Thank God HOMELAND SEASON 8 stuck the landing in their series finale last night. I was dreadfully afraid it was going to be another Dexter or Ray Donovan series finale fuck up of epic proportions. To be fair, the makers of Ray Donovan didn’t know their last episode was a series finale, I’m just pissed I invested so much time in a television show (7 seasons) that didn’t have an ending…yet (I hope maybe they wrap shit up in a TV movie or be brought back from the dead in a final really short, maybe only 4 or 5 episode season?). Anyway, the reason I was dreadfully afraid of a terrible series ender was because the 8th and final season of Homeland was okay, with some decent parts and the same can be said for Dexter’s final 8th season as well. But then Showtime gave us that final episode, you know the one where Dexter, a serial killer who kills serial killers/bad guys, becomes a mute lumberjack at the end, that is now the staple of bad endings whenever and wherever television series endings are discussed. Dexter’s first two seasons were great, the 4th it’s best, the 3rd only okay with a couple of juicy moments, and the fifth was better than average with what could’ve been a decent ending. Seasons 6, 7, and 8 (especially after the ending of the latter) are all tedious, uninspired, and boring.
To be fair, out of 8 seasons, there has only really been one terrible season of Homeland, that being Season 3 and how awfully boring it was and the way they handled Brody’s arc. I’d say season 1, 2, 6, 4, and 5 were great although all but the 1st had their minor share of problems (that red neck massacre with that conspiracy theory nut in Season 6…what the fuck was that?). Season 1 to me is perfect as Season 1 and 5 were to 24 (same creators and writers if you didn’t know). And then when we get to the final two seasons of this show season 7 and 8, they were only okay really. I’m just glad this last one, didn’t massacre the ending, and makes me look back at the entire thing with fondness and maybe even one day revisit binge wise. When I look at my complete series set of Dexter, I cringe when I think about revisiting it and then going past season 5. Anyway, if you don’t know what Homeland is, or the only thing about Homeland you know is that it is from the creators and writers of 24 and both television shows are similar, it is about a highly skilled CIA agent named Carrie Matheson (played brilliantly by Claire Danes) who is very intelligent, there is just one problem, she is mentally unstable dealing with being bi polar and a bit schizophrenic. The first season deals with an American soldier prisoner of war being turned by Islamic terrorists and then the seasons get different from there. At the heart though has been Carrie all along, and her CIA handler/confidant Saul Berenson played to perfection by the great Mandy Patinkin.
To me, Homeland was a much more serious, much more realistic, much more political version of 24, even though I loved the latter show much much better as Jack Bauer was much more of a bad ass than Carrie Matheson was, and 24 got really really dark really fast and had much better action. But I still like Homeland, I could see Jack Bauer’s character living somewhere in that universe, waiting to come out of the shadows. But enough about 24. Homeland was an engaging show throughout its 8 seasons on the air. The political intrigue, the stakes, the acting, the plot threads, the spy game, all must watch television. If you are looking something to pass the time during quarantine season and have already gone through Breaking Bad, El Camino, and Better Call Saul, 24, and The Americans (up next for me), Homeland is a great title to add to this list. There are a bunch of twists you don’t see coming, memorable villians, the future Supergirl naked, naked little older Inara, the works. This season’s final thread had America being in peace talks with the Middle East, and then going almost straight to hell with a devastating tragedy, only for Carrie to go out and prove that this tragedy was just a mistake. It was very simple, which is probably why I found it to be a bit tedious and a little boring. Without getting into spoilers, Carrie Matheson had to go after this device that proved what really happened with this tragedy, and all the plot threads from it seemed a bit of a copycat from the latter half of season 4 of 24.
And I was afraid that with the ending, basically a “Carrie vs. Saul” type of ordeal, that the show would jump the shark the first time since the terrible season 3, but instead smartly side stepped what I thought was the inevitable, and contained a conclusion that was smart, bittersweet, and made sense. And no, Carrie does not become a lumberjack thank God. The acting here is all top notch, with a few noticeable exceptions. Hugh Dancy, who is Claire Danes’ husband in real life, plays a villainous advisor to the President of the United States. This role was not a stretch for him as he’s done that a lot recently since Hannibal being cancelled. And the wonderful Beau Bridges is wasted as the current President of the United States in that universe. Without spoiling anything, he isn’t in this season that much which is a shame. But really, this last season was all about Carrie and Saul, which it had to be. The crux of the show, the heart of it, was their friendship and relationship as mentor and apprentice. Throughout all 8 seasons, Saul was grooming Carrie to not only be the person that he could trust the most in the world, but be a terrific CIA agent. And this last episode even goes back to Season 1 to tie up some themes (mainly one asking the question: Could Carrie ever betray her country and why?) but mostly has a good farewell to their awesomely platonic relationship. If you like international espionage and political intrigue type shows, that even though it tries to keep it as realistic as possible it manages to still keep some sort of sense of fantasy for your entertainment enjoyment, you can do no better than Homeland.
My Homeland Season Ranking
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Season 6
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 7
- Season 8
- Season 3 (again, really the only terrible season)