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Posts Tagged ‘Abu Nazir’

Homeland - Courtesy Showtime

Formerly (and more awesomely) known as “The Motherfucker with the Turban.”

Perhaps it’s fitting that this episode changed its name from something shocking (at potentially offensive?) to something a little more standard. The first half picked up right where last week left off, to the point where I was internally writing a eulogy for the Homeland that once was. And then, Abu Nazir died, and things started clicking into place again. It’s just that it’s getting increasingly difficult to put aside the ridiculous stuff and appreciate the acting and the emotional scenes on their own merits.

The beginning of the episode was another 24-ish romp as Carrie withheld significant information from Quinn (that Brody/Nazir are the ones who caused Walden’s pacemaker to malfunction), lied unconvincingly about how, exactly, she managed to escape from Abu Nazir (she got lucky, I guess?), and quickly jumped to the conclusion that Galvez must be the mole who helped Nazir escape since he, you know, just got out of the hospital and everything. This particular leap would be fine for just Carrie and her sleep-deprived brain to make, but they lost me a bit when Quinn leapt off the proverbial cliff with her, concluding that it “made sense” and leading an FBI chase of Galvez who, it turns out, was just going back to the hospital because he’d popped his stitches (or is that just what he wants us to think?!?!).

The one bright spot of the first half was Carrie’s botched interrogation with Roya. Nevermind how absurd it is that Carrie got into the room with her in the first place (she’d gone to wash her face while Estes explicitly told Quinn not to let her in the room, and then, when Quinn got back, Carrie was already in the room). That’s some ninja interrogation shit right there. Anyway, what I liked about it was that, while it seemed at first that we were in for another demonstration of Carrie’s expert interrogation skills, Roya quickly turns the tables on her. She tells Carrie what she wants to hear, feeding her some bullshit about what it’s like to be around someone who you know is bad for you, and who makes you do bad things, but you just can’t help yourself. A single tear falls down Carrie’s battered face, and Roya pounces. She grabs Carrie’s bruised wrists, and spits insults at her in Arabic. It was a powerful moment and would have been made all the more powerful if only there hadn’t been so many leaps necessary to get Carrie in the room in the first place.

Anyway, after Carrie’s failure, Quinn insists that she go home and rest, but for some reason sees it fit for her to drive herself home (in what was presumably a CIA-issued vehicle). However, the drive leads Carrie to realize that when Roya told her that Nazir wouldn’t run, she meant it literally – he had to still be at the abandoned mill (sidenote: I’m pretty sure Nancy Drew and the Abandoned Mill was a book I read in elementary school. Just something to think about for next season, Homeland writers. Maybe move away from the young adult mystery genre). She naturally heads back there against Quinn’s advice, and finds everybody packing up to go. There’s only one tactical team left and, probably just to shut her up already, they agree to go back in for one more sweep. Naturally, again, Carrie is left alone with only one guy (after an explicit conversation earlier in the episode where it was discussed that they always go in pairs), quickly finds a hidden room, and waits in the hallway while the lone operative goes in, finds where Nazir was hiding, and promptly gets his throat cut. The show then shifts from 24 to pure horror movie, as Carrie runs away screaming “HE’S HERE.” She manages to fight Nazir off not once, but twice, before the tactical team can swoop in and shoot him as he kneels on the floor in front of them and reaches into his pocket to pull out what I’m sure will end up being a cell phone.

The parallels between Nazir and bin Laden are fairly obviously drawn, but I especially liked the distinction between the popular reaction to bin Laden’s death (jubilant cheering, U-S-A chants) and Carrie’s quiet realization that she’d succeeded in taking down the person she’d devoted the last 10 years of her life to catching. There was no trace of jubilation on her face, but rather a mixture of satisfaction, relief, exhaustion, and a strange sense of sadness and pity. Abu Nazir was probably the person she knew the best in the world, and now he was lying bloodied on a gurney in front of her, looking like just any other person, not an evil terrorist mastermind.

