[WARNING: This story contains spoilers from the Season 2 finale of Homeland. Read at your own risk.]
There seemed to be one big question hanging over the second season of Homeland: Could Brody survive another year?
Whether this morbid outlook was derived purely from the story or from the producers' insistence that they almost killed off Brody at the end of Season 1, we may never know for sure. But just like a year ago, the Season 2 finale, "The Choice," was a bit of Homeland having its cake and eating it too.
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But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The episode begins with Carrie (Claire Danes) and Brody (Damian Lewis) trekking back to the cabin in the woods that served as the setting for Season 1's magical episode "The Weekend." With the death of Abu Nazir in their rearview mirror and Brody now split from his wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin), the pair talked about clean slates and the possibility of starting over together. From afar, Quinn (Rupert Friend) watched all this, waiting for a chance to take a shot at Brody as part of his continuing mission to kill the ex-congressman on the orders of David Estes (David Harewood).
But even when he gets his shot, Quinn doesn't go through with it. Reasoning that Brody provided good intelligence that brought down Nazir and that killing Brody would ruin Carrie as a field agent forever, Quinn realizes that Estes' beef with Brody is personal. So, in a scene straight out of a Bond movie, Quinn vows that if Brody ever dies, so does Estes.
So, Brody's safe, right? Not so fast. After asking Mike (Diego Klattenhoff) to continue looking after Jessica and the kids, Brody heads to the CIA memorial service for dearly departed Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan). There, he makes eyes at Carrie who, despite having a brutally frank discussion with Saul (Mandy Patinkin) about why she can't be with Brody — especially since Saul thinks he can get Estes to make Carrie a station chief — sneaks off to tell Brody that she wants to be with him.
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Then everything blows up. Literally. Just as Brody notices that his car has been moved from its parking spot, it explodes, killing the hundreds of CIA employees inside the service and instantly putting Carrie back on the offensive. She pulls a gun on Brody, who once again talks his way out of certain death by suggesting that Nazir's death was all part of a long con to hit the CIA when its guard was down. As usual, Carrie doesn't know what to believe, but — again, as usual — she trusts Brody and begins to initiate her "insurance policy."
While Carrie and Brody make fake IDs and head for the border, Al Qaeda releases Brody's suicide tape, further making Brody Suspect No. 1 for the attack. Meanwhile, Saul, who was overseeing Nazir's burial at sea, is the ranking CIA officer and is put in charge of the investigation. But when Carrie and Brody get to the Canadian border, it turns out that Brody must go alone. Carrie vows to clear Brody's name, while, despite Carrie's protestations, Brody accepts that this is their goodbye.
Homeland: So, what happens now?
So, like they did all season, the producers answered the major questions in a way that was somehow not what we really expected. But just because Brody is breathing, does that mean he's "survived"? Check out that and a couple more of our burning questions below:
Will Brody be a major part of Season 3? Most viewers who thought Brody had to die argued that moving beyond the Brody/Nazir story was necessary for the show. Putting Brody out of sight is one way to move past that story, but given the show's introduction of a new Al Qaeda leader who is setting Brody up, we don't think the show really wants to move past it. We fully expect to see Brody on the lam (though won't that be hard as the world's most-wanted man?) and Carrie trying her best to clear her man's name once and for all. But...
Will Saul trust Carrie? Saul was adamant that Carrie needed to get over Brody and move on with her life. "You're the smartest and dumbest f---ing person I've ever known," he tells her. However, after the bombing, when Brody and Carrie are both presumed dead, Saul appears to be a broken man. The smile on his face when Carrie comes back shows his aching relief. But Saul is surely smart enough to piece together that Carrie helped Brody leave the country. Can he really bring her back into the fold when she helped the prime suspect get away?
What's that, Saul? Many viewers on social media were confused by what Saul was saying in the closing moments, as he stood at the scene of the attack with hundreds of sheet-covered bodies. Turns out he was saying Kaddish, a Jewish prayer of mourning. So, rest easy for now, conspiracy theorists: Saul is still one of the good guys — and from the look of things, the boss next season!
Where was the President? Apparently, this wasn't the true memorial service for the VP. Rather, a CIA tribute to the man who previously led the agency and initiated the drone program.
Do we actually care about Carrie and Brody's "doomed romance"? There's no doubt that Danes and Lewis crackle on screen together, but we honestly prefer their paranoia and mind games to their puppy dog eyes and rainbows. We actually would like to see a broken Carrie put herself together again rather than repeatedly stick her neck out for someone who could still betray her.
What did you think of the finale?