Warning: Major "Homeland" Spoilers Ahead!
At the end of its first season, "Homeland" pulled its punch, just as the series seemed poised to kill off Nicholas Brody, public hero and secret terrorist. Against all odds, Brody lived to see another day and another season — an improbable pattern that was repeated in last year's season two finale.
Now, finally, Brody's luck has run out: Emmy-winner Damian Lewis' conflicted hero-turned-traitor-turned-hero died during "Homeland's" season three finale last night, hanged to death in Iran following his successful execution of a covert CIA operation.
Brody's death felt inevitable in many ways, from the very basic premise of his role in the series, to the fact that he was only present for five of season three's 12 episodes. With the character gone, "Homeland" has wiped the slate clean with a drastic creative decision — but it's a decision that could refuel the award-winning Showtime series just when it needs it the most.
Many critics share that sentiment, agreeing about the "Homeland" finale in at least one key way: Brody's death was a win.
Read on for more of what the critics had to say about Brody's exit:
"This was a necessary move; Brody's story had no where to realistically go. 'Homeland' was starting to feel like it was ripping apart at the seams, pulling itself two directions — is this a show about CIA intrigue or not? Brody's return in the back half of the season was refreshing, but part of that relief came from the narrative having a clear sense of purpose again, a mission to focus on, not just Brody and Carrie reuniting. Once that story-spine was locked in place, momentum began to pick up. 'Homeland' can have that urgent mission-based focus and momentum without Brody (and how about some more of those rad special-ops guys?)." — James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly
"I am more surprised than anyone about what happened while watching the season finale of 'Homeland,' 'The Star.' I cried. Three times. I do not believe I was allergic to anything in my living room. 'Homeland' finally did what it should have done seasons ago and killed Nicholas Brody. And the very nicest thing I can say about this development — and this is not meant to be damning with faint praise — is that in addition to being a relief, a plot point that finally pushes 'Homeland' out of a deep record skip, it was also just sad." — Willa Paskin, Slate
"In an ideal world, 'Homeland' would have been a riveting 12-episode miniseries that ends with Nicholas Brody killing himself and half of U.S. intelligence high command, with Carrie taking cold comfort in the knowledge that she was right about him. In a more creatively compromised but still viable world, Brody would have blown himself up and the series would have moved onto Carrie and Saul looking into a new case. Instead, the powers that be tried to milk three seasons out of Carrie and Brody's story, and while there were certainly moments along the way I'm glad I got to see ('Q and A' chief among them), the series got ever-more contrived to keep that story going. ... I don't know that the a clean slate will fix things, not after a season where Carrie has so often been irritating, and Saul has so often seemed stupid (even when his insane plan to save the world was working), but a clean slate is the only shot at this point. And we have it now. And Lewis got a few more strong moments before we said goodbye. So that's something, I suppose. ... But there was so much silliness needed to get to this point." — Alan Sepinwall, HitFix.com
"Weirder than Brody's death was the way the show handled it. We got all the standard foreshadowing: He talked about being born in the desert (reflection!) and committed to raising Carrie and his baby together (bright future!). The touchstones were so familiar it felt almost like the show was faking us out. ... But then it double crossed us — by playing it straight. Brody died with surprisingly little fuss. And then the episode got very, very weird, by going on without him, for twenty more minutes. ... Maybe it was the show's way of saying there could be a 'Homeland' without Brody. The show already gave it a dry run when it later him stay MIA for the first two episodes of the season, which happened to be quite good." — Tim Molloy, TheWrap.com
"So, where does the show go from here? The truth is, it can go pretty much anywhere. With Brody dead, this finale brought an end to much of the driving narrative behind first three seasons. I'd hate to think that this is the last we've seen of Saul, but his story feels complete too. Sure, we're left wondering what Carrie will do about the baby/Istanbul, but all of that could hopefully provide a new way to contextualize the character in a Season 4 freed from the weight of issues such as Brody's continued existence, or more accurately, the way Brody being alive always made Carrie behave." — Adam Bryant, TV Guide
Tell us what you think of Brody's death in the comments below.