‘Homeland’s’ Low-Key Finale Completes Season ’24’ (SPOILERS)

Homeland Season Finale Review (SPOILERS)

Homeland” just concluded season No. 4. But in the pivot the show made from its uneven past into its new-look present, it might as well have been called “Season ’24.'”

Of course, key producers on this Showtime series also worked on that earlier Fox show, which explored the war on terror in a world of tough choices and sacrifices, against an utterly ruthless foe. And while “Homeland” has maintained more nuance and finesse than its predecessor exhibited, the transition from the initial high of returned-POW Nicholas Brody and his “Manchurian Candidate”-like rise — exploiting a political class and media hungry for heroes — to a more conventional if often tense and surprising espionage thriller appears to have been completed this season, transforming Rupert Friend’s tormented operative/killing machine Peter Quinn into an updated version of Jack Bauer.

The fourth season also provided a showcase for Claire Danes, which might explain why the finale (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) shifted gears into what felt like something of a letdown, relatively speaking, with Danes’ Carrie Mathison taking a sort-of break from the spy game after her ordeal abroad to reconnect with her long-lost mom. That allowed the producers to address head-on the untimely death of actor James Rebhorn, who played Carrie’s father, while setting up new threads for Quinn and Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who was presented with the ultimate Faustian bargain by the power broker Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham.

“Not every choice we make is blessed with moral clarity,” Adal told Saul, in a line that felt a bit too on the nose given the world of shadows that “Homeland” occupies. If you want someone who can be counted on to hold true and resist ethical compromise, apparently, better not call Saul — although given her own behavior involving an unfortunately placed youth earlier in the season, Carrie doesn’t necessarily have the standing to throw stones.

In some respects, season four represented a remarkable turnaround for “Homeland,” which became compulsively watchable again, barring a few key missteps (namely, Carrie’s “baby in the bathwater” interlude), without many of the distractions associated with the wince-inducing aspects of the Dana Brody years. That said, the series is notably scaled down in its ambitions, distinguished by the strength of its cast, the challenges thrown at its characters and the willingness to kill off supporting players.

By that measure, “Homeland’s” architects managed what once seemed impossible: Having written the show into a corner, they boldly killed off one of the leads, essentially reshaped the series on the fly and found light at the end of the tunnel, albeit generating a more mundane glow than the best of what preceded it. That includes the protracted courtship between Carrie and Quinn, who each might be too damaged for happily ever after.

What remains, then, is a perfectly good premium drama, just not the one that garnered a host of well-deserved awards recognition for Showtime — including back-to-back Golden Globes for outstanding drama in its first two seasons. If all that amounts to the TV version of a ticking-bomb scenario, the show survived, yes, but that doesn’t mean it escaped entirely unscathed.

 

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 12

Leave a Reply

12 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. jenn says:

    i feel like i have to point out that homeland finale’s are generally full of falling action, after the action packed second to last episode. normally they still leave you with a big moment, but it’s more emotional ie carrie not being dead at season 2 and saying hi to saul, and this season carrie and saul’s moment of betrayal

  2. Janie Buchbinder says:

    I don’t know where a lot of these negative comments are coming from, because I thought season four was superlative. Sunday nights couldn’t come sooner enough–the show was a real nail biter especially when the embassy was seized and Saul was captured. The character who most captivated me, along with so many of my friends was Rupert Friend’s Quinn. There is something mesmerizing about him, the way he brings such intensity to his character. It doesn’t hurt that he is great looking and the chemistry between Carrie and Quinn is sizzling. The writers would be silly not to explore this relationship next season. Judging from the comments on Facebook and Twitter, many agree with me. This attraction has been building up for a while by the writers, therefore many would be bummed if Quinn was not prominent in season five, which can’t come soon enough for me!!

  3. Pam says:

    Not with you on this one. Thought the season was as gripping as season 1, with a bit more real world international strategy. The Haqqani-US bargain is nothing new. We hold our noses and deal with leaders we know are unfaithful or untrustworthy as the least bad choice. Carrie and Quinn are two of a kind and without action or danger they don’t feel alive. Carrie at desk, going home to Franny every night? I’ll believe it when I see it. http://tvruckus.com/2014/12/22/homeland-season-4-finale-carrie-and-quinn-timing-is-everything/

  4. SteveZX says:

    The plot is getting more ridiculous by the episode… A blonde walking around Pakistan and no one notices?

  5. Sean says:

    The soap opera finale was a total letdown. I felt like I was watching a 50 minute commercial for next season. One does not need action to end a season, but c’mon, a little intrigue, a cliffhanger. something, please?

    • Keith says:

      I’m in total agreement! Yes, overall the season was quite good. But that awful, smarmy finale? i thought more than once that i had somehow tuned into an episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful” – Just terrible!

  6. Kata Kimbe says:

    I disagree with all the whiners and expected some to dislike the episode for its slower pace; for me, it was the character study needed to really close the book on an excellent season of television. I can’t wait for Season 5… but I have no choice. This episode was internally explosive rather than outside bombs. As usual the almost hour shut the world out. All I wish for now is for Quinn to reappear. Cheers To A Great Season.!

  7. Drew says:

    Garbage. The Lifetime Channel could’ve produced something more exciting.

  8. Paco Bell says:

    Watching Mandy and F. together is like watching Deniro and Pacino together. Great fun drama. I just wish Claire’s bipolar character didn’t lend itself to overacting.

  9. Pat says:

    Season 4 was great. I loved everything about it.. and I was so happy to see Carrie & Quinn’s relationship evolve, they’ve been a lot of fun to watch since Season 2. I enjoy their dynamic so much plus Claire and Rupert’s chemistry is fantastic.

More TV News from Variety

Loading