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Homeland: 212 “The Choice” Review

homeland-212-finale

Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.

WARNING – FULL SPOILERS

Homeland closed it’s second season in a similar fashion to the first – except this time a bomb in Brody’s possession (whether intentional or not) went off. This has changed the state of play significantly for the series and brought about some huge personnel adjustments to both the government and CIA. However, there were a couple of niggles that bugged me about this final episode that meant it couldn’t quite stack up compared to the last episode of season 1.

Firstly, the bomb. Whether it was or wasn’t Brody, surely there is no way a car could be parked so close to the CIA to cause such damage. Additional to this, surely there most be countless pieces of CCTV footage that will cover every square foot of the CIA’s grounds and I’m guessing that the feeds would be recorded offsite, in case such an event happened.

Secondly, Quinn and the cabin. Something about this just felt a little off. Whether it was the awkward flirting between Brody and Carrie, that has lost a lot of it’s impact since the two first became intertwined, or the fact that a cool blooded mercenary like Quinn suddenly grew a conscience, it just felt like a bit of a cop out and a slow start to the episode.

Outside of this the rest of the episode was fantastic. The explosion was an incredible shock and a massive catalyst in moving the pace of the episode forward. I’m not going to miss any members of the Walden family and unfortunately for Estes, I think his character had gone as far as he could go in the grand scheme of things so it was a good move to take him out and bump Saul up to the No. 1 spot.

It would have been nice to see Quinn’s reaction to the news of the explosion and the release of Brody’s confessional tape. After all, only hours prior to this he could have killed Brody and (possibly) saved hundreds of lives. Surely he and Dar Adal will play a part in season 3 and the hunt for Brody, so it’d have been nice to get an early glimpse of his reaction to these events.

Carrie helping Brody go for the border was an exciting end to the season and a nice way of watching them part as Carrie sets out to clear his name. Saul’s reaction prior to this was fantastic as he gave it to her straight about her ‘choice’ between Brody and the CIA. With Carrie resurfacing in the closing moments of the episode it’ll be interesting to see what her excuse will be for where she’s been for the past day and how Saul will take it.

So….did he or didn’t he? This is the most significant question we’ll be asking ourselves until next autumn when the show returns for a third season. There are plenty of other things to mull over in that period but once again it’ll be Brody’s agenda that occupies our thoughts about the show. One piece of evidence that can be taken from this episode is the fact that when Brody left the procession and met Carrie, he came in from outside – did he move the car in this time?

The stage for season 3 has now been set – Saul’s the new boss, Carrie looks set to be his number 2 and will be hell bent on chasing down any lead to prove Brody’s innocence. Saul looks set to be reunited with his wife in some way and won’t have to answer to Estes ever again. Brody will be on the run but to what extent will he feature and where will he be?

In all, Season 2 has been less consistent than the show’s first outing but has still maintained a high level of excitement. The individual episode plots have been a little over dramatic or diluted at times but the overall narrative has once again been gripping and engaging. Homeland has lost a lot of its slow burning edginess and replaced it with more explosions and high-octane action. This may not have been the best decision on the whole for the show but we now know what to expect in 2013 when season 3 airs.

9/10

Scene of the Episode: “This Isn’t Me” – A game changing moment in both the episode and the series, this huge explosion has thinned out the cast and set the agenda for season 3.

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