This article contains spoilers for the season three finale of Homeland.
The first season of Homeland was truly captivating viewing, thanks to the writers cranking up the tension week after week as we struggled to work out whose side Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) was really on and with which of the protagonists our loyalties lay.
But the show’s second season never quite reached the magic of the first, dropping the original run’s preference for quiet, behind the doors espionage and intrigue for a story which played out far more in public and concluding with a very loud bang.
The third season, which finished in the UK last night, limped along largely on the goodwill created by the earlier runs.
The only time it truly shone was the moment it became clear that Saul’s betrayal of Carrie (Claire Danes) was an elaborate play to capture and turn Iranian spy, Javadi.
For most of the rest of the 12 episodes this season was an inconsistent and patchy mess, in part because of the writers’ desire to bring Brody, Carrie and Saul all back onto the same team.
In the first series Brody was an ordinary man who’d been broken by an unrelenting regime of torture and mental cruelty but by the end of the third season he’d become a superhero, capable of escaping from any situation no matter how deadly.
The full transformation from ordinary man to implausible 80’s action hero came when he shook off heroin addiction and trained himself back into perfect health and fitness for a dangerous mission within a matter of days. At this point Homeland morphed into Team America.
By the time Brody suffocated to death in last night’s finale it was hard to care much about his fate – a sentiment seemingly shared by the show itself.
Had Brody died at the end of season one, perhaps to be replaced by fellow captive Tom Walker, his death would have been a tragedy for the show to mine.
As it is, his passing appears to have gone unnoticed by the American public and unreported by the media.
Nothing in the postscript to last night’s episode suggested the death a man once tipped for Vice President had stirred public comment or debate.
And despite living in an age where all sorts of top secret information is routinely exposed, apparently no-one on either side leaked Brody’s connection to the CIA to The Guardian and the Iranians decided it was all to much hassle to issue a statement blaming America.
Even without a leak or official Iranian statement, one would hope the media was capable of spotting the link between Brody’s execution and the assassination carried out just hours earlier.
Instead Brody’s family are presumably still living their lives under the shadow of a bombing he didn’t carry out, unredeemed by public knowledge that he turned out to be, in the very end, a sort of good guy.
So while many are today expressing unhappiness with the decision to kill off Brody, for me it’s less his death than the fact that it appears to have counted for nothing within Homeland’s universe which disappoints me.
A fourth series has been commissioned to air in 2014 but after this cheat of a season finale, I can’t see myself setting the YouView box to record it.