What Did You Think of Homeland's Season 2 Finale?

The best answer to any question.
Dec. 21 2012 1:12 PM

What Did You Think of Homeland's Season 2 Finale?

mbelenky

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Matt Belenky, Homeland aficionado:

**SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you haven't watched the finale and don't want to hear about what happened!**

Advertisement

The season finale undoubtedly saved an otherwise bumpy Season 2, where things were either way too slow or way too fast and inconceivable—like Nazir hiding in the abandoned plant living off Chewy bars and Cheez-Its (not really, but it could be true) with SWAT teams circling the area for two straight days. Perhaps, after a stellar Season 1, we expected this season to be even better. And frankly, who can blame us? Showtime isn't some run-of-the-mill cable channel, after all.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland (Season 2, Episode 12).
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland.

Photo by Kent Smith/Showtime.

But, the best episodes—the ones we couldn't let go of in either season—were the ones that were the most ambiguous. Like when Saul was failing his polygraph test in Season 1 only to run out of the room minutes later (this ties into my "villain" theory, which I'll get into). And now, like at its best moments from Season 1, the finale was full of surprises and unanswered questions. Why did Saul choose to go to Nazir's burial at sea over Walden's memorial? Did he do this to get his wife back and become head of the CIA? Who moved Brody's car? Is Peter Quinn involved? Is Brody the bad guy? What did Brody and Nazir talk about during their one-on-one consultation? These questions that we are now asking ourselves and wrestling over are exactly what make showrunners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon so goddamn good.

Unlike 24, where there was a mole hiding under nearly every desk among the "good guys," this show is playing with our minds as to what will happen next the way Brody and Carrie have played with each other's the majority of the past two seasons. From the preview for Episode 11, it seemed as though this episode would be about the hunter (Peter Quinn) and his prey (Brody). But after devouring a can of tuna, Quinn realized he "kills bad guys," not Brody. Like a good Dan Brown novel, Homeland loves cliffhangers. And best of all, these cliffhangers don't necessarily get answered, ever. Questions from Season 1 still loom, but Homeland's ability to completely crush our theories and predictions as to what will happen next is the show's greatest strength. The more content or confident you feel, the greater the chance something completely different will happen -- like someone moving Brody's car in the last 10 minutes of the finale only to interrupt some sexy time in an unknown office!

When things are unexpected, they suddenly become believable, at least some portion of the time. Moments that I really liked from the finale:

  1. Estes finally giving in to Saul and admitting he was wrong.
  2. Quinn threatening Estes, suddenly becoming a good guy instead of the pretentious boarding school snob we knew and loved.
  3. The last scene with Saul looming over the bodies was both eerie and eloquent. The cringing look of happiness on his face when he saw Carrie was priceless.
  4. Carrie saying goodbye to Brody in the creepiest forest since The Blair Witch Project was also masterful. It had to end, unfortunately.

Whether we see Dana Brody (Morgan Saylor) or not, she clearly has a bright future ahead of her. That Brody guy? I'm sure he'll be back. Only without the Rolling Rock grown-up time moments with Mike Faber. On the flip side, Saul can now down all the milk cartons he wants and even add a raisin or two to that peanut butter and celery manifestation. More importantly, I cannot wait for Peter Quinn and Dar Adul to get bigger roles in Season 3. My suspicions are that Saul is a bad guy. Heck, Brody could still be a bad guy, again. The writers have left enough clues where either option is legitimate. Homeland has thrived on ambiguity and the element of surprise, who's to say it should stop?

More questions on Homeland (TV Series):

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?