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Homeland

Homeland Review: Throwing Your Life Away

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Homeland Season 2 had so much to make up for in its finale that "The Choice" had nearly no chance of redeeming the story telling mistakes, character misguidance and overall unbelievability of the past half season or so.

In addition to the fantastic performances by Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, and others, as well as the thrills and surprises that the writing brought to us, Homeland Season 1 had an aura of realism that also made it easy for the audience to be drawn in.

Those first two facets were still in play this year, for the most part, but that third factor was really nowhere to be found. It seemed every episode had its own share of moments where you had to chuckle to yourself, and think "Really? Okay, I guess I'll play along."

Homeland Season 2 Finale Scene

"The Choice" featured its own share of such scenes. Listening to Saul talk about the added responsibility Carrie may be in for was ridiculous. Seriously, the CIA is not only going to allow this crazy person back into the company, but put her in charge of a station??!? 

Moreover, Carrie and Brody walking out of the memorial service for the Vice President just in the nick of time was ridiculously convenient for everybody, no? If we're going to accept that neither has enough respect to stay through the entirety of it, couldn't we have at least had some shots of the other people in attendance shooting them the dirtiest looks of all-time for getting up and bolting?

The finale did redeem Abu Nazir in a way, though. At least now we can rest easily knowing that he wasn't the dumbest villain of in TV history. His ultimate plan, if we choose to believe Brody's explanation, was respectable. Getting his team caught, and eventually getting himself captured, in order to kill the Vice President and then murder hundreds of CIA agents at his funeral wasn't the worst idea ever. It showed a long-term plan that I can get behind as a viewer.

Did Nazir need to die to keep America's guard down? Probably not, so it didn't quite make up for his decision to stay in that building and not kill Carrie, but it was a good start to redemption.

Maybe it was just that Carrie and Brody worked so poorly together as a couple, but the performances of Danes and Lewis didn't seem nearly as impressive this season in comparison to what we witnessed a year ago. Patinkin, on the other hand, gave us everything we enjoyed about Saul and more.

Whether it was the simplicity of drinking out of a carton of milk, or the utterly painful words he spewed at Carrie when she told him she was thinking of choosing Brody over her job, Saul Berenson was once again the highlight of this episode.

You're throwing your life away... You're the smartest and the dumbest f*cking person I've ever known.

While all of his comments in that conversation were warranted - Brody was a terrorist after all - the pain they caused Carrie still cut so deep that they were shocking, so very enjoyably shocking.

If those were his last moments with his friend it would have been a shame, but still, the emotions they were trying to induce with that final moment didn't quite work. I get as sentimental as anyone can while watching television. Heck, I get teary-eyed during almost every episode of Parenthood, but I didn't feel a thing when Saul turned around and saw Carrie standing there.

Carrie became way too unlikable as a character this season to get emotional about any big moment for her. Whether that was saying goodbye to Brody in the woods, or showing up for Saul, she became too annoying to really want to see good things happen to her. That's not a good sign for the future of Homeland.

Also not good for this show's future is the feeling that it will never lose its main cast. Finding new stories to tell about each and every one of these characters is difficult. Taking the tale where it goes, organically, would be a much easier task. That, however, would likely include getting rid of Morena Baccarin as a cast member, and that's very unlikely to happen.

Instead, we will probably be stuck watching a few more uninteresting stories from Jessica, Dana and Mike next year, an issue that hurt this fall's flow as well.

In the end, the big issues of Brody getting killed by Quinn and Saul being detained by Estes were conveniently thrown away. The cold-blooded cleaner suddenly grew a conscience, which saved Brody's life and forced Estes to let up on Saul.

Now one will be on the run, and the other will likely be leading the man hunt as the ranking officer in the CIA. That's where this seemingly heads next season, right? I'm sure there are plenty more terrorist attacks in the works, but that has to be a part of the story, no?

What do you all think is in store for viewers next season? Did you have as many issues with the back half Homeland's second season as I did? If so, what were your problems? If not, what did you love about season 2? And what were your favorite moments from "The Choice?"

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (144 Votes)

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

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    I did`nt buy the Quin thing unless he is in awe of Carrie. She may be nuttier than a fruitcake but she does have those insights. I feel sorry for Brodie with his self obessessed doortar-whiny Dana (soon got over the hit and run) and his horrible wife. His shitbag of a friend `Mike`. Dull. But.... despite not quite being as intense as season 1, it is the best TV program on at the moment. Breaking Bad is not on and that is clearly the best TV show ever. The explosion scene was straight out of leftfield and the release of Brodie`s video was great. A man truly up shit creek. Looking forward to season 3.
    Saul is great and Quin should add to the mix.

