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Homeland Review: Bomb In A Bunker

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With an extended Homeland season finale comes an extended Homeland season finale review here at TV Fanatic. I will attempt to keep my thoughts contained, but since "Marine One" was such a tremendous end to this almost perfect first season, I make no promises.

No show in recent memory has combined such interesting character studies with such amazing storytelling as well as Homeland has done over its first 12 episodes.

A Scary Home Video

Damian Lewis gave another gut-wrenching performance in the Homeland season finale.

This season finale had me on the edge of my seat for the entire 90 minutes. A number of series can pull that off on finale night, but Homeland managed to do it every single hour over the course of an entire season. Bravo.

It started with Dana walking in on her dad praying in the garage, a moment I was so glad that Brody was somewhat upfront about. For obvious reasons he couldn't be honest with his daughter when she almost walked in on him again, this time with a bomb strapped to his chest.

The tension continued with the near perfect plan by Walker, Nazir, Brody, and company as Walker snuck in on the floor of an old woman's car, Brody came via Secret Service, and the two managed to get all of the important individuals into a confined space.

The next moments were what had me up in arms over how good this Homeland finale was. Both before and after Brody went into the bathroom to fix his vest, the scenes in which he was ready to ignite the bomb to kill himself and everyone else, were truly breathtaking.

It was stunning directing by Michael Cuesta, who unsurprisingly also directed the Pilot and "The Weekend." Cuesta and Damian Lewis's performance had me afraid for my life, let alone Brody's as the good sergeant struggled with his decision to flip the switch.

As the camera soon made its way to Carrie at the Brody household, it was obvious once again that not only are these writers brilliant, but so are the characters they have created. Of course Carrie is going to go to Brody's weak spot! It's something we all learned in "Achilles Heel." Everyone has one. Carrie figured out that Brody's is Dana, and she tried to use that to her advantage.

Sadly, Carrie never found out that her plan worked, which in turn most likely helped lead to her decision to go through with the electrode treatment.

After Dana finished blowing up at the woman that banged her dad, she allowed herself to calm down and actually comprehend that this woman was right. Whether or not Dana actually believed her father was going to kill everyone at that site, after all she witnessed over the past couple of weeks, she at least knew that something was seriously wrong.

Listening to that phone conversation between a father and daughter filled me with every emotion possible. Brody's quick "Yeah I'm coming home," as his eyes turned beat red and he shook like crazy, almost had me near tears.  When Dana finally convinced him, he composed himself, and responded with a strong "I'm coming home Dana, I promise," the love in the air also had me near tears.  Maybe I'm just too emotional.

Homeland Season Finale Picture

You can see Brody trembling even in this still picture.

While all of that was going on, our man Saul attempted to believe in Carrie time after time, but only ended up betraying her again and again. After finding out that she was absolutely right about Abu Nazir, he decided to save her from the electrode treatment on her brain, but his attempt was too late.  She made her decision.

As good as the twists and turns were, and as interesting as the surprises and new developments were, the story telling still might have taken a back seat to just how fantastic Claire Danes and Lewis were at portraying these unbelievably complex characters.

That was never more evident than in "Marine One." Brody's struggle to make the biggest decision of his life, choosing the love of his family over what he thought he needed to do for the good of the country, and then continuing to go along with Nazir's plan after killing Walker, proved just how great of a character Sergeant Brody really is.

Whether this guy is willing to make moves up the political ladder for Nazir with a purpose of helping the man, or simply because he thinks he needs to in order to stay alive at this point, it will be interesting to watch.  Lewis and this writing staff have proved that.

Carrie Mathison's amplified bouts of mania and subsequent depression only made her an even more interesting character over the past couple of episodes.  She is brilliant, that is for sure, but can she be controlled?  And should she be?

After electing for this intense treatment on her brain, will she be different come season two?  Will she be more normal?  Will that allow her to be back in the CIA?  

There are a lot of questions to be asked before Homeland gets to its second season, but let's stay on this finale, and the end of season one for a moment.

I only had one major issue with this finale, and it was that Dana intervening was so blatantly obvious.  They foreshadowed it to death, so when Brody went into the garage to pray, I wrote in my notes "daughter is going to walk in on this final prayer!" Sometimes I forget her name, so sue me.

When he started putting the vest on in his bedroom I wrote "what are the chances she walks in again?"  Yeah she didn't, but it was the same idea.  For as good as the series was at keeping the audience on their toes, this was one area where they kind of beat us over the head with the idea.

That one issue was definitely not enough to derail me from stating that Homeland really put an exclamation point on this terrific first season, as "Marine One" might have been my favorite installment of the season.

I can't wait to see where they go with the story in season two. What about all you TV Fanatics? What did you think of the season one finale? And how unbelievably good was this first season of Homeland?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (291 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Apparently, 64% of people watching Homeland in the UK think Brody is guilty... WRONG. Think of the American psyche.. the Marines are the sacred cow so one certainly would not betray his country. No... I think there is a touch of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy about this. There is a mole in the CIA and Brody is there to help flush him out. Too many red herrings have been thrown in to fool viewers, the biggest one so far was when Carrie asked: Has he ever cheated on his wife? No, says Brody. Ohhh... he can control the polygraph. He's a traitor... not. Try Saul.

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Not a bad series, but dam depressing with the non stop crying, got a bit bored of the predictable tears every 5 mins

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Meh- I liked the concept of the story. But a bit contrived don;t you think with carrie sleeping with Brody, how realistic is that, and how did show pass all the CIA test when she is Bi-polar. I give it 5 out of 10 I would have liked a better story. It is a just a longer version of Manchurian Candidate.

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I taught the series was good but not brilliant. It should have ended with brody not going through with the bomb and returning home it was the climax of the whole series and the extra bit with him killing his partner was not needed. Carries story was good and very unexpected even though i found it very difficult to watch, I think there is a glaring mistake here tho, when sol tells carrie about the covered up drone strike that kills the kid he does not mention the kids name so how can carrie make the connection, please tell me if I missed something here?.

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I was sorry all season that I missed watching this series, heard such good things all along. So I just watched the whole series over a couple of days. Fantastic, of course, but perhaps too intense for a single dose like that! This instantly ranks up there with Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Dexter. I will be a permanent Claire Danes fan forever.

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Just found this site while looking around for reviews on Homeland, even after a couple weeks I still can't stop thinking about this first season. Heck even reading the review for the season finale had me back on the edge of my seat and hanging on every word. So many story lines going forward, I can't wait for season 2:
- Will Carrie remember her revelation about Nazir's son and Brody?
- Who has the memory card with the video of his confession and how long till that's used against him, even just only as blackmail?
- What will Carrie's role be going forward?
- Does Dana trust her dad more or less now?
- Will the rest of the family ever catch on to Brody's conflicted nature?

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This series is truly amazing and most lifelike! With series such as this one and Dexter, Showtime really rock! What can I watch now that both these series are now over until next fall!! Any ideas??

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To whoever asked below, I don't think we will ever know what turned Walker (although it could be the beating that Brody gave him). But I like that we do not know, he is not one of the main characters and I like that we won't ever get the full story.

Cidalni

This was a fantastic season finale. I hope they don't drag for too long what carrie realized before the procedure. It's been a great joy to watch this show. Is it wrong for me to actually want Brody to detonate the bomb so that everyone could see that Carries was right all along?
I'm not sure if Dana suspects or not. I think she's the one on the family that would figure it out first.

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Underwhelming finale. Overrated series that relies on a few good actors.

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