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Homeland – Patriot or terrorist?

Brody has the suicide vest and a meeting with the Vice President. Will he go through with it and blow himself up?

- Season 1, Episode 12 - "Marine One"

If you are looking for a show that really hits you in the face about right and wrong, it is Homeland. Or, more directly that maybe there isn’t always a clear answer about what is right or wrong. This first season was building up to answering just how far someone is willing to go to get vengence.

Was the United States correct in bombing and sacrificing 82 children in the hopes of getting a terrorist mastermind responsible for many more deaths? Did those responsible deserve to be killed in retribution? Is that appropriate vengance? These questions weren’t answered, but they are backbone of this story.

In Brody’s suicide video, he claimed that he was serving his country by bringing down those responsible for the bombing. He wasn’t a terrorist, instead he was serving his country by protecting it. Was this misguided thinking or is there something to what he was saying? This is going to be a hot topic coming out of the finale and the series.

Damian Lewis has been brillant as Brody throughout the season, but he blew me away in the finale. I was on the edge of my seat and physically in pain watching him. It was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen on any show.

The lead up to Brody flipping the switch on the bomb was heartwrenching to watch and at that moment, I’m not sure I could imagine anything worse happening. But, it got worse … much worse. From fixing the bomb in the bathroom, to reentering the holding area, and then to the most heartwrenching scene imaginable — Brody on the phone with Dana while ready to die.

Intense. Crazy. Relief. The emotions while watching Brody come to the realization that he couldn’t leave his daughter and family behind to get vengence for Issa. The big picture was gone in that moment, instead it was about him, his daughter and his family. His hatred of the Vice President was evident, but Brody was going to have to find another way to make him pay.

While all that is going on, Carrie, who is psychologically unstable, is the only one that has it all figured out. Unfortunately, no one who can stop it believes her — not even Saul. Even though she has been deemed unstable, it was in fact, Carrie who saved the Vice President. Her idea to have Dana talk to her father was ultimately the saving grace. She will forever be uncredited for stopping the bombing.

It was somewhat painful to watch Jessica beat up on Brody about Carrie when without Carrie’s visit, her husband would have been dead. Not only dead, but a martyr of the islamic terrorists and traitor to his country. Her life and that of her family would never have been the same again. She should be praising Carrie and honoring her, not demonizing her. If only she knew the truth.

After all the action that went down, the closing was a little anti-climatic, but provides a stepping stone for next season. Who will Carrie be when she wakes up? Will she still be able to instinctively put together divergent clues to protect the country? And, most importantly, Issa … will Carrie remember? Oh, and what happened to Brody’s vest bomb?

What an amazing finale and set-up for the second season. It has all changed, but really, everything is still the same.

Going into Season 2:

  • Is there a leak? I’m still not convinced there is. But, I’m confident it isn’t Saul. If there is a leak and it’s someone we’ve met, my guess is Estes.
  • Saul has recordings of interrogations, including torture approved by the Vice President. Are his presidential plans in jeopardy? Will Saul be taken out or will he get what he wants?
  • Carrie is in love with Brody and … given that last look, despite what he says, Brody has feelings for her.
  • “For the last time, I’m not what you think I am.” — Brody (This is most likely in response to Carrie telling Dana her father is a terrorist. He truly believes he is a patriot. There is still hope that he can be redeemed.)
  • Brody’s suicide recording is gone. Who took it? How will it be used?

Odds and Ends

  • From Brody’s suicide recording:
    • “I love my country. What I am is a Marine. Like my father before me and his father before him. And, as a marine I swore an oath to defend the United States against enemies both foreign and domestic.”
    • “My action this day is against such domestic enemies.”
    • “This is about justice for 82 children whose deaths were never acknowledged and whose murder is a stain on the soul of this nation.”
  • Brody doesn’t blow himself up — the first time it malfunctions, the second time he gets a call from his daughter. My thought at the time, “Just do it already!” In the end, I’m glad he didn’t do it. It sets up for a continuation of the greatness into season two.
  • “Why kill a man when you can kill an idea?” — Nazir
  • The first time Brody felt unspeakable guilt about killing Walker; this time I don’t think he will give it a second thought. Walker became a threat to this country and I think Brody is convinced he is an honorable and patriotic man.
  • Dana has really grown over the last few episodes. She is very intuitive. I think she knows something is wrong and I hope that matures into season two.
Photo Credit: Showtime

4 Responses to “Homeland – Patriot or terrorist?”

December 19, 2011 at 12:47 AM

I was really hoping Brody would just blow himself up in the bathroom and be done with it. He’s a terrorist and a traitor, plain and simple. It may not be the PC POV, but to answer your question above, I kind of agreed with the people in the video when they said it was Nazir’s fault the children were going to get hurt–if terrorists surround themselves with innocent people as shields, they ARE to blame if those shields get hurt in the process if eliminating the bigger threat.

One part of this show I have never liked or understood is why Carrie is so obsessively in love with Brody.

I was disappointed with this finale–really wanted an end to Brody. Partially because i just don’t like his character and don’t understand how people can get brainwashed into these terrorist cults–especially soldiers like him. I actually found the end of the Dexter finale made me much more eager to watch that show’s next season. However, I guess while I wasn’t satisfied by the finale, it has really stirred up a lot of emotion, and perhaps that’s a sign of good television.

December 19, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Couple of things:

Never call a Marine a soldier to his face … You might not like the consequences :P
You never can control whom you fall in love with. In this case, she probably knew Brody more intimately than anyone she’d known in her entire life, because of the surveillance.
I agree with you that Nazir owns some of the blame for the death of those children, but that does not make it right for the VP to use stand off weapons when there was a tactical insertion option available. We are supposed to be the good guys.

Finally, I too didn’t think much of the finale. But that’s another story for another day.

December 19, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I hope to see the episode again, and I’d love to read a transcript of his suicide video. I’d like to check my facts. Because I don’t recall Brody- in it- saying anything truly damning.

If so, with the right assistance, Brody could pre-emptively re-contextualize the video by recording an exact duplicate, but this time, talking about himself in terms of cooperating with Carrie and maybe Saul (if not the CIA.) If he can release it first, it instantly deflates Abu Nazir’s leverage.

But even if he does cooperate with the Feds, he should still be considered a terrorist. (Sorry, Dana.) Once a terrorist…

January 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I’m watching episode 1 here in Holland,it’s good to watch it back.Maybe some details will match.The fingers rhythm is maybe a message to Abu Nazir.Still I’m stuck.. I notice that David Estes is immediately cutting off Carrie.I think he is still the mole or a leak.

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