It’d take a week to adequately process what just happened, but I don’t have a week, I have an hour or so. I’d been hoping for Brody’s death for the last couple of episodes of Homeland but I didn’t expect it to just happen like that. Of course, death always just happens. Even if it comes as a result of a long degenerative illness, there’s still a single tipping point, the exact moment at which the lights go out.
That being said, I never would have anticipated that Showtime would allow the writers to come up with an ending so dark, and so completely horrifying though. We’ll never know if they’re trying to make up for the critical mauling they received after that indescribably iffy Dexter finale but giving Brody the ultimate ignominious death – a public hanging in front of a baying, riotous crowd – gives the entire story the ending it should have. Of course, we all know that there will definitely be a fourth season, so perhaps it’s not quite the definitive ending it should be, but still, we have followed Brody for three seasons, and he’s now dead because of the choices he’s made. He’s dead because of Saul, he’s dead because of Carrie and he’s dead because of those terrorists who kidnapped him in Iraq all those years ago.
Starting the episode right after the events of last week was a nice touch as well, carrying over the urgency of the previous episode and building on it. It makes sense now that “Big Man in Tehran” was more of a slow burner, because for it to end explosively would have meant that we’d enter this episode at fever pitch, ready to blow our beans at the slightest incident. Seeing it as a prelude to the finale would increase the star rating of last week’s episode, were we to use a star rating. We don’t, but you get what I’m driving at. It’ll be very effective as a box set, let’s put it that way.
So Brody gave Akbari the bonk on the head with the ashtray to take him out. He rang Carrie, Carrie rang Saul, and Saul attempted to make some plans. In all of this, Javadi discovers that Akbari is dead and, on the phone to Saul, confirms his death. To consolidate his own position in the Iran, he wants Saul to give up Brody, which Brody doesn’t want to do. Javadi makes a convincing argument that giving up Brody and subjecting him to a public execution will give him a better bargaining tool with which to connive his way to Akbari’s position. Saul doesn’t want to give up Brody’s position as that could both potentially endanger Carrie and would betray him to the Iranians, but it’s too little too late. Due to a presidential order, Senator Lockheart and Dar Adal step in to let Saul know that they think Brody should be given up, to ensure Javadi remains in power. Lockheart takes control of the CIA in the process, and gives Javadi Brody’s location with the strict proviso that they leave Carrie behind. But can he be trusted?
I found it surprising that Lockheart would trust Javadi so soon after raising his concerns with Saul. Don’t forget that Javadi killed two people in a bloody attack, thrusting a broken bottle into the neck of a defenceless woman in the process. He also shot one of Brody’s marine escorts at point blank range rather than bring him into Iran to protect him, or fly him home. Javadi is evil as all balls, but Lockheart gives full control of the situation over to him. If we take that a little further, it’s unbelievable that the president would remove Saul from the operation at the last minute, only to carry on with the operation but with the notable addition of killing the guy single-handedly responsible for its success. I know I’ve been saying for weeks that Brody had to die, and narratively, I still stand by that. Brody had to die. But under such shitty circumstances? Why do that?