‘Homeland’ Season Finale Shocker: For Fans, Next Stage is Acceptance

homeland Review

Third season has led Emmy-winning drama into a new phase; time to accept it - or move on

There are several ways to view the current season of “Homeland,” but for those committed to stick with the show, the most logical attitude – in the various stages of grieving – would be acceptance.

What started out as one of the most bracing shows on TV – one that had President Obama famously clamoring for episodes, and which seemed to parallel reality in prescient and provocative ways – largely settled for becoming a more conventional spy thriller, albeit one with a blue-chip cast. The high-wire act was perilous, and while the show didn’t exactly land with a splat, it did take a pretty steep fall.

All that serves as preamble, in a way, to Sunday’s third-season finale, which capped off the plot in which Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) – after a stint as a heroin addict in Venezuela – was offered a shot at redemption: Go into Iran and kill its head of security, opening the way for a U.S.-controlled Iranian asset, Javadi (Shaun Toub), to rise within the hierarchy of the Revolutionary Guard and fundamentally alter the hostile relationship between the two countries.

Yet while the focus on Iran would seem to mirror current events as the U.S. has negotiated with the regime there – in much the way the show anticipated a U.S. vice president with a pacemaker becoming a remote-control target – the truth is before Sunday, “Homeland” had veered into a different mode. Yes, the show was still tense, sharp and spare, but its ambitions felt downsized – becoming a lot closer to the fifth season of “24” than the first one of “Homeland.”

The finale (and yes, be warned: SPOILERS are ahead if you haven’t watched) seemingly braved breaking this pattern, leaving the impression that Brody had been publicly hanged for his crime, that Saul (Mandy Patinkin) was out of the agency and Carrie (Claire Danes) attempting to move along with her career. If the whole thing was ending there, a great deal could be forgiven.

But as we know, “Homeland” has been renewed, followed by reports that Brody’s family, played by Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor, won’t be returning as regulars. That leaves two options: Genuinely reboot the show, and basically start over; or find another miraculous way to raise Brody from the dead, like some modern-day Houdini. (While the second certainly seems unlikely, past performance would suggest that in “Homeland”-land, all is not always as it appears.)

Perhaps that’s why this last episode, while beautifully done, risks looking considerably worse in the rear-view mirror.

Whatever the upcoming season holds – forging ahead with new players, or mimicking the opening of “You Only Live Twice” – it’s fair to say the next permutation of “Homeland” will represent a very different proposition than the one the Showtime program initially appeared to offer. That likely includes diminished expectations on the awards circuit, if the usually star-struck Golden Globe nominations are any guide.

Having almost literally blown up the show once already, and now threatening to do so again, it’s hard to see a smooth road back. Yes, the war against terrorism might persist, but the fundamental relationship that defined the series is over — or at least, should be. And since there’s really no point in getting angry about that, or grieving over it, all that leaves is to accept it, or move on.

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  1. robert mitchell says:

    We all know it’s only a show and fantasy but George as a former Seal and God bless you for it,in any clandestine operations ya have to be a team player,not mavericks like Brody&Cary.When Cary tried to warn Brody compromising the mission,she would have been taken out Oswald style[head shot] not shot in the arm.Brody was brain washed for 8 years and his allegiance was always questioned.Some how i don’t think manic depressives- bi polars like Cary are trusted for anything CIA related.No in reality they wouldn’t have been trusted by anyone in the CIA.

    • george gras says:

      LOL, Robert, Your so right,,,Hell,,I’d gladly take the shot and allow Quinn to sleep better at night,,,,,I’m just saying what I think I saw to give the writers and producers (Claire and the others) a way or two to feasibly explain a way back in, (what they might leave themselves),,,,but as far as reality goes,,,well,,it can’t go,,,not on this show,,,theres just no way reality could rule the day on this show

  2. Circanet says:

    Just find a way to bring Brody back….just sayin’

    • robert mitchell says:

      Brody couldn’t be trusted and had to go.Get over it.

