Sara: All of the above, I’d say. As I’ve said before, my feelings about Carrie being a mother are mixed in extremes. Making Carrie a mother was one of the most unexpected things the show ever did IMO. It added unknown depth to this character I loved while also undoubtedly complicating the plot of the show and Carrie’s overall characterization. I believe the writers didn’t really think through the consequences of Carrie having a child, but were more interested in the symbolic meaning of it when they decided once and for all to kill Brody (and I do think that symbolism is powerful).
At this point–which, as you acknowledge, is decidedly not the end–I think I feel more at peace with it than anything else. As the title suggests, Carrie really did get clarity on, I think, who she is, and what she’s done, after hearing it repeated back to her by a string of witnesses and then her own sister. There was some relief in the episode for me, that this long, frustrating ugliness might finally be over, most importantly for Franny, but also for Carrie and Maggie. I so so so appreciated and valued that Carrie was allowed some dignity in the decision, and that it wasn’t framed as shameful by any means, but instead as the right choice in the most important decision of her life.
Frangi: I struggled a lot with the way they explored Carrie’s role as a mother this season. And while I‘ll still criticize the fact that Carrie apparently never can have both–a successful career and living up to her responsibilities as a mom– and find that misogynistic and frustrating, I am relieved that last night‘s episode showed a Carrie who knows about her shortcomings and her responsibility towards Franny and finally makes the right, albeit heartbreaking, choice. Of course I still do wish for a Carrie who chooses the person she loves over the mission but I guess it’s up to season 8 to tell us if she’ll ever get there.
Julie: Carrie changed with the child. She went from the estranged mother in season four to a loving mother in seasons five and six. She grew with it, showed us her human side after all the brutality of her job and the bad decisions she made. But in the end, have a child wasn’t her life dream, and that became more and more obvious this season. She was persuaded to keep the child from the people around her. I think giving her the child showed even more how hard it is for her to be a good person. To be the person others expected her to be. So in the end, Maggie understood her, that she’s different and didn’t blame her for it. I liked her drawing the picture of Carrie waving to the planes and that she struggled understanding her even in their childhood. And finally Carrie confessed what she knew before. She needs freedom to live the life she was made for. I personally think this battle with Franny took too much time on the show. I am so exhausted. I love this show for the badass Carrie doing her thing, being extraordinary. Leaving Franny back at Maggie’s is probably the best thing that could happen to them both.
Gail: I have long said that the show has had a “Franny” problem. I understand why they did it – but I think it’s fair to say that the show suffered from that decision. The show is at it’s best (at least for me) when the spy plot is strong and is woven into the fabric of the character arcs. It was hard to do that with Franny when she was never tied to the main plots, but rather a diversion from them. To the show’s credit, Homeland is about the cost of war – and for Carrie the personal cost has been high. The real men and women that work to protect our freedom on a daily basis face similar challenges – how do you parent when you work in a hostile territory? Or at a station that does not allow dependents? I think being a mother has anchored Carrie in a way that has created depth and layers to her character that plays well – so it’s a mixed bag of success for me. I have found a lot peace with how Maggie and Carrie both recognized each other’s strengths and are using that to allow each other to be who they were always meant to be without judgement from the other. There is a beauty in that I truly love. The closure the last episode provided to the Franny of it all felt right – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m stoked to see Super Spy Carrie back in action!