Monday, December 19, 2011

Homeland Didn't Make a "Killing" With Its Finale, But....

A Little OMG at the End Wouldn't Have Been So Bad

After staying up late-ish to watch the finale of "Homeland," I got another good reason to justify the $13 a month I fork over for Showtime and its companion channels.
This was taut, seat-of-your-pants storytelling from start to almost finish, with a pitch-perfect cast (career highlight for Mandy Patinkin, left) who deftly took on scripts that found just the right mix of tension without verging into comic-book melodrama.
Let's face it (spoiler alert). Even if you knew the show was renewed for another season, you couldn't be completely convinced that Brody wasn't going to blow himself, the evil vice president and lots of other D.C. V.I.Ps to smithereens. Sure, it would have been a very different show, but that's, er, show(time) biz.
After all, "Boardwalk Empire" offed a major character in the second-season finale (sorry, Michael Pitt) and it will need to change direction.
That we now get a different brand of psychological thriller on "Homeland" is fine by me, though exactly what kind is hard to say, if this interview with executive producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, is to be believed.
As for the ending: it wasn't the letdown that was the finale of the rookie season of "The Killing," which essentially gave loyal viewers the finger with a cop-out ending that had lots of folks saying "WTF," but not in a good way. Rest assured, I'll be glued to AMC when it returns, but we all deserved better.
For "Homeland," it wasn't that it wrapped with any false twists. It's that it didn't twist at all at the end, as if it ran out of steam, signaled it was getting ready to regroup (just like Carrie, after she receives her electroshock therapy) and faded to the credits. This is a show that's more bang than whimper. It didn't act that way at the end, though Gansa defended that approach to TV Line:

"It was actually something that I learned working for Howard on 24, that there’s a lot of merit in the denouement of the story. In 24, the big event often happened in the penultimate episode or early on in the last episode, and there’s a lot of wonderful ground to cover after it’s over — and in certain ways, that’s where the character really comes to the fore."

Meh. But I'll be back, looking to say "WTF" in a good way.

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