Well, they did it. They killed Brody.
Since the end of Season 1, critics and viewers of "Homeland" have been clamoring that Brody had to die. And Sunday's Season 3 finale – titled "The Star" – granted them that wish. It was the original suicide mission for Nazir – abandoned at the last minute – that damned Brody (and in some ways, the show). And thus, fittingly, Brody saw the operation to kill Akbari as a suicide mission too.
"I never expected to get this far," he tells Carrie once they've made it to the safe house, and it doesn't sound like he wanted to, either. He would rather, once and for all, snuff out his "cockroach" existence – "unkillable, bringing misery wherever I go," as he quotes the man in Caracas.
After last week's thrilling episode, "The Star" functioned as a slow-burn denouement. Aside from an initial Brody escape sequence, the episode was contemplative and searching, and -- dare we say it -- a little slow. In the candlelit safe house with a conversation as intimate as this show gets, "Homeland" got to rehash one last time its most sentimental excesses. Carrie expressed her star-crossed lover's devotion to Brody, telling him, "I believe one of the reasons I was put on this earth was for our paths to cross."
She also hinted at her daddy issues with Saul, who earlier in the episode she chastised: "Is there even one person on the earth that you trust?"
"He wanted me to tell you, 'Well done,'" she tells Brody after Saul green-lights the extraction.
"Whatever that means," Brody replies, shrugging it off.
"It means a lot coming from him," Carrie responds.
Brody did some retreading of his interior desires and resentments, but only regarding his role as a mercenary. Unmentioned was his daughter and the rest of his family, his other driving points of motivation throughout the series, and it's safe to assume the show does not plan on showing their reaction to the final chapter of Brody's story.
In this sense, the show repositioned Carrie back at its center. Brody's death was less about the elimination of a protagonist and more about how it affects her, as we see the graphic public hanging from her eyes. Even before the episode aired, there were already hints that the "Brody family" plotline of the show was being written out, with news that the actors who play his wife and daughter were not signed on for another season.
Brody's climatic execution came two-thirds of the way into the episode, giving the show 20 minutes (and four months) to pick up the pieces. And in many ways it felt like a series finale, not a season finale. Saul and Mira bask in the Greek sun and in the success of Saul's ludicrous grand plan working out after all. Carrie has been given a top bureau post in Istanbul -- apparently her many, many professional misdeeds forgiven.
Carrie's pregnancy - a twist that never really paid off – appears to be settled too, with her dad offering to take care of the Brody spawn. But not without some "Can Carrie have it all?" hair-pulling.
The old wounds appear to mending as well. Saul has forgiven Dar Adal for giving up Brody to Javadi (a minor twist that made my theory that Dar Adal would cross Saul for Javadi somewhat correct), so much so that he asks Dar Adal to join him at his private firm. And Sen. Lockhart, now CIA Director Lockhart, has at least been able to manage a civil tone when speaking with Carrie and her colleagues, .
Whatever wall Carrie had erected against Saul – "I called a couple times. I left messages," he tells Mira. "She's probably just busy." – also has fallen down by the end of the episode.
So "Homeland" departs with a clean slate and a chance for Carrie to have a much-needed new start. But after all the ways "Homeland" tested its viewers' sense of plausibility, logic and investment into its characters, it might have come too late anyway. As Saul put it to Carrie, "When it's over it's over. Pull down the shades and go home."