Homeland: Paean to the People
April 30, 2018 3:11 PM - Season 7, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Carrie and Saul's mission doesn't go as planned. Elizabeth Keane fights for her presidency. Season finale.

Alternate recap: The Great Wig Caper comes off as, in this "all the women fall on their swords to save America" special, Carrie sacrifices her liberty to save Keane's presidency; Simone gives an immaculately dramatic confession of treachery; and Keane promptly sacks off the presidency everyone else has been breaking their necks to save for the past 12 episodes (or more if you count last season).

On the bright side, Carrie lands herself the roomiest, loft apartment-iest prison cell ever seen.
posted by penguin pie (11 comments total)
 
I neither loved nor hated this, which is probably not exactly how you're supposed to feel about a season finale.

The first half was great (natch: Full of spy shit). The second half I found just so-so, though it had some really powerful moments: I genuinely felt for pathetic Paley as he begged for his wife and children's wellbeing. And I love the guy playing the VP - it's just so impossible to work out in any given moment whether what's going on in his mind is sage and kindly or coolly malevolent.

I didn't really buy Keane's big move, though - it just didn't really seem justified by the circumstances. She chooses now to undergo massive personal growth and overcome her authoritarian streak for the sake of the country? When she's just ridden back into power, vindicated and secure?

A minor thing, but it jarred - surely Keane would have spent the crucial moment of Simone's hearing glued to the TV, not waiting in the corridor outside Saul's secret hidey hole, ready to make her entrance at just the right moment?

Carrie's final crazy face was just... comedy crazy, which was unfortunate.

And lastly, I'm slightly reeling from the fact that, back in February, I tagged Lesli Linka Glatter, who directed this episode, when I RT'd an amazing tweet featuring images of a real-life political prisoner exchange ACROSS THE BRIDGE IN NARVA, exactly where that last scene took place. I mean, it's PROBABLY a coincidence. I'm sure it is. There are presumably only so many places these things happen. But shit. I was all "Ooh, look, this is just like Homeland only REAL! You can almost imagine LLG crouching in the back of a van staring at the monitors!" And lo and behold. Anyway.
posted by penguin pie at 3:36 PM on April 30, 2018


And I love the guy playing the VP

That was Beau Bridges wasn't it? I think.

This season was a mixed bag. The first half was rather awkward as they wrenched the in a direction it clearly had not been set up for by the end of last season. That's understandable; the Russia/Trump thing came out of nowhere. One could argue they should ignore real world events and just have gone where they were gonna go if Clinton won but I'm not sure that was possible. Once they go it pointed in the direction they wanted to go it got a hell of a lot smoother.

The spy stuff and a lot of the interpersonal dynamics with Saul and Carrie and Carrie's Crew were as good as ever and that's always been Homeland's strength post-season 1 when they no longer had a blueprint. Was it as good as season 1? Nah, but I'll still be tuning in next season.
posted by Justinian at 5:05 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I didn't really buy Keane's big move, though - it just didn't really seem justified by the circumstances. She chooses now to undergo massive personal growth and overcome her authoritarian streak for the sake of the country? When she's just ridden back into power, vindicated and secure?

I think this was less about an opportunity for meaningful character development and more of a lecture to the American political system.

That was Beau Bridges wasn't it? I think.
Yeah. He was great. Forceful, and he kept me guessing.
posted by entropone at 5:19 AM on May 1, 2018


That was Beau Bridges wasn't it? I think.

Ah! I kept seeing his name in the credits, recognised it without knowing what he looked like, and meant to look him up. Great performance.

The "changing direction after a few episodes" thing happened last season too - it started out being about Iran and North Korea doing a secret deal on nuclear weapons, but that was dropped about episode 4 and completely forgotten by the end. Same with Brett O'Keefe and the domestic rebellion this season. Last time round, they were open about the fact that they totally turned the ship around mid-series because Trump had got elected, but this time, it felt like that was just the way they structured it - like 12 episodes is a ilttle too long for a single plot arc - they have to have a set up story that lasts 4 eps and then falls away. I mean, they weren't totally unrelated - the boy in the hospital was where Yevgeny was introduced, and Keane's finale speech refers obliquely, if not directly, to the divisions in the country that were demonstrated by the stand-off. But it certainly felt like a different story they were telling in ep12 than in ep1.
posted by penguin pie at 6:33 AM on May 1, 2018


I didn't really buy Keane's big move, though - it just didn't really seem justified by the circumstances. She chooses now to undergo massive personal growth and overcome her authoritarian streak for the sake of the country? When she's just ridden back into power, vindicated and secure?

