HOMELAND Recap: “One Last Time”

     November 24, 2013


Homeland went from being more of a spy thriller in the last few weeks to two thirds of a weird romance miniseries in “One Last Time.”  Not that it literally went beyond its hour-long design, but it bizarrely jumped in time and covered a lot of emotional ground.  After all of the buildup we’ve gone through this season to set up the many reveals of this episode, Homeland seemed to shoot them down one by one, in rapid succession, before pivoting on to the next thing.  For more on this crazy ride, hit the jump.

homeland-season-3-posterConsider that Brody went from being a junkie in Caracas to being special-ops-ready in the course of one episode.  He went through physical withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, depression, mania, and bootcamp.  He saw his daughter and attempted to reconcile (more on that in a minute).  Meanwhile, Virgil and Max found a bug, traced it, took pictures, showed them to Saul who knew it was Alain, confronted Lockhart, and got an extension to run his mission.  What the what?

This episode of Homeland felt like a Tardis — it seems inconceivable that so much could fit inside an hour, and yet, did any of it really make sense in the context of where Homeland even is right now?  So many things this year have been a waiting game, or a slow roll out of plan implementation (think of all the episodes focused on Carrie off her meds).  For things to accelerate like this felt surreal.

And then of course there was the reappearance of Dana.  Look, maybe the writers don’t know what to do with Chris in general, but for the love of God, can Brody please remember he has more than one child?  Maybe the reason Chris is so not bothered with everything that has happened with his father is because his father has zero connection to him.  It’s believable that Brody has moved on emotionally from Jessica, but his son?  Carrie was right not to bring up the pregnancy — Brody only has one child he loves, don’t bother with any more!

homeland-one-last-time-patinkin-danesAnd did Brody need to see Dana before he left?  Yes, all of this played into — on his side — him having a reason to want to get back from Tehran.  Saul is right to put him there, because he does love putting himself in tight situations and then weaseling his way out.  But from Dana’s perspective, this achieved nothing except to upset her further.  She knows Brody only speaks in lies, so what does his claim of innocence without proof mean to her?  Not a damn thing, clearly, and it’s no wonder.

The whole idea of putting Brody back at the center of the show though feels tired.  This season has dragged when it’s focused on Brody and his family.  The idea that he would go to Tehran and work for the U.S. in the opposite role he took while loyal to Abu Nazir happened way too fast.  Is he going to suffer another crisis of loyalty?  Surely not, that would be the ultimate been there, done that.  But if this is Brody looking for redemption, as Carrie suggested, not only within the show but for viewers, then there might be something to him just being heroic for once, and not being taken advantage of by both sides because of his feeble mind.

homeland-one-last-time-mandy-patinkinThis idea is the only thing out of “One Last Time” that maybe made some lick of sense.  But where was Quinn on this?  Did Carrie alert him that their “free Brody!” search was over because she was actually helping him get back to fitness to be sent out on a mission that requires him being pegged as the bomber?  Isn’t Saul using Brody as the key to peace between the U.S. and Iran a little starry-eyed for him?  Is Brody assassinating one of Iran’s top leaders and putting Javadi into power something that is going to be done in just a few weeks?

There are only a handful of episodes left in the season, and no matter what your reaction to “One Last Time,” it seems that tuning in will be the only option to see how this insanity is handled.  To paraphrase an old Saul quote used in the title credits: this is the smartest and stupidest fucking show I’ve ever known.

Episode Rating: C-

Musings and Miscellanea:

— At least they didn’t make Brody “crazy” for too long.  Those scenes were painful enough as was.

— So Saul could easily destroy Lockhart with his evidence, but sits on it in exchange for just another month?  Does he think this will lead to Lockhart being put aside and himself elevated because of his success, not a scandal?  The reasoning that going public would humiliate his wife and harm the agency does make a tiny bit of sense.  I guess.

homeland-one-last-time-claire-danes— I want a spin-off series where we see Dar Adal doing whatever terrible black ops things he did in his younger days.  Saul could be a b-plot, having dinner with Javadi, etc.

— Carrie smoking while pregnant?  Smoking at all?  What is this show even doing?  Who does she think she is, Skyler White?

— Whatever happened to Dana living with a friend?  Does she really think her life living and working in a motel is better than if she had stayed in school?

— So many question marks in this review … so many in my mind over this episode!

— Shout-out to reader Daniel Blatt, who pointed out to me last week on Twitter that the guy who plays Lockhart, Tracy Letts, is actually a famous playwright in addition to being an actor.  They need to put him on the Homeland writing staff!