Well, that’s certainly not how I expected Homeland Season 4 to end, and to be quite honest, that’s not how I had hoped it would end either. “Long Time Coming” isn’t a bad episode of the series, but it felt more like a midseason setup episode than a season finale. I’m not saying that I needed explosions, gunfire, and major character deaths, but it would have been nice if something more thrilling had happened during this quiet, muted hour.
But instead of me complaining about what we didn’t get it in this Homeland season finale (like any resolution to the Haqqani storyline, which has been one of the major focal points of Season 4), let’s talk about what we did get. The episode primarily focused on the funeral of Carrie’s father (played by the late James Rebhorn, who Homeland honored very nicely here) and the emotional fallout from everything that transpired in Pakistan.
We also meet Carrie’s mother (Victoria Clark), who left Carrie, her sister, and their father 15 years ago and discover, along with Carrie, that her mother’s leaving wasn’t caused by her father’s condition. No, Carrie’s dad being bipolar wasn’t the issue; it was Carrie’s mom’s various affairs, one of which actually ended with her being pregnant, causing her to abandon her family and try to start a new one with her son and Carrie’s half-brother, Tim. Essentially, while all this does shed some interesting information on Carrie’s past (her outrage at her mother not being there for her during her first bipolar episode in college felt very authentic and was played well by Claire Danes), it’s just a way to push Carrie and Quinn closer together before pulling them apart yet again.
That’s right–after all the teasing and foreshadowing we’ve gotten about a Carrie and Quinn relationship, the two finally kiss in “Long Time Coming.” It’s actually not as bad as I was anticipating, as both Danes and Rupert Friend do good work with the material they’re given, and I say this as someone who does not hate the idea of Carrie and Quinn–I just don’t want to see Homeland become about another star-crossed romance again. Ultimately, Carrie holds back for just a second too long, citing her bipolar disorder as the reason for why they shouldn’t be together, thinking it was the undoing to her parents’ relationship, and before she can share her change of heart with Quinn after talking with her mother, he’s already joined back with his old team for a covert operation in Syria. Like so many times before on Homeland, with things both big and small, Carrie Mathison is just a little too late.
But really, this is all build-up for what’s supposed to the finale’s “big moment,” which is when Carrie finally confronts Dar Adal about his being with Haqqani at the end of last week’s episode. She threatens to go to the press; he says she won’t. And when Carrie states that no matter what “good” Dar think he’s doing by making deals with Haqqani, Saul will never agree with him, never be on his side, he gestures for her to go and talk with Saul herself outside, and that’s exactly where Carrie finds her mentor and friend–working with the enemy, attempting to forget about the corruption in order to get his job as director of the CIA back.
In a finale full of quiet moments, that final sequence, Carrie’s discovery of Saul and her leaving Dar’s house, does nothing to make the audience go “whoa.” There are two possibilities born out of Homeland‘s latest “twist”: either Saul has turned his back on his principles (probably due to everything he went through when being Haqqani’s prisoner), or, similar to his plan in Season 3, he’s playing a long con and using information that he can gather from Dar to bring him and anyone else making deals with terrorists down. It’s certainly an interesting development to begin Homeland Season 5 with, but as a final chapter to what has been a creatively rejuvenated fourth season, it’s all a bit of a letdown.
As myself and others have been saying all season long, Homeland works best when it’s an espionage thriller, when tensions are high and there’s suspicion that something bad is going to happen. That’s the show we got in the past few episodes of Season 4, and even though we don’t see it here in the season finale, it’s the show that I hope we get when Homeland returns for Season 5 next fall.
– Best scene in the entire episode had to be when Lockhart showed up with the lasagna and sat down to drink whiskey with Carrie, Saul, and Quinn, right? After being such an annoying douche last season, Lockhart has truly become one of Homeland‘s most enjoyable characters and the MVP for any and all comic relief on the show.
– I wonder if we will get more of Carrie’s mother or her half-brother in Season 5, or if they were just used here more as plot devices for her and Quinn’s storyline. Even though I don’t think Homeland is ever at its best when it’s dealing with Carrie and her family, I think it would be a cheat to introduce us to these characters and then have us never see them again.
– Thank you to everyone who has read these reviews and shared their thoughts in the comments. Even though I was disappointed with this finale, I still feel really good about this season of Homeland overall and am looking forward to what Season 5 brings. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, and hopefully, I’ll see you all next fall.
What did everyone think of last night’s season finale of Homeland?
Photo via Showtime