As I mentioned above, after Nazir’s death, things changed. When Brody is told, his reaction is just as compelling as Carrie’s was. He breaks down weeping before attempting to pass it off as tears of relief to his family. It’s clear though, that Nazir’s death hits him hard. Before, he was lost because he was trying to follow the rules of too many people. Now, he’s killed Walden and Nazir is dead – the only person he has left to answer to is Carrie. Since the terrorist threat is apparently neutralized, the unhappy Brody family is allowed to go home (much to Chris’ chagrin).

What they don’t know, however, is that Brody’s life is in fact in more imminent danger after Nazir’s death. Saul’s detainment last week was for a lie detector test that Estes will use to blackmail him later, if necessary. I loved the return of the lie detector operator from last season, and equally loved that the actual administrator of the test was a stone-faced Estes henchman. I loved that the questions were framed in such a way as to trap Saul with partial truths (did he technically give Aileen the weapon she used to kill herself? Well yes, but there’s far more to that story, obviously). Saul correctly identifies the motivations behind this line of questioning, telling the operator that the only reason he’s being investigated is because he knows about the plot for the CIA to assassinate a U.S. congressman. This is, of course, left out of the official report. While I will eternally love Mandy Patinkin, this plot seems a little heavy-handed in terms of Estes’ rapid shift from authority figure harshing the main characters’ collective spy buzzes, to actual evil guy involved in blackmail, murder, and all sorts of shady dealings. Last season, Estes controlled Saul by revealing truths to him about the nature of intelligence and the war on terror, this time, he controls him by blackmail? It just seemed like a bit of a leap.

In any case, Estes tells Quinn that the plan is still very much on, and that he needs to kill Brody sooner than later so that they can just blame it on blowback from Nazir’s death (it’s best not to think too hard about exactly how this would work – would they really pretend that there’s another congressman-terrorist on the loose in DC? Exactly how incompetent is the CIA anyway?) Anyway, the spectre of Quinn’s gunshot hung over the final scenes, adding heart-pounding tension especially to Jessica and Brody’s breakup conversation in the car. While their decision to finally divorce was a long time coming, the way it got wrapped up into a neat little bow felt a bit forced. I mean, one day they’re yelling at each other, jealous of each other’s affairs, and the next day, they’re having a quiet conversation about how it can never work between them? I suppose it was set up by Jessica’s assertion at the beginning of the episode that “everything has changed” after Walden’s death. In any case, I thought the fact that Brody went right up to the point of telling Jessica everything before she stopped him by saying she doesn’t want to know was true to character. No matter how much Jessica proclaimed herself to want the truth, she couldn’t handle even the glimpses of the true Brody that she saw. Her realization that the only person he’s ever told the truth to was Carrie and that “you must really love her” was both cheesy and effective.

When a bullet didn’t explode through Brody’s head the minute Jessica exited the vehicle, it was clear that Brody would be going to Carrie’s. I hoped beyond hope that when the doorbell rang it would be Saul or Quinn telling her that Brody had died (because this would have been unexpected) but instead it was Brody, feeding Carrie lines worthy of my guilty pleasure, Days of our Lives. He did what he did to Walden because, if the choice was Walden’s life or Carrie’s, it wasn’t even close? Carrie naturally swallows it up, which I can hopefully attribute to her not having slept for 2 days. Was she really just able to ignore the fact that the whole reason Brody was a terrorist in the first place was because he wanted to kill Walden? Anyway, she tenderly kisses his hand and brings him inside while Quinn watches through the scope.

There’s only one episode left and a hell of a lot to get through. I’m hoping that, in the end, Carrie will realize that Brody is a terrorist and her happily-ever-after fantasies are both unrealistic and pathetic. I hope she’ll be the one to kill him, but no matter who does it, I want him dead. I don’t see how Brody can live and have this series continue to exist under any semblance of plausibility. As it is, I don’t really know how they can continue. Saul is out, Carrie is out (even though she single-handedly took down the world’s number 1 terrorist, I can’t picture control-freak Estes keeping loose-cannon Carrie around and not Saul), the whole Brody clan is out, Nazir is dead, Walden is dead – the whole series is begging for a reboot. Personally, I hope that Carrie, Saul, Virgil, and Max get together and form an elite private investigators’ unit and, through their surveillance of cheating spouses and insurance fraudsters, stumble upon a terrorist plot that’s even bigger than Nazir’s ever was. I just can’t imagine how they’re going to wrap it up next episode though.

