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17th December 2012 00:12:00
Posted by Nick Bryan

Homeland: 2.11 - In Memoriam

Review of Homeland: In Memoriam, from Showtime and Channel 4, starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.
Well, I didn't expect that. And in another way, I did. This penultimate episode of Homeland season two played with my predictions and leaving me staring confused at the final episode, but that's a good thing. Because now I can be surprised, and in a show like Homeland, that's a massive plus.

But, as ever, I'm getting ahead of myself. How did this nearly-last episode work? Make sure to watch it on 4OD before reading the nasty spoilers.

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Deadly Hide & Seek

Much of this episode consisted of Abu Nazir playing a deadly game of hide & seek with Carrie, convinced she could catch him and, finally, proven right. Considering that guy has been the big villain since the beginning, his casual execution here is surprising, but since I've been saying they should do that for weeks, I'm hardly gonna complain. Just thought they'd wait until the last episode.

Sadly, although I'm pleased to see him go (boring villain, run his course), I'm less enamoured with the way they did it. Lots of dark-corridor running, Carrie being right against all odds, Abu Nazir played as some kind of silent physical monster, despite having never been that before. I mean, it's one episode, I'm glad he's dead, but this silly death didn't do much to redeem the oddness of his hanging around in America in the first place. Why was he here? Was it really to assist with that quickly foiled terror attack?

Of course, we could still get a "He planned it all along, and now his post-death masterstroke!" twist next time, which would both explain his death and maybe cause the CIA to spare Brody. But as of now, this comes over as the writers saying "We're bored of this guy, let's have him throw himself onto the enemy swords, despite him being established as notoriously careful".

Or the slight variant: "We want to do a Brody storyline which needs Abu Nazir to die, can we think of a good death scene? No? Oh well."

Only Lonely Brody

Because although the death of Nazir itself wasn't great, I enjoyed the ramifications for our poor confused marine. All his scenes after Nazir's shooting were winners. Even better, they validate another prediction I did last week by splitting up the Brody family. So, um, Brody's now lost his wife and kids, father figure Nazir and had his revenge on the Vice-President. What does the poor bastard do now? Settle down with Carrie and raise a family?

I'm impressed with Homeland if only for this: they have made me think Brody might genuinely die in the finale, and if you'd suggested that to me a few weeks ago, I'd have laughed at you. If the job of a thriller is to create suspense, they're doing alright.

Elsewhere, Saul is being stitched up by Estes, and he's the best character, so we care about this. Plus the dastardly plan Estes has concocted is a genuinely clever use of past history, so I'm curious how he'll get out of this. Obviously, their point of contention is the plan to kill Brody, and that looks like being the central conflict of the finale, so there's real confluence here.

So. One more Homeland to go, and both the "big" twists I expected for the finale have already happened. What does that mean? Either a comparatively dull final week, or... something bigger? Will Brody die? Could he die? What are you guys expecting?

Homeland airs on Channel 4 at 9PM Sundays for one last week. More info on the C4 official site. Watch recent episodes on 4OD. Do not eat the yellow snow.