And yet is says something about this viewer’s total distrust in the series—a series that I have, in fact, come back around on—that right up until the “executive producer” credit at the end, I was still expecting them to drop the ball. Public execution at 4am the next morning? Plenty of time for a daring, last-minute shoot-‘em-up extraction. No? Then okay, a thrilling escape moments before the noose goes around his neck! No? Then it must be some kind of elaborately staged Javadi operation! No? Then maybe it was a double?
No exaggeration—I spent most of the episode waiting for them to back out of the idea of killing him. Kudos to writers Alex Gansa and Meredith Stiehm for going through with it. The turn gave us two of Claire Danes’s best acting moments of the season: her face (after talking with Saul) as she finally gives in to the sheer hopelessness of the situation, and the determination with which she gives Brody someone to look at during his last moments on earth.
The question to ask now, as Homeland prepares for its already-announced fourth season, is what kind of show it’s going to be. Brody is gone, really gone, for good this time (and we apparently won’t have another season of brooding with his surviving family, thank God in heaven). Saul is off working in the private sector, and though his “you’d come back in a minute” conversation with Dar seems to indicate that this isn’t permanent, it’s hard to be sure. About all we can really know is that season four will place Carrie squarely at it center, having a baby, maybe keeping it, maybe going to Istanbul, maybe not. But she’ll certainly be grieving, and that’s not the direction I think any of us were anticipating for Homeland.