SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU ARE YET TO SEE THE HOMELAND SERIES FINALE
He’s one of two lead characters whose redemption became the focus of much of the third season but tonight saw Homeland’s anti-hero Nicholas Brody killed off during dramatic scenes that formed part of a 90-minute series finale.
After months spent on the run after being blamed for last series’ Langley bombing, Brody had been recovered by the CIA and prepped for a mission into Iran to take out the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Danesh Akbari. But after completing his task at the end of last week’s penultimate episode, his extraction plan – masterminded by Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Barenson (Mandy Patikin) - was scarpered by new CIA chief, Senator Lockhart.
The episode began with Carrie driving the pair to a safe house to await the CIA helicopters Saul had promised would arrive. As they hid, Brody began to question his decision to take part in the operation.
"There’s this man in Caracas, he’s a doctor," he told Carrie. "He called me a cockroach, un-killable, bringing misery wherever I go... This is about redemption, mine. In what universe can you redeem yourself for one murder by committing another?"
The pair then discussed their future back in America, finally giving Carrie the opportunity to reveal she was four months pregnant with his child.
“There will be a life and I’m not sorry for this. I happen to believe one of the reasons I was put on this earth was for our lives to cross,” she informed the former US Marine, who replied, “I don’t think that sounds crazy at all. I think it sounds like the only sane f**king thing left to hold onto."
However, as the pair went to meet their rescuers, Lockhart’s decision to inform Majid Javadi, the Iranian number two and a CIA plant, of Brody and Carrie’s whereabouts came to light, leading to Brody’s arrest, trial and death sentence.
As Carrie scrambled to reverse the decision, pleading with Javadi and calling a resigned Saul, Brody came to peace with his imminent death. “Carrie, it’s over,” he told her over the phone from his cell, “and not even the almighty Saul can stop it now. I want it to be over. I’m OK, I really am.”
He pleaded with Carrie not to attend his execution – a request she, of course, ignored – watching his harrowing final moments as he was hung in a town square in front of a jeering and chanting Iranian crowd.
Following Brody’s demise, the action swiftly jumped four months ahead, with Saul and his wife, Mira (Sarita Choudhury), breakfasting under sunny skies to the news that IAEA inspectors have been given full access to Iran – Saul’s “crowning achievement”.
Meanwhile a heavily pregnant Carrie had been handed a promotion by Lockhart - the prestigious role of Istanbul station chief to oversee Javadi’s movements. Expressing her fears of motherhood to colleague Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), a distressed Carrie explained, “I just didn’t think it through. I wanted it because of Brody – to have a part of him.”
As the episode drew to a close, the CIA – including Saul who had taken a new, better-paid job in the private sector – gathered for an annual ceremony in Washington to remember those who had fallen. After Lockhart dismissed Carrie’s suggestion that Brody should be added to the commemorative wall of stars, he acknowledged the one-time terrorist’s sacrifice in a speech, telling the audience, “No matter when or where they served, no matter if their name is known to the world or only to us… they all heard the same call to duty and they all answered it without hesitation. They are our heroes.”
Nevertheless, in the final scene Carrie later approached the wall in a deserted CIA to draw on a star for Brody whose sacrifice passed unbeknown to his family and the wider CIA community.
The finale drew in 2.9 million viewers when it aired in America last weekend, with showrunner Alex Gansa admitting plans to kill off Brody had been afoot since the very beginning of the third season with the “entire year constructed around that event.”
The show has already been renewed by US network Showtime for a fourth series likely to air in late 2014, with the focus expected to shift to Carrie, although Gansa did suggest Mandy Patikin would continue to remain involved: “He’s a private contractor now, and if there’s one thing we know about the CIA, it’s that they outsource a lot of work to these private contractors. So Carrie and Saul’s paths could easily, easily cross again.”
But Brody’s demise is likely to spell the end for actresses Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor who portrayed Brody’s wife Jessica and daughter Dana – characters whose heavy involvement at the start of series three has been criticised by impatient fans and critics.