Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Better Off Dead

Better off dead.

How does one create a character who has the most outsized life of anyone on the planet and keep it from becoming a Jack Bauer like problem? '24' couldn't sustain the pretense without either repeating scenarios in slightly altered contexts, or alternatively, making their protagonist into a cartoon version of himself. And if Brody had lived another day in 'Homeland', what would he have looked like next season?

First possibility-  Brody is into the second year of writing his autobiography "Better off Dead". He and Kerry are married but fighting all the time. Kerry has given up her career with the CIA as her manic episodes escalated, the pressure of the workplace having broken her down seemingly forever. Brody is depressed and wondering whether his last minute rescue from the hangman's noose was worth the effort.

Suddenly, everything changes with the kidnapping of their child. Was it forces at home or abroad at play? What do they want? What more is there to give? Everyone is a suspect in the minds of these two sad, tortured souls. The season unfolds in a series of twists and turns that ends, predictably, with Brody being dragged, Godfather like, into the middle of the maelstrom of intrigue, deceit and death.

Second possibility-  Brody is a man without a home. Rescued by last minute negotiations, Brody is not recognized for his heroism by the CIA director who cannot reconcile the past transgressions with one moment of redemption. He is demonized and denigrated throughout the world. Kerry, faced with the choice of career or Brody, makes a fateful and terrible choice. Both she and Brody live terrible and tortured lives.

Suddenly, everything changes with the kidnapping of their child (then go back to version one for the remaining scenes).

Third possibility-  Brody is a hero in the US, recognized for surviving 8 years of torture, and for having faced impossible decisions and unfathomable challenges yet emerging a patriot and the ultimate survivor.  He is now, 4 years later, the President of the United States and Kerry is his wife. With their young daughter, they have somehow overcome all their demons and are, against everything that reality would dictate, happy.

Suddenly, everything changes with the kidnapping of their child. Was it forces at home or abroad at play? Or in an even more bizarre machination, was Brody somehow behind this scenario, and if so, why? The season unfolds in a series of twist and turns that ends with Brody once more with a hangman's noose around his neck. And then the screen goes dark.

Like I said in the beginning, given the options for season four, Brody is better off dead.

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