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'Homeland' Season 3 Finale Review: Redemption And Betrayal

Paul Levinson Paul Levinson
12/16/2013 9:03am EST


I'm not going to lie to you.  Although I'm a fan of Homeland, and although its season 3 finale was in some ways good television, there was little in the finale that I enjoyed.  Indeed, I found most of it infuriating.

I know that realism has its value but there is also something that should go beyond realism in great story telling. I don't mean fairytale happy endings.  I mean endings in which the triumph of the deserving at least has a fighting chance.

The one good thing about the ending of this season of Homeland was its redemption of Saul.  When he confirms that Akbari has indeed been assassinated, he agrees to extract Carrie and Brody.  And he's willing to stand up to Javadi's logical arguments that it would be better for everyone - especially for Javadi's bid for power, which will help the U.S. and the world's interest in peace - if Brody were to be apprehended by Javadi, as soon as possible.  This and Brody's death would strengthen Javadi's hand.

And Saul's "I'll get back to you" to Javadi was the best moment of the finale.  After that, it was all downhill.  Saul being overruled by the President - in effect on Adal's information - makes good logical sense but in my opinion, for disappointing television.

And Brody's hanging was just atrocious.  I was hoping that somehow Brody wasn't killed, and the hanging contraption had been outfitted to not kill but just make him lose consciousness, but that wasn't to be.  And so Brody, who with the exception of a few episodes was given annoyingly short shrift all season, is given even worse than that at the end.

The defiant act of Carrie, in putting up a symbol for Brody on the CIA at the end was too little, too late, and almost meaningless.  So was Saul's resisting a return to the CIA, which we just know he will change his mind about next season.  I get that the story of Carrie and Brody couldn't have gone on forever, but it deserved a far better ending than this.

Chalk this up as the worst of the three seasons of Homeland, but because the first two were so good, and parts of this season did soar - as when Brody comes around to wanting to have a life with Carrie when she tells him she's carrying his baby - I'll give this show at least another season of viewing.


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Photo Credits: CBS/Showtime