Homeland: Prisoners of War
April 27, 2020 7:17 AM - Season 8, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Series finale. Carrie enjoys a jazz concert.

Recaps: EW, Variety, Vulture, Den of Geek.

And full props to the episode title, which is not only meaningful metaphor for Carrie and Saul's lives but is also a reference to חטופים (Hatufim), the Israeli show that Homeland was loosely based on and whose English title was "Prisoners of War".
posted by Nelson (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Well that was a cracking end to what I thought was an excellent season of Homeland, maybe its best written. Loved how everything turned out. Loved that Carrie did actually turn on Saul and achieved her objective. Hated (but loved) the consequences that had on Saul's life and that of his Moscow agent. Loved that Carrie even found a way to do it without actually murdering Saul in the end. Very sweet to bring back Dorit, Saul's sister, and even set some last scenes in the West Bank. Just really great plotting all throughout.

The only thing I hated was Carrie ending up with Yevgeny in the end. I don't mean just taking his offer to get her out of the US, but then ending up as his girlfriend. Yuck, he was her torturer. And while they always played it a bit ambiguous about whether he really cared about her or was just running her let's just say that "you helped me while I was being tortured in a Russian prison" is not a healthy basis for a relationship. It's a nice denouement that she's acting as an intelligence asset for the US but I can't think that makes it worth it.

That panning shot of her conspiracy board in the Moscow apartment seemed to be a serious indictment by the writers of American CIA operations. This show has always run a dangerous line of being like 24 in being a right wing violent fantasy show. Mostly it's been smarter than that. But here some writer really had an agenda. "Legacy of Torture, Abu Ghraib: A Horrifying Snapshot of America, 253-398 Children Killed", a picture of Edward Snowden. One of the themes of this show has always been the human consequences of using CIA methods, I guess that's what's fuelling Carrie's mission.

Shout out to Kamasi Washington, the jazz musician featured in Moscow. Homeland has always had a thing for jazz, and not tame lounge jazz either (Spotify playlist). But who knew that the P-Funk and the Arkestra had a baby and that baby is a fantastic jazz ensemble? Not sure if Washington usually plays that futurist or if he was hamming it up for TV.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on April 27 [3 favorites]


Pity poor Mandy Patinkin, having to pretend Carrie's book had a hollow back binding. There's a cut from him about to grab the note with the tweezers (with his thumb mostly obscuring the end of the binding) to him pulling it it out. My only hardcovers without flat binding are 20 year old text books and art books.

> Not sure if Washington usually plays that futurist or if he was hamming it up for TV.

I don't know either, but I'm sure as heck going to find out. Wowza!
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 8:57 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


Kamasi Washington is fucking incredible.

I've never actually seen this show, but he did post on his social media that he was in the finale and it piqued my interest.

Anyway, you should go see Kamasi live.

NOTE: Kamasi tours with two drummers, both on stage simultaneously with their own full sets. This should be all the endorsement required.
posted by selfnoise at 9:19 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Lying to Dorit about Saul's fate was necessary in order to get Dorit to hand over the thumb drive she was holding for Saul in the event of his death, but even after two years I'm surprised Saul was so receptive to hearing from Carrie considering what she put him and his sister through.
posted by emelenjr at 10:21 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


Well, that was a ride.

I hate where Carrie ended up too.

The Russians must acknowledge the capability of her as a threat, no matter how well she acts "brainwashed" (for lack of a better term) so would use her as a misinformation channel.