In the end, that’s really the difference between this season and last season. Last season, the unpredictability was this show’s greatest asset, and even when it seemed like they’d painted themselves into a corner, they always managed to find their way out, even if it meant jumping through the window. I always trusted that the twists they would take us on would feel earned and would contribute to taking this show to greater heights. This season, when the show has its back against the wall, it fights its way out with explosions when exposition would do, and it takes us on wild goose chases rather than the simple path from A to B. After last week, I don’t trust it to do itself justice anymore, and that’s a real shame. I hope they can redeem themselves next year and the only way they can do that is by killing Brody and starting fresh in season 3.

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Homeland - Courtesy Showtime

Well, fuck you, Homeland. You suckered me in last season with a daring and innovative take on the spy/surveillance drama by mixing in a forbidden love affair and a realistic take on the consequences of mental illness. You gave me twists that I both didn’t see coming and yet fit entirely within the realm of plausibility. You gave me an anti-hero in Nicholas Brody, the maybe-terrorist who didn’t reveal exactly what he was thinking until the very end and even still remained clearly at war with himself over his own decisions. You gave me all that, you made me look forward to Homeland more than any other show since Breaking Bad, and then, you basically undermine it all with an episode like this one. 

This whole season, Homeland has been toeing the line between plausibility and implausibility and I’ve been forgiving it. I didn’t really mind when Brody texted Nazir from inside the Pentagon, or when he chased after the tailor and killed him in the woods and then rinsed the blood off of himself in a carwash, or when there was a terrorist attack on the CIA agents in Gettysburg in broad daylight. I also could buy that Nazir would get Brody to break into Estes’ office (Even though he apparently has a mole in the CIA that tells him everything) and even that Nazir would be able to sneak into the States by shaving his beard. I sure as hell wouldn’t have recognized Osama Bin Laden without the beard. I could even accept Brody being whisked away by Roya into a helicopter that the CIA were watching but still couldn’t figure out where it went. All of that, I was willing to put aside because everything else was so strong. But this episode, they finally went a step too far for me. To borrow a phrase from Joey Tribbiani, they went so far past the line, the line is a dot to them.

