Spoiler alert: The following post will discuss certain details from "Homeland's" current season.
When I mentioned the subject of today's column in the office -- that "Homeland" should do the unexpected and wrap up its story, for good, in season three -- colleagues looked at me like I was crazy. The show is just coming off record ratings. Why on Earth would Showtime agree to that?
And here's my answer: Because just as not every novel is meant to run 800 pages, not every TV show is equipped to run five years.
Although I was pretty excited by the start of the second season, and actually quite enthused when the series made its surprise flip midway through by having the POW-turned-terrorist, Nick Brody (Damian Lewis), exposed, the episodes since that moment have left the series with no plausible end game that keeps its cast intact.
I'll leave the speculation to others, though Maureen Ryan at the Huffington Post has done a nice job of rounding up a lot of the chatter surrounding the show. But suffice it to say any payoff that doesn't leave Brody dead or in jail for the rest of his life will ring false, and either of those options -- or worse, trying to sustain the idea of Brody operating as some kind of fantastic congressman/double agent -- would leave me significantly less interested in sticking around.
Now, to be fair, I've previously lamented some of the overblown reaction to dramas that are perceived to disappoint critics -- who act like they're having personal relationships with shows -- including the hysterical response to the non-resolution at the end of "The Killing's" first season.
But to me, saying "Homeland" should start plotting its finish isn't an indictment. If anything, it suggests the producers actually did their job (which involved adapting an Israeli series) almost too well. Write enough hairpin turns, and unless you're "Breaking Bad," the odds of hitting a dead end rise exponentially.
Admittedly, "Homeland" could have some incredible ace up its sleeve that nobody has anticipated, and if so, I'll happily recant. For now, though, I stick by my reference to "Blade Runner" and the notion of the bright-burning flame exhausting itself that much more quickly.
"Homeland" has certainly had its day in the sun, including an endorsement from President Obama, winning the Emmy, and the frenzied swirl over the prospect of Brody blowing himself up at the end of season one.
It turns out, though, the real danger, creatively speaking, was imploding. And I don't think they've invented a vest that can fix that.