[Warning: This article contains major spoilers aboutSunday's episode of Homeland. Read at your own risk!]
Dear Homeland producers:
Nicholas Brody is dead. Let the man rest in peace.
After six strong installments this season, Sunday's episodeof Homeland (fittingly titled "Redux") regressed the show back to its earliest antics. Carrie's (Claire Danes) meds got messed up and she went nuts. And as a result, Brody (Damian Lewis) came back. Of course, it wasn't really Brody. It was just Carrie's mind playing tricks on her. But come on, Homeland. Let Brody go.
There's a reason Homeland has had a resurgence in quality in its rebooted fourth season, and it's because you've been unburdened by the problem of where the Brody/Carrie relationship fits into the show. With that weight off, you've instead been able to pull Carrie in interesting directions that challenge both the other characters on the show as well as the viewers. (See: Her "recruitment" of Ayaan.) And so,Sunday's episode felt like a complete undoing of any character development (maybe not the right word to use) or progression we've seen on the part of Carrie this season. It was Season 1 and 2 Carrie all over again.
The fact that Carrie is bipolar is arguably the primary aspect of her character, and one that's incredibly compelling if handled correctly. But we've been down this road before. Rather than having Carrie spiral out of control after taking two wrong doses of her medication, a more intriguing plot choice would have been to have her pills swapped in the first couple of episodes — and her psychotic break to occur gradually, over the next few episodes, keeping viewers in suspense a little longer.
The events in Sunday's episode culminated in a scene that was not moving, or shocking, or poignant. It was, somehow, simultaneously laughable and rage-inducing. The fact that some viewers (myself included) questioned if Brody's appearance really was a hallucination, or whether Homelandhad pulled a soap opera move and revealed Brody to not actually be dead, is problematic in itself.
And, perhaps worst of all, the episode felt reliant on lazy choices. The cycle of Carrie going off her meds, jeopardizing an operation, and running back into Brody's arms, is an easy fallback — so easy it feels tired at this point. Damian Lewis is a fine actor, but Brody and Carrie's relationship was doomed from the start. To drag it out past a single season was questionable; carrying it on into Season 3 and now 4 is ridiculous. Yes, it's understandable that Carrie is going to suffer intense psychological and emotional repercussions from her relationship with Brody and his death. But there's no reason to bring Brody back at this point — even in hallucinatory form. Homeland is not a romance, and frankly works best when it's not dwelling on the personal lives of its characters.
We all, Carrie included, got a chance to say goodbye to Brody at the end of last season. And we're also all better off without him.
What did you think of Brody's return on Homeland? Sound off in the comments!
Homeland airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.
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