Let’s try to puzzle it out, shall we? Okay – Abu Nazir was apparently the one driving the SUV that t-boned Carrie. Why would he put himself in harm’s way like that? The only explanation could be that he is now completely on his own, since Roya and the TV crew were captured last episode. But for a terrorist mastermind as careful as Nazir is supposed to be, would he really let all of his crew on American soil be in the same place at the same time, ready for capture? But whatever, let’s say that he does. Would he then really show up at a gas station when he has to know that the entire CIA is still out looking for him? And alright, fine, maybe he felt it was a risk worth taking in part of his plot to . . . capture Carrie? And then once he captures Carrie, he calls her on his GOVERNMENT ISSUED BLACKBERRY and without first checking to see if he’s alone or, you know, with the entire CIA, Nazir pops his face up on the screen, points a gun at Carrie, and tells Brody that he needs him to do something for him. Forget the inherent implausibility of Skype working that smoothly on a Blackberry (I’m apparently willing to overlook all manner of cell phone-related sins), are we really to believe that the CIA would just quit monitoring Brody’s phone? At the end of last episode, they were desperately seeking Nazir, and now they’re gloating over the arrest of his minions and Carrie is talking to Brody about resigning from Congress as if he’s actually going to be able to just walk away? But, okay, FINE. No one thinks that it’s possible that Nazir might try to reach out to the one person he still has a connection with in America. Fine. The CIA has done stupid things before. But then Brody goes into another empty CIA apartment, shouts Nazir’s name about a billion times, then rushes out and says he needs to go to the VP’s house immediately, and no one bats an eye. And then he gets there, is more jittery than Carrie ever was in the midst of her mental breakdown, and is allowed to just wander around the house. The whole idea that a pacemaker’s serial number can somehow be used by a random terrorist hacker to induce a heart attack is pretty Bond villian-ish, but again, I’m willing to overlook that (see how generous I am?). I don’t even really take issue with the idea that Brody was able to find it (and a magnifying glass) and read it in the nick of time. No, what I have an issue with is that killing Walden to make it look like an accident would ever be Nazir’s Plan B. We’ve been told over and over and over again that Nazir strikes for maximum emotional impact. This has zero emotional impact on a wider scale. The general public will not be shaken to its core when it finds out that Walden is dead, because they will never know that it was anything other than natural causes (save, of course, the requisite conspiracy theorists who will be promptly ignored). Still, this was almost saved by the scene where Walden comes in to talk to Brody and Brody stares him down, waiting for him to have a heart attack. The moment where Walden reaches for the phone to call a doctor and Brody pushes him away could’ve been very powerful. Indeed, Brody lets down his guard in Walden’s final moments, telling him that he is, in fact, actually killing him. What should have been a moment of emotional punch was undercut for me by two things: 1) Why weren’t there any Secret Service agents standing outside the door? and 2) I spent most of the scene flashing back to a much better death-by-inaction scene in Breaking Bad, where Walter White stood by and watched as Jesse’s girlfriend choked to death on her own vomit while in a drug induced haze. Think, for a moment, how much more powerful it would’ve been if Brody had just happened to be around Walden when he has a heart attack and then seizes that moment to finally get revenge for Issa’s death. If that had happened, instead of it being the result of some behind-the-scenes string pulling by Nazir and a nameless hacker, it would have been the result of Brody’s own emotional truth. As it stands now, we don’t know if Brody let Walden die because he truly wants to help Nazir, or because he just wants to save Carrie’s life.

Oh, that’s the other thing – this whole plot by Nazir hinged on the fact that Nazir thinks that he’ll be able to manipulate Carrie and Brody’s “love” for each other. The worst part is, he seems to have been right. Brody risks everything to ensure that Carrie was able to run away, and, when Carrie finally gets a cell phone and calls the CIA to tell him where Nazir is, she conveniently leaves out the detail that the Vice President is likely being murdered by pacemaker hacking at this very moment. The only reason I can think of to omit this information is to protect Brody. And if Carrie’s love for Brody is going to go to the extent that she forget all about stopping terrorist attacks that has been her life’s calling then . . . I really don’t know what to think anymore. Is Carrie really deluded enough to believe that she and Brody will just be able to run off into the sunset together? Why does she even want to run off into the sunset with a terrorist? What happened to the Carrie of earlier this season, who fairly spat at Brody when he was captured in the hotel room after she tried to seduce him? Who venomously told him that he was both a traitor and a terrorist, and now he was going to have to pay for that? Now she’s just willing to overlook everything to live some kind of domestic fantasy? Last season, Carrie’s erratic behaviour could be partially explained by the fact that she was quickly spiralling downward into a state of mania. This season – what? Carrie’s lovesick? Is that her mental illness? I hope I’m wrong and there’s some other explanation given for her behaviour.

