‘The Star’ – Review contains spoilers!
A lot has been made of Homeland’s implausibility since it began 3 years ago. In all honesty, this has never really been one of the show’s biggest flaws; artistic license is part of any series and, as is generally the case with Homeland, can create added layers of excitement and tension. Sometimes, however, it is pushed too far; such as the time in Season 2 when Brody killed the engineer from Gettysburg while on the phone to his wife, and indeed in this conclusion to Season 3, when Brody managed to walk out of Akbari’s office at a moment when both his security guards and receptionist were on a coffee break. Sadly, this finale didn’t match the quality we’ve seen during the latter part of this season, but it did manage to finally bring to an end a storyline that shouldn’t have gone much further than the first season and leave many possibilities open for future seasons.
Last week’s ending left promise of a great escape by Brody and Carrie, but having walked straight out of Akbari’s office and then hijacked his transport car, Brody managed to evade the authorities and make it to a safe house outside Tehran unharmed and with Carrie. It was a frustratingly sluggish opening 20 minutes, with one too many scenes in Washington, with Saul once again defying logic to redeem himself; this time by agreeing to airlift Brody and Carrie to safety. The scenes in the safe house, which would be the last time Claire Danes and Damien Lewis held the screen together, were similarly flat. This was a tale of love that was strengthened by what the characters left unsaid. As such, Carrie and Brody’s declarations of their meetings being fateful felt out of place, despite the unquestionable chemistry that simmered between the two actors.
It did, however, allow the scenes that followed to burn with an exceptional poignancy. Brody’s capture was a sudden shock, but not wholly unexpected given the ease of his escape. What followed was an emotionally arresting 20 minutes, as both Carrie and we said goodbye to Brody. The confrontation between Javadi and Carrie was excellently written; Shaun Toub’s performance was once again exemplary and here’s hoping he remains a recurring presence in future seasons. Carrie’s gradual breakdown, as she began to realise that she would never see Brody again, was powerful and understated, with her final phone conversation to him ending in a silence that spoke louder than words. His fittingly unglamorous death finally brought to an end a story that had, at times, been stretched to breaking point over the last 2 seasons. Damien Lewis’ exemplary performance will forever be remembered, but for the show to be able to develop, it needed to loose Brody and move on to pastures new.
Unfortunately, the overlong “Four Months Later” epilogue only served to ruin the atmosphere of the episode’s strong middle section. Inexplicably, Lockhart has decided to keep Carrie on and now intends to promote her to the highest posting in the Middle East. Saul wants to return to a job that has royally screwed him over and Quinn’s questions on morality seem to have been all but forgotten. Like much of this season’s opening half, it was a sequence full of dull scenes that felt either insignificant or overdramatic. Carrie’s realization that she won’t be able to look after her soon to be born child lacked any dramatic spark and felt more like the writer’s realising the storyline was a bad idea from the off, which it probably was.
With its disappointingly unbalanced tone, this episode probably served as a fitting conclusion to Homeland’s third season. Still with the book having finally been closed on Brody’s plot, the show does now have the chance to start afresh with Season 4. Or they could take a leaf out of 24’s book and resurrect him; now surely that would be too implausible… wouldn’t it?