      • george gras says:

        Why couldn’t Brody be trusted????? I can’t recall him having that character flaw????? Like Saul & Carrie he was at the mercy of assholess like the Sen or F Murray,,,but they could be trusted

  3. Kris M. says:

    Sluggish third season, with a vastly disappointing finale. The writers could take some lessons from Vince Gilligan.

    • george gras says:

      I agree, The hajille episode where the aryans showed up “blew me away”, I never expected that in a million years, when Walt spotted their vehicles rolling in I almost heard the music from “Jaws”, dynamic as well as amazing, tremendous writing

  4. george gras says:

    In reality, it sometimes takes hours for a hanged or hung person to die,,,the “clean & jerk move” that is done to snap the neck never did happen, Brody would have to strangle without his neck being snapped, he’s in well enough shape to stay tense and disallow death for quite some time, when the crane never “jerked”, I knew Brody’d be back, there could be a few good reasons for that, most likely so Jevadi could turn him, remember Abu-Nazir’s wife is fond of him and I don’t know what she ACTUALLY thought of that cat that Brody put out to pasture,,,,maybe the Iranian’s put Brody up to offing that monster

    • george gras says:

      Your absolutely correct Sal,,,which is my point,,by the absence of those actions gives us a bit of insight as to where they’re going,,,and I tink that’s preferable to finding someone in the shower and explaining a year away with a dream,,the # 1 rated Dallas never was the same after that season,,,,it remined strong but alas,,,never quite the same

    • robert mitchell says:

      You must be jiven’.A person’s head snaps and his neck is broken when he goes though the trap door.Conventional hanging.If you watch the hanging again his leg does jerk.As far as taking hours for someone hanging,get real man.I was a cop for over 20 years and not one hanging suicide took more than minutes for the person to croak.

      • Sal says:

        You guys know this is TV we are talking about. It doesn’t have to make sense. Neck snaps, leg jerks…it doesn’t matter. they could always bring him back. Although I hope they don’t.

      • george gras says:

        I was a Navy Seal & a Medic, I’ve seen training films and documentaries, In States where Hanging is the Chosen method to Execute a condemend person they’ve had Dr’s who’ve had to check multiple times to pronounce the victim DEAD, sorry Officer but you’re mistaken in your premise

  5. anthony says:

    Why should this be the end of the show? The series is titled “Homeland”, not “Brody”.

    Give the show a break, everyone. It’s been terrific watching it for 3 years.

    • robert mitchell says:

      Respect your opinion George and facts.Just never heard of someone hung lingering more than minutes via traditional hanging[trap door or suicide]unless noose was defective and person had to be hung again.Not familiar at all with a person hung[executed] by being lifted.Is that done in middle east or by Show Time for effect.Any medical examiners out there to clarify time of death of a traditional hanging?

  6. robert mitchell says:

    I kind of expected Cary to attack the the Sen. new CIA director at the ceremony.But boy did she get over Brody real quick,no?Kissing ass to get accept bureau chief job in Turkey.Brody deserved to get his neck stretched,as he was to loose a canyon and couldn’t be trusted.Good show,not great and should be put to rest.Won’t miss it if it’s gone but will absolutely miss Dexter a truly great show.

  7. Riley says:

    Watch it turn out that Brody’s hanging was faked by Javadi (yes, he was strung up on the crane, but why couldn’t they have done the same thing they did when filming the show and used a harness to simulate the hanging?) I kept expecting Brody to show up at the end — maybe to try and kill Saul or Lockhart. I wouldn’t be surprised is Brody does pop up again with the explanation being Javadi saved his life by having the hanging rigged so the people got their pound of flesh and he told his people to fake it so they could interogate Brody further.

  8. Rafi says:

    I have been devoted to Homeland since day one, and this finale left me heart broken, not only because beloved Brody died, but because the normally-flawless writing was hung out just like him.

    The finale made no sense! How would Javadi explain how he knew exactly where Carrie and Brody were (in the middle of the desert) to Iran? Why wouldn’t they take Carrie, a very useful CIA agent who is trying to smuggle Brody out of the country? And all of a sudden, everybody (INCLUDING CARRIE) just kind of throws their hands up? He never even goes limp!

