Homeland season finale recap: Kaboom

Carrie's fateful choice about Brody sets the stage for season 3, and whether you'll want to keep watching the show
Ep. 12 | Aired Dec 16, 2012

WHO IS NICHOLAS BRODY? DO WE CARE ANYMORE? The biggest problem with Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is that until the season finale, the show had effectively answered all the major mysteries about him. Instead of continuing his story based on who is and what he wants, however, the writers chose to manufacture a brand new mystery — was Brody responsible for the bombing? — to hold our interest. Granted, as mysteries go, it's a humdinger; I anticipate some pointed debates with fellow Homeland obsessives in the following months. But I don't know if it makes Brody himself all that much more compelling of a character.

Kent Smith/Showtime

When Carrie came to, she scrambled for a gun one of Saul's cabinets, and leveled it at Brody's head. With the kettledrums pounding away on the soundtrack like the adrenaline coursing through Carrie's veins, the shock of the explosion had finally allowed Saul's parting words to her to click in. "Why would I do this?!" Brody protested. "You can't change I can't see into your f---ing soul, Brody," Carrie snarled. It wasn't until I re-watched this scene later that I caught Brody's pleading, whispered response, "Yes you can." (UPDATE: Apparently, watching it two times wasn't enough; thanks to eagle-eared Twitter peep @Irishgirlnc for pointing out what Carrie actually said instead of what my sleep-deprived brain thought it heard. To be sure, it is quite a different sentiment, as is Brody's response.)

In pretty short order, though, Brody turned things around in the worst scene of the episode by far. First, Brody gave Carrie every opportunity to kill him. Then he pointed out that this was exactly the sort of thing Nazir would do — mass casualties on a major target — by spouting a clump of clumsy exposition that neither made Brody sound credible nor made all that much sense. (I don't have time to get into all the different things that had to fall into place that Nazir had zero control over in order for his scheme to have worked, so I'll just point out one that the writers themselves seem to have ignored too: that no one would even think to look into why Brody was the only person with the vice president when he died.) Then Brody flashed a "You believe me, riiiiight?" smile that rang so incredibly false to me, I couldn't believe it was intentional. (Lewis is a fantastic actor, but whenever he's got to speak a lot of lines while under duress, he gets an unfortunate case of the crazy eyes.)

A little tender stroking of her face, and Carrie was back on Team Brody — or, at least seemingly so, until it was clear her certainty was no act. With her magic invisible Chevy, Carrie was able sneak Brody out of the blast site undetected. She immediately activated her "insurance policy," collecting her "go" bag from a storage locker for a quick escape into Canada and then out into international waters, switching cars at some point along the line, and then driving Brody to a fake ID guy who apparently will do anything Carrie tells him to even after Brody's suicide confession video hits the cable news.

This was a choice twist, resurrecting the artifact that had damned Brody at the beginning of the season, and outing him as a terrorist to the entire nation. It also makes for a strong case as Brody as simply a patsy — some payback from Al Qaeda for turning double agent — but I don't think it's 100 percent convincing on its own. Brody may have intended to die in the blast, or the release of the video was all part of his cover with Carrie.

What the video did provide, however, was the one and only time Chris Brody has made any tangible impact as a character on the show. Watching his sunny face crumple at the confirmation that his father was a terrorist drove home just how devastating this moment really was for Brody — even if he could contact his family without the entire law enforcement establishment crashing down on his head, would they even want to speak with him? As the sight of the news vans gathering in front of their house drove home, Brody had well and truly ruined his family's life, dooming them to months if not years of bearing the stain of his sins. Let's just hope for everyone's sake they bear them mostly off camera next year.

NEXT: "Carrie. It's me. I'm looking for ya."

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