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Homeland “The Star” Review (3×12)

15 Dec

Screen shot 2013-12-15 at 5.08.04 PM“I want it to be over.”

Nicholas Brody was never going to make it out alive. Nicholas Brody knew he was never going to make it out alive. Nicholas Brody has accepted his fate.

As we close out the third season of Homeland, I’m finding myself impressed by the ability of the writers to still reach into our bodies and crush our hearts, to craft a poignant, contemplative episode that ties up Nicholas Brody’s storyline while still being emotionally resonant. After I finished watching this episode, I realized how perfect a series finale this could be; our characters have all moved on with their lives, all of them in a relatively happy place. Yes, even Brody.

Even though he ends up being hanged by the very people that first turned him, he’s made peace with his destiny; we saw some of those feelings doled out over the course of the season, from the seemingly hopeless prison in the Tower of David to his conversation with Nazir’s widow last week. In “The Star”, we get them full-on. For example, Brody reminisces about his father and tells Carrie he was born in the desert, evoking the idea of coming full circle; it’s similar to last week’s choice of beginning his redemption in the “place where it all started”, but this time, he ends his journey in, symbolically, the place where he started.

Another great scene I’d like to mention is Carrie’s and Brody’s right before Brody’s arrested. It’s a well acted scene–great acting all around in this episode–for Danes and Lewis, and it’s brilliantly written. For once, the “star-crossed lovers” shtick season 2 was forcing on us doesn’t seem tacky or manipulative; instead, we see two psychologically broken people drawn to each other in the moment. Carrie remarks that the reason she was put on Earth was so that their paths could cross, and Brody responds by saying that this idea is “the only sane thing left in the world”. It’s true, isn’t it? Brody’s not going to indulge in escapist idealism, but he’ll indulge in one final goodbye. I mean, let’s face it: he’s not going to have any kind of life in the United States, regardless of what Carrie says. He also can’t expect to stay in Iran when he’s just killed the head of the Revolutionary Guard. So he’ll, say, allow Carrie to stay on the line for a few more seconds, and he won’t put up a fight when she says she wants to witness the hanging, but he’ll also slowly help her on her own path to acceptance.

In fact, much of this episode is about tempering Carrie, the pregnant idealist who loves to disobey orders. For example, Javadi asks her why she wants to burn everything she’s worked for to the ground and why she would torture herself like this; this brings us back to Brody. The episode asks “Why? Why is Carrie giving up her life for Brody?” It also asks “Why can’t she let him go?” Throughout the hour, we see Carrie and Brody clashing over the merits behind his actions; Carrie says she’s thought about the present situation weeks in advance, and she tries to justify his actions by telling him that for Marines, the rules are different. Yet, Brody responds by bringing her back down to Earth; no, for Marines, the rules aren’t different. He needs to pay for his actions.

So that brings us to the final theme of this episode: legacy. We jump four months after Brody’s hanging–a strangely beautiful scene–to find ourselves in a whole new world: Carrie’s about to have her baby, Saul’s become more successful outside of the CIA, and Lockhart decides to promote Carrie to station chief in Istanbul. Now, it’s all about the future and the part Brody has (or doesn’t have) in it. Carrie wants to immortalize him on a wall of stars, but understandably, Lockhart won’t budge; the fact that she doesn’t drag on the issue is a sign of change, a sign of acceptance. She’ll start a new life in Istanbul, but she can’t be connected to Brody through his child. She’s afraid, both of the future itself and of the potential corrupting of it by the past, but she needs to move on; like Quinn says, if she doesn’t, she’ll regret it.

So instead, in one final act of compassion, she adds a new star to the wall of the CIA; she doesn’t need to defend him in front of everyone else anymore. It’s for both herself and Sergeant Nicholas Brody: a hero, a traitor, and a star.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Kudos to Lesli Linka Glatter for her direction in this episode. That final scene is absolutely gorgeous.

-The final scene works emotionally and thematically for me, but let’s not forget that Carrie used a Sharpie to draw a star on a memorial wall in the CIA.

-Saul has shades of Carrie throughout the proceedings; in fact, Lockhart and Adal have to temper him.

-Speaking of, I thought Lockhart and Adal would play more prominent villain roles in the show, but thankfully, they come across as sensible CIA agents.

-The final scene, as well as Saul and Carrie’s goodbye, reminds me of the season 2 finale. Yet, instead of the contrast of hundreds of dead bodies and the reunion of the two, they say goodbye while those dead bodies are immortalized on the wall.

-It’s awful that Carrie doesn’t have any consequences for her actions in Iran; how in the hell is she still part of the CIA, getting a promotion, and why does she even want to remain a part of it? Oh well, it looks like in Istanbul, she can break all the rules she wants.

-How can Brody just walk out the front door after he kills Akbari?

-Why does no Iranian think of interrogating Brody? Also, it was kind of stupid for Carrie to expect Javadi to give her anything.

-Now that I think about this, the plot continues to be so ludicrous that, if I wasn’t in a better mood, would knock this grade down a few notches.

-Also, Saul’s plan worked. Ha.

-The show’s portrayal of Iranian people probably isn’t very kind; last week, pretty much everyone was cheering for Brody, therefore categorizing every Iranian as being fine with terrorism.

-No Dana or Jess; in fact, Saylor and Baccarin aren’t regulars next season. It makes sense, given Brody’s death, and I like how they still hang over the proceedings in the episode. As for Chris, he’ll be playing with his rubber ducks.

-I’ll miss Damian Lewis. Brody was sometimes a frustrating character, but Lewis was magnificent.

-See you all next year. I have no idea where the show’s going next, but I’m looking forward to it. The season was choppy, but it ended beautifully. Thanks for reading.

Photo credit: Showtime, Homeland

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2 Responses to “Homeland “The Star” Review (3×12)”

  1. Tomas December 16, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Nice review.
    And demn, brody died then they jump right into 4 months later, where carrie and everybody is smiling again?
    Lockhart and Adal betrayed Saul’s commitment, and Carrie smiling to them so easy? I’d be so pissed off
    Strange, maybe more Quinn will come out on season 4 but i don’t now really..

    loved brody.. rip my man ★

    • polarbears16 December 16, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      Yeah, that was pretty jarring, but I guess it made sense; honestly, no one really cares about Brody there except for Carrie. Agreed on Carrie being all too willing to go along with Lockhart and Adal, as well as vice versa.

      Brody was great. Lewis did a fantastic job.

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