Meanwhile, Saul’s continued inquiries into the real identity of Peter Quinn lead him to have a delightfully understated conversation with Dar Adal in a waffle shop, followed by an overt confrontation with Estes in the hallway of the CIA, and finally by being prevented from leaving CIA headquarters to capture Abu Nazir. Instead, he’s dragged downstairs to some kind of interrogation. Oh also, Galvez is back. Remember Galvez? Last seen shot up in the tailor shop in Gettysburg and apparently not expected to make it? Well, now he has his arm in a sling but he’s back and ready to take out Nazir! Or, perhaps, live up to his mole-y ways. In any case, it seems more and more clear (and the previews all but confirm) that the series is moving closer towards revealing who the “leak” in the CIA is and I’d like to just go on record as saying that if Saul turns out to be the mole, not only will I never watch again, but you will see the kind of impotent rage not aimed towards a TV show since the season one finale of The Killing threw in a twist that both undermined a character they’d spent a season establishing and didn’t even answer the fucking question of who killed Rosie Larsen. If Galvez turns out to be the mole, I’ll be annoyed at his clumsy re-introduction but at least they won’t have destroyed one of the remaining sympathetic characters on the show. My only question is – if Nazir still has a mole in the CIA, why didn’t this mole just, oh I don’t know, call Carrie and tell him to meet him somewhere so that Nazir could abduct her from there. Or talk to Brody and tell him about the pacemaker plot, or any other number of things that could’ve been accomplished much easier if Nazir actually had someone in the CIA.

Anyway. I think the reason this has gotten me so riled up is because I thought this show was something else. I thought it was an intelligent, subtle, character-driven drama that just happened to have bouts of heart-pounding action and suspense. Now, it’s morphed into an action movie that is more focused on shock value than character development and that makes me sad. Maybe the final two episodes of the season can find a way to redeem themselves. I really hope so, because I really don’t like feeling duped.

P.S. Memo to Jessica and Brody: Neither of you gets to play the jealous spouse card. Jessica, you banged Brody’s best friend the first chance you got, and with your children in the next room no less. If that wasn’t enough, the next morning, you had a little post-coital gloat-and-makeout session in the middle of your echo-y safehouse again with your children in the next room. And Brody, you banged Carrie in a motel room with the entire CIA listening in and tell her every chance you get that you love talking to her and just want to be together. The fact that either of you has the audacity to act pissy towards the other about Mike/Carrie is ridiculous. Your marriage is a complete sham, quit wasting your energy.

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For some reason, I’m having a hard time writing a regular review for this episode. Perhaps I’m spent with all the excitement of Boardwalk Empire or perhaps it’s because so much has happened this episode (and this season) that I’m running out of steam. Whatever the reason, I think I’m just going to stick to bullet points for today. Hopefully next week, I’ll be feeling more energetic!

  • So, we don’t really know what exactly happened between Brody and Abu Nazir during the 12 hours he was off the grid. The story that he tells Carrie, Saul, Quinn, et al. seems plausible enough, but Brody didn’t tell them that he prayed with Nazir, so who knows what else he’s hiding. I think it is significant that his discussions with Nazir about Allah revolved around personal motivation and force of will. I really liked the way the show kept us guessing by just showing us snippets of the flashbacks.
  • Still, Brody’s panic to ensure the safety of his family after he watched Nazir drive away seemed authentic.
  • The plot to blow up the vice president at a ceremony for 300 returning soldiers is at once symbolically typical of Nazir and also too simplistic. The plot from last season was layered, and I have  a strong feeling that this plot has more to it than meets the eye.
  • Mike, Jessica, and the kids are essentially playing house, and Mike occupies the role of father better than Brody ever has. I especially liked how he shut down Dana’s whining.
  • Mike and Jessica’s middle of the night guest room tryst echoes Carrie and Brody’s cabin tryst of last season. Both Brody and Jessica look more comfortable with their secret lovers than they do with their spouses.
  • I also thought it was significant that Brody wasn’t mad when Carrie told him that Mike was with his family. He is either ready to give up on his marriage and family because a) he genuinely recognizes that they’re better off without him and his baggage; b) he knows he’ll be dead soon thanks to his role in Nazir’s bomb plot; c) he knows that he’ll be in jail soon thanks to his role in Nazir’s bomb plot; d) he has deluded himself into thinking he can somehow run away with Carrie and everything will be fine; or e) he’s got too many other things on his plate to worry about that
  • Meanwhile, Saul has had Virgil and Max keeping tabs on Quinn, and they discovered that he has a different name, lives in extremely spartan living conditions, and a secret baby and baby mama who happens to be a police officer in Philadelphia who is immune to the charms of Saul’s beard.
  • Quinn is apparently adept at the city bus system and has a secret meeting with someone who Saul and Estes know, but who for now remains mysterious. So, he’s not a mole but just working for another agency? Or another part of the CIA? I’m interested to see where this goes.
  • One place that it apparently goes is that Quinn has standing orders from Estes to kill Brody the minute that Abu Nazir is captured. Brody’s saved at the last minute this time, but perhaps he won’t be so lucky next time. I can’t imagine Carrie will be too happy once she finds out this little detail.
  • Is Carrie just playing Brody or does she really have feelings for him that are compromising her integrity? I’m starting to lean more towards the latter.
  • Ambushing Roya and Nazir’s guys at the diner seemed slightly premature. I thought they were going to wait until they got to the location of the reunion?
  • I can’t wait for a Carrie-Roya interrogation scene next week.
  • Do you think they’re using Carrie so sparingly this season because of Claire Danes’ pregnancy? I can’t help but wonder how differently this season might have shaped up had she been able to participate more fully.
  • I can’t imagine what this show is going to do for the next 3 episodes. A normal show would have the interrogations and the frantic search for Nazir occupy the end of the season, but this show will probably cram those into the first half of next week. I can’t wait to see where they take us next.
  • Brody is going to die this season, right? I mean, now he’s got Abu Nazir’s henchmen AND the CIA pointing guns at him and he can only escape so many times. The only question is how it’s going to go down – will Quinn, Nazir, Saul, Estes, Walden, or Brody himself pull the trigger? Or, will Carrie finally be forced to prove once and for all whether she’s able to put her feelings for Brody aside when homeland security is at stake?

