Carrie’s lying about how she feels since Brody’s been off the grid. Quinn’s lying about who he’s working for. Virgil and Max are lying about checking Quinn out on Saul’s orders. David Estes is lying about something, we don’t even know what at this point. Saul is lying to the mother of Quinn’s baby, and Brody is lying to everyone, possibly including himself.
The only person who isn’t lying is Dana. She has only one real job in this episode, and she plays it to the hilt: doing as many interpretations of this sucks as there are in the great Book of Teen Contempt. Lucky for her, that’s one big book.
We open on Carrie in a blue mood. “He’s dead,” she says flatly to the room at large. “If not physically then operationally.” Of course she’s talking about Brody, who has gone silent for 12 hours — along with all other known terrorist outlets. She’s kind of ignoring her own grief over the loss of Brody when, hey! There he is, on the phone!
He wants her to get Jess and the kids to a safe place. He doesn’t say where or how, and he doesn’t want to talk about anything else, so Carrie handles it: Mike Faber shows up at the Brody house, to whisk them away to a deeeeeluxe safe-apartment in the sky. Good times indeed!
Dana doesn’t want to go. “This is bullshit,” she rages to her mom. “Get out of my room,” she growls at Mike, who lays down the law, as would any good-guy-who-secretly-wants-to-be-Dad. Even at the luxury safehouse, she’s unimpressed.
Seventh rule of Teen Spite Club: spite will go on as long as it has to. This sucks!
Carrie, dutifully driving around where Brody told her to go (“that place we first met”: vets’ support group?), gets a taste of her own medicine when he jumps into the passenger seat of her car. She’s not upset at all.
I AM. I really need a supercut of all the times Homeland characters have jumped unexpectedly into each other’s cars. Failing that, I want to know why no one in Washington ever locks their damn car doors.
“It’s really good to see you,” Carrie says, voice breaking a little. For a moment in their busy day, the unreliable narrator and the pathological liar hold hands.
The only way to follow foreplay like this is, of course, a long debrief. Brody does a masterful job, somehow telling his CIA handlers that Nazir is Stateside without ever admitting to his own role in the plan. “He’s here, he’s in America, he’s planning an attack,” he gushes, but omits the parts we can see in flashback. He recounts his own argument with Nazir (“Neither of us know the will of Allah. Each of us must decide what we can and cannot do”), but never mentions having prayed with him.
Or hugged him goodbye. Or asked for Nazir’s blessing, more or less: “Pray for me,” Brody says to Nazir in flashback. “And you for me,” says his mentor and friend.
The CIA buys it all. Carrie, seemingly delighted, says Nazir’s “plan” (to attack hundreds of US soldiers at a gathering to celebrate their return from Afghanistan) is “quintessential Nazir,” though I doubt this. Nazir’s plans have never been big, showy displays of power: they’re backhanded, quiet subversions of it. But on Carrie’s word, off they all go, down the narrative rabbit hole Brody’s designed for them.
Full disclosure: I now assume that absolutely everything Brody says is a lie. Even when he says to Carrie, post-debrief, “You’re the only one I care about right now,” I don’t believe him. I believe he cares deeply about his kids, and about Jess (though he knows that ship has probably sailed), but I think what we’re seeing here is a guy intent on convincing his boss that he can still do the job. It works, of course.
Over in the Swank Safehouse, Dana takes a break from Teen Spite Club to vent to Mike about her Dad. “Sometimes I wish he’d never come back from that stupid war,” she fumes, speaking for Jess, who’s checking the kitchen for some of that “decent wine” the CIA contact mentioned. Within about six hours, Jess is going to bang Mike Faber like a bass drum at halftime, and I will fall into a vegetative coma.
In his Senate office, Brody’s setting up his own fun for the next few hours. With Estes, he’s trying to convince VP Walden to show up at the returning-vets event, and invite Roya Hammad as well. Estes explains Roya’s role in the plan to a shocked Walden. On cue, Brody drops his funniest line of the season: “Roya’s a terrorist?”
Brody is having his best day in weeks. He calls Roya with the good news, and she’s pleased but still bossy: “You should find a way to be near me,” she tells him. “Do you understand?”
I think I do, Basketcases. I think that Roya is a suicide bomber, and the plan — evidently foolproof this time, as she has no pesky children to call right before she self-detonates — is for her and Brody to self-immolate together. Consider Roya’s laser focus on “protocol,” her lack of concern for personal boundaries, her high tolerance for risk. I know she’s planning to die for Allah, and I think she’s going to take Brody with her.
While all of this is going on, Saul is pursuing a few leads on Quinn. Virgil and Max have found Quinn’s living quarters rather monkish, which struck them as suspicious. Saul uses the only personal detail they found — a photo of a woman holding a baby, tucked into a really great novel — to track that woman down. She turns out to be the most admirably self-protective cop on the East Coast. Not even Saul’s quietly threatening alias (“Richard Keller, IRS”) can convince her to give up the man she loves. Loved. Maybe still knows?
Sure enough, Quinn’s baby mama calls him. Nervous, he leaves Carrie in charge, hops a bus, ditches his jacket, and boards another bus. Max and Virgil notice him speaking with another passenger. Their photos reveal that this other man is someone named Daradal, who probably goes by just the one name because he’s a Black-Ops rockstar. Like Prince or Rihanna, only with death!
Next morning it’s “game time,” and Quinn treats everyone to coffee just before getting the nod from Estes and slipping out. Saul notices: “Who’s really running this operation, David?” he pesters. My name is Inigo Montoya. You insult me with your two-hats metaphor. Prepare to lie.
to die for work, gets a satellite-phone call from the kids. Or the kid; Dana’s too busy mocking her brother (“he knows it’s you, dorko”) to talk to him. Fifth rule of Teen Spite Club: only one spite at a time.
Brody’s okay with that. “It’s all gonna be over real soon,” he promises a rather unimpressed Jessica. Now he even sounds like Roya, you guys!
Right on time, Roya shows up at a diner for breakfast with her crew. Carrie and Virgil are all over it (Carrie, in her element, reading off license plate numbers and otherwise narrating the scene). In minutes, the FBI moves in: apprehending Roya and her team and digging into a crashed SUV for Nazir.
“Stand by,” Estes is saying quietly into the phone, in the situation room.
But Nazir isn’t in the car. Carrie doesn’t take this well: she hasn’t looked so crushed since she had to give up her Wall Of Conspiracy to Estes back in Season 1.
The person on the phone with Estes is Quinn. After borrowing a limo from his limo tours company, he’s driving it and reaching into the glove box for … a gun. Brody has just slipped into the backseat; Quinn is drawing on him when he gets the next order from Estes. “Stand down.”
“We still need him,” Estes continues. Quinn lowers the privacy barrier and looks at Brody, who’s surprised to see him but still alive. For now!
That brings us to this week’s Burning Questions:
- Nazir’s in Baltimore! Which side do you think he’ll pick, the Barksdale Organization or the Stanfield Crew?
- What’s the significance of Quinn’s only personal item being a copy of Great Expectations? Is there any? If this were Mad Men it would mean something, right?
- On the boring-hookups scale, with Eighties Soap Opera being one and Bella and Edward’s vampire wedding night being ten, how would we rate Jess and Mike?
- When do you think Estes will bust out his I Am The Mole t-shirt? Is Casual Friday a thing in the CIA?
- Why does the intelligence community have a problem with automatic door locks? Is carjacking part of its counterterrorism strategy?
- How many episodes before Brody gets killed? And if he gets it in the next episode, why should I keep watching?
In the words of David Estes: Thoughts?