[This post contains spoilers about the season finale of 'Homeland' season three.]

Homeland season finale recap: The plan worked, and now its time for the star to fade

(Photo via Showtime / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

There was a point in Sunday night’s “Homeland” season three finale (called “The Star”) where Javadi talks to Carrie as we reach just about the halfway point in the electric, satisfying conclusion to this sometimes-frustrating season. We’ll get to the full recap, but by now, if you’ve made it this far, you know that Brody is to be hanged at Javadi’s urging, and Carrie makes one final effort to stop it from happening. Javadi tries to reason with Carrie, explaining to her that this is part of the plan – the plan she wanted.

It’s almost like the creators of “Homeland” were speaking through Javadi, with him turning from a brutal-yet-valuable asset for the U.S. and de facto Iranian leader into the voice of the creators. “The plan is a success, you and Brody pulled it off,” Javadi says. “More so if he dies.”

He was the Stage Manager from “Our Town” – the omniscient narrator. “Everyone sees him through your eyes now,” Javadi tells Carrie, but really, he tells us – and he tells the Showtime executives who clearly wanted the acrobatics it took to plausibly incorporate a great character into a show that had spun past him. Brody and Carrie were a great team, they made a great show for three seasons. But it worked…and now it’s time to be confident enough to let it go.

Earlier this week we got the news that Jessica and Dana Brody would be left out of the fourth season of “Homeland,” which signaled it might be the end of the road for Nicholas as well. I still believe this blind item was about Damian Lewis, but I guess we’ll find out soon if he’s headlining another series.

The season three finale was told in three acts. First, the reconciliation. Brody cleans up the scene, takes his driver hostage as a getaway car and goes to meet up with Carrie. Meanwhile Carrie calls Saul, who is skeptical, and she goes to meet up with Brody as well. And eight minutes into the finale – the star-crossed lovers cross paths in a Tehran SUV. Javadi is in charge of the Brody manhunt and he demands Saul’s help. Saul decides instead to initiate the extraction plan.

At the safe house, Carrie reveals she’s pregnant. They share a tender moment. Act one comes to a close, as our two protagonists are as close they’ve been since their goodbyes at the end of last season along the Canadian border.

It, of course, is not to last. They are captured – Dar Adal and Lockhart went around Saul and gave up Carrie and Brody to Javadi. Javadi explains the scenario to Carrie (and the creators ready the last of the “keep Brody alive” hold outs for the inevitable), and the realization sets in. The somber second act comes to a close as we see Brody executed in Iran, as Carrie looks on, tears streaming down her face.

And then, act three – the fallout. Four months later, Saul and his wife are vacationing, far away from the office he’s been pushed out of. Mirroring, well, current events, Javadi at the helm in Iran has ushered in a new era in U.S.-Iran relations – Saul’s plan worked. Carrie remained at the agency, now eight months pregnant, and is offered the job of Istanbul Station Chief. She accepts.

Her second thoughts are not with staying at the CIA, but with her pregnancy. She considers giving up the baby for adoption – she might, we don’t really get conclusion there – but her dad says he’ll take the baby girl. The memorial service buttons up the entire season, remembering those lost in the season two finale. Carrie isn’t happy Brody wasn’t given a star – and in the final contemplative moment of the season, she draws one on the wall for him herself.

The next round of “Homeland”-related writing will deal with the big question: “What happens next?” There are no loose ends, really, no unexplained moment to serve as momentum. Lockhart will lead the CIA. Unless the producers can make North Carolina look like Turkey, Carrie will have to make a trip back to D.C. Saul is headed to NY, but he’s likely to remain in the mix. Quinn, Dar Adal, Fara…they’re all available for the next big moment. Maybe Javadi goes rogue. Or maybe it’s something new entirely.

What we know now, though, is Brody is gone (and with his death, likely the Brody family is gone as well). What started as an excellent character that was supposed to last one season (with the bunker detonation of the suicide vest) ended up filling out three very good seasons. Whatever it was that kept him around – cynics will say it was purely about the “Romeo and Juliet” Carrie Mathison plot – it was time for Brody to leave the show.

The plan by Showtime and the “Homeland” creators was a success. And more so now that Brody has died. Carrie loved Brody. And now, in his final goodbye, he has gone out on top – and we’ll remember him through Carrie’s eyes.