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Homeland

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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Ive been watching tv for DECADES, my dears, and those of you who found the finale in any way at fault should sign up immediately for your own electroshock therapy. The finale was AWESOME.

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I stongly disagree with those who are so critical of the season finale. Krish, how do you know the "vast majority are extremely disappointed?" That's a rash statement to make unless you have some hard facts to back it up. I thought the finale was excellent. I wasn't that surprised when the bomb didn't go off the first time Brody flipped the switch. The wiring probably got messed up when Brody was thrown to the ground by the Secret Service trying to protect him from Walker's sniper attack. As for the mental anguish that Brody went through in trying to bring himself to blow himself into pieces, not once but twice, I thought it was Damian Lewis' finest piece of acting in this series, and that's saying something. And I for one was glad that he didn't kill himself because I can't wait to see Lewis knock scenes out of the park next season, too. He is still devoted to Abu Nazir - he killed Walker without even the slightest hesitation - and it will be really interesting to see how he influences government policy in Nazir's favor as a member of congress. I actually thought Dana's intervention was natural and believable. She knew something wasn't right with her Dad and she also knew that if there was even the slightest chance that what Carrie was telling her was true and she did nothing to try and stop it, she would never forgive herself. To do what Brody was going to do required him to be in virtually a manic state of mind -completely cut off from reality. Dana forced him to "snap out it" so to speak. She gave him a reason to live that was more powerful than his need to sacrifice himself for his country. Lewis showed a completely different side of himself in that scene than when he played the composed leader of men in Band of Brothers. He really had me on the edge of my seat. Clair Danes was her usual brilliant self. She probably won't win back to back Golden Globes and Emmys, but she deserves to. I'm really looking forward to S2 of Homeland. More of Damian Lewis, Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin - should be quite a ride!

Uss-biddle-dlg-34

Homeland certainly supplanted the disapponting
Dexter as best on Showtime Sunday night , and
Seems to be getting more slack than The Killing
Did.....leaving "hanging chads" for next season.

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I love this show. I can't wait to see how Season 2 unfolds.

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@Alex Roggio Walker turned because Brody beat him half to death. I'm guessing Nazir would have used it to convince him that he meant nothing to the Marine Corp but Nazir saved his life.

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What's with the hate on the finale? How did you guys expect it was going to end? With Carrie coming to the rescue at the last moment? What the hell do you think this is, "24"?? The writers aren't going to make this a cheese-fest. The finale was excellently done. I only have one minor complaint which is about Walker. Why did he turn? Brody turned because of Issa, but they never really explained why Walker turned. And now that he died, I'm pretty sure they're never going to explain it. Just like they never explained why the Prince's butler bought that house...

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@Krish--As much as Brody cared for Issa and those other children, Dana made him realize that he has his own, LIVING, children to worry about. Yes, detonating the bomb would have killed the Vice President and others involved with the Drone bombing but in all reality what would that have accomplished? He would have killed all those people in that room and essentially killed his kids and wife as well. How would Chris Dana and Jess ever recovered from knowing their father/husband came back from 8 years as a POW a terrorist? Brody saw the big picture and realized his family was more important than Nazir's plot for revenge. Also, no one had any idea that Brody was wearing a bomb, which was why he was able to leave the bunker. When Walker fired those first 3 shots, they were simply to serve as a distraction so that Brody would be rushed into the building without anyone paying any mind to the metal detectors. How on earth was any one in the secret service or CIA supposed to know that those shots were just a distraction and not the actual attack?

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Nice review here. I personally though homeland deserved a better finale just considering how good the overall season is.
But the show certainly pulls viewers in every week. One of the best shows of the year.

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the only thing the finale gave me was a pissed off headache. that and wanting carrie to woop brody's ass. i mean i want the woman to win. i want brody to fall for her and for her to catch him and derail him.

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@Scott
yeah he "promised" his daughter he is coming home.and What about Issa ?the kids who were killed in the drone attack?

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