While last night’s episode of Homeland packed in a lot of momentum and suspense, most of it felt like the Cold War of watching and waiting. Brody (Damian Lewis) and the special ops team, which quickly transformed him from junkie to G.I. Joe, are now trying to move past the Iranian border so that Brody can carry out phase two of Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) plan to
save his own ass bring America justice.
But it’s not that simple— the nighttime blackness of the field that the special ops team must navigate to gain Iranian entry is full of land mines. Plus, Iranian forces patrol the border area. What ensues feels like one of those violent video games that upper-middle class mom’s fear will turn their sheltered sons into felons.
Back at mission control headquarters, Carrie (Claire Danes), Quinn (Rupert Friend), Saul, and other nameless important people track the whereabouts of Brody and Co. on a radar map that looks like a cross between an ‘80s video game and a sonogram. Speaking of which, Quinn approaches Carrie to chat about when he casually shot her and no one thought it was a huge deal, and admits that he looked at her medical records when she was in the hospital. When he suggests that maybe she take it easy on the work front given her second trimester cervical status, she’s immediately pissed (That he looked at her records? That he knows she’s pregnant? That he thinks Brody is the father? That he shot her? Who knows). She dismisses him and says that Brody is not the father. But, given her notable past in deception compounded by her constant furrowed brow and near-tears stress for the rest of the episode, it’s still obvious to us that she’s carrying little baby Brody.
Soon, Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts) joins the party. Though he wasn’t originally down with Saul’s plan, it’s happening anyway, and he decides to jump on board. Saul lets Lockhart, who pushed back the start date of his directorship (because Saul blackmailed him after discovering that Lockhart was illegally tracking his personal affairs), sit around and watch the operation play out, but it’s clear that he is hopeful for redemption so large that he will heroically retain the job for himself. But when things start going awry with Brody and the special ops team, Saul quickly loses his confidence.
While the ops team is driving around in the dark trying to navigate the field, they catch the attention of the border police. A member of the ops team shoots the border officer, splattering blood in Brody’s face, and Brody flips out, dashing from the car. The operative chases Brody and convinces him to continue their mission. But quickly, they drive over a mine and the car explodes. There’s silence back at the CIA while everyone, most notably Carrie, waits to learn the status of the men.
Upon learning that they’re both alive, Carrie tears up with relief, but the operative lost a leg in the explosion. With his inner-Marine ignited, Brody carries the wounded man to quasi-safety, calls for reinforcements, and prepares to move forward. But, given the disturbance that the land mine caused, it becomes clear to Saul that the mission is over and the Brody won’t be able to gain entry to Iran alive. He tells the general in the CIA room to get the men out alive and leaves the room, defeated.
Brody disobeys the general’s orders to move back from the border and presses forward. A fellow disobedient operative joins him and within seconds the two find themselves surrounded by Iranian forces. Surrendered and vulnerable, Brody tells the forces that he and the operative are members of Al Qaeda seeking protection in the country. They take the two men and Brody finds himself as a prisoner, yet again.
Some time later, Javadi (Shaun Toub) enters the cell and tells Brody to get ready to go before shooting the operative in the head. It’s unclear if Javadi does this as a small act of rebellion against the American forces that are puppeteering his life, or if he does it to uphold the appearance of being the Iranian national that he once was. Regardless, Brody and Javadi are now together, and just as before, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Saul.