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Is anyone else getting the distinct impression that Brody wishes he’d just blown himself up when he had the chance? He at least must be pining for the good old days of season one, when he actually had a semblance of control over his own life and the fallout from the actions. Back then, he was largely on his own. Sure, he had to play the part of the hero, which chafed on him a bit, but that didn’t really involve much energy. In the end, he even was able to exercise the decision not to blow himself up, and then he managed to convince Nazir that this was a better plan after all. Season One Brody was firmly in charge.

What a difference a season can make. While Brody thought he was placing himself firmly within the best-case scenario (he gets to keep his family and his life while working for Nazir from inside Congress), he was actually painting himself into a pretty small corner. Now, nothing Brody does is really under his own volition and it seems like his follower nature is kicking in more than ever. WHen he’s with Carrie, he does what the CIA wants; when he’s with Roya, he starts to think that being with Nazir is the right move; when he’s with his family, all he wants is to tell both the CIA and Nazir to go fuck themselves so he can live in some kind of domesticated bliss that only exists in his head. As Brody continues to spiral downward, it’s becoming more and more apparent that there is no “best-case” scenario anymore. Think about it: If he continues with Nazir, he’ll either die in the plot or he’ll be disgraced by the CIA, hated by his family, and spend the rest of his life rotting in a cell like Aileen. If he continues with the CIA, he’ll either be killed by Nazir (along with his entire family), or he’ll be forced to live in witness protection with a wife who doesn’t trust him, a daughter who is constantly disappointed by him, and a son who . . . well, as long as there’s video games, Chris probably won’t care. But still, hardly ideal options.

Indeed, as much as Brody might want to be with his family, it’s becoming more and more clear that they’d be better off without him. Even Dana, who sympathized with her father’s Islam and unknowingly stopped him from killing himself, doesn’t need him anymore now that she’s got surrogate-father Mike. As much as I disliked the hit-and-run plotline at the beginning, the last couple of episodes have made it all worthwhile. The scene where Dana visited the daughter of the victim and was told in no uncertain terms not to go to the police was heartbreaking. All along, Dana had been seeing the world in black and white, and the shades of grey that she’s discovering are disconcerting. She can’t imagine accepting a payoff in exchange for keeping silent about your mother’s murder and now she finds herself living in a world where that exact scenario is considered almost commonplace. She finds safe haven at Mike’s, and his willingness to give her space even lets her open up to her mother, revealing to her that it was Carrie who made Brody turn around. We don’t see the fallout from this revelation (because Brody doesn’t come home), but when Dana gets back to her parents’ house, she dissolves into tears in her mother’s arms. It’s a powerful scene where the two women, so often at odds with each other, are maybe finally in an honest place with each other, recognizing the strength that each other has, and knowing that, even though they’re in a pretty fucked up world, they’ll somehow get through it together. At the very least, Dana should hopefully sulk less around the house.