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    love this show the acting is so good.Like series 2 better Think his he or isent he its guess work all through love it

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    I thought it was a great episode. Sure there are improbabilities that strain credibility, but I loved all the scenes between the various duos. Overall I thought it was a great season that more deeply probed into the mental damage that afflicted Brody and his struggles to return to his family & be "normal."

    Soapjunk

    It was a outstanding episode with a outstanding performances by the actors. Perfect plot planned by Nazir, you said last week that such a brilliant minded Terrorist should know better than to stay in one place too long. This brilliant minded Terrorist is brilliant, planning everything perfectly and it all working out makes sence, he's a terrorist, they don't do plan B. I did NOT see the the video of Brody from last season coming. Perfectly planned. I'm looking forward too season 3, for me the Vibe is still there. David Estes may you rest in peace

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    Personally I thought it was terrible. Completely agree with the reviewer, the fact that Carrier and Brody left early was completely disrespectful. And what happened with Dana and Finn? The fact that his dad died and his girlfriend (I'm not sure if they broke up or not) didn't even attend the funeral service is quite disrespectful as well. That would have a been a great scene. Dana goes to the CIA to support Finn and they're both blown to death!! And what about Brodys son? What happened to him? Why didn't we get to see his reaction to the tape? Now Carrie, I completely agree with Saul when he said she's the dumbest person ever, her 'smartness' is just pure luck and unbelievable story telling by the writers. The crap they want us to believe! It's actually ridiculous. The first few episodes of season 3 will probably be a depressed Carrie in her new position (again this would NEVER happen in the real world but ok!) and a depressed Brody family. Maybe they'll have an actual storyline for the boy (keep forgetting his name!) because these past 2 years he's been nothing but unnecessary. .

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    ["Am the only one that was disappointed that Quinn didn't kill Brody (and hopefully Carrie in the process)?"] I guess so. And I'm probably the only one who cheered when Brody successfully killed Vice-President Walden on Nazir's behalf. I like my protagonists to be complex and morally gray. I'm not into black-and-white morality, or into morally gray characters who pretend to harbor a "good-vs-evil" morality like Jack Bauer. And killing off David Estes was a mistake. He may have been a bastard, but he was an interesting one. Saul is a nice man, but he's not as interesting as Estes.

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    Eu fui manipulada, me fizeram acreditar que o Brody não era terrorista, que a Carrie estava sã e o Quinn era assassino profissional, mas apesar de tudo continuo gostando da série e aguardo ansiosa por sua volta, que alias vai caber ao Saul tudo. Todos os comentários tem um fundo de razão, espero que pelo menos os atores se convençam da "sina" de seus personagens.

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    Another one she didn't see coming! This is a hell of an entertaining show but I wonder whether it has reached the end of its natural life. Brody is one of the stars of the show, but what if Quinn HAD shot him (a government killer with a conscience just doesn't make sense)and the car bomb had gone off anyway - that would have shown that there was still a terror cell and that Brody had truthfully kept his side of the bargain. That would have left people guessing as to the identity of the mole (which ones survived, after all?). Carrie back at the CIA - I really don't think Saul would sanction that. She made her choice plain to him when he balled her out. He wouldn't ever take her back into the Agency. As for the pair of them leaving the memorial - it was just a weak plot device to get them out of the line of fire and for Brody, too late, to spot his car had been moved. Creaky plotting. I half expected Nazir to swim away from his body bag/shroud to live another day! And given her part in his downfall, wouldn't Carrie have been on that boat instead of Saul? That said, I expect many of us will tune in again next year just to see how the writers' minds are working. After all, it is only entertainment.

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    Worst idea ever: A series starring Dana from Homeland and Rusty from Major Crimes, the two most annoying teenagers in the history of television. Call it Groanland.

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    The only thing missing from the finale was Dana finding the suicide vest, trying it on and blowing herself to pieces,... This would have renewed my faith in season 3. All the other characters performed quite well, and although some leaps were made to make it all come together (or should i say fall apart,..)i found the 2nd season to be almost as entertaining as the first. Always good to go out with a bang ! P