I just finished watching the very last episode of Homeland, and I have to say, NOW THAT’S HOW YOU END A SHOW!
This tv series captivated me from the very first episode back in 2011, at the height of the double Wars in the Middle East, when suicide bombings were all the craze, and spies were in vogue – well – again.
But, this show was something different. Had something different. And that difference was easily identifiable.
You can read all of my tv show reviews here, but right now, let’s jump into all things Homeland, all things Carrie Mathison, and all things beautiful.
Let’s get started….
A Story Not About Traitors
This show started out as a story about a returning soldier who had suffered through horrors at the hands of the enemy. Tortured, manipulated, brainwashed, and eventually turned, Brody came back to a hero’s welcome, but quickly descended into the madness that swirled inside his mind.
It was a long, hard road, one filled with betrayal, devastation, spy-craft, and ultimately, treason (but, hey, the US Government is just as guilty of treason as anyone else, so who’s counting).
In the end, Brody was a victim of the world and a victim of the monsters that run it. Politics, thirst for power, greed, corruption, it all leads to the same destination – destruction and ruin of the innocent and the profiteering of the tyrannical elites.
In the end, Brody died for his sins and for the sins of his country. But, surprisingly enough, that was not the end of the story.
It was actually just the beginning.
A Shift After Brody’s Death
The show went on to reinvent itself multiple times, but now focusing on Carrie and how she navigates the world as she tries to balance her personal life and her professional life as a CIA agent.
I can’t imagine what it would take to survive if the real world of espionage is even a fraction of what this show portrayed. What a terribly brutal and useless cause to place your commitments. All governments are corrupt and morally debased. They are all run, overthrown, and rebuilt and run by despots at best. Evil, demon possessed adversaries of all that is holy at worst.
There is no end to the putrefaction, I don’t care who you are or where you’re from.
But, thankfully, this show is a story about Carrie, not about the government she serves.
Through all the evolutions she went through, through all the calamity, Carrie stood by her own self-developed sense of purity, of righteousness – for right or wrong.
She had an innate sense to know who the enemy was. Even when it was her. She knew only betrayal, both professionally and personally (and, oh, how did those two intermix in her life), yet, Carrie, in the end, stayed true to her convictions, to her loyalties.
Such a journey she took in those eight long years. Such growth. And, isn’t that what makes a good story, in the end? A great story?
So Many Great Characters
And, it was not just Carrie that stole the stage after Brody’s death. In fact, there was an ensembled cast of great characters, who were all broken and destitute and raw and desperate for a cause to believe in, for their lives to amount to something, anything, for their lives to have….meaning.
Saul was the epitome of spy and mentor. In the end, he, too, just like Carrie, couldn’t shake the bug to be relevant, to be worthy, to be needed.
Max Piotrowski was the underdog. A brilliant but awkward servant of the State, but really, a willing and dutiful slave of Carrie. He loved her with all his soul and all his heart and with everything that was Max, even dying for her and for her cause. Max is the quintessential fool who throws himself into the volcano for the woman who barely thinks twice about him.
But, in the end, Carrie is there at his death. And, though she couldn’t stop it, even though she was too late, she cries over his broken and bloody body, and I’m certain, at that moment, Max was looking down in awe, convinced he’d gotten the girl of his dreams.
Peter Quinn was another story. Like Max, he also loved Carrie. Or, at least, he was devoted to Carrie, in a way most people never could understand or experience for themselves. We get glimpses of it, fragments of his life.
He wakes up in the end, and realizes, I think, the atrocities of just existence, how this world has no ethical or moral compass, there is no genuine altruism, no real benevolence. It is the world that is out to get us all. The people wish to destroy us. Nature desires to wipe us from the earth. Humanity is doomed.
But, despite this, Quinn likewise offers up his life for the woman he loves, and just like Max, Carrie shrugs his sacrifice off. She mourns. She acquiesces. She acknowledges his affections and his loyalty and his sacrifice.