Brody, meanwhile, continues to fuck everything up. During a fight over what to do with Dana, Jessica demands that Brody just call the CIA and tell them to back off. Under the pressure coming at him from all sides, Brody finally explodes, screaming helplessly, “ICAN’TICAN’TICAN’T!” When Jessica leaves, Carrie rushes in and finds a broken Brody curled up on the floor at the end of the hallway. She manages to put the pieces back together enough for him to make his meeting with Roya, but the glue comes undone pretty quickly and Brody tells Roya that he’s out. When everyone else at the CIA is ready to pull the plug on the whole thing, Carrie of course insists that Brody can be salvaged if she has more time. She convinces Virgil to take the tracking off his phone, but she takes Brody to a known CIA safehouse motel where Saul quickly tracks them with a camera and audio surveillance. It’s through these methods that we get one of the most laugh-out-loud funny scenes in Homeland history, where Saul listens stone-faced to Carrie and Brody’s desperate sex sounds. Seriously, is there anything more awkward than Carrie’s surrogate father listening to him having sex with anyone, let alone a known terrorist? The awkward hilarity was amplified when the camera panned out to show Quinn and the rest of the surveillance team also listening intently. Quinn uses their moaning as a background track for yet another discussion with Saul about whether Carrie has finally crossed a line into being “stage five delusional.” Saul insists that Carrie is just trying to bring Brody back, but when she does return the next morning, he reveals that he’s not entirely convinced of this fact himself. Carrie insists that she’s not spiralling again, but it’s hard to really be sure. Is she any more able to stay true to herself than Brody? When she’s with Saul and the others, she acts impartial, but when she’s with Brody, it’s not clear whether she’s thinking with her head or her heart. I did love that Carrie treaded the realization that the entire staff had heard her having sex with Brody with no more than an annoyed sigh. Say what you will about her mental state, she doesn’t embarrass easy.

Perhaps she’s so confident because her sexy skills worked, and Brody calls Roya to tell her he’s back in. Roya treats this news with deserved skepticism and leads Brody to the middle of nowhere. She gets him to tell her that he’s only fucking Carrie to get information like Roya wanted him to, and it’s said with just enough edge that it might conceivably be the truth. Almost immediately afterwards, Roya disconnects his phone and the CIA’s listening skills, thus sending Carrie into a panic, insisting on being in one of the follow vehicles with Virgil and Max. As it becomes more and more apparent that Brody’s cover is blown (either that, or these are the stupidest brilliant terrorists I’ve ever heard of), Carrie becomes increasingly agitated.  She convinces Quinn to let them do a drive by, and she sees Roya and the assassin from Gettysburg with Brody. In an act reminiscent of Beirut, Carrie jumps out of the van and runs toward Brody when too late, she and Saul realize that the reason for stopping near an empty field is so that they can be picked up by a helicopter. As Carrie’s futile screams of “he’s gone!” echo into the darkness, it’s clear that this is about more than just protecting an asset.

It’s also clear from the look of terror and panic on Brody’s face that he knows he’s fucked. It’s a testament to the unpredictability of this show that I legitimately thought we were about to see the demise of Sgt. Brody. Instead, Abu Nazir steps out of the shadows and greets “Nicholas” in a deceptively warm-sounding tone. Nazir has clearly decided that enough’s enough and it’s time to bring Nicholas back to where he really belongs.

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