“Homeland” Season 3 proved that even in victory there is much to be lost.
Everyone lost on this show in the Season 3 finale, “The Star,” even though there were some big wins. Saul’s attempt to make Iran more open to the rest of the world by assassinating Akbari and putting Javadi in charge actually worked. But in the process, Lockhart ousted him from the CIA and he lost his job. Then there’s Carrie, who lost her hope of a happy ending and now needs to raise a child alone. And Brody finally, after surviving for seasons against all odds, lost his life.
But the victories that were achieved in Season 3, no matter how bittersweet, were true victories. As Mira told Saul at the end of the episode, he accomplished his lifelong dream in the Javadi play, despite not maintaining his status at the CIA or getting recognition for the act. Carrie continued to work for the CIA even after Brody’s death, and now received her dream job as a station chief in Istanbul. Whether she can balance that with the task of being a mother — or if she even keeps Brody’s daughter at all — are questions that will wait to be answered in Season 4.
Then there’s Brody. Though many expected him to live through the Season 3 finale, the fact of the matter is that there was no happy ending for Nicholas Brody. When he was described as a cockroach in “Tower of David” — a comment that was again brought up in “The Star” — it was an apt description. Even he didn’t expect to have a life after the Iran mission, and what life would it have been? Even in Carrie’s wildest dreams, there was no chance of a future where he would return to the United States welcomed with open arms.
But Brody did prove himself to be a hero. As Javadi told Carrie, now everyone finally sees Brody the way she does. That “everyone” extended as far as him, Saul, Quinn and others at the CIA who know the truth of Brody’s involvement in the death of Akbari, but unfortunately he might never be seen in that light in front of the entire United States — or even his family. Though Lockhart didn’t honor Brody as one of the CIA’s lost heroes, he at least earned a place on the CIA Memorial Wall thanks to Carrie and her sharpie.
Showrunners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon have said since the beginning of Season 3 that this season, more than any that came before, has been plotted out since the beginning. In this finale, it’s clear that Season 3 was always intended to be the redemption of Nicholas Brody. And it worked. Though the audience might have been uncertain in previous seasons about where Brody’s loyalties lie, we now know as clearly as Carrie and Javadi and Saul that he was a good man at heart. Though he had to die, at least he died a hero.