Here are two reviews for the last episode, 'I'll Fly Away'. One positive and one a little more critical- two different perspectives:
I'll Fly Away
Season two of Homeland has been just as exhilarating and surprising as last year’s Emmy Award-winning freshman season. Recently, Showtime announced that Homeland has been renewed for a third season, prompting many viewers to wonder if this show can maintain its Emmy-caliber status heading into 2013. Thanks to stellar performances by Damian Lewis, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin to name a few, Homeland shows no signs of slowing down as it heads into the last few episodes of season two.
A major point that was stressed from the very start of the episode “I’ll Fly Away,” is that Brody is unstable. He has no control of his life, and the constant lying has him on the brink of a mental breakdown. Brody is fragile, he’s disheveled, and he has lost his will to live. While the spotlight of him running for vice president has dimmed, the demands of Roya and Carrie are clearly taking a toll on him. Brody has shifted sides so many times, that it’s surprising he can keep his lies in order—or even stand on his own two feet.
We can thank Carrie for shoveling a disarranged Brody from the fetal position in his home and thrusting him back into action for the CIA. Shortly after, Brody meets up with Roya, but after a few minutes, Brody becomes agitated and storms off saying he’s done. The man has clearly hit a wall, but Carrie refuses to turn Brody in to the CIA. She finds him as he’s walking to his vehicle, takes his keys, and drives off to an old crumby hotel only to empower him later in the evening by having sex with him. Let’s not forget that everyone who was part of the CIA operation heard that commotion—the scene felt embarrassing for Saul. His protégé Carrie appeared to have her own interests in mind when she whisked Brody off to a hotel to get her rocks off. Whether or not Carrie is stuck on Brody is still up in the air. Either way, it looks awful for her reputation and pushes her even further from regaining any credibility that she lost after being fired from the CIA in season one.
Meanwhile, young Dana Brody ran away and showed up at Mike Faber’s doorstep. She spends some time there to clear her head and later, schedules a time to visit the hit-and-run victim’s daughter. Dana’s effort to make good on the accident is met with hostility. The victim’s daughter was paid off by the CIA to keep quiet so that the incident wouldn’t derail the presidential campaign. While most of us saw this coming, it’s alarming to think that real political messes such as this can be muscled to keep quiet.
By the end of the episode, Brody is kidnapped and taken by helicopter to an undisclosed location. Once he arrives at his destination he is met face-to-face with Abu Nazir. This is the first time they’ve seen each other since Brody was MIA. While Abu Nazir’s intentions have not been revealed, it will be interesting to see how and why Nazir arrived in the United States. Whatever Nazir is planning, it’s big, and Brody seems to be an intricate part of it—whether he likes it or not.
This season of Homeland has really pushed the boundaries of believability, sometimes veering into directions that are downright ridiculous. But, as with any series, loyal fans will forgive the writers when they ask their audience to suspend disbelief so completely that all sense of realism is ignored. In the season’s first episode, we knew it was absurd to think the CIA would send an ex-agent who suffered a mental breakdown less than a year earlier back into the field because of one potential contact. We all smiled and nodded when Carrie was allowed to have contact with Brody again, even though they had an affair and he was at least partly the cause of her breakdown. These missteps can be chalked up to dramatic license and the need for enticing storytelling. But last night’s episode (“I’ll Fly Away”) reaches a new level of ludicrousness (that’s a word) when Carrie essentially kidnaps Brody and has sex with him in a motel room.*
But let’s back up. After last week’s pretty much standalone episode (“The Clearing”), we get back into Brody’s work as a triple agent and the potential breakdown he may be facing himself. He’s got Carrie and the CIA pressuring him to keep up appearances with Roya Hammad so that he can lead them to Abu Nazir. He’s got Roya testing his loyalty to Nazir, unaware Brody is working for the CIA. And he’s got his wife and family who are struggling to deal with Dana’s involvement in a hit and run accident that killed a woman. To make matters worse, both the CIA and Vice President Walden are telling Brody (for different reasons) NOT to tell the cops because he could bring the wrong kind of attention to himself.*
So, when Brody goes to meet with Roya in a public place, it’s no surprise he has a mini-breakdown. As Roya attempts to assuage his concerns he tells her he’s finished helping Abu Nazir, leaving her and the CIA (who are eavesdropping) scratching their heads. Carrie catches up to him and tells him he can’t blow his cover because she is their only link to Nazir. Seeing he is close to self-destructing, she takes his keys and drives them to a seedy motel way outside town. After she talks him down, they have sex, completely unaware that Saul, Peter and about half a dozen CIA agents are listening in.*
At this point, in real life, Carrie would be thrown out of the CIA (quite possibly in a literal sense) for sleeping with 1) a terrorist who is 2) an informant/mole. I mean, come on. Saul and Co. try to play it off like “She was doing what she had to do to keep Brody in play,” but it is insane to ask viewers to buy that nonsense. We can stomach Carrie confessing her love to Brody in a taped interview session as a way to convince him to help them stop the CIA, but asking us to believe there would be NO repercussions after having sex with the same man is just insulting. At the very least, Carrie should be taken off the mission and forbidden to have any contact with Brody whatsoever.*
After their night of lust, Brody contacts Roya and tells her he wants another chance to show his loyalty. This results in Roya leading him to the middle of nowhere where he is abducted and brought to an empty warehouse. The episode ends with Brody coming to face to face with Abu Nazir who is, apparently, now on U.S. soil. Though Carrie of course tried to prevent Brody from being taken away, she is left standing alone in a field wondering what would happen to him.*
The rest of the episode is more filler of Dana struggling with the car accident and not knowing what to do. She ends up visiting the daughter of the woman she killed and finds out someone (not sure who) paid her a bunch of money not to go to the police or make a fuss about the accident. Upon hearing this, Dana becomes more distraught. How this storyline can do anything but fizzle away is beyond me.*
Hopefully the show will get back on track sooner rather than later because the last couple of episodes have made the first season look like a fluke. For a series that promised at least several seasons of riveting television, let’s hope that’s not the case.
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