Homeland Recap: Should He Stay Or Should He Go Now?
The penultimate episode of Homeland went by so fast that despite whatever misgivings, you couldn’t help getting swept up in the giddy absurdity. Finally, the question has been answered. Yes, indeedy, season three really has been a piñata of meta-references and shout-outs, a post-modern pastiche, a dada-esque parody. Either that or it’s just gone off the rails.
We open with Saul visiting the wife-shtupping Mossad asset, Alan Bernard in the tiny cell he now calls home. Saul makes it clear to his prisoner that his only hope of ever seeing sunlight is if he arranges for two Mossad assets in Iran to help the CIA, without the Mossad or anyone else knowing enough to ask questions.
Carrie arrives in Tehran. She’s a French-speaking brunette, checking into a fancy shmancy hotel.
What’s her cover story? Who knows? We don’t. Maybe there are a lot of unescorted French women visiting Teheran. Maybe she came for the waters. As she checks in, she sees a couple of galoots who she takes for state security because they obviously are. She goes up to her room, and then sneaks out, taking the stairs and a back exit. She makes her way to the house of Fara’s uncle – a legitimate opponent of the regime who is now maybe going to get himself killed because of Saul’s hair-brained scheme. Uncle is not happy nor is he stupid. He’s pissed off that an item of contraband for Carrie was sent to his house, and none too thrilled with Fara’s career choice. Probably remembers Mosadeigh. He is somewhat placated when he sees a picture of Fara in a headscarf, and Carrie assures him her heart is still in Teheran He gives Carrie the package – which is a special spy phone.
Javadi has a meeting with Akbari, his boss and the guy Brody was sent to kill. They talk about Brody’s interrogation and whether or not Brody can be trusted. Javadi suggests that maybe Akbari should meet with Brody for himself.
It’s now evening. Carrie is out on her balcony talking to Saul on her spy phone. Saul is at the CIA but has magical satellite eyes on her although it’s dark and he can’t really see shit, which is good because otherwise he might notice Carrie catching her own reflection and feeling her baby bump.
She looks worried and says, “I should probably go.” Maybe she has to pee or take another pregnancy test.
The next day, Carrie meets with the Mossad agents, who are Iranian nationals, because in Homelandia the Mossad is everywhere, even the CIA director’s bedroom. They meet at Uncle’s house. Why would any of the neighbors in a quasi-police state find anything unusual about a French lady and two strangers stopping by in the middle of the day? They have a needle full of cyanide and plan to use a bomb on a motorcycle to create a diversion allowing the assassin to jab the needle and then escape.
When she gets back to the hotel carrying the cyanide, the security galoots want to talk to her, and she follows them to an alley where Javadi tells her, “I liked you better as a blonde.” He’s the wittiest psychopath on Showtime since Dexter. Carrie gives him the needle. And by give I mean she hands it to him, refraining from killing him. He looks at it, and says “Israeli” with disdain, because real men use broken bottles or just shoot people in the head. Carrie explains the plan to extract Brody. He tells Carrie that the mission is Akbari, not getting Brody out. Did anyone brief him that Carrie will do whatever it takes to protect Brody even if it means endangering missions and lives? Maybe not.
The usual suspects at the CIA are monitoring the situation in Iran day and night. Quinn suggests they should get Carrie out since she already completed her job, which was putting together the extraction plan. But nobody listens to Quinn. I wish Quinn would go down the hall and talk to that nice Iranian girl over in the banking section. She’s also disenchanted with the CIA, and she is neither mentally ill nor carrying another man’s child. But that Quinn, he just likes trouble.
Dar is tipped off by Javadi that Brody is being taken somewhere, maybe to see Akbari per Javadi’s suggestion. Carrie and the Mossad agents are following Brody’s car. Carrie is in a car with one of the Mossadim; the other is on the motorcycle with the explosive. This is when the agents realize that the man they’ll be extracting is Nicholas Brody, “the most wanted man in the world.” They are not pleased, but too late now.
Brody’s car isn’t being driven to Akbari’s office. He and Akbari are both coming from different directions to some neighborhood.
Akbari arrives first and goes into a house. Who lives in the house? That’s what Saul and Dar want to know. We see Akbari come out of the house as Brody is taken out of the car. It looks like Brody may get his chance to stick Akbari with the needle, but as Brody goes forward, Akbari acknowledges him and then goes sideways back to his car and leaves. They never actually meet. Brody is led into the house where he meets with Nazrin, aka the Widow Nazir. She’s been living in Teheran because in Homelandia, Muslim is Muslim and there is no conflict between Shia and Sunni.
Mrs. Nazir not so subtly susses out Brody’s loyalties while they talk about what a special guy her late lamented husband was. Brody gets that glow he gets whenever he talks about Nazir. She asks what he’s doing in Iran. He tells her he just wants to stop running. After their lovely reunion and chat, he goes outside where there’s a crowd, and announces he’s there to seek asylum and find peace.
