We must admit there’s an unparalleled happiness we feel when down-in-the-dumps shows manage to crawl up from the grave they seem to have dug themselves in. “Homeland” has finally become interesting. Yes, the show has always been reaching. Their ambitious plots were what won them so many fans in the first two seasons, but the wild stories they concocted the third time round failed to recreate the same magic. But with “One Last Time,” Showtime may have just about managed to make people anticipate the last three episodes.
Since last week, we’ve come to know that Saul Berenson (Mandy Patnikin) is not the underdog he’s been pretending to be. Beneath that unassuming demeanour and “cute uncle” face is a man who has been plotting and scheming to glory. Even though we were rooting for Saul’s luck to change, this turn of events has not really sat down well with us. In “One Last Time,” we also learned that senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) has recruited Mira Berenson’s(Sarita Choudhury) boy-toy to spy on her husband. Saul uses this damning information to get what he wants.
His big secret trip from last “A Red Wheelbarrow” turned out to be the “Tower of David” in Caracas, Venezuela where bald-headed Brody (Damian Lewis) lay in a drugged stupor waiting for death. The acting CIA director has some far-reaching plans for the ex-terrosrist, something that involves him detoxing and becoming a marine again. But of course, the Brody now has nothing to live for and would rather just roll over and die if he could. This is validated when Saul has him thrown in a lake/river of some sort. Poor Brody sinks like a rock before he has to be retrieved by some really broad marines with excessive facial hair.
Enter Carrie (Claire Danes), who quickly gets over Saul’s betrayal and her bullet wound (far too soon as per real world standards) and motivates Brody to devote himself to the “mission”. This motivation comes in the form of (urgh) Dana (Morgan Saylor) who has settled into domestic bliss as a maid at a motel. Wasn’t she supposed to move in with her friend? Does her mother know what she’s doing? Apparently, Showtime’s writers felt it unnecessary to let us in on these details but saw it fit to torture us with her teenage drama for what felt like a lifetime. They also make Jessica Brody (Morena Baccarin) to look like a terribly negligent mother, while Brody, whose fault everything is, appears to be horror-struck at his baby’s situation.
One look at his daughter and Brody finds the adrenaline and strength to head-butt and struggle one of the marines that’s keeping him in check. With a new purpose in life, Brody, over 16 days, makes the transition from druggie to super marine, all that was missing during these shots were the inspirational beats of Eye of The Tiger while he jogged with fellow soldiers. With this episode, Brody made his third appearance and also seemingly gnawed his way towards an award nomination. Guy’s got (acting) chops, it seems. Despite the show’s creators crediting his speedy recovery to an almost-illegal African drug, courtesy Dar Adal (F Murray Abraham), the whole sequence didn’t seem one bit realistic. But they’ve never really gone for that virtue, now have they?
The person responsible for this smooth functioning of the prep up to the “mission” is Carrie who seemed genuinely affected on seeing Brody’s limp drugged body. They then proceeded to have their predictable flirtatious talks. At one point Carrie proceeds to light one (cigarette) up, forgetting all about the mini Brody inside. Plus, it also slips her mind to let her ex-and-also-future lover know about her oven’s bun.
This episode worked, in most parts, because there’s finally a bigger picture to chase. Everyone’s working towards an end goal, albeit unrealistic. It’s also clear that the upcoming episodes will probably solely focus on execution of this “mission”. Carrie will have to deal with her baby and being an efficient agent, Saul will work hard towards the end goal and Brody will be in the thick of it all. It’s a shame characters like Fara Sherazi (Naznin Boniadi) and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) look like they’ve taken the backseats. The former’s whole religion versus patriotism conflict and the latter’s emotional struggles with being a CIA agent would have been interesting to deconstruct. Oh, well, we can’t have it all.