As season 3 of Homeland came to end you could be forgiven for thinking it was a completely different show to the one that burst onto our screens a few years ago.
The first season intoxicated us with it’s super sleek spy espionage action, deep, intriguing characters and it’s finale got our hearts racing and our palms sweaty. Now a year and a half later and finishing its third season I can’t help but wonder whether this show was just a one-hit wonder that has sadly wasted most of it’s potential.
The final episode dealt with the fallout of Brody killing General Akbari in his own office and his attempts to escape Tehran and it’s impending Iranian forces with Carrie.
While this is happening, Saul back in America has decide whether or not he should save Brody now that he has completed his mission. The show built up real momentum in the last few episodes especially the penultimate one and I was looking forward to a captivating and enthralling ending.
I’m afraid to say however that the show failed to really capitalise on this momentum and ended quietly and with a bit of a whimper that culminated in the anti-climactic death of everyone’s favourite anti-hero Nicholas Brody by hanging.
Let’s be honest when the whole sequence leading up to Brody’s execution was happening most of us were waiting/expecting a twist where the American government marched in and saved him or where Saul rides in on horseback to save the day (it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing to happen this season).
Although it would have been predictable to save Brody at the last minute that doesn’t mean it would have been a bad thing. When you watch a James Bond film for example you know no matter what impossible situation he finds himself in he’s always going to survive – It doesn’t make it any less entertaining or fun.
Had this been the last ever season and Homeland was not returning then I might have said it was a fitting ending to the show. However it’s not the last season. It’s been commissioned for another and the final episode didn’t exactly get me that excited for the next installment.
I don’t think there are many shows that can kill of it’s main characters and still maintain the same high quality. Imagine if The Sopranos had killed off Tony mid-way through. The decision to kill off Brody was not one that would have been taken lightly but I think the writers probably thought that he had ran out of steam.
Ultimately I think the decision will benefit the show in the long term. Keeping him alive any longer, given what he had been through, would start to become unrealistic. Even this season his appearances in certain early episodes felt forced. That being said one of the reasons we all fell in love with this show was because of the dark, tormented and dramatic lives that the characters are forced to live and Brody was certainly the most interesting character the show offered.
With Brody gone the show really has only two genuinely interesting characters: Carrie and Saul. Unfortunately the character of Carrie has become quite irritating this season and generally less interesting. The storyline where she was only pretending to be crazy to get close to Javadi never really won me over and I really didn’t see the point of her pregnancy.
The show was at it’s best this year when it focused on the high-octane thrills of international terrorism and at it’s worst when it focused too heavily on certain characters personal problems. The boyfriend sub-plot of Dana for example was a really low point for Homeland. It offered no real purpose to the show’s plot and only served to highlight how irritating and surplus Dana actually was.
There were however a bunch of new characters that were welcome additions.
Senator Lockheart was always an interesting screen presence that added a much needed sense of stability, realism and bureaucracy to the show. Also Dar Adal, who took some time to warm up, eventually began to compliment the rest of the characters well in the latter parts of the season. Also Saul remained one of the strongest parts of the show even when he was displaying a particularly ruthless streak at times.
Homeland it has to be said is never boring and always offers some good popcorn style viewing but this season and for parts last season it has bordered on the unlikely to the simply ridiculous. I retain hope that the end of Brody doesn’t have to mean the end of Homeland itself and that with a clean slate next year Homeland can return fighting fit with a whole new batch of fresh ideas.