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Monday, December 19, 2011

Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional

Homeland wrapped up its excellent first season on Showtime tonight,  in a fine, intense, thornily surprising package - that turned out not to be wrapped up at all, i.e., the best kind of package for a season finale.

Dana - Brody's daughter - pretty much plays the most pivotal role.  She realized something was not right with her father last week, and suspects something bad,  but doesn't know what.  When she confronts Brody praying, he tells her he converted to Islam - Brody, like all ingenious liars, knows the best way of hiding something is to admit some significant part of it when caught in the lie.   But Dana's smart and intuitive, and is only mostly not completed convinced by Brody's religious confession.

When Carrie - who has figured out what Brody is up to - comes to Brody's home and tries to convince Dana to call her father and "talk him down," Dana calls the police instead.  Carrie's taken away in handcuffs, but she has tapped into Dana's residual misgivings.  She calls her father (especially powerful acting by Morgan Saylor as Dana and Damian Lewis as Brody in this episode), and indeed talks him down  - i.e., from setting off his suicide vest after it didn't work the first time, which would have killed not only Brody but the VP set to announce his campaign for President, and a whole bunch of high-ranking American officials.

Dana may even had had something to do with why the vest didn't work the first time - she interrupted her father when he was putting on and connecting the parts of the vest.   He had to take it off so Dana wouldn't see it, and he likely stuck a wire in a wrong place when he hurriedly had to put the vest back on.

But how did Brody get in the room with the VP et al?  That was one the best turns of the story.  I was wondering how Brody would get through the weapon detectors-  when Walker takes a shot that misses the VP, hits the political operative, and takes two more shots that hit no one.  This drives everyone including Brody into the building, with no one paying any attention to the weapon detector sounding off as the Secret Service hustles to get everyone to a safe room.  Smooth piece of plotting.

Brody later goes on to kill Walker, as part of his apparently successful effort to convince Nazir that the only thing that happened in the bunker is the vest didn't work, and Brody can actually do more damage to the US now, by being in a a position to take out the VP after the election and the VP has become President.

Meanwhile, Carrie at first takes Brody's survival to mean she was wrong to suspect him a second time.  She checks herself into a hospital to get shock treatment for her bi-polar condition, and just as she's about to go under the anesthesia, she recalls that Brody shouted the name of Nazir's son when Brody had a nightmare the night she and Brody spent together (outstanding acting by Claire Danes the whole season, but especially in tonight's and last week's episodes).  But she's unconscious the next moment, and the shock therapy might result in some kind of short term loss of memory.

But we won't forget a thing, and the ingredients at the end of this first season of Homeland look like the makings of an exceptional second season next year, as well.

See also Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises

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The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

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