Episode Reviews: Homeland Season 2 Finale

  • Publish Date: December 17, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 6 user comments

Homeland, Episode 212: "The Choice"
Original airdate: December 16, 2012 on Showtime

Homeland Season 2 finale

Homeland, a series that could seemingly do no wrong over much of its first two years on Showtime, finally showed signs of faltering during the later weeks of its sophomore season, thanks to a series of somewhat implausible plot twists more worthy of 24 than of a critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series. Did last night's surprisingly explosive season finale right the ship? For some reviewers, it did, a bit; for others, the hour introduced new problems. Sample the morning-after response below.

Liked it A.V. Club / Todd VanDerWerff
I'm not sure this episode works as a season finale, even as I love it as an episode of television. [Grade: A-]
Liked it Collider / Allison Keene
The Brody Problem is one the show can't seem to address well — can't live with him, can't live without him. And as big of a fan as I am of the star-crossed lovers motif in general, there's something boring and, well, just plain annoying about Brody and Carrie's extended scenes together. [Grade: A-]
Liked it Entertainment Weekly / Ken Tucker
The tension of this finale was deftly achieved; it really worked: every time Carrie and Brody went into a clinch, I expected one of them to shoot the other in the back.
Liked it Grantland / Andy Greenwald
After a breathless return that saw the show binging on plot like Carrie Mathison left alone with a box of Chardonnay, recent episodes have ranged far from the reservation, alienating wavering viewers with an abundance of action and a sudsy indulgence in doomy romanticism. But 'The Choice' — last night's deeply satisfying, deeply moving season finale — was a reminder that this fundamental imbalance is Homeland's greatest achievement. ... So does one explosive finale make up for a few episodes of disappointing ticking? I'd say yes.
Liked it Huffington Post / Maureen Ryan
All in all, I'm satisfied with the finale. This felt more like the show I'd come to know over the first 20 hours of its existence, though I have reservations about Brody's continued presence.
Liked it IGN / Scott Collura
O.K., I guess Homeland has managed to keep me hooked with this second-season finale, which somewhat amazingly has rebounded from the increasingly erratic and outlandish outbursts of the past several episodes. Of course, in order to achieve that rebound, 'The Choice' had to get outlandish some more, while also giving us a good dose of nice character moments along the way. [Grade: 8.9/10]
Liked it Los Angeles Times / Margaret Eby
It's tempting to say that the second season finale has put the show squarely back on its feet. After the rat-tat-tat high jinks and wild terrorist plots of the last few episodes, this episode managed to balance finely tuned character moments with explosive plot twists. By the end, it seemed that "Homeland" had definitely gotten its groove back.
Liked it The New York Times / Alessandra Stanley
It was surprisingly good. ... For much of the second season, the writers had built up low expectations, giving even devoted viewers reason to feel cheated. The finale proved them wrong.
Liked it Screen Rant / Kevin Yeoman
Once the explosion rips through the CIA headquarters, there's a lot to like about the Homeland season finale.
Liked it ShowBuzzDaily / Mitch Salem
With its second season complete, it's fair to say that Homeland is a marvelously entertaining, spectacularly acted drama but not quite one of television's best. It simply lacks the thematic cohesion of a Mad Men or Breaking Bad, and it's prone to narrative messiness.
Liked it TV.com / Tim Surette
A satisfying, jarring, and uneasy hour of television. ... Overall, I dug the finale for putting Homeland back into a place where I think it's at its strongest: in uncertainty. It might not have atoned for some of the silliness that came before it, but there was an ample amount of course correcting so that we're at least back to a point of interest where the possibilities are plenty.
Liked it TV Equals / Adam Newland
In and of itself, this episode of Homeland was really well done. The action blended nicely with the interpersonal work that has become a hallmark of the show.
Liked it TV Fanatic / Dan Forcella
Maybe it was just that Carrie and Brody worked so poorly together as a couple, but the performances of Danes and Lewis didn't seem nearly as impressive this season in comparison to what we witnessed a year ago. Patinkin, on the other hand, gave us everything we enjoyed about Saul and more. [Grade: 3.5/5]
Liked it Cultural Learnings / Myles McNutt
The season makes more sense as a result of the events in "The Choice," but it didn't necessarily become any more successful than the mixed bad heading into the finale, capping off a season of television that I admire for its commitment and question for its choices.
Liked it HitFix / Alan Sepinwall
The last few episodes had been such a mess that the finale arrived with the show already screwed up, and ... we wanted 'The Choice' to retroactively make the stupid parts of recent weeks somehow much less stupid. And amazingly, it did accomplish that. ... But I'm still not sure how satisfying a finale it was, because so much of it hung on a relationship I haven't felt emotionally connected to in quite some time.
Liked it Indiewire / Alison Willmore
Part of what made that first season so fascinating is that the characters had a status quo to maintain -- bosses to please, facades to keep up, families to convince. Its domestic and terrorism storylines ran close and were dependent on one another. The leaps the show's made between storylines this season have become ever more jarring as that distance has grown, which is part of the reason the attempted return to normalcy in the first half of 'The Choice' felt so awkward. ... [But Saul] was the beating heart of this episode, and a reminder of how good the series can be.
Liked it Salon / Willa Paskin
If you apply standard-and-necessary-for-'Homeland' suspension of disbelief measures, the finale was a relatively satisfying stand-alone outing that — as with the two episodes before — continues to make hash of the season as a whole, because everything, even plausibility, is secondary to the Saga of Carrie and Brody.
Liked it Time / James Poniewozik
I spent a lot of this season loving how Homeland used its characters, while being confused or frustrated by its plot. The finale, especially at the end, was mainly the opposite. The plot worked–worked, in the sense that even if Abu Nazir's double-cross was as implausible as many things on this show, it did explain a lot. The character moment, Carrie and Brody saying goodbye in the woods, didn't as work as well for me.
Liked it Vulture / Matt Zoller Seitz
I have to give 'The Choice' credit for chutzpah and tactical smarts. It flipped the show upside down and may have given it a new lease on life. ... None of which should be construed as endorsement of how we got here. I prefer Homeland's first season to this one because, compared to 24, the Bourne trilogy, and other military-espionage tales, it was intimate and grounded. [Grade: 3/5]
Liked it The Hollywood Reporter / Tim Goodman
My worry for Homeland is that it's now precisely where the creators and Showtime want it to be – the spy who loved me thing, with the intricacies of making Carrie and Brody's doomed love ever find peace and happiness. Ugh. I'm utterly convinced, from talks with people near the show, that this was the long term plan. Unfortunately, what mucks the whole thing up is that setting the stage to get there was what made Homeland a great show.
Liked it Rolling Stone / Sean T. Collins
For every one thing that worked in 'The Choice,' Homeland's woeful second season finale, there were three things that didn't.