    For such meaningful character, that was such a quick meaningless death. I’m holding on to the hope that it was a dream sequence or something, because that was just really horribly done.

    What a huge let-down, Homeland. I am not looking forward to the next season, like I normally do.

    • Pure Predaholmes says:

      The writers may as well have hanged themselves they’re services are no longer required! Brody was the show formerly known as Homeland now known as Homeless. All the other characters in show fed off Brody’s character when they hung Brody they killed the series. As far as I am concerned I’ll be moving on. Rest In Peace Homeland.

      • Linda Swanson says:

        I, too, am disgusted with the finale of the show. And I was even before that when they only hired Brody for 6 episodes of the 3rd season. True, it may have been a fake hanging, it certainly didn’t look as tho he had a broken neck. Carrie certainly accepted his fate well. To me, Brody is just as important a character as any of the rest of the actors, and he’s good. I assume he’ll show up in Turkey where Carrie will be next season.

  9. Dan says:

    Well, that was lame ending to what started off as a fairly good season. Claire Danes is great in her role, so much so that I can’t stand Carrie, so if there’s no Saul and no Brody there’s no reason to watch the show anymore. Bummer, because the first two seasons were awesome. A good show that kept you on your toes.

  10. L watters says:

    Crappy ending, done watching it. Canceling showtimr

    • robert mitchell says:

      I loved the ending if it’s the end of the series,which was good,not great.Clears up some loose ends.Brody[hero,traitor?]Hanged.Cary gets a promotion and sent to Istanbul[like that would have happened with all her screwball behavior]Saul forced out of the agency but completed his mission.And did ya get the message from the lib writers with the so called laughable nuclear accord between the Obama administration and the nut jobs in Iran.Hey they can’t help themselves in Hollywood.
      But all in all a good run for a good show[no Boardwalk or Dexter though,truly great shows].Just don’t give me a 4th season.They are out of storyline.

  11. Susie says:

    I am holding on to the hope that Brody really is NOT dead, that somehow he didn’t really hang.
    If that doesn’t end up being the case, I think Carrie might end up with baby Brody & Quinn.

  12. Michael Kirkby says:

    Maybe that’s where it should end? I haven’t watched the finale yet but I finished E11 last night and fully expected Brody to die in some way in the finale. Leave it as is and don’t write a fourth season. Perfect.

  13. Jack Carter says:

    What a bunch of no-life morons. It’s a TV show people; it’s all make believe. Get over it.

  14. zach teich says:

    What if Showtime’s announcement of a Season 4 was a ruse designed to heighten the surprise of Brody’s death, Saul’s departure from the Agency, and Carrie’s posting to Istanbul? Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that that the show is over because I can’t see a Homeland reboot working. Looks to me like what happened years ago with CBS’ “The Unit” is happening now with Homeland – the writers simply are out of any even marginally plausible story to tell.

  15. George Orwell says:

    Brody dying was the only possibility that could keep the show grounded to reality. It was off the mark in trying to pedal that Iran would not have verified Brody’s story – concerning his arrival to Iran’s border. You can bet that they would of directly verified the chain of his contacts from the border to Venezuela for the very groups whom he claimed assisted Him were all on the payroll of Iran.

  16. George Orwell says:

    Carrie will sleep with any terrorist. So the show will continue in Turkey because there will be thousands – maybe millions of potential Shia Terrorists to choose from.

  17. JoeR says:

    Reinds me of BOAEDWALK EMPIRE when Jimmiy was…ahem…dispatched. Cries of “I’ll never watch the show again!” “I’m dropping HBO!” etc. etc. Of course, BOARDWALK continues on (and continues to kill-off well-loved characters) and is still excellent. HOMELAND can certainly do the same.,,though some less-than-thrilling past eps show it has a higher hill to climb.

  18. Gail Schlack says:

    Well, phooey. If there’s no Carrie & Brody, there’s no Homeland.