I think this was less about an opportunity for meaningful character development and more of a lecture to the American political system.


I totally bought it as once she was vindicated and secure in victory she could stand back and see the bigger picture with more clarity. But the lecturing the political system element was certainly also present.
posted by roolya_boolya at 1:15 PM on May 1, 2018


It's interesting that they left it with Carrie full on suffering the effects of her illness. It's something that every season has played with and this is the first time they have went all in. I'm curious to see how they develop the full expression in the next season. (While recalling that the first half will probably be a bit shite because Homeland.)
posted by roolya_boolya at 1:18 PM on May 1, 2018


I thought there was a pretty big missed opportunity in not having Carrie and Yevgeny (who I find rather compelling) interact more. I mean, they're both basically the MVPs of their respective services, and they're in the same room, alone, on multiple occasions. Game recognize game, as they say, right? I don't think either of their characters would really open up to the other, but there's so much that they've both been party to that you'd think they'd at least have some grudging respect for each other's skills.

So here's my crazy idea. The first season was based on a pretty intriguing premise that subsequent seasons haven't lived up to: Brody was a POW who may have become sympathetic to his captors' cause during his imprisonment, and Carrie has to figure out if whose side he's really on. What if... season eight had the same premise, but with Carrie in the Brody role?! During her seven months in Russia, Yevgeny turned her, and her release is part of a new operation? Then Saul and [new male lead] have to figure out whether she's still a trustworthy CIA asset, or the biggest threat to national security.

Think about it:
-Carrie has been increasingly unsympathetic over the course of this season.
-Aside from Saul, the CIA hasn't exactly been great to her.
-She'd be more aggressively defensive than Brody ever was, which would create tension.
-It would allow the Yevgeny character to stay on.
-It would facilitate the Quinn replacement everyone thought Dante would be.
-You could incorporate a lot of things (BPD, Frannie, etc.) pretty easily.
-There would be no need for convoluted, implausible story lines to establish action.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:23 PM on May 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


That would indeed be an intriguing premise but I'd be disappointed if they went that way because Carrie's driving force has always been her loyalty to her idealism, even in the face of much evidence to the contrary. It would be a betrayal of her character to end on that note.

I agree about the parallels between her and Yevgeny but I thought the scenes were all the more powerful because of how they were underplayed.
posted by roolya_boolya at 1:28 PM on May 1, 2018


I considered that possibility as well, kevinbelt, but I just don't think anyone would seriously buy that the writers would write a storyline in which Carrie had actually been turned. Season 1 worked because (for the first half) it could have gone either way but if they go this route next season I think pretty much everyone would just be waiting for the reveal that Carrie is a double agent working against the Russians or whatever.
posted by Justinian at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2018


I like the idea of Carrie being under suspicion of being a double agent next season! But maybe to avoid the implausibility we know from the start it's not true, but Carrie's friends and colleagues don't. They suspect her and she has to prove herself to them. Except Max, loyal puppy dog to the end. Poor Max, because in my scenario his end is early and ugly.

There will be one more season and then it's the very last. Or at least that's what Clare Danes is saying in interviews. If you look online there's some mild spoilers about the planned location and setup for the season.

I didn't much care for this final episode, it didn't deliver. Too much anticlimax, not enough climax. The final showdown at the airport was sort of entertaining albeit a contrivance; in the real world you'd want to wait for the plane to leave Russian airspace to be sure. Carrie's denouement cowering in a shuttered cafe was pretty grim too, although at least realistic.

Keane's lecture to America annoyed me; this show has not earned the right to lecture the real world about real politics. And in the real world Trump is not about to make some self-effacing move to save democracy. Weird fantasy.

Would have loved one last O'Keefe scene. I really did like that character.

Hated the idea of Carrie being tortured with months of mental illness. I did appreciate yet another le Carre nod though, with the Cold War set piece of a bridge prisoner exchange.
posted by Nelson at 2:49 PM on May 2, 2018


Too much anticlimax, not enough climax.

It's funny though - IIRC, apart from last season (which crammed insane amounts into the last ep, as if they'd just run out of time and realised too late), that was a common Homeland thing - the climax came in the penultimate episode, and the final one would be a quieter reflection/unravelling. Can't actually remember enough detail to give examples, but I'm pretty sure I remember that being A Thing. So compared to those days, this one was a little more action packed than they used to be.
posted by penguin pie at 7:52 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


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