In an amusing aside, Showtime made a last minute change to the episode title; apparently “The Motherfucker with a Turban” was a little too much.
So, apparently there is no mole. Good on you, “Homeland.” The writers had a little fun with our, and Carrie’s assumption that someone inside the CIA or the FBI had to be helping Abu Nazir—turns out he is just one squirrely “motherfucker.”
This was a tense, if not entirely satisfying episode. Sometimes when Claire Danes has a particularly harrowing hour, the audience is left feeling nearly as frazzled, suspicious and emotional as she is. While Carrie paced her way in and around the FBI agents and their equipment, looking for that traitor, we were right there with her—was it one of the faceless people we didn’t know? Was it Quinn; was it that sneaky bastard, Galvez? In between the successful moments, there were missteps aplenty. Quinn might be sympathetic to Carrie’s fragility after her ordeal, but would he really accept her escape non-explanation that she got lucky? Carrie is intuitive and smart, but why is she consistently the only person who takes the extra step, or makes connections? How can the FBI team comb that building multiple times and find nothing, but Carrie can walk through and immediately hone in on a secret hiding place? Does being bi-polar also heighten one’s sense of smell, so only she could sniff him out? As Quinn noted, the agents work in groups of two; wouldn’t the agent with Carrie have had a partner? She stood back as he cleared the room, so it made no sense that he didn’t have someone to provide him cover—Carrie has no weapon. All that aside, it was a great emotional moment when Carrie set eyes on Nazir’s dead body. She had chased him from foreign countries to her homeland, had him in her sights, and lost him several times. She had looked into Nazir’s eyes as he explained his plans to exterminate Americans, and been an intimate victim to his violence. To finally see him dead with her own eyes was deservedly emotional for both the audience and Carrie.
Brody’s reaction to the news was less relatable. Though his tears could have been a mixture of relief and his distorted sense of loyalty, Jessica’s incredulous expression, watching her husband show more emotion about his dead captor than his own family, said it all. (The more I think about that moment of Brody at Carrie’s doorstep, the less I believe his statement: “It was you or Walden—it wasn’t even close.” Something on his face just didn’t read right.)
Saul knew exactly what Estes was up to, but it still seemed to surprise him when Estes said he wanted Saul out. Even as he angrily accused Saul of constantly undermining him, Estes is underestimating him—Saul won’t just lie down, and Estes is rarely in control. He tasks Quinn with interviewing Roya, but Carrie waltzes in ahead of Quinn…and finds out she’s not in control either. Roya let Carrie play her emotional cards, then handily slapped down the agent, both mentally and physically. It’s interesting to note how gentle Quinn has become with Carrie, in the past, he’s been so cavalier in his attitude—even cruel with his comments—about her mental health.
The hour’s final moments were tentative and tense. Knowing Quinn was out there somewhere, on a mission to kill, while Jessica and Brody sat in a car—unprotected—it was hard not to imagine at any moment, a bullet might interrupt the couple acknowledging their marriage was finally over. In a great scene between Lewis and Baccarin, Jessica waxes nostalgic over who she and Brody have been, and both actors convey resolute acceptance of what they now feel. Still no shot rang out as Quinn watched Brody arrive at Carrie’s house; in fact, he seemed almost conflicted (or maybe just disappointed in Carrie). And that’s how things are left—uncertain and conflicted. Is Brody really in love with Carrie; is she with him? Are they still playing games? It is extremely difficult to believe Carrie would have feelings for this man who, several episodes back, was poised to physically harm her, who aided in the murder of the Vice President of the United States, and who quite possibly would have carried out a more destructive terrorist act. Regardless of the speech she gave Brody in that hotel room, does Carrie really believe they can have a life together? Should we still wonder about what happened when Nazir had Brody in custody and they prayed together? Does he have feelings for her, or is he using Carrie…to get out of the country? Did Nazir task Brody with carrying on in his stead after his death?
Notes: So here’s my theory: Last week I said that Brody had to die, but maybe he doesn’t. What if Season 3 begins with Brody having escaped the country (with Carrie’s misguided help), now the de facto head of Nazir’s organization? That would be a whole new ball of wax and keep the cast largely intact.
Has his ego led Estes to seeing himself following Walden’s career path? Ego leads to mistakes, and if Saul can take him down, Saul could succeed Estes as Director next season. It would give him the leverage to reinstate Carrie, she and Quinn could team up to go after Brody and jump into bed together.
Next week, Saul sums up our feelings about Carrie: “You’re the smartest and the dumbest fucking person I’ve ever known.”