After last episode’s tizzy of events, this week’s “Homeland” had a lot to make up for. The bad news is that it didn’t quite repair the damage that Nazir’s ridiculous plot wrought on this season. It will be nigh impossible to do that in the season finale, now that almost all of the tension the narrative had built was wrung out of “Homeland” so swiftly and surely.
The good news is that this week’s episode was not only quieter, it contained some outright gorgeous moments. The first half of the episode may have been all "24"-style bluster and zing, but the last half hour was devastating. Carrie’s fevered hunt for Nazir resulted in a fruitless, pointless, but mercifully brief mole hunt. Her interrogation of Roya proved that not all of Nazir’s operatives are susceptible to Carrie’s unhinged charms. And Estes’ aggressive polygraph of Saul provided enough fodder for Estes to keep Saul out of the way of future operations.
Then, finally, after a surprisingly thrilling hunt through the underground tunnels of the warehouse where Nazir held Carrie, the team finds him. And that’s it. The world’s most dangerous terrorist has been apprehended. He’s been shot in the head. It’s a ridiculous plot twist, sure, but it also leads to some tremendous, much subtler scenes than “Homeland” has doled out in a while. You can see Carrie’s face go from shock to triumph to a sort of purposelessness. Nazir is dead. She ruined her life tracking him down. And now the chase is done. What’s left for her?