  19. ed eardley says:

    The writer’s viewpoint seems skewed towards the usual contrived that is shown on Network television. These Network shows all follow the same recipe that use the same writing, same storylines, and same premise and just…insert low level actor/actress and different scenery. These contrived shows are beginning, middle, end….”Character based”. This way they don’t need an actor who can act; a creative storyline and in most cases a plot. The world of high-end cable series is a completely different world. Series such as Homeland, Soprano’s, Game of Thrones, even the not-so-high-end Walking Dead take risks that a network exec doesn’t have the balls for. These shows are “story based”; there is a revolving door of actors playing their part and then bowing out when their character has moved on, had their heads cut off, shot and thrown overboard or hung from a crane. These shows are centered and revolve around a great story written by writers that are given the freedom to let their creative juices flow. They are also manned by a crew of talented artists and directors who wouldn’t be caught dead on network garbage. These types of programs attract very highly skilled actors and actresses much like independent films do. They view these as something of quality that they can really sink their teeth into, flex their artistic muscles and add to their body of work something they can be proud of. The only network series that came close to this in recent history was 24. After the first season of 24, the casting phones were ringing off the hook with actors pleading to be part of this …and Homeland will be the same. It’s no coincidence that one of the primary writers of 24 (Howard Gordon) is also a primary on Homeland. The story will continue because the writers are still writing, and a supporting staff that will get that vision down on film with quality entertaining results. And we’ll get to know and appreciate a new cast of characters…until it’s their time. (Insert sound of executioners axe here).

  20. Michael Jaffe says:

    We enjoyed the show alot and look forward to seeing how Carrie gets her revenge on the new CIA director – clearly the lead line for next year ……..

  21. Noah Coward says:

    They should have hung Homeland’s writers instead of Brody. This show has lost its way and bears no resemblance to what it was originally. Many of the actors and some of the characters are the same but it’s no longer the same show; no suspense and an incoherent plot turned this season into torture FOR VIEWERS.

    Endless slow shots of Dana, Carrie, Saul, Brodie doing nothing were neither engaging nor entertaining. Felt like the writers were unable to come up with a real story so they faked it for 13 episodes and hoped if they threw in a surprise at the end, no one would notice. I noticed.

    In the earlier seasons, viewers were left in suspense when each episode ended. This season we couldn’t wait for them to end. Also noticed that the writers had a hard time filling in all 60 minutes and often just cut them short. Thanks at least for that.

    I understand there will be a fourth season, WHY?

  22. Carla Danes says:

    Think about it. How could the Brody story have been stretched even longer? I am sure putting the CIA overseas where it belongs will bring surprises and energy to the work next season.
    Carrie, a kind of superhero with flaws, as most superheroes tend to be,
    (her flaw being bi-polar) comes to us as very real woman who can make a baby when she makes love. This is a break for feminism. Nobody mentions the baby in the reviews of the third season. Too scary?

  23. Sissie says:

    I thought the show ended terribly

  24. Jaden says:

    Even if the show reboots now, I feel like it won’t work. After looking like fools and hacks in their attempt to get out of the corner Showtime put them in, how can the writers really have a clear-eyed, confident vision going forward? I think that’s a lot to ask. I dread to think of next season but a next season there will be. ST already renewed Homeland and with the Vatican being a no-go and the cancellation of The Borgias, it can’t simply let go of another one hour drama even if it is the kind thing to do.

  25. Andrew Kole says:

    The show is Clair’s – an opportunity to explore new ground should allow writers to prove they have some creative juices as opposed to book adaption skills. If not – shut it down and move on. Ending the show on Brody note is not a bad thing.

  26. debra baca says:

    RIP Brody. The show will just not be the same without you. I am angry with the writers. Anyone know how to contact them?

  27. debra baca says:

    Shame on on the writers! What the heck were they thinking? Very disappointed. I’m cancelling Showtime. The Brody &Carrie story line made the show. I looked forward to each weeks show. Writers really didn’t think this one through.

  28. robert mitchell says:

    Sorry i used no when it should have been know in previous comment.

