If, like us, you flipped over to Homeland last night after watching Liz and Dick on Lifetime, it may have taken your brain a while to adjust from nonsensical drivel to taut, stressful drama. And, like us, you may have wondered just for a second whether we were back in season one again. Consider the following evidence:
In fact, Brody even spelled it out while on the phone with Jess. “We’ll get back to the way we were,” he told her, which was funny since his wife had just spent the night boning his best friend, he’d recently hooked up with Carrie, the CIA was investigating a possible terrorist threat on US soil, and Brody had only recently come home after being held captive by Abu Nazir. Forget getting back there, Brody. The déjà vu alone should be enough to sweep you back via a swirling vortex of time, intrigue, and steely-jawed determination.
In fact, last night’s episode of Homeland was by far the best of the season, given that every five seconds something enormously exciting happened and we got to see a bunch of evildoers get shot. Things opened with Carrie looking slightly shell-shocked that her boyfriend is in all probability dead, but taking it exceedingly well, considering. “Time to move on,” she says, her lust for work apparently even greater than her love for cheap-wine-fueled nights of ginger passion. Estes acknowledges that going after Roya now might mean death for Brody if he is actually still alive and in play, but somehow it seems like he’s okay with that.
But wait! Brody is alive, and Abu Nazir drops him off in the middle of an alley before donning his exceptional disguise of a baseball cap. (So that’s how the world’s most wanted terrorist managed to get into the United States. It does make you wonder—would we have recognized OBL without the beard?) And Brody rushes to the nearest food outlet, where a girl mocks him for asking for their payphone but cheerily hands over her cell. And of course our boy B calls Carrie and tells her to move his family to safety, like now.
I’m fine, thanks for asking, says Carrie. Just kidding. But because she’s a smart cookie she sends Mike over to get Jess, Dana, and Chris and take them to a safe house. Dana is furious that she doesn’t get to go to the weird Quaker school where she has no friends, but Mike lays down the law and tells her she’s leaving even if he has to carry her out himself, kicking and screaming. Because he’s a solid father figure and he used to be a Marine, so you know he can lift a 90-pound schoolgirl.
While we were silently giving thanks for the first Dana eye roll in what feels like forever, Virgil and Max were breaking into someone’s apartment. That person has apparently read enough Nancy Drew novels to know to stick a hair over the locked door, and they sleep on a twin bed in a sleeping bag. Their only worldly goods are a rifle cleaning kit and a copy of Great Expectations, complete with a Polaroid of a woman and a baby. I totally thought this was Roya’s apartment, but you’re all smarter than me, so you probably guessed it was Peter’s place. Virgil and Max report back to Saul about Peter’s massive paranoia (the hair!) and his sparse personal goods, and of course Saul figures out that the mystery woman’s a cop in Philly and drives up to see her.
The Brodys move into a sweet condo with skyscraper views and huge TVs in every room (our taxpayer dollars at work), and Carrie goes to meet Brody, as per his instructions, at the non-CIA place they first met, a.k.a. the parking lot they did it in when it was raining. Carrie tells him that his family’s safe, he tells her that Abu Nazir is in the US, and she escorts him over to a debriefing (no, not that kind). We learn Brody was wired to a car battery for three hours before Abu Nazir came in and brought him tea. There are flashbacks again, both in my head and on the show. “Your wife and children have nothing to fear if you stay true to yourself,” Flashback Nazir says to Flashback Nicholas, which is a threat so diaphanously veiled it’s practically Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn on the cover of New York magazine.
Brody spells out Abu Nazir’s plan, which is to target the VP at an event to celebrate the homecoming of 300 soldiers from Afghanistan. And the plan is to have Roya and her TV team bring the bomb. Brody lies when they ask him if there was anything else and says no, even though he left out the part about him praying with Nazir. But it’s in Damian Lewis’s contract that he has to tell at least one lie per episode, so we’ll let it go. Carrie thinks the plot is “quintessential Nazir” in its symbolism, but Peter is skeptical. Brody doesn’t care what anyone thinks as long as Carrie believes him. She tells him she sent Mike over to take care of his family. “Your call?” he asks. “My call,” she replies. “Smart,” he says. “I thought so,” she says back. These two are no Burton and Taylor, I’ll tell you.
