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Subverting expectations, "Long Time Coming" makes for a smart, sharp, and satisfyingly subdued finale for an excellent season of Homeland.
The season finale's mimicking of past resolutions can be seen in one of two ways: a ripoff treading over well-soiled ground, or a poetic consideration of character priorities. I, for one, am siding with the latter.
No suicide vests; no car bombs; no major characters dangling from a noose. Just lots of tears and even more questions.
There were some truly entertaining hours of drama to be found.
Homeland Season 4 ended on a quiet, reflective cliffhanger, a nice change of pace for the series.
Homeland Season 4 Episode 12 was easily the most uneventful we've encountered in many seasons, but the underlying motivations for the events will have a major impact going forward.
"Long Time Coming" offered a really strong mix of somber reflection and intrigue for the future.
It's hard to tell whether the finale will be known more for the many big swings it took, or for its nonchalance regarding how many of those swings will have to wait until season 5 before anyone knows whether they made contact or not.
After a high octane second act of Season 4, the Showtime drama took a more personal turn in the finale.
Sateside once more following an assignment in Pakistan that went tragically wrong, the CIA's Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) reassesses her dark and complicated life on "Long Time Coming."
Affecting, thematically satisfying, yet still managing to conclude with the characters neck-deep in creeping dread, this was both the finale that we didn't expect and the one we most needed.
The potent, elegiac hour with which the series concluded its brilliant fourth season is a "Long Time Coming" indeed.
It's safe to say "Long Time Coming" wasn't what you were expecting, regardless of what those expectations were.