‘Homeland’ recap: Season 3, Episode 12: ‘The Star’

Damian Lewis  got himself into a bit of a bind in episode 311, but for the season finale, he used a few different connections to get out of it. (Credit: Didier Baverel/Showtime)
Damian Lewis got himself into a bit of a bind in episode 311, but for the season finale, he used a few different connections to get out of it. (Credit: Didier Baverel/Showtime)

If you thought Damian Lewis didn’t do much hanging out on the set of “Homeland” at the beginning of this season, wait until you see what happens on the finale.

Yes, he does hang, but it means that he probably won’t be hanging out on the set at all next season.

The season finale climaxed with Lewis’ Nicholas Brody character being hanged in an Iranian square as Carrie and Fara’s uncle looked on.

Yes, Carrie did get to tell him she was pregnant with his child, but neither of them got to tell each other that they loved each other. This could have felt soap opera-ish, but it was quite effective in gnashing the tension between these two.

The episode starts off hopeful enough (sans agonizingly long intro, thankfully) with Brody in Akbari’s office after he’s just murdered him. He mops up the blood and moves the corpse behind the Iranian official’s desk.

Meanwhile Javadi walks out to his car (does he think he’s going to get busted for being a traitor or did he know all along that Brody would successfully complete the mission?) to make himself scarce.

The tension in all of these scenes is fantastic. Brody walks out of the building, passing Akbari’s receptionist along the way, and when he gets to the door he is stopped. Uh-oh, is he busted? Nope. He just forgot to take his visitors pass off. Oops.

He gets into a car, and we think that at any minute the receptionist who has discovered Akbari’s body will squeal to her higher ups. But Brody makes it out of the compound! After the guards have cleared him, word comes down about what happened. He has taken a gun from Akbari’s desk and he puts it to the driver’s head and tells him to drive.

This is pure adrenaline as all of the haphazardly concocted plans seem to be falling into place. Carrie lets Saul know that Brody succeeded but Saul doesn’t believe it, so he calls Javadi.

It turns out that Javadi does know that the plan worked, but he wants to have Brody captured so Javadi can look better as he takes Akbari’s position. Saul is against it, and Carrie is against it, obviously, but a few other key players are for it, including Senator Lockhart, who is still not officially the director. Saul has one final day in the post.

Carrie and Brody rendezvous and they get to the safe house that Fara has helped set up.

That’s where, 20 minutes into the finale, she tells him that she’s pregnant. They kind of tell each other how they feel, but not quite.

We learn that Saul has put a plan into place where a bunch of Black Hawk helicopters will come and rescue Carrie and Brody before morning.

We see the two lying together a few hours later, but we don’t know if they got it on or not. Personally I like the love part of their relationship, but the sex part kinda grosses me out. Maybe it’s his nose-breathing.

Anyway, then we hear what sounds like helicopters. The pair scramble to get out of the house so they can be seen by the team.

They walk outside and hear the noise, but don’t see anything in the sky. Carrie tells Brody to run, but then an army of lights shine on them. Unanswered question: Did these guys have an awesome stereo system going with sound effects of helicopters blaring?

Anyway, these are Javadi’s guys and they’re there to take Brody away. Carrie is all, “DUDES! Cut it out! Javadi is in on this! Call him now!” (I’m paraphrasing)

One of the dudes says, “There’s no need to call anybody.”(I’m quoting ad verbatim here).

Carrie calls Saul and is freaking out, obviously. Saul is dumbfounded. He walks into a room and learns that Lockhart ordered the action because a decision was made on the president’s authority.

Saul is pissed, obviously and talking about how the guy did his mission, so he should be brought home, not abandoned.

“It’s your legacy we’re trying to protect, Saul,” Lockhart tells him.

The next day Carrie is leaving her hotel and is snatched by two thugs who bring her to Javadi, who informs her that Brody has been sentenced to death by hanging.

He actually says some reasonable things to her. He says, “It was always about him,” in regards to Carrie’s love for Brody and then he says, “Everyone sees him through your eyes now.”

And it’s true. Brody is seen as more of a hero in death. We’ll get back to this theme, as it relates to the title of the episode.

Carrie is allowed to speak to Brody by phone in prison for two minutes. He seems relieved that it’s all over and he asks her not to come to the hanging, a request she ignores, obviously. There’s a lot of me saying “obviously” in this recap, and that’s mostly because everybody is so true to their characters, which is a credit to the writers.

Carrie goes with Fara’s uncle and she scales a fence and shouts Brody’s name as he is being hoisted up by a noose. He seems to see her. She seems like she’s going to yell, “I LOVE YOU!” but she falls off the fence. Dayum. So very Carrie, isn’t it?

So then Brody dies! It’s horrible. I mean, we’re not dealing with Clint Eastwood action-hero reality here, but it was still surprising to see that the creators decided to kill him off. Apparently it was on the works even earlier.

Then we flash-forward four months for a convenient wrap-up. Saul is no longer with the CIA, and he’s working for himself. The newspapers are reporting that Iran is agreeing to terms that will lift U.S. economic sanctions. It’s kind of a convenient real-life happening that the writers probably took pains to squeeze into this finale.

It feels a little forced and a little weird that we’re supposed to think that some sort of real-life Javadi was involved in all of this. This is not a credit to the writers, but it would be hard to have done this seamlessly.

Lockhart offers an 8-months pregnant Carrie a position as a station chief “running Javadi from Istanbul.”

She accepts the position. She then asks that Brody been given a star at the annual ceremony to commemorate the Langley victims. Lockhart says no way. Even though Brody redeemed himself it’s too big of a blemish that he once wore an explosive vest to blow up his own countrymen. I don’t normally side with Lockhart, but it does kinda make sense. So there’s the “Brody as a hero or not?” theme coming back.

Carrie sees Quinn outside. He’s smoking, which is weird, because why give him a new vice at the end of the season? Carrie asks to bum one. He’s reluctant, but he gives her one as long as she agrees not to light it.

Carrie expresses doubts about the baby in her belly. Quinn says he has a child, but he somehow messed up the family situation. New Quinn info! Interesting!

Speaking of messed up family situation, Carrie’s dad and sister come by Carrie’s apartment with a bunch of baby stuff to give her. Carrie tells them she wants to give the baby up, because she doesn’t think she can handle it. After saying “you’re not leaving this kid, not like your mother did to you,” her dad says he’ll take the baby.

The next day is the ceremony honoring military heroes and those who died at Langley.

Carrie works late after the ceremony. On her way out, she takes a pen and draws a star on the wall! It’s powerful stuff! The writers are going to have to start from scratch next season with Brody dead and Saul out of the CIA. They’ll be able to do it though.

Grade: A


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