But it does not in any way compromise the mission.
Carrie Living a Spies’ Life
This last season took us through all the minutia of course. The death of a sitting US president (is this liberal wishful thinking?), the death of Max, Carrie betraying her country for the greater good, the brink of Nuclear War.
But, then the last episode, the last twenty minutes of that episode, are where things get really, really good.
The spy is “burned,” and she’s backed into a corner in the basement. She takes her own life rather than allow her own country capture her and torture her for ever.
Carrie threatens Saul’s life, but then relents. In the end, she is guilty of treason (who in the government is not?), and we suddenly flash forward 2 years to find she has defected to Russia and she’s with the only person who is just like her – the Russian spy.
But, then the story splits in two, and we see her actions play out simultaneously with Saul’s on the other side of the world.
As her life is shown to us – she’s written a book explaining why she had to betray her own country, certainly exonerating Brody, maybe even herself, surely pulling the curtain back on all the corruption and atrocities committed at the hands of the US Government (which that was actually possible), but on Saul’s end, we quickly see Carrie is up to something.
She has made it right between them. Because her actions caused the death of Saul’s asset in Russia, Carrie has now placed herself in position to be Saul’s spy.
So, Carrie’s life, despite all the turmoil, all the upheaval, all the reversals, her life remains still pure and true. She may have defected in body and in politic, but she will still serve her country (her conscience) until her dying breath.
It has been a very long, long time, since I’ve finished a tv show and felt satisfied with how they left it. Most of the time I disagree completely with what they’ve done. Worse, alot of times they leave the characters and story hanging, simply because Hollywood just cares about the money.
But, this time, I think they got it right. In six months or a year, I’m not going to wonder what Carrie is doing with her life. I already know. I know she’s in jeopardy, I know she’s working every asset, keeping secrets, uncovering the next major Russian plot against the US and its allies. All under the nose of her boyfriend/husband Russian spy handler, who probably has no idea what she’s up to.
I would say, Thank you, Carrie, for your service to this country. Too bad you don’t actually exist.
Until my next review….
Excerpt from In the Meadow:
A second later, the engine roared to life, and Dawn glanced back, one last time, at the trailer she’d grown up in.
The empty yard.
The trail she’d blazed through the blackberries.
That gaunt looking trailer.
Everything she saw now looked so dirty and run down, almost a shambles.
It was like a dream.
Paul circled wide, then threw the truck in reverse and backed up. As he braked and put it back into drive, Dawn could see Harold’s place a few slips down.
Paul gave the truck some gas.
As they went by, she could see Harold standing outside, near his front door, motionless, watching them.
She didn’t mention the earlier conversation to Paul.
Why would she?
He was just a creepy ass guy, and one of the handful of things she didn’t have to deal with anymore.
They drove out the front gate of the trailer park, down the side street to the corner, Paul stopping for a moment as he waited on the traffic to clear.
He took her hand and smiled at her, then pulled out onto the highway, heading west.
They drove past the Ray’s Grocery Store, past the gas station, where Bart was out front, talking excitedly to the Desmond boy.
Paul kissed her hand and she smiled, laying her head back against the headrest.
There was nothing else standing in her way now.
As Dawn began to relax, she watched as her old life quickly dissipate into vapor in their wake.
For the first time in her life, she was leaving Oakridge. She was moving to an entirely different state, a new home, with the man of her dreams.
She’d never even been out of Oregon before.
“Now or never,” Paul said, as they drove past the trailhead sign, on the right.
Dawn tightened her grip on his hand.
She’d finally gotten her wish.
She was leaving Oakridge.
Buy my book In the Meadow to find out what Dawn will do as her perfect fairytale life begins to unravel. Are the girls calling out from the banks of th Skagit River trying to help her? Do they want to hurt her? What secrets will she find?
But, trust me when I say, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride. People are dying all around her. Get started in this thriller story today and find out why they’re warning her…calling out to her….trying to tell her…to RUN!