life she’s good at. Can these crazy kids make it work?

Saul calls with the news they’ll be out of there before sunrise. He tells Carrie to tell Brody “well done.” But does this cheer up, Brody? Nope. He’s still being a gloomy Gus. He wants to know what happens next. Come to think of it, that’s never been explained. Since everyone still thinks he’s the Langley bomber, and no one can know the assassination was a CIA plot, what were they planning to do with Brody? But that’s not what Brody was getting at. He means what happens next in the broader philosophical sense. He tells Carrie you can’t redeem one murder by committing another. Which murder is he even referring to? Tom Walker? The tailor? Or maybe his role in the Vice President’s death, which we never talk about?

There’s an awkward silence, and then it’s time for Carrie to announce her pregnancy, and reveal once and for all it was Brody with the penis in the cabin. She believes they were fated to be in each other’s lives and she knows she sounds crazy. For a moment Brody looks happy, or at least contented, and says, “It’s the sanest thing I’ve heard.”

And that, dear viewers, was when anyone who ever watched television knew the man was doomed.

Did they at least have we-who-are about-to-die-sex? We’ll never know. Hours later, Brody is sleeping, and Carrie is watching him. They are both fully clothed, but there are a lot of lit candles, so maybe. She wakes him when she hears helicopters. They go outside. Then the lights come on, and it’s Javadi’s guys.

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They are both ordered onto the ground. Brody is taken away. They leave Carrie, who of course calls Saul, who knows that someone had to tip Javadi off about the rendezvous location. He heads down a hallway into a room where Lockhart, Dar and that other CIA guy are standing around looking conspiratorial. Dar went to Lockhart, and Lockhart went to the President, and Saul is no longer in charge or even employed. Dar reminds Saul that the mission is more important than one man. Lockhart tells him it’s Saul’s legacy he’s saving.

Carrie is back at her hotel grabbing some stuff. This is the time she decides not to exit through the back stairs or the kitchen. The state-security guys who are always there grab her and take her to Javadi who suspects she was heading to Fara’s uncle with some scheme. He tells her it’s over execution is set for four am. For a man we’ve seen open up his ex-wife with a broken bottle and shoot two people in the head, he is being very patient and kind to Carrie. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship? He’s certainly looking less like Major Strasser and more like Inspector Renault – a corrupt opportunist who bends with the wind. He is working Carrie better than even she has ever worked any of her assets, telling her the mission is a success. Everything she worked for has been accomplished. Everyone will now see Brody as she sees him. She begs to be taken to him. Javadi tells her Brody is at peace. She pleads for a two-minute phone call.

What does she do with those two minutes? She starts by telling Brody she’s going to call Saul. Brody says not even “the almighty Saul” can help. He asks her to do one thing for him – not attend his hanging. She ends the call telling him she’ll be there because apparently love means never listening to your beloved’s last wish when you want to do something else. She’s going to be a great mom.

Then she calls Saul, who is over fifty and out of work, so absolutely useless. All he can do is say, “I’m so sorry.” Hours later, we see her with Fara’s uncle heading towards the square. She finds a prime standing space by the fence. A police car pulls up and Brody gets out. The crowd goes wild. People are booing, holding up signs. I think I see a peanut vendor and a guy in a rainbow Afro wig wearing a tee shirt that says Qur’an 5:32.

After the traditional spitting in the face by the victim’s widow, Mrs. Akbari puts the noose around Brody’s neck. In America, prisoners jump off a platform; in Iran they are raised into the air by some contraption. What a country! As Brody – still alive – is pulled aloft by his neck, Carrie begins to climb the fence, rising with him.

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She shouts, “Brody! Brody! I’m here.” As he goes into a final convulsion, a cop beats a baton against the fence and Carrie drops down. Great. Let that be the last thing Brody sees, so he can die wondering whether the fall caused her to miscarry, which she doesn’t because there is nothing Carrie can do to lose that baby.

Rest in peace, Nicholas Brody. Nice job wrapping up the Brody storyline except for a couple of lingering questions like if Javadi knew that Brody wasn’t the Langley bomber, wouldn’t Akbari have known as well? And that’s only for starters, but some mysteries are best left unsolved. Good finale. No cliffhanger but a feeling of completion, and that’s all till next …

FOUR MONTHS LATER? Really? Are you kidding, show?

Saul and Mira are hanging out eating croissants on a terrace with an ocean view, maybe Tel Aviv? The world as we know it and Homelandia collide when she reads the headline about the US talks with Iran in Geneva.

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Mira is beaming because she knows this was all Saul’s master plan. Unlike doctors and psychotherapists, CIA agents get to tell their spouses everything. He’s planning to go back to Langley for a “star” ceremony honoring fallen agents, but Mira won’t set foot in the place after the way they treated her honey-bear Saul. She’ll be in New York, not screwing a Mossad agent, but setting up their apartment because Saul is starting a new job in the private sector.

Carrie, big with child, is meeting with her boss, Lockhart. She still has a job because why exactly? Lockhart mentions maternity leave, and she jokes about taking a few hours off. Then he offers her the Istanbul desk and the chance to run Javadi, who’s been doing everything they could have hoped for. On her way out, she asks Lockhart about honoring Brody with a star along with the other 132 fallen heroes. Short answer: no way, and shut up Carrie if you want Istanbul.

132 dead agents? If that’s agents killed after the Langley bombing, that’s a lot of hits for an agency whose main job is gathering intelligence.

Carrie runs into Quinn in the parking lot, and bums a cigarette he won’t let her light. She confides in him like he’s her gay best friend, telling him about Istanbul and her fear she’ll be a terrible mother. Later, Carrie is home and still freaking out about the baby. Her sister and father stop by. She tells them she won’t be needing the crib they brought because she’s moving to Istanbul, and she’s not keeping the baby. Her sister tells her that her daughter-to-be will “ground her” and she’ll be “astounded” by how much she’ll love her. Hugs all around (not literally) and Carrie finally admits she is both scared and sad. It’s a very special moment, and I’m betting by next year, viewers will hate that brat so much, they’ll be praying for Dana to come back.

After the Langley ceremony is over, Carrie and Saul chat. Given they haven’t seen each other in months, it’s a strangely stilted reunion. He’s heard about Istanbul. She comments on his visitor’s pass. He says, “When it’s over, it’s over. Pull down the shades and go home.” That’s a great last line if this was going to be the final episode of Homeland ever. Carrie gets called away to a meeting. Saul leaves. She watches him go out the door and presumably out of her life. Hours pass, she’s still at headquarters even though everyone else is gone. She’s on a secret mission. She’s in the room with the wall of stars. She takes a marker and draws her own secret star for Brody.

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Fade out.

It looks like Season 4, and yes there will be one, is going to be pretty close to a reboot. How are they going to pull Saul back in? Will Quinn be working on team Carrie? And what of the family Brody? Maybe Carrie could hire Dana as a babysitter. Could Jess be Quinn’s new girlfriend, the mystery woman he was talking to on the phone? Of course Brody could always return as a ghost. Maybe next year will be all about Carrie’s inability to let him go, kind of like Truly, Madly Deeply, with spies.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Homeland

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