‘Homeland’ Season Finale: Very Brave, Very Bizarre (Spoiler Alert)

homeland

The show’s third season finale is a stunner in several ways

(Spoiler alert: Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the episode, which has only aired on the East Coast as of this writing.)

People will talk about this for years. “Homeland” ended its third season with a very brave, very strange hour of television, one that broke almost every rule a TV show can break.

First: It killed off one of its two leads. It’s not so rare for shows to kill off a major character, but it’s shocking for a hit series to kill one of two main characters whose relationship has fueled the show for three seasons. Especially when the show has been renewed for a fourth.

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I supposed it would be possible — possible — for Brody to have somehow faked his public hanging, and that that was the real reason he didn’t get a black star on the wall at Langley. But if the show made such a bold move, only to pull back, it would have a very hard time regaining credibility. And a  Showtime representative confirmed to TheWrap Sunday that yep — he’s definitely dead.

Adding to the madness: Damian Lewis won an Emmy for playing this guy. He could have remained a contender for years to come. But the writers apparently decided they had pushed the character as far as they could, and made an impressive decision not to milk the Brody-Carrie storyline past the point of believability.

Also read: ‘Homeland’ Season 3 Finale Leaks Online

Weirder than Brody’s death was the way the show handled it. We got all the standard foreshadowing: He talked about being born in the desert (reflection!) and committed to raising Carrie and his baby together (bright future!). The touchstones were so familiar it felt almost like the show was faking us out.

But then it double crossed us — by playing it straight. Brody died with surprisingly little fuss. And then the episode got very, very weird, by going on without him, for twenty more minutes.

Maybe it was the show’s way of saying there could be a “Homeland” without Brody. The show already gave it a dry run when it let him stay MIA for the first two episodes of the season, which happened to be quite good.

But the show also stripped away several other potential sources of tension: Carrie decided to give up her baby. And Saul vowed not to return to the CIA. It seemed like “Homeland” wanted to make some promises about what it won’t be next season: a show about a single mom balancing the duties of motherhood and leading the CIA’s Istanbul office.

But what will it be? The only thing we know for sure is that, judging from Sunday’s episode, it’s willing to go absolutely anywhere.

Wow.