Homeland (2020): S08E12 – Prisoners of War


Introduction

The eighth and final season of the American spy thriller television drama series Homeland premiered on 09 February 2020, and concluded on 26 April 2020, on Showtime, consisting of 12 episodes.

The series is loosely based on the Israeli television series Hatufim (English: Prisoners of War) created by Gideon Raff and is developed for American television by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa.

The episode’s name is taken from the Israeli series and the series finale from which Homeland is based on.

Outline

Carrie admits to Saul the deal she made: to give up Saul’s Russian asset in exchange for the flight recorder. Carrie makes a plea to Saul for the asset’s identity, but Saul refuses on the grounds that the United States’ crucial intelligence capabilities in Russia would be eliminated. Carrie administers a paralytic agent to Saul, and signals two GRU operatives to come inside. The operatives place a helpless Saul on the bed and prepare to kill him via lethal injection. Carrie asks Saul for the asset’s name one last time. Saul replies “go fuck yourself”. With that, Carrie gives up the bluff. Saul is spared, but kept captive while Carrie flies to Israel.

In Israel, Carrie tells Saul’s sister Dorit that Saul has died of a stroke. It is a ruse, with the aim of enacting Saul’s ‘legacy plan’, in which his valued asset is passed on to Carrie in the event of his death. Indeed, Dorit has an envelope intended for Carrie which contains a USB drive. On the drive is a video in which Saul reveals to Carrie his asset, Anna Pomerantseva. Carrie shows the video to Yevgeny, who notifies GRU Director Mirov, who is at the U.N. summit with Anna. Saul is able to get a warning to Anna, who kills herself moments before the Russians arrive to take her into custody.

Having received the identity of the asset, Russia fulfills their end of the deal. Mirov makes a televised address in which he plays the cockpit recording, proving that President Warner’s helicopter was not shot down. He publicly pressures the United States to stand down in Pakistan. President Hayes complies, and nuclear war is averted. Carrie flees to Russia with Yevgeny.

Two Years Later

Carrie and Yevgeny, now living together in Moscow, attend a jazz concert to celebrate the completion of Carrie’s new book: Tyranny of Secrets: Why I Had to Betray My Country. During a bathroom break, Carrie discreetly swaps purses with another woman.

Saul receives a package addressed to “Professor Rabinow”, the same alias via which Anna sent him information. Inside he finds an advance copy of Carrie’s book. Recalling Anna’s tradecraft, he looks inside the book’s binding to find a note: “Greetings from Moscow, Professor. The Russian S-400 missile defense system sold to Iran and Turkey has a backdoor. It can be defeated. Specs to follow. Stay tuned.” Saul smiles as he realises that Carrie has become his new Russian asset.

Trivia

  • Although most of the season was shot in Morocco, production had to be moved to Los Angeles for this episode due to logistical issues.
  • The final scene at the concert was filmed in Los Angeles Theatre, with the featured musician being Kamasi Washington.
  • Gansa described the internal tension when crafting the finale: “The conversations got intense about how far Carrie would go and how far she wouldn’t go.. everyone — cast members, directors, writers — was in a froth…. To say there was some free-floating anxiety would’ve been an understatement”.
  • Some details of the finale were still in flux as filming approached. 24 hours before the finale was shot, Gansa, along with Claire Danes, settled on the idea of Carrie’s authoring of a book denouncing the United States.

Homeland Series

You can find a full index of Homeland Series 08 here.

You can find a full index and overview of Homeland here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Lesli Linka Glatter.
  • Writer(s): Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon.
  • Original Network: Showtime.
  • Release Date: 26 April 2020.
  • Running Time: 68 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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