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Homeland season three ended with a whimper. The beginning of the end came with Brody trying to calmly flee a government building in Tehran after completing his mission to kill General Akbari so the CIA’s inside man, Javadi, could step in and serve as a helpful liaison between the United States and Iran. (Brody’s escape, by the way, involved a velvet rope and bouncers, just like he’s leaving a B-list club that still gives a damn.)
Brody makes it out of the building as Carrie tries to get Saul to coordinate their escape, which had been canceled because no one trusted Brody to complete it. Brody and Carrie head to a safe house in the desert. Brody’s on a real sad path about his life and redemption. She asks him what he wants to do now, and he answers, “I never thought I’d get this far.” That makes a lot of us.
Javadi has other plans; he was put in charge of the manhunt to find Brody, which means he can’t afford to appear to be incompetent. Saul has literally 11 hours left in his tenure as CIA chief. He has to choose between Brody living and the whole plan succeeding, so this is very exciting.
Saul chooses to honor Brody’s efforts, but everyone else at the CIA is like hell no, no way. After Lockhart tips him off, Javadi sends in troops to extract Brody. They plan a hanging for that very evening, to keep up momentum. Carrie is distraught, of course, and it ends up that Javadi—-a terrorism-funding wife-killer turned CIA mercenary—-is the one to convince her that she has redeemed Brody’s legacy. Everyone now sees him the way Carries does, Javadi says.
Though Brody’s final wish is that Carrie not attend his hanging, she just loves following those directions, so she’s in the front row. And, truly, Brody dies. There is no Saul on a helicopter, handing down a rope ladder, no Carrie flinging herself over a chain-link fence and dissolving the noose with her tears. It was the end for Brody.
Then: “FOUR MONTHS LATER.”
Saul’s chilling by a beach with his wife, moving into the private sector. She reads a newspaper headline that says the U.S. and Iran are finally moving toward rapprochement. Saul’s plan worked.
Carrie and her big baby belly (it’s been 8 months now) have been assigned to Istanbul so that she can become the CIA’s youngest ever station chief. She tells her dad and sister she’s going and can’t keep the baby. She says she feels no love yet. She’s only scared and “so fucking sad.” There is a lot of yelling. Her dad tells her not to leave her daughter as her mother left them. Then he offers to take her baby. Carrie’s sister is like chill, chill, chill, let’s just wait until this babe is born. Pregnant silence.
Next, it’s over to the CIA awards ceremony, honoring passed agents. Carrie had tried to get Lockhart to put Brody on the memorial list, but he refused. Saul and Carrie see each other again and she tells him that he won. He supposes he did. But Carrie hasn’t won yet. It is her life work to make sure Brody is redeemed. She waits until everyone leaves and the building is dark and wanders over to the wall of stars. She takes a marker and draws in a star, a hand-drawn one for Brody. Legacy completed: a star, a baby, and a lady who loves him.