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WashingTelevision: Homeland Recap, Season Three, Episode 11, “Big Man in Tehran”

As we inch ever closer to the season finale, things suddenly start getting interesting.

There hasn’t been nearly enough Quinn this season, but maybe this picture will make up for it. Photo by Kent Smith for Showtime.

Ah, Homeland. There you are! Where have you been for the last 18 months? Or did I fall asleep and have some kind of crazy-assed dream where Brody was a congressman who killed the vice president by remotely accessing his pacemaker before a creepy pedophile doctor in a Caracas high-rise got him addicted to heroin? I’ve had dreams like that, but usually only after eating a whole wheel of Brie and accidentally swallowing too much mouthwash.

Tonight’s Homeland went right back to the season one playbook, and it was awesome. In fact, it was basically a microcosm of season one encapsulated in a single episode and inverted, with everyone assuming Brody had been turned against America and only Carrie having faith in him (even after he so rudely hung up on her and threw the phone she surrepitiously handed him in a bush). And yet it was pretty believable that Brody might have finally found happiness in Tehran, with his old friend Nassrin Nazir (now there’s a catchy name for you), an endless supply of clean collarless shirts, a surprisingly lax security guard, and people trying to grab his hand through car windows like they’re hormonal tweens and he’s a ginger Harry Styles.

But, no: It was all a long con. Lockhart, Saul, Dar Adal, and probably Quinn (where the hell was Quinn?) decided Brody had defected again, with Dar Adal stating succinctly that the one thing they really know about Brody is that “he changes his mind.” And the evidence did appear to be fairly damning, given that he smashed his cyanide needle (bonjour, 1960s) on the side of the car, went on all the TV shows to say rude things about America in Farsi, and then ran to Nassrin saying he needed to urgently talk to General Akbari about Javadi. But then he was alone in Akbari’s office with him, and if there’s a second thing we know about Brody, it’s that when he’s alone in a room with a powerful person whose security detail are nowhere to be found, they usually end up dead.

It was quite Waldenesque, Akbari’s end, between the smothering and the general trickiness. Akbari told Brody that his office was where Abu Nazir had first mentioned Brody’s name, and what a “jewel he had found … what a sword for Allah.” Here was where it all started, and here was where it ended, quite definitively, when Brody grabbed the crystal ashtray off of Akbari’s desk and whacked him on the head with it before smothering him with a velvet pillow. Then he called Carrie and begged her to get him out of there, upon which her face started crumbling. (Carrie’s crying, so it must be a day ending in, well, d-a-y.)

Other things that happened: Saul visited Alain Bernard in his “dark f*cking hole,” and asked him to help Carrie by setting her up with some Mossad agents in Tehran. Alain, understandably, was like, sorry, what? But then Saul used his incomparable charm and called Alain the “grease ball that f*cked my wife” and threatened to keep him in the deep dark hole forever, after which Alain suddenly became very helpful, and sent Carrie two Mossad agents armed with walkie talkies and a cyanide injection (this kind of technology is why America wins all the time, clearly).

Carrie went to stay in a fancy hotel, checked into her room, then immediately ran down the service stairs to Fara’s uncle’s house where she wooed Fara’s uncle to her side by showing him a picture of his lovely smiling niece wearing a hijab (I can’t be the only one who hopes Fara has more to do in season four). Then she went back to the hotel (and hopefully took the elevator up to her room) before calling Saul and catching sight of her baby bump reflected on a glass door. The baby appears to have grown remarkably fast given that the ultrasound on her flat stomach was less than two weeks ago, but then Brody quit heroin, grew an inch of hair, and regained all his muscle tone in ten days, so what the hell do I know?

There was some kind of elaborate play by the Iranians in which Brody was taken ostensibly to meet the most powerful and secure man in the government in a busy crowded street surrounded by open balconies, windows, and strangers, but Akbari only smiled at Brody before disappearing in an SUV. Instead, Brody was taken inside to meet Nassrin, Abu Nazir’s widow and Isa’s mother. The two spoke honestly about their losses over the past few years. “I survive. It’s what we do,” said Nassrin. “Yes. We crawl out of the rubble and we gather up the bodies,” said Brody, before going outside to a crowd of Beliebers who all wanted to snap selfies with him on their iPhone 5s (not exactly, but you get the picture). Side note: Even Brody’s Revolutionary Guard-assigned security guy called him “Brody,” instead of say, “Nicholas,” or “Sergeant Brody,” or “Hey you.” Do you think he tells people to only address him by his surname?

With all the bad press Brody was giving America, Saul and Lockhart deduced he’d flipped, and attempted to have him taken out so as not to threaten Javadi’s status as an asset. And they didn’t tell Carrie, because obviously she would have tried to ruin it, but for some reason she guessed and tried to ruin it anyway by getting someone to slip a phone to Brody outside the mosque and then basically telling him to run. And he declined, because he actually had plans to get to Akbari (by threatening to spill the beans on Javadi) all along.

So what happens now? At what point will Carrie tell one of two tequila-guzzling redheads that he’s the father of her child? Is it Brody? What will Dana say? Will we ever see Chris again? Why is Carrie the most lucid she’s ever been despite the fact she’s been off her meds for weeks? Why are Saul and Lockhart suddenly BFFs? Tune in next week for the exciting season finale of Homeland and for our overly cranky and judgmental recap, as per usual.

What did you think of last night’s Homeland? Let us know in the comments.