Both Carrie and Saul must know that. Carrie's sources-/ as a source- are suspect when the chips are down and thus, useless.
posted by porpoise at 8:31 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


I don't know about the whole season but these last two episodes have really been on point. just really well done. I can't even complain.
posted by some loser at 11:39 AM on May 1


like the tension and the pacing and the emotional stakes and the whatever global stakes i guess too, nuclear war, armageddon, etc.. but mostly the first three... were just so well done that although my brain was pinging on a number of things (like for a very small example the GRU team parked in front of Saul's next door neighbors house and no security for the Director of National Security?) but my MIND was like "SHUT UP BRAIN I CANT HEAR YOU OVER ALL THIS TENSION AND WHATNOT! PAY ATTENTION TO THE SCREEN"
posted by some loser at 11:50 AM on May 1


also also that shot of steven miller or whatever his name is - his face just after the Russians announce the black box recording: reading his expression and it just immediately made me think of Principal Skinner : "am I so out of touch?.... No. It is the children who are wrong"
posted by some loser at 11:56 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I loved it. Totally forgot to come into FanFare this entire season, but thought I should check in for the finale!

I love that it dived right into the paradox at the heart of Carrie - that she can only really be true to herself when she's living a lie. She's only really her when her whole identity is up in the air, she's embroiled in deceit, and now she's found a set-up where she can do that forever. Kiiind of loving Yevgeny but playing him too.

some loser, I think Homeland has always papered over its numerous logical plot holes by doing the emotional sweep so incredibly well - porpoise's point being one of them - would the Russians ever really trust her with access to any kind of useful intelligence? Tho I guess that was obviously too jarring for you, porpoise? I happily swept over it just for the satisfaction of seeing Carrie meet her ultimate destiny as a woman seated permanently on an uncomfortable edge, and for the pleasure in Saul's eyes as he pulled out that threaded note and knew he wasn't ready for the intelligence shelf just yet. Great finale.
posted by penguin pie at 3:34 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


was obviously too jarring

Thanks for making me contemplate my reaction - in the past I've managed to wave past all the logic holes and implausibilities.

It could be that it was a final straw, and the last scene.

But - I keep flashing to 'Brazil' reveal at the end where Sam Lowry (sorry, spoilers I guess) was living a lobotomized fantasy dream - it felt like Carrie is delusional and succumbed fully to her mental health problems, with her torturer/ psychological manipulator (!).

Excellent point that she's most comfortable when not actually dealing with reality; she's living a fantasy life now (in comfort, with glamour, and with excitement) but I just feel this dreadful horror if/ when she realizes that she's playing herself/ lying to herself.

Just felt super duper gross that she's Yvgeny's plaything, a mere toy, a trophy (both to hang off his arm and to show off his espionage game).
posted by porpoise at 4:55 PM on May 1


Huh - I actually read it completely the reverse - that she's regained control, got the upper hand over Yevgeny, by making him her plaything - using him to get intelligence, misleading him into thinking he's won, and all the while playing him. I don't look at those last scenes and see Carrie as a victim at all, I see her in control, enjoying both the life she's leading and the knowledge that she's still doing what she's best at (spy shit), for the benefit of her country.

I feel like she's absolutely not lying to herself - this is the truest she's ever been to herself. She was born to live a life of espionage and now she's immersed in it for good, absolutely in her element. There's no doubt she's deeply flawed in her inability to live a normal life, but that's something she's stuck with - she tried normal life and it never works. It's just not Carrie. So now she's getting to what she was born to do, what makes her thrive.

And also getting to do right by the one person who truly understands her, Saul, and the one thing that always motivated her - fighting for the US of A. I mean... whether that's a genuinely noble cause or not is a whole other question, but it's always been Carrie's absolute personal driver - "The mission, the mission, the mission" as Quinn put it.
posted by penguin pie at 4:36 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


I actually read it completely the reverse

Perhaps thats what the writers intended, that the GRU are total chumps.

But I couldn't get over the disbelief that Russian intelligence wouldn't have her under 100% surveillance and fueling and facilitating her fantasy that she was getting away with doing spy stuff, then feeding her just enough true intel and just enough "danger" to maintain the illusion.

Saul must know that, but that they showed him excited/ happy strongly suggests that the surface interpretation is what the writers intended. I'd have written it as Saul being devastated that Carrie has fully drowned in her delusion.
posted by porpoise at 10:43 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


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