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'Homeland' season finale doesn't disappoint

Showtime / Today
Damian Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody and Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland."

Well, that was a darn good “Homeland” finale.

Anyone who chooses to disagree, OK, you’re entitled to. Those who have plans to watch the final episode of the season on their DVR, please SAVE THIS FOR LATER, as I'm going to dip my toe in the spoiler well.  Everyone else: How great was it to watch this show deliver on a season finale that gave both gave answers to questions, and left the plot open enough to keep us throttling into the second season?

Full disclosure: When I first read that the season finale of the Showtime drama was going to have a “very honest ending”  that “will have fans howling,” I became very, very nervous. This is a show that could have made so many missteps along the way, and didn’t. Played by anyone other than Mandy Patinkin, the character of Saul could have been an overacted mess; ditto the portrayal of the bipolar Carrie, played by Claire Danes. The promise of fan-howling immediately made me think that all of the careful storytelling up to this point might be blown for the sake of some epic, oh-no-they-didn’t finale.

Instead, things remained pretty much pitch perfect. No one was actually blown to pieces. Carrie’s encounter with Dana (Morgan Saylor) was compelling, not gimmicky and overly dramatic. And Carrie’s ultimate decision to undergo electroshock treatment (while being totally right about Brody, yet not knowing it) was handled incredibly well. Saul’s last-minute attempt to intervene (which ultimately ended with him disclosing the truth about the drone attack) artfully and tenderly served as a snapshot of his entire relationship with Carrie.

When the penultimate episode wrapped with what looked like a very spoilery look-ahead to the finale, I was afraid that the second season would require all “Homeland” fans to adopt a brand new plot. I am so glad to see that this is not the case. The finale walked a line between answering questions and leaving some on the table, and the loose ends that remain aren’t completely infuriating.

Season two can’t get here fast enough. In the meantime, here are some more finale thoughts, at a glance:

  • Are we not worried enough about the mole? At first I thought it might be Estes, but after last night it’s possible he’s just guilty of withholding information, not sharing with the wrong people.
  • How great is Dana’s character becoming? I hope she continues to evolve, but at this pace, in the second season.
  • What about Aileen? I feel like she had to be in deep enough to have more info beyond what she used to ID Tom Walker.
  • And what about Carrie? Saul made it very clear that she’s forever going to be persona non grata at Langley. But can that really be the case?

What am I leaving out? Take it on over to Facebook with me, “Homeland” fans. Let’s chat!


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