Improv or betrayal? I’m sure we’ll know soon enough.
He gets in the car and his driver tells him, “You’re a big man in Teheran, Brody.” He puts his arm out the car window, managing to shoot the cyanide out of the syringe and crush the needle before he drops it. Does he drop it because it’s too dangerous to hold on to? Or was he telling Nazrin the truth? It’s like the riddle about the guy who always lies.
A week passes. Saul, Dar and Lockhart are hanging out watching Brody being interviewed in a clip on the web.
First he’s denouncing the United States in English. Then he switches to “pitch-perfect” Farsi and denounces it some more. Dar says they have it straight from Javadi that Brody is never going to get near Akbari. They’d set up a rendezvous and tried to get him out, but he didn’t show. Lockhart worries they can’t trust Brody and he could betray Javadi at any time, jeopardizing everything. Lockhart actually has a point, and is not presenting it in a completely dickish manner. Lockhart suggests it’s time to end Brody. Dar who sounds like he’s been thinking along those lines, says they know where he prays. Sounds like a great plan because it’s not like killing someone in a place of worship could possibly lead to their martyrdom and maybe even turn the place where they were killed into a holy site forever and ever.
Saul calls Carrie, who says Brody is just saying all those terrible things about America because it’s what he needs to do and he didn’t leave because he wants to finish the mission. She reminds Saul she’s always been right about Brody. Saul doesn’t tell her they are planning to Thomas Becket him, but we can tell she figures it out. He orders her to come home. (Like that’s going to happen.) He tells her they can “talk it through” when she gets back. Whose bright idea was it to send Carrie to Iran? The same guy who gave the order to shoot her to save the mission a couple of weeks ago? The same guy who told her to button it when she was mouthing off to the Chief of Staff? What’s bigger – Carrie’s blind spot about Brody or Saul’s blind spot about Carrie?
Saul gets off the phone and gives the order to kill Brody.
Carrie calls Fara’s uncle and says she needs another favor. Uncle stops Brody as he’s about to go into the mosque, slips a phone into Brody’s pocket and tells him to expect a call. It’s Carrie, and she’s across the courtyard. She tells Brody she has a car and he has to leave immediately. She tells him, “I think they’re cutting their losses.” He knows that means him. Carrie spots the Mossad guys and warns Brody. He hangs up and tosses the phone. He slips away.
Over at the CIA, Lockhart grumbles, “Someone warned him,” and then realizing who it was, he growls in full Cheney mode, “She wouldn’t fucking dare.” The fuck she wouldn’t. How could any of you so called “intelligence agents” not seen this coming?
Saul calls her. He is sooo pissed.
Back in Persia, Brody is knocking on Nasrin’s door. He tells her people are trying to kill him and he has to talk to Akbari. Specifically, he says, “I have information about Javadi that he has to know.” He’s taken to the KGB/Gestapo/Generic-Police-State headquarters. Brody is getting his ID badge and security pat down when Javadi spots him. Javadi looks like he just shit his pants. He gets a message to the CIA. Dar, Lockhart and Saul are convinced that Brody is about to “burn this whole thing down.”
Once Brody is inside the office, Akbari dismisses his detail with a nod. Brody didn’t even have to ask. It’s nice when things work out. Brody tells Akbari about the whole plan right down to Javadi’s embezzlement and Brody’s own involvement with the CIA. Then Akbari starts talking about Abu Nazir and how Abu Nazir told him what a jewel Brody was and how he was going to use Brody to strike at the US – right in that very room. At first Brody gets that pathetic puppy dog look like he can’t believe his big crush actually talked about him, but then something clicks. Maybe he’s figured out that even if Issa hadn’t been killed, Nazir had been planning to send him back as an asset all along. Or maybe Brody is just an opportunist who only exists in the moment, and at that moment he takes a heavy glass ashtray and pounds the side of Akbari’s head,
…and then when Akbari is still struggling, Brody grabs a cushion and smothers him. Once he’s satisfied Akbari has no pulse and is really most sincerely dead, he calls Carrie on Akbari’s phone, which he can do because unlike the rest of us, Brody actually remembers phone numbers, and he tells her. “I killed him. Get me out of here.”
It might be a cheat to make your most pivotal character so devoid of character that the suspense comes from having no idea on which side of the coin his loyalties will land, but overall this was a strong episode. Does it make up for the draggy first two thirds of the season? Not really, but the last three episodes may have redeemed the show enough to keep viewers hooked till Season 4, especially if the finale ends on a cliffhanger. Wonder if Javadi has his boss’s office bugged, which would be a very a Javadi thing to do. If that’s the case, he or his minions might provide some diversion and help Brody get away. Or they might just shoot him in the head. Guess we will all have to tune in next week to find out.