'Homeland' Finale: It's a Battle of Wills for Carrie and Brody (Video)

The series brings closure to this season's threat of a terrorist attack on American soil while setting up a whole new scenario for Season 2.
Kent Smith/ Showtime

[WARNING: Major spoilers ahead from Sunday’s “Marine One” episode.]

The 90-minute finale of Showtime's Homeland had to fulfill a tall order. If it was to honor its main characters, then that means it had to give Carrie (Claire Danes) the only thing she ever wanted: To stop the next big terrorist attack on American soil. At the same time, it would have to give Brody (Damian Lewis) the revenge he seeks. The problem? Those two ends are in direct opposition.

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After watching the episode, we learn that the final outcome will be a result of will and motivation. Could Carrie or Brody carry out their missions to final completion?

The finale begins with Brody’s videotaped confession. He plans to get revenge on Vice President Walden (Jamey Sheridan) for ordering the air raid on Nazir’s (Navid Negahban) son’s school, then covering it up. As Carrie had guessed, the plan had to include more than just one shooter in Walker (Chris Chalk). We learn that he’s to create a diversion by purposely shooting up Walden’s ceremony and driving him, his closest aides, and Brody into a protective room. It’s there that Brody would complete the mission by setting off his suicide vest and killing everyone in the room.

Before he can do that, Brody’s already suspicious daughter discovers his ritual Islamic praying. How it took this long for someone from the family to discover that is something best left to creative license on the part of the show’s writers. Either way, the uneasiness of his daughter’s discovery would serve Carrie later.

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Stripped of her CIA job, Carrie languishes in bed until she hears who will be present at Walden’s press conference. So, she talks her surveillance friend into driving her to the scene. After witnessing Walker’s shooting rampage and seeing that Brody had been rushed inside with the VP’s group, she realizes that he’s the second step and intended to finish the plan. She tries to tell Saul (Mandy Patinkin), but he instead tries to protect her from further trouble and sends officers to restrain her.

Meanwhile (and despite some hesitation), Brody pushes the button that ignites his vest and nothing happens. In shock, he then rushes to a bathroom stall to fix the faulty wiring on the bomb.

Carrie, sensing that the officers coming at her didn’t appear to be on her side, rushes to the surveillance van and drives to Brody’s house. Once she gets there, she tries to convince his daughter to call him and talk him out of whatever deadly act he was planning. Instead, his daughter calls the police on Carrie. But later, the teen decides to call her father anyway to find out if he’s OK. It’s that call and request that he promise he’ll come home that stops him from exploding the vest a second time around.

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Yet, Homeland is so not done yet. Saul hasn’t completely lost faith in his pupil and decides to follow up on her theory that something must have caused Nazir’s lull in terrorist activity. That leads him to a severely redacted file of an air strike. Through plenty of threats made to Walden, he finally discovers the cover up of the air strike that killed Nazir’s son and his classmates. But while that answers one question, he has no idea what else that could mean.

Carrie, who has since been released from jail and promised Brody he’d leave him and his family alone, has decided to undergo electric shock treatment for her bi-polar disorder. Saul tries to stop her, but her mind is set. He does give her the satisfaction of knowing she was right that something happened that affected Nazir’s activity. And just as she’s going under for the treatment, she remembers a name Brody yelled out on one of their nights together: Issa, Nazir’s son.

At the same time, Brody realizes that he could be in big trouble if the video confession he had taped gets out. So, he decides to pack a gun for a rendezvous with Walker who apparently picked up the video. Once there, Walker demands to know why he didn’t go through with the suicide bombing. Brody blames it on the malfunctioning bomb and offers his close association to the VP as an alternate means of achieving revenge. Walker discloses that Nazir is listening on a phone and the terrorist asks to speak with Brody. He sees his point about infiltrating the potential next president’s administration, but asks for proof of his loyalty. And that’s a violent wrap on Walker.

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So, what’s the set up for Season 2? Without the CIA’s resources, Carrie will have to find a way of acting on her memory of Brody's connection to Nazir’s dead son -- which means he indeed still poses a threat to the United States. She’ll have to contend with Brody’s continued “hero” status as he runs for office and works on remaining close to Walden. At the same time, we'll have to see the implications of Saul's suggestion that Carrie has fallen in love with the enemy.

So while it was a tall order, Homeland achieves something it had done all season – balance the desires of both Carrie and Brody. Did you think that could even be possible? What were your thoughts on the nail-biting Season 1 finale? Tell us in the comments section below.

Watch executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon discuss the season finale below.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro