Homeland Blog: Episode 12, The Choice

Homeland: Series 2, Episode 12
“The Choiceâ€?

Things are way too cosy at the start of this final episode. Terrorists and CIA agents who unpack groceries and reminisce aren’t going to live blessed lives. It’s great to see two people smiling in this show for once, but
Homeland isn’t the sort of series to let them get away with it.

There’s more going on in the fireside chat between Brody and Carrie than there has been in entire episodes this season. The directness of their dialogue and the ways the actors find around their lines are impressive.
It’s not very often you completely believe a character is saying something spontaneous and true. Homeland is a show with talent, so where’s it been?

Quinn, for example, makes no sense. Why have a special operative placed so close to the target if you plan to have him shoot said target from hundreds of metres away and not exploit his proximity? The dramatic reasons are clear – economy of characters and additional layers of mistrust – but the artifice isn’t well enough camouflaged.

Despite this, the final episode coheres a great deal better than most episodes have this season. A need to wrap things up would seem to have given it the structure it’s been lacking. There’s a return of the old focus, for now at least. Some might be disappointed by the lack of action and big set pieces – until they start blowing shit up. And suddenly we have a lot more questions. Serious ones this time, which we can’t answer.

Who planted the bomb? Has Brody been set up? Can he escape ‘justice’? Most significant is that lingering, Palpatine-in-The-Phantom-Menace shot of Saul in the immediate aftermath. What the hell does that mean? He did have access to Brody’s tape, he was very keen to keep him alive and he’s certainly got reasons to hate Estes.

The creatives know there’ve been problems with the show and – while that doesn’t mean the problems are fixed – it’s encouraging. We’ve not sunk to the levels of “Please, baby, one more chanceâ€? that saw Heroes limp through its last three seasons: Homeland’s had an uneven season, but it can be rescued. Howard Gordon and his colleagues just have to show the same creativity they did when they created the show.

Series three, we presume, will see Brody on the run while he and Carrie try to prove his innocence and unmask the real terrorist from opposite ends. There’ll be plenty of intrigue and mistrust layered on Saul and fresh new cast members to replace those buried under three feet of rubble.

I guess we’ll also be seeing a lot more of F Murray Abraham – unless that was one hell of an underplayed cameo. Either way – and until this week, I didn’t think I’d be saying this – count me in. But baby, this is your last chance; I’ve been hurt and I ain’t gonna stand for no more of your lies.