Estes briefs a surprisingly chipper Walden about the fact that Abu Nazir is once again plotting to kill him, and Brody seems to smile slightly, although it could also be indigestion. Then Brody calls Roya and tells her he’s persuaded the VP to let Roya and her team have access to the event tomorrow. “I’ll be with my cameraman,” she tells him. “You should find a way to be with us. Do you understand?” Because that way, you won’t end up in tiny pieces all over the Washington area.
Saul drives up to Philly and poses as a man from the IRS to ask the mysterious officer Diaz whom she gave her picture to (presumably it’s “John,” the father of her child, and presumably “John” is Peter). But Diaz refuses to tell him anything. “I’m sorry to bother you, Officer. Have a good night,” says Saul, who looks a lot less pissed at the fact that he’s had another wasted journey than most people would be. Back in the office, Virgil keeps tabs on Peter, and sure enough, his phone rings, and it’s Diaz warning him he’s being checked up on. He leaves Carrie in charge (who would ever do such a thing?), jumps on a bus, puts on a hat, jumps on another bus, and then meets up with F. Murray Abraham, all the while being tailed by Max. When Max brings photos back to Saul, Saul looks inscrutable and says the F. Murray Abraham guy is some super top secret CIA man named Dar Adal, and if Peter’s working for him then he’s even more mysterious than we thought. In the words of Saul, until we know otherwise, “everyone’s a terrorist.” Or a spy spying on spies. Or something.
Jess, meanwhile, can’t sleep, so she goes into Mike’s room and takes off her nightdress. The sexy negligee she was wearing while she was SHARING A BED WITH HER TWO TEENAGE CHILDREN. And they do it, and it’s the opposite of the Carrie-Brody screamfest last week, with lots of gentleness. The next morning, Mike makes breakfast for everyone because if he cooks it makes up for him not having a personality. A CIA watcher lady lets them call Brody, but Dana refuses to speak to him. “We’ll get back to the way we were,” says Brody to his wife (see above for sarcasm).
The CIA HQ is being overrun by FBI agents who seem to have remembered that the US is their jurisdiction, after all. Carrie’s trailing Roya, who stops to get breakfast at a greasy spoon with her crew (it isn’t quite Milano, but maybe if you’re about to blow up hundreds of people you suddenly get a hankering for fried food). An SUV approaches with the munitions killer guy in it, and he and his small crew start to remove camera batteries from Roya’s news van while she looks on. Saul takes this opportunity, when no one is busy at all, to ask Estes what the hell is up with Peter. “He’s here to kill terrorists, Saul,” says Estes. “Just like all of us.”
And just in time, the FBI swoops in, and munitions guy grabs a gun but is shot by a sniper. The SUV tries to flee but is hit by a car and teeters over. Roya is held at gunpoint. Everyone hopes Abu Nazir is in the SUV, and Estes gives orders to Peter, who is now driving a limo to pick up Brody, that he’s almost ready to go. Peter gets out a gun with a silencer, presumably to kill Brody, but at the last minute they realize Abu Nazir is nowhere to be found, and Peter’s in the awkward position of having to pretend everything’s okay and he didn’t just almost execute a congressman. What the hell are you doing here? says Brody. They still don’t have Nazir, says Peter, so, “believe it or not, I am your best friend in the world right now.”
1) It makes sense that the CIA would try to execute Brody, especially since Estes was probably pissed that the redheaded wonder almost killed him. But is it weird that they’d bring in a clandestine guy who’s so high up and then treat him like a garden-variety assassin? Tailor from Gettysburg, you’re on line three.
2) Does Saul ever get sick of going on road trips?
3) Why would anyone think that Abu Nazir, the most hunted terrorist in the world, with freaking helicopters at his disposal, would possibly concern himself with gruntwork like loading camera batteries into vans? Why would he ever want to get that close to trouble?
4) How on earth does a terrorist like that get into the country? Can Slate please do an Explainer?
5) What the heck does Peter’s love child with a Philly cop have to do with anything?
6) Is Saul at all concerned that F. Murray Abraham’s facial hair might rival his own?
7) Is there a mole anymore? Do we even care?
What did you think of last night’s episode of Homeland? Let us know in the comments.