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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Dramatic season finale of ‘Homeland’ agonizes fans

Published: January 17, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

Showtime’s TV series “Homeland” finished up its third season last month. A high-intensity show about life as a CIA agent, “Homeland” has become a fan favorite throughout the years. Claire Danes, who plays agent Carrie Mathison, is a phenomenal actress, portraying one of the best agents the CIA has while her character endures bipolar disease. Needless to say, Carrie does not always follow the rules. Danes has to depict an array of emotions, which she successfully plays out with every slight movement of her face or body.

Then there’s Brody (played by Damian Lewis), a marine who was kept in captivity in Iraq for eight years and returns a very different man. Lewis is also an astounding actor, convincing the audience that his character is a man who has been through the horror of being treated as a prisoner, and is now traumatized from the many years he spent overseas. The question throughout the first season is: Has he “turned?” That is, has Brody been brainwashed by the “bad guy” Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), and is Brody in fact working against his country? As the plot unravels, the audience is just as confused as Carrie as to whether or not Brody is “good” or “bad.” What we come to find is that there is certainly a gray area between the two extremes.

There are, of course, romantic involvements throughout the series. At first, it is the complicated relationship between Brody and his wife, caught in a love triangle with Brody’s former best friend. Then comes Brody and Carrie, the most complex relationship of all. How could Carrie fall in love with a man she believes to be a terrorist? Somehow, love takes over, and this love remains until the bitter end. Brody also has to deal with the consequences that his actions place on his family. Most importantly, he worries about his teenage daughter, Dana (Morgan Saylor), who is dramatically affected by everything he does. Dana also has a few love interests throughout the series, including the Vice President’s son. Another vital character is Saul (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie’s fellow agent at the CIA. Saul also acts as a mentor for Carrie but is not afraid of giving her a hard time when she has gone too far.

The season finale of “Homeland” last month brought pain and agony to fans worldwide. Carrie and Brody’s love has spanned three seasons, and throughout the ups and downs, they have somehow both managed to make it through — until now. If you are caught up, you have now seen Brody working with the CIA, and placed in Tehran undercover. It all goes as planned, but in the end, Brody is found out, and the CIA is no longer able to help him to escape. We look on as a pregnant Carrie watches Brody hang in Tehran, and we fight back the tears as she lets them flow. Many fans have asked: Is Brody really dead? Our tragic hero’s time has seemed to finally come after all he has been through. Even though it pains me to say it, it makes sense. The creators could not have let the plan go through and allow Brody to live. So Carrie must go on alone, or rather, while carrying the one remaining piece of Brody she can hang on to — his baby.

The ending of season three’s final episode almost looked like a series finale. Brody is gone, Saul is off to New York, and the last shot is Carrie honoring Brody’s memory by drawing one more star on the memorial wall. Even so, according to producers of the show, there will be a season four. What direction might the show go in? We do know that Carrie is headed to Istanbul to act as station chief, and it appears that she may take some well-known characters with her. My big question is: Will she keep the baby? I would like to see Carrie take on a mother’s role, which I am sure will be a difficult challenge for her. She is used to caring only for herself, and sometimes she cannot even do that. But just as her sister Maggie said, taking care of a baby may be life changing for Carrie. It may allow her to see things in a completely new light. Even though our beloved Brody is no longer in the series, season four will premiere in fall 2014, and until then we have Netflix.