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Homeland Review: “The Choice” (Season 2, Episode 12)

Though no where near as dramatic as last year's fist-clenching finale in the bunker, this one did make its mark with the "whole picture" finally being revealed in a very Homeland-like fashion.

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I’m completely torn on several levels on the way Homeland approached its season finale. Other than a few precursors during the actual episode, no one could have predicted what happened and what the result of such an action would be. In no alternate reality would I have thought to myself that Brody would be on the run and Carrie would be trying to clear his name. In no alternate reality would I have thought that Homeland had the guts to rid itself of the supporting characters who were bringing this show down. However, all those things did happen and though I’m pleased overall, it’ll take some convincing to prove that next season’s Homeland will be up to par.

Though no where near as dramatic as last year’s fist-clenching finale in the bunker, this one did make its mark with the “whole picture” finally being revealed. Nazir had planned this all along. His death, Walden’s death, Roya’s capture, everything was planned so meticulously and with such evil that this entire season could have easily passed for a Christopher Nolan Batman film. There was hope in every corner only to be decimated in a bomb full of dry lifeless despair. Seriously, I thought this episode would focus solely on whether or not Brody would live.

Speaking of, they handled that problem quite quickly and dare I say efficiently. Quinn’s “bad guy” speech, though short, was pulled of effortlessly and gave his character, along with Estes’ a feel of believability. Surprise, Quinn has feelings! Even if he was painted to be a cold-hearted killer, us viewers knew he was something far more given the amount of character development he exhibited this entire season. With his own choice – and a wrong one at that – in the wings, I fully expect him to return hell bent on finishing the job he was hired to finish: kill Brody.

Estes had it coming the minute he marked Brody for assassination. Not only did he become a completely unlikeable character this season, his backstory showed no sign of growth. I correct myself: he didn’t have a backstory this season and fell into the mold of “angry boss.” If I recall correctly last season, they gave him a tidbit of history with Carrie, which was enough to prove that he was a viable character, but with only his actions carrying him through, he was bound to die.

I’m torn on whether I agree with Cynthia Walden and Finn dying. I was never a fan of both of their characters – Cynthia was a write-off and Finn was unbearable. However, I do believe there would have been some ground to cover with them had they lived. I’m not sure if I would have liked the ground they covered, but there could have been more interesting ways to dispose of them.

With so much of the episode focusing on Saul – who is slowly becoming easily as important and prominent as Carrie and Brody – I finally felt like he found his place in the show. Beforehand, he always had a reason to be there, but with Estes gone, his role in the series is now more vital than ever. With so much talk of him being the mole, the best move was to give him a seat of power; somewhere he could pull all the strings. Do I believe he’s the mole? Not really, but it would be fan-freaking-tastic if he was.

Let’s talk about what happened between Carrie and Brody. Their little spout in the cabin was dry. I didn’t care for it whatsoever and thought it was a huge waste of time. Everything they talked about was given at the end of last week’s episode and they really didn’t need to shove down our throats the fact that Carrie and Brody had a chance at a real romance now. It just felt so disjointed with everything else that went on.

Carrie’s “choice” of being with Brody was by no means a surprise. I felt it weakened her character, but had they continued with the push and shove of their relationship, I might have quit the show. Saul’s offer of a promotion to Carrie was a nice thought, but the fact that they brought that out meant Carrie would sacrifice the career she built just to be with Brody. She took the lesser of two evils in my opinion.

Brody on the other hand is back to square one. Did he do it? Did he not do it? My lord does this show love to keep bringing that back. It hasn’t gotten old yet – and I’m not sure if it ever will – but seriously, Brody is becoming a plot device rather than a character. If Homeland keeps repeating itself, I’m not sure how many more seasons they can stretch this out.

The fact that he asked Mike to take care of his family was oddly suspicious of him. Why do that? I’m sure Brody loves his family, but I had always assumed it would happen off screen without any need for an explanation. Had Mike been there when the family was watching the news without ever having that scene between him and Brody, it would have still made sense. So why show it to us? I believe Brody did it. There was a flashback that wasn’t shown to us in whole after all.

I also half-expected Brody to double-cross Carrie when she was helping him escape. He didn’t, which is probably best for his character and to keep us waiting for season 3. His little chat with Dana was nice and reminiscent of how their relationship was before Dana became unbearable. On top of that, her expression when Brody’s suicide tape was shown was powerful. In that one second, she made up for all the nonsense she put us through. Season 3 is not looking good for the Brody family.

So what will happen now? As far as I’m concerned, the complete opposite of what season 1 was about. Instead of Carrie being the only one to suspect Brody, she is now the only one to think it wasn’t him. Also, my money is on Brody not leaving the country and staying somewhere in the U.S. How else would he still be able to take part in the story? As for Saul, he’s the wildcard and I can’t wait to see how he plays out. It’s been a good season of Homeland though no where near as excellent as last season.

Tell us what you thought of the finale and the season as a whole!