What do you think?

What did you think of last night's episode, and of the entire second season? Do you think there has been an overall drop in quality since season 1? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (6)

  • pescetarian  

    The last three episodes of Homeland have been up to par with the standards of Breaking Bad, but without the fluid integration of their primary casts in its culmination... what happens to Brody's wife?... is she to reunite with her previous affair/ Brody's old pal?... Dana still changing sheets at the motel?... she looked traumatized after daddy's surprise visit... does Cary notify Dana of daddy's heroism?... all in all, Homeland pulled through at the end.

  • ladybelle1950  

    I thought it was a fine finale, and had no problems with much of anything this season. Not sure why people are bothered. The ambiguity of the show is its strongest quality. I am sure the creators and writers will find more to do in Season 3. I'd like to see Carrie and Brody together somehow, but I'm a romantic. The way they don't know what they are and yet love each other immensely is very human.

  • ViniciusPaiva  

    I love it, really love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111111111111111111111111

  • eddie1987  

    best finale this year for sure

  • G33  

    What's with all the negativity saying the 2nd season disappointed, and all the oh 'This didn't work in the finale' (current season) blah blah blah? This show rocks, and it has ever since the first episode! It's always intriguing, just as, or more plausible than story lines were in '24' (though '24' was still addicting) and the acting is stellar! Who's to say what's realistic and what's not when it comes to a terrorist based show... Who can know what fits or 'works' with anything pertaining to terrorism... We the viewers certainly aren't experts in that area, thank God. We are just that - viewers - of a television show which provides interest, intrigue, escape, and entertainment. Yes, some episodes are more eventful than others, and some of the characters are less than exciting, but we all know that IS realistic. A little bit of outlandish is welcomed, if you ask me, i'll take that over boring any day! As for the love story, they are cute with each other...but I wish I felt more chemistry between them, not just when they're in the act In season 3 Carrie's bipolar personality might rear it's complex head again, pun intended, which will complicate and intensify her character and add even more drama and unpredictability to the show. Homeland has some of the best writing and character development on TV today, and -again - superb acting (along with, in my opinion, Starz's BOSS and Showtime's DEXTER - now that one-more than borders on outlandish - and the season finale did not disappoint!). Net-Net review for me, (a bit of a night time TV junkie, I'll admit) is that seasons 1 and 2 of Homeland were both outstanding and this season finale was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be, and more Claire Danes and Damian Lewis just rock, and I'm sad to see 'Estes' go ** After the show ended, My mom immediately called me and said, 'OMG! Was that just the best finale or what!!'

  • Duke_Challenger  

    Sure, Brody's idea of the plan for bomb doesn't really make sense. But that was just crazy talk and theorizing. They probably put the bomb in his car the first time he went to meet Nazir.

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