Homeland wrapped up season one and planted exciting, suspenseful seeds for season two this week, as Brody tried to blow himself up, while Carrie chose to scramble her troubled mind into any pieces.
In other words: the Showtime drama gave our Round Table panel of Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella and Carla Day plenty to discuss. They get into "Marine One" below...
What was your favorite scene from the finale?
Matt: I'll let Dan and Carla both have the pulse-pounding few minutes in the bunker. I'll go with Saul and Estes' conversation about how Saul actually won't rat the latter out to The New York Times because it would endanger agents in the field. It was one of many ways Homeland depicted the counter-terrorism game as a morally grey area that went far beyond torturing terrorists and disarming bombs.
Dan: When Brody was about to flip the switch on his bomb, I was freaking out. Damian Lewis was fantastic as he shook like a crazy person, had the red eyes going and then Brody actually did it! I'm just glad it didn't work. I'm not ready to say goodbye to him yet.
Carla: The most captivating scene and one that ultimately paved the way for the rest of the show was when Brody was going to flip the switch the second time, but getting the phone call from Dana. Lewis was amazing in that scene. You could see the decision making process in his head from his facial expressions. In that moment, he decided that he was not bound by Nazir and vengeance for Issa. He realized he had a family now and he couldn't leave them.
Were you okay with the vest simply not working?
Matt: On a lesser show, it would have been a cheat. The entire series of events falls apart due to faulty wiring? But Homeland delivered such incredible character portrayals, and Lewis sold the scenes in that bunker so well, that I was perfectly fine with it. The episode culminated in such perfect set-ups for season two, and was so consistently strong throughout season one, that it earned itself what some might consider a convenient plot device.
Dan: Yeah, why not? That's what happened. It makes sense that the wiring got all messed up when Brody was thrown all around after the shooting. Therefore, the malfunction isn't a plot device. It's organic.
Carla: Yes. I don't see that as a convenient plot point. The writers gave us plenty of reasons to see the malfunction as plausible. Not only did Brody have to put the vest on multiple times when he was interrupted by Dana, but he was manhandled getting into the building and holding room after the shooting.
Does Brody really plan on manipulating policy and remaining an Abu Nazir operative? Or was he just trying to stay alive in the moment?
Matt: Can't say I've thought about it much yet, but I think he's as against the Vice President and certain U.S. policy now as he was before. He might have been torn about killing himself, when faced with the reality of never seeing his family again, but Homeland has created this conflicted, multi-layered character. It's easy to believe Brody will still plot with Nazir in the future.
Dan: I don't think I have an opinion on that yet. We have been turned back and forth so many times on where his true intentions lie that it's hard to figure out what his deal truly is. Just because he decided not to go through with killing himself in order to save his family, it doesn't mean that he still doesn't hate the VP and all those people that were responsible for the attack.
Carla: I'm not sure Brody could even answer this question. He is clearly conflicted. When he said to Carrie, "For the last time, I’m not what you think I am,” I think he meant that. He doesn't believe he is a terrorist, but instead sees himself as a patriot. Clearly blowing himself up and killing the people in the holding room would have been a terrorist act even if for the "right" reasons, but as a politician where is the line? If Nazir's goal and what is truly in the best interest of the United States align, is he only a Nazir operative or also a patriotic politician? This is where I see the question heading in season two. Is he or isn't he a Nazir operative? Or is he just someone who wants what is best for the country and holds similar beliefs to Nazir.
How awesomely crazy is Carrie Mathison?!?
Matt: Very. Loved the moment when Virgil confirmed that she was crazy, but also that he trusted her. It would have been easy for Homeland to use the bipolar disorder as a gimmick, but it was woven well into Carrie herself and just created yet another layer to a dense, fascinating show.
Dan: She is awesome. She is crazy. She is definitely awesomely crazy! As much as I have enjoyed Claire Danes performance during the manic episodes, I kind of miss the charming conniving Carrie that slyly worked her way into Brody's life back in the early part of the season.
Carla: She is crazy; that's for sure. While I enjoyed Claire Danes's performance in the last two episodes, I hope that is the last we see of the unmedicated crazy Carrie. Despite her mental issues, she was the only one who put together all the pieces and ultimately stopped Brody from committing a terrorist attack. It's too bad no one knows what she accomplished, because I expect she will continued to be troubled when the show returns. This knowledge would be a positive motivator for her. I also hope she doesn't come out of the shock treatment a different person.
Give the season a grade.
Matt: A+. It had everything: suspense, tremendous acting, character development, the perfect number of twists and turns. Heck, even sex. One of the best seasons of any show I've ever watched.
Dan: Homeland had an outstanding season, and anything other than an A would be silly.
Carla: A. This was one of, if not the, best season of television I've ever watched. It was incredible in all aspects: writing, acting, filming, etc.