  29. robert mitchell says:

    I was pleasantly surprised at the ending and hope the season 3 ending is the finale of the series.It is,was a very good show but tremendously overrated.Many of the scenarios over the years were preposterous.Example when Brody was picked up and hanged Cary was let go,even though anyone with half a brain would no she was part of the assasination and obviously CIA.Or a few episodes earlier when Cary tries to warn Brody,compromising the operation and to stop her she was shot in the arm.Yeah,right as if she wouldn’t have been given an Oswald head shot?I know it’s only a show but Dexter[complete fantasy] and Boardwalk Empire were much better shows.I’ll mis Dex but won’t miss Homeland if[i hope] it’s done as a series.

  30. This finale was a doozy. I am glad they they closed the book on Brody. It was hard to believe his arc. It was so far fetched. And with the end of Brody hopefully comes the end of Dana who’s story belonged on an ABC Family show. Some say Brody will be back. If somehow his hanging was a hoax staged to appease the Iranians then Homeland deserves to crash and burn.

  31. Tyq says:

    They ruined the show if Brody died. Which I dont see how he did not. Its just pathetic that they find gazillions ways to bring back Jack Bauer and another crisis but cannot find a interesting way to keep basically the male star of the show on. Im not watching Carrie’s exsistential issues and some story theyll stick to Saul. I wish theyd bring in new writers.

  32. Riley says:

    I agree with you completely. The core fabric of the show is gone, and yes, I am moving on. Not that I don’t appreciate how compelling season 1 was, and 2 to some extent. Kudos for that. It is very hard to sustain a really good show.

    • Joanna Fay says:

      I totally agree. Brody was the show and Saul is no longer CIA Director. I’m not happy with this ending. Brody, Carrie and Saul are the show. They are all such great actors. Shame on you Homeland! I’m not happy! Homeland was my favorite show but not anymore!

  33. Louisa says:

    I feel like we are going to see Brody again. Is that the denial stage? Until I hear Damian Lewis is officially out–I will stay there.

    • Dave Allen says:

      I agree w/Louisa – until we find out that Damian Lewis (or Jackson Pace, for that matter) haven’t renewed their contracts (and appear in other shows), I’m not going to leap to any conclusions. There have been other shows where a character APPEARED to have died (and didn’t) (Strike Back), and another (BSG) where a lead appeared to have died 3 episodes before the end of the 3rd season, but the event was SO ambiguous that it wasn’t really certain until the last episode of the show TWO seasons later! (the actress was even removed from the show’s credits for 3 episodes before returning to them for 20 more )

      In that scene in the episode “The Star”, there were a number of inconsistencies in the execution (which I won’t provide, as this is a PG website) that could either be the result of Producers of the show being sloppily inaccurate (which seems unlikely, as this has been a hard-hitting, high production quality, award winning show), or the whole execution thing was staged (hence the OTHER possible meaning of the title of this episode). I will DEFINITELY wait until I actually SEE episode 4.1 before I decide! :-P

  34. Savannah Sorensen says:

    Best season so far. It was brilliant in every way.

  35. MargieRose says:

    Felt like the ending of the series tonight. Flustered Brody was sacrificed. Part of me feels it was not him who hanged. Carrie….not knowing?? Will watch new season.

    • george gras says:

      They didn’t show the “Clean & Jerk” move of the Hanging which breaks one’s neck as they are being “hung”,,,,,and after F Murray’s butt-munch character called Carrie away to the Director’s office for a “situation” I’m not sure that Brody’s “gone”,,,but her putting the star on the wall confuzed me about that theory,,,but,,there is an out,,,at least if you want one,,,,I’m sure EVERYONE would know if D. Lewis didn’t re-sign,,,,,I guess they could say only to film flashbacks or dream sequenses

      • Robert Mitchell says:

        Probably because the result you mention occurs when the body drops though the trap braking the neck.Brody was lifted,which i never heard of[was in law enforcement for 24 years] but the legs did jerk before he went limp.As i’ve said i liked the finale if it is in fact the finale of the series.If Brody survives than the show which jumped the shark last year, becomes totally loony tunes.A good to very good show which had a good 3 year run and ran out of plausable storyline.It wasn’t great like Boardwalk,Dexter,which i will miss,and was pure fantasy,or of coarse Soppranos. Rob

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