As the Season 2 finale for Showtime’s Homeland neared on Sunday night, and given the certain sense of closure delivered by recent episodes, the burning question became: Would Nicholas Brody emerge from the season-ender alive? And as recently as this afternoon, more than 30 percent of TVLine readers polled suspected that the war hero-turned-would-be terrorist would not survive into Season 3.
As it would turn out, Brody cheated death — not once but twice. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here now, the full recap:
BRODY GOES ALL IN | The finale opens with Carrie and Brody retreating to her cabin in the woods, where Quinn is surveilling them from afar, with orders from Estes to make Brody “disappear.” That night, Brody jokes about being Carrie’s full-time, live-in cabin boy, which segues into a “real” talk about their future, if they have one. “My only real pan now is to be a good person again,” Brody says. “I have a second chance I never thought possible. And I have you — at least at this moment.” Carrie though notes the obstacles in their way, including her mental illness (which Brody dismisses as a concern) and her career at the CIA. “Maybe this will all end in tears,” Brody allows. “Or,” Carrie counters, “we might make it?”
Come morning, Carrie makes a croissant run while Brody goes to pray lakeside. And as he does so, Quinn sneaks up, big-ass rifle in tow, and fingers the trigger… but, as we learn one scene later, isn’t able to pull it. Instead, Carrie returns from her errand to find Brody on the porch, where they again ponder their next move. “It’s up to you — I’m in,” Brody assures. Carrie wishes she could have both, him and her CIA gig.
So, why did Quinn quit out of his assignment? He explains just that at Estes’ home, after scaring the bejesus out of the CIA frontman. “I’m a guy who kills bad guys. Brody’s information was perfect; we got Abu Nazir because of him. I’ve never seen a better intelligence officer than Carrie….. The only reason to kill Brody is to protect your ass, and the collateral damage would be a woman you’ve already wrecked before…. Nothing happens to Brody, or you’ll find me back here. Because I’m a guy that kills bad guys.”
‘THE SMARTEST AND THE DUMBEST’ | Back in town, Brody meets Mike for a beer and says there is no “war” between them. In fact, he invites Mike to “keep taking care of” Jessica and the kids, as he did for the long eight years he was a POW. Meanwhile,
Javert Estes visits Saul to set him loose from his three-day detention, and announce that his “bad report” was being redacted. “Maybe I’m just giving an old guy a break.” Stopping at his house to grab a suit for Walden’s memorial, Brody talks to Dana, who reflects on the time he was so squirrely about getting changed in private, the same day Carrie stormed the house to declare him a terrorist. “It adds up. It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Dana attests. “You were gonna do those things!”
Over at Langley, Saul is en route to oversee Nazir’s burial at sea, but first he apprises Carrie of her likely promotion to station chief, making her the youngest one in agency history. But Carrie says she may want a more balanced life. Recognizing that Brody is at the root of this, Saul laments, “I thought you said your eyes were open? He’s a man who put on a suicide vest — that’s who he is and always will be….. You can do whatever you want, but an intelligence officer can’t.” Carrie argues, “Maybe I want other things?” “Like a terrorist in your bed,” Saul zings. “You’re the smartest and the dumbest f–king person I’ve ever known.”
NAZIR STRIKES AGAIN | At Walden’s memorial, Estes hails the veep as a man who transformed the war on terror, who greenlit the drones Nazir came to hate so much, as a man who had a role in taking out Bin Laden (is that covered in Zero Dark Thirty, anyone?) and Nazir. Carrie leaves the service early, followed by Brody, and just as they are about to cavort in an upstairs office, Brody looks outside to notice that his car has been moved. “Oh, f–k,” Carrie exclaims as the vehicle explodes, destroying the memorial site and blowing Carrie and Brody back — just as Nazir’s corpse is concurrently plunked into the drink, while Saul looks on. Rising up from the debris, Carrie scrambles for and trains a gun on Brody: “Don’t. You. Move!” He pleads his case, surmising this was Nazir’s plan from the beginning, to coax them into false security and achieve vengeance post mortem: “He would die 1,000 deaths to make this day happen.” Carrie sees his (sketchy) point, then races them to a storage unit where she keeps her go bag. They stop to see “a guy” about fake travel docs for Brody, then make tracks for a back access road that will lead them across the Canadian border to her friend’s cabin.
Saul arrives at the bomb site, where he learns there are at least 200 dead, including VP Walden’s wife and son, Estes and possibly Carrie and Brody. He later takes a call from his worried estranged wife, who offers to come home to him. “Yes. Please,” Saul answers. Meanwhile, agents visit the Brody home and grill Jess and Dana. Their talk is ultimately interrupted by the news broadcasting Brody’s confessional video, which was leaked by Al Qaeda.
DIDN’T WE ALMOST HAVE IT ALL? | Arriving at the border access road, Brody gleans that Carrie will not be going with him. “I want to, I was going to, but I can’t now,” she explains. She then offers, “It can still happen, one day,” after she clears his name. Brody avows, “This was love, you and me,” kisses Carrie goodbye and slips off into the darkness. The next day, as Saul says the Hebrew prayer for death over the rows and rows of bomb victims, Carrie shows up alive — though, one would think, having to account for her whereabouts after the blast. But we have nine months for that. What’s important for now is that she’s alive, news that Saul greets with a big grin.