It’s a Team
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Here we are. This is the finale to one of the most phenomenal seasons of television that has ever aired. Perfection. Certainly some of those who watch the hour will cry foul at the end, but I trust the show enough to know what it’s doing with the character of Nicholas Brody. Damian Lewis is phenomenal in the role and certainly a part of the decision to reverse the script and have him live past the finale was influenced by the shower of awards that will fall on Lewis’s head. Looking back, this decision would prove to be a mixed bag. On one hand, there’s the exploration of his character in Season 2 that really works (despite the snafu in the final acts). On the other hand, there’s the reality of the show being stretched far too thin at time in order to keep Brody relevant. I’m in favor of the show’s decision to keep him alive here and in many ways, it’s not Brody’s fault that the creators at the end of the second season focused too much on the romance and not the spy craft that makes this show as brilliant as it is.
The taping of Brody’s confession tape is a tense and chilling moment. Brody calmly stares into the camera, confessing to the crime he’s about to commit in retaliation for Vice President Walden and the CIA apparatus whose drone strikes led to the deaths of eighty-two innocent children and countless others elsewhere. In other secrets, Dana discovers that Brody converted to Islam but she doesn’t lose it, she instead understands how it became a form of comfort for him while he was under confinement. Carrie is under her own duress. She’s still reeling from Brody’s betrayal and Saul realizes that she loves him. He looks with concern at his protégée. Meanwhile Tom Walker overpowers a woman that lives in an apartment with a splendid view of the State Department, where the bombing was to take place. The professional sniper sets up his weapons, waiting patiently for the signal to have the shit hit the fan.
On the day of the summit the tension simmers, crackling between everyone. Saul discovers a redacted CIA document but Estes dismisses it. Brody quietly dresses as Dana attempts to stop him, unnerved by his behavior. It’s a brilliant piece of foreshadowing for what will occur shortly enough. Carrie, never one to sit down no matter what happens, arrives at the State Department with Virgil in tow, convinced that something was going to happen. And happen it did. The entire episode hinges on the moment when Walker opens fire and Elizabeth Gaines is shot. Pandemonium reigns as the Vice President, Brody, and the other officials are taken into a secure bunker, right past the metal detectors. Carrie sees all of this happening, realizing that Gaines was merely a pawn for the actual plot to go forward. She frantically calls Saul but he doesn’t believe her. She escapes in Virgil’s car to the only person she knows that can potentially stop Brody. As his vest malfunctions, Carrie arrives at the Brodys’s house, requesting that Dana stop her father from the attack. She instead calls 911 and after a confrontation with Jessica, Carrie’s hauled away by the police. But Carrie’s words struck a cord with Dana and she forces Brody to promise that he would come back home at night. The threat is averted, for now. But the entire sequence was so tense and Damian Lewis portrays every single emotion powerfully.
The episode post bunker begins to slow down a bit, taking in what had just been averted. Saul finally discovers the secret of the redacted report, using as collateral the proof that Walden had authorized torture when he was the leader of the CIA. The drone strike had indeed hit the school and killed eighty-two children. Walden had enthusiastically endorsed the strike despite knowing the school’s range being within the strike’s blast. “Collateral damage,” he says quietly. Saul is stunned and disgusted. So is the viewer – innocent civilians dying in the line of drone strikes isn’t new information but to see it happen so callously (even in a fictional world) is haunting because the specter of reality hangs all over it.
Brody confronts Carrie with an extremely despicable sense of hypocrisy. Carrie breaks apart, asking her sister to take her to the hospital. After berating Carrie, Brody goes to grab the recording but it’s disappeared. Walker arrives at the scene, with an angry Nazir on the phone. Brody is able to seek his importance to the Vice President and then shoots Walker in the head to prove his loyalty. Saul meanwhile races to the hospital, discovering that Carrie has chosen to undergo electroconvulsive therapy to to treat her bipolar disorder. Before she undergoes the procedure, Saul reveals that while she was wrong about Brody, she was right about the drone strike that took out eight-two children and Abu Nazir’s son amongst them. As the anesthesia kicks in, she remembers when Brody shouted Issa’s name in the cabin. She realizes the connection but the nurse doesn’t recognize what she’s sating. The procedure begins and Carrie has a seizure. Cue to black. Thus ends one of the finest first seasons in the history of television. Homeland has been one of the greatest storytelling pleasures through its highs and lows, a thrilling espionage narrative cracking open the walls of the War on Terror.
Title: Marine One
Story by: Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon
Teleplay by: Alex Gansa & Chip Johannessen
Directed By: Michael Cuesta
Image Courtesy: Lise Is Caps @ LiveJournal