Homeland season finale recap: Clean Slate

Carrie tries to extract Brody, but Javadi hunts them down. Meanwhile, Lockhart officially replaces Saul as the head of the CIA
Ep. 12 | Aired Dec 15, 2013

SO LONG, MARINE ONE Brody's exit leaves a significant void on the show that will certainly affect Carrie the most -- after all, he is the father of her child and her reason for pursuing the Tehran mission in the first place. Even so, his death means hitting the reset button for the show, and we'll have to wait until season 4 to see how that plays out.

Frank Ockenfels 3/SHOWTIME

Well, we knew this was coming.

After a season full of hints at Brody's liability to the CIA, it had to end this way. And the ending, to me, felt apt for the character: He didn't exit with a heroic bang, he ended up hanged in a public square -- an antiquated, humiliating ritual for a man who had fallen so far from who he had been -- with Carrie and everyone knowing what would happen. There was no way out of it. The cockroach is dead.

Was it what I had expected? Not really. I thought he and Carrie would be captured together, as Javadi predicted for the worst case scenario, with Brody dying in a flurry of bullets and Carrie narrowly escaping in a scene as action-packed as season 2's finale. Instead, we got a season finale that felt almost like series finale, with the end of Brody and the extended epilogue.

It's apt for the show, which has been seeking a new direction ever since Brody failed to trigger his vest back in the first season. Because now, Homeland has wiped its slate clean and has a chance to start over with a new arc. It's thrilling to see -- it felt like we moved at breakneck speed to get to his death these past few episodes -- but it's also terrifying in a way as we slowed down and saw what became of everyone four months later. Much like Carrie fears the birth of her daughter, I'm uncertain about where the show can go without Brody as Carrie's motivation for everything she does. Fine, that comparison's a bit of a stretch, but all the same -- I'm excited but anxious at the same time, and I hope I'm not the only one feeling this way. Am I?

But more on that later. Tonight's hour began with Brody minutes after his murder of Akbari, dragging the dead IRGC leader behind his desk, and then wiping the floor clean with the multipurpose green pillow. He cleans the blood off his hands with some water, grabs Akbari's gun, and then readies himself to leave.

Yet again, Brody's lucky. Akbari's secretary is nowhere to be found, so Brody steadily walks away from the crime scene flanked by guards, and even manages a smile when he walks past the secretary returning to her post. It's enough time for him to get to the car escorting him away, and enough time for him to draw his gun and persuade the driver to take him away.

Meanwhile, we catch a glimpse of Javadi driving off, and Carrie leaving the hotel to fill Saul in on the news that Brody killed Akbari. "You believe him?" Saul asks, wondering if this is Akbari's play, sending Brody to lure the CIA back to him. "Yes, I believed him," Carrie replies, frustrated. "Is there even one person on the planet you trust, Saul?"

Saul doesn't back down and tells Carrie he has to go through the proper channels to authorize an extraction plan. But Carrie knows what to do in the meantime: She makes sure Brody wasn't followed when he arrives at their meeting point, having abandoned the driver earlier at gunpoint, and drives both of them away toward a safehouse east of Tehran.

Javadi calls Saul and confirms the kill. "It's not a trick," he reports. "100 percent. Akbari's dead."

"I'll be damned," Saul responds. The mission's complete, but he can't rejoice just yet -- their extraction plans evaporated six days ago, when Brody appeared to turn. Plus, Javadi wants to find Brody and bring him in to custody, especially because he's been appointed the leader of the manhunt and must accomplish his task, or else be seen as too weak a candidate to replace Akbari. "He's with Carrie, isn't he?" Javadi assumes correctly. "Listen to me, you and I have to consider the worst case scenario here... that he and Carrie are captured together. Tell me where he is and at least I can protect your girl."

Saul reverts back to the early season 3 version of himself and hesitates. Dar says he would give them up if it were up to him, but Saul decides to initiate the extraction plan instead.

NEXT: 'It got cold fast.'

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