Homeland: 312 “The Star” (Finale) Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson.
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
It’s been a long road for this troubled character and now that Nicolas Brody has been finally put to rest we’re left with a hole to fill for next year. However, before we get into what the future holds let’s look back on “The Star” and how well it delivered Brody’s final moments.
Overall, I found this to be one of the most satisfying episodes of Homeland in recent memory. Even though in the back of my mind I thought there would be a twist coming that saw Brody escape, the show knew that the best course of action was to finish him off and be done with it. The truth was clear, he was used up, drained and was left with nowhere else to go. Had he escaped it would’ve been a short sense of relief followed by a long headache. He couldn’t stay in Iran, he couldn’t go back to the States, and there was nowhere else left to turn.
One again I was left with the deep annoyance that this part of the season could have been the whole season, which would’ve made his demise more poignant. However, looking back it feels like the show was practicing with what a Carrie only drama could look like, and on that note it didn’t look great. Not because of Carrie but because of the lack of decent story telling. I’m not going to bring up Dana’s role in things again but it becomes even more frustrating when you look back in the wake of that climax.
Tonight’s episode sort of felt like a season finale and a prequel wrapped into one, presumably this was done as a way to show the audience that there’s going to be life after Brody whilst also skipping any part of season 4 that has to deal with the aftermath of his execution. Like so much of these final few episodes it felt rushed but I think it was an integral move to give many viewers a taste of what is to come.
So what will season 4 look like. Well, we know that none of the Brodies have been re-signed, which prevents any twists where Brody somehow survived, (stranger things have happened in 24 even when you’re dead you’re not, if there is any thermite plasma or spare adrenaline lying around) or any more Dana-rama, which fans will no doubt welcome in their droves. That aside we have the prospect of Carrie taking up a position in Istanbul where she’ll be closer to Javadi and Saul is happy being some sort of PI back in New York. Meanwhile, Dar Adal, Fara and Quinn remain in play with Senator Jackass for a boss.
That’s pretty much an open playbook to kick things off and I’m sure a storyline that forces Saul back to work is easily designable, especially given his past links to Javadi. The question is, will we care enough to watch? Well, in a way season 4’s first episode will be a second pilot and it’ll have a lot of weight on its shoulders as it could be the decider between a 5th season or the end of the show.
With the new 24:Live Another Day series airing in 2014 Homeland is going to face some stiff competition from its predecessor. Personally I think there’s at least a couple of seasons left in Homeland but if fans have to chose between the two, I can’t see Jack Bauer losing even in his 9th or 10th outing.
Carrie and Saul are the main focus now and still have a lot to offer viewers if they are given the right material to work with. This season has finished strongly yet it’s stalled and staggered at times when it had the right end game to work towards, it just didn’t exploit this enough. Brody by the end had been turned back and forth so much that nobody would care whose side he was ultimately on so killing him off at this stage was definitely the right move.
The fourth season is going to have to apply a bit of a rebrand to it’s purpose as a show but I think it can pull it off, even if it’s just for another couple of seasons.
Scene of the Episode: Hang ‘em High – It actually happened. Full credit to the show for bringing down the curtain on one of its main leads in such a graphic fashion. Watching Carrie witness this was heart-wrenching but necessary for her to close this chapter in her life.