With the execution of Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) in Iran, Showtime’s “Homeland” concludes a three-year story arc and propels CIA case officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in a new direction for upcoming Season 4.
To summarize: Brody’s gone but not forgotten, Carrie’s pregnant and headed for Istanbul, CIA Acting Director Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) joins the private sector, and ruthless Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) leads the spy agency.
Early on in the Season 3 finale (“The Star”) it appears Brody will escape after assassinating Gen. Danesh Akbari (Houshang Touzie), Iran’s war-mongering intelligence chief. Brody reunites with Carrie and hides in a safe house while awaiting rescue by Navy SEALs.
But for CIA-controlled Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) to succeed Akbari as Iran’s top spymaster, Brody must be swiftly apprehended and punished.
“The longer he eludes us, the weaker I look,” Javadi emphasizes to Saul.
Saul declines to reveal Brody’s location, but Lockhart intervenes. He contacts the president and aborts the rescue mission.
When Brody and Carrie hear the sound of helicopters, they step outside the safe house. But the helicopter noise is only a recording. Instead of being flown to safety, Brody is captured by Iranian soldiers.
“Don’t you dare do anything to harm him,” Carrie exhorts Javadi. But no one can save Brody at this point. He’s found guilty by a military tribunal and sentenced to hang before dawn.
Javadi, of all people, comforts Carrie and helps her accept Brody’s imminent demise. America once vilified Brody as a Marine turned congressman turned terrorist suspected of bombing CIA headquarters, Javadi points out. But the truth emerged at last.
“Everyone sees him through your eyes now,” Javadi says. Brody is a hero who risked his life to kill Akbari, one of the greatest impediments to peace in the Middle East.
When Brody’s final moments come, he refuses to don a black hood before the hangman’s noose is cinched around his neck. And he doesn’t struggle as a crane lifts him high off the ground.
Despite Brody’s admonition to stay away, Carrie joins the jeering crowd gathered for the execution. She tearfully calls out to Brody before a guard knocks her down.
Brody’s story is over, but Carrie begins a new chapter four months later. She’s promoted to Istanbul station chief by CIA Director Lockhart, making her the youngest person to hold the prestigious post. In her new position she’ll work closely with Javadi to improve Iran’s relations with the West.
Carrie is also pregnant with Brody’s baby. And she’s sad and scared, deeply worried that bipolar disorder will render her an unfit mother.
“You guys know better than anyone how bad it gets with me,” Carrie says to her father, Frank (James Rebhorn), and sister, Maggie (Amy Hargreaves).
“You don’t want her, I’ll take her,” Frank says, offering to care for the newborn.
So is Carrie taking her daughter to Turkey, or will the child be raised in America by Grandpa? That’s a question for next year.
Finally, Carrie asks Lockhart if Brody can be honored with a star at CIA headquarters, alongside other colleagues who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Lockhart turns down her request, saying Brody’s actions prior to the Tehran mission “cast a long shadow.”
“No one’s judging him,” Lockhart insists. “I’m just not memorializing him on the walls of this building.”
But later that evening, long after the memorial service ends, Carrie pulls out a marker and draws a star on the wall for Brody.
It’s not a permanent star. But it’s a symbol of Brody’s redemption, nevertheless.