Review of Homeland ‘The Choice’
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 12, series 2 of ‘Homeland’
After 11 episodes of unquestionably differing merit, this week saw series two of Homeland draw to a close. It is fair to say that, not totally surprisingly, this series has failed to completely live up to the high expectations set by series one – however there was still the feeling that with a brilliant final episode things could be redeemed and moments like Brody’s carwash shower could be expunged from memory forever.
Unfortunately in the end this week’s episode was as flawed as the rest of this series, with its good parts so heavily diluted that they lost most of their impact. Even the episode’s surprise twist, the enormous CIA-wrecking bomb, struggled to revive my interest levels, particularly as it effectively just seemed to serve as an all too convenient way of tying up a few loose ends.
Perhaps here I am being too cynical but much of the blame for that has to go to the first part of the episode, which was truly terrible and resembled some kind of weird Homeland rom-com spin-off set in Carrie’s cabin. A particular low point was the scene involving potato juggling which seemed so forced and hideously awkward that it could have passed for a date between two particularly incompatible Take Me Out contestants.
Proceedings were not helped by the terrible dialogue between the two, such as Brody’s cringe-worthy “my only plan is to be a good person again” which had you wishing Quinn would just burst in and get on with assassinating him and put us all out of our misery. In the end, after all his time spent spying through telescopes and eating what looked like tins of cat food in conveniently-located, abandoned log cabins, Quinn found a conscience and decided to spare Brody while Carrie went out to buy croissants – which perhaps surprisingly seemed to be available only five minutes drive away from their cabin in the middle of nowhere.
His facing down of Estes meant that Saul could be freed from the imprisonment that seemed to have given him an insatiable thirst for milk and appeared to set up an interesting dynamic of conflict between the three, although this turned out to be fairly pointless given the episode’s main event.
It says quite a lot about the preceding events in the episode and the series as a whole, that even a gigantic explosion, which killed hundreds of people and had huge implications for basically all of the programme’s main characters, failed to really provide the thrilling finish that the series was crying out for.
In the end the bomb just seemed like a fairly cynical way of sorting out a few tricky problems in the storyline. In one swoop those pesky Waldens, with their hit-and-run concealing, fancy fundraiser-loving ways, were killed off. So too was Estes, for conspiring to kill off the only red-headed Old Etonian in a military uniform who can match Prince Harry’s popularity levels, not to mention for daring to lock up and discredit the almighty beard Saul Berenson.
That’s not to say that there weren’t some good parts, Dana’s confrontation of Brody and subsequent discovery that he came very close to blowing up a large proportion of the American government was well done and the use of Brody’s original suicide video, which even convinced his own family of his guilt, was also a clever twist – even if it did provoke Dana into doing a startlingly good impression of Claire Danes’ signature downward-lipped fish face.
However, despite the powerful final scene with the room full of shrouded bodies and Saul, now the ‘ranking officer on site’ because in Homeland only about five people seem to actually work for the CIA, ultimately the episode was not able to totally rescue the series as a whole. Its dramatic twist was just a little bit too convenient and even the much-praised chemistry between Brody and Carrie was much less convincing when both of them were supposedly happy.
While this series has not been able to match the first, I am sure many will be now eagerly anticipating the proposed third run of episodes. If only to see how the storyline can possibly develop with so many of the original characters dead, disillusioned or exiled.
You can follow the writer on Twitter: @thesportsfoxTagged in: Brody, Carrie, CIA, claire danes, Damian Lewis, homeland, Rupert Friend
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