Well, the suspense is over (sort of). Homeland’s second season concluded with some lovey-dovey mushiness between Brody and Carrie, several pretty impressive pissing contests (Quinn vs. Estes, Saul vs. Estes, both of which Estes lost), and a few seconds of unexpected pyrotechnics. Those didn’t work out too well for Estes either, come to think of it.
Overall I give Sunday’s season finale a solid B grade – this despite Carrie’s and Brody’s Sam-and-Diane stuff, which has never really drawn me in. But an episode that is Saul-heavy is pretty much guaranteed above-average marks from me. Mandy Patinkin is amazing; his scholarly glasses and sensible clothing, his witty jousting with Estes, his perfectly timed f-bombs (To Carrie: “You’re the smartest and the dumbest f—in’ person I’ve ever known”) and his shaking voice at poignant moments (like when his wife told him she was coming home) can counteract a multitude of other sins.
Sins such as…
- I still cannot get my head around the death of the Vice President, and Carrie’s ability to overlook Brody’s role in it. She barely MENTIONED it, even. That was completely out of character for her. At the Veep’s memorial service, Carrie seemed completely blasé. In fact, she kept looking back at Brody and raising her eyebrows like, “This guy was such a tool, am I right?” She had known Walden was not a stand-up guy for some time, but I can’t see her just shrugging off his murder by her boyfriend.
- What was Brody doing at that memorial service anyway? He hated Walden (obviously) and clearly did not plan to stick around the Senate or seek another political office. He told Carrie he wanted to be a builder or a teacher. So, what was his intention… if not to plant a bomb and blow up the place, and everyone in it? More on this later.
- Where did Brody’s suicide vest disappear to? When last we saw it, it was on the top shelf of his bedroom closet where is wife could easily find it. (Back then I thought his lack of imaginative hiding places was a bit cavalier.) But on Sunday night, Brody arrived home to find the contents of his closet placed in piles on the bedroom floor, as his wife kicked him to the curb. I thought he would freak out and start sweating – Nick Brody is a sweater when he’s nervous – but he was completely unfazed. How does one dispose of a suicide bomber vest? Maybe you use it to blow up your car at a future date. Again, more on this later.
- After a massive explosion nearly leveled Langley, the suspension of my disbelief got pretty shaky. First off, Carrie was once again knocked unconscious. It was presumably her third concussion that week, and she was still running around like one of Charlie’s Angels? The NFL would have benched her for the season, but Brody let her get behind the wheel. Yikes.
- And what about that car? It was parked at Langley, but it showed neither a ding nor a speck of dust.
- Why did Carrie have a stash of cash and a fake passport, birth certificate and driver’s license in a bunker-like storage unit? When did she determine she might someday need to flee on foot across the border to Canada?
- I hated the scene between Brody and Mike, when Brody essentially told his friend he could continue his affair with Jess and look after his kids because “he wouldn’t be able to” for a while. Creepy, to start with. Also just awkward. I read somewhere that the scene was pretty heavily edited at some point before it aired, and it felt like that to me.
After weeks of painting Brody as a softhearted romantic, writers spent much of the finale trying to recapture the intrigue from Season One, i.e. is Brody a bad-guy terrorist, or just a victim?
There was something about his car keys that every conspiracy theorist on the internet seems to have picked up on, but I totally missed. Apparently he passed his car keys to someone outside the memorial service. He could have been a valet, a co-conspirator of Brody’s or a follower of Abu Nazir’s who wanted to set Brody up. At any rate, some Homeland fans suspect that this shady keeper of the keys was behind the explosion at Langley.
If Brody wasn’t set up, how did all the networks wind up with his taped suicide confession?
So many questions to be answered in Season Three… we hope.
Here’s a new plotline I’d like to see. I think it’s safe to assume that Carrie will spend at least the first few episodes of the coming season trying to clear Brody’s name, while others seek to destroy him. (How she will accomplish her part from within the walls of the CIA is anyone’s guess.) Meanwhile, Brody will stay in Canada.
What about a Quinn/Carrie hook up? At the proverbial water cooler, a colleague made a great point: Writers must have bigger things planned for Peter Quinn. Rupert Friend is a fairly well-known British actor (check him out in Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont) and too fantastically handsome to waste. What’s more, Quinn clearly has a soft spot for Carrie, since he refused to kill Brody in part to spare her pain.
Bye-bye Sam and Diane, bring on a love triangle!