'Homeland' recap, "Big Man in Tehran'

  • Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland."
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland." (Kent Smith/Showtime )
December 09, 2013|Emily Kline | For The Baltimore Sun

Our man Brody keeps everyone guessing right up through the end of this episode. Carrie, however, shows again that she cannot be fooled. Yelling across the globe through a cell phone, Carrie stakes her claim: “I’ve always been right about Brody!” Whatever her flaws (and they are numerous), she has always been right about Brody. Or has she?

The action takes place in Tehran, where Brody is on a top-secret CIA mission to assassinate General Akbari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Javadi, who has been briefed by Saul on the game plan, is an active participant in the assassination plot. He pretends to vet Brody’s claim that he is seeking asylum as the Langley bomber. He consults with Akbari and pretends that he can’t decide whether Brody’s story is legitimate; maybe Akbari could meet with Brody and decide himself?

Well, that seemed pretty easy! Brody is all set to meet (and kill) the general. All he needs is a murder weapon and a very quick exit. Carrie is on the ground in Tehran connecting these dots. She meets with two Mossad agents in Iran who were somehow coerced into helping with this mission by that French guy who is now in solitary (let’s just go with it… I have no idea).

After groaning for a few minutes about how they hate disorganized assassinations, the Mossad heavies provide a syringe filled with cyanide that Brody can use to do the deed. The agents will explode a bomb on the street near where Brody and Akbari are meeting to create a distraction. This will cue Brody to kill Akbari using the cyanide and run like the wind. It is not remotely clear how this is supposed to work, unless they can somehow also get him a jetpack or a portkey.

Shockingly, nothing goes according to plan. Rather than meeting with Brody himself, Akbari arranges for Brody to meet with a third party for additional vetting.

Brody climbs the stairs of a private apartment and opens the door to a familiar face: Abu Nazir’s widow, Nassrin. When she asks him why he is in Tehran, Brody is both guarded and open with her: he loved her husband dearly, he is devastated by his separation from his family and he has nowhere else to go.

Nassrin proclaims that Brody is authentic, and he is immediately embraced as a hero in Iran. He tosses the cyanide aside and looks…relieved? Cut to Saul and Lockhart watching from Virginia as Brody appears on the Iranian talk-show circuit proclaiming his hatred of America. Although they agree that he has no other option but to act the part of propagandist, his ease in playing the role makes them nervous. They agree that he’s a huge liability now that the assassination plot has failed.

Let’s “end it,” they say. And just like that, the Mossad agents are now ordered to assassinate Brody. (Who are these guys? Why don’t they report to anyone other than Saul? I’m so confused.) They go after Brody on his way into a crowded mosque. Luckily, Carrie calls just in time to warn him that they are coming. 

Brody returns to his friend Nassrin’s house and tells her that he is in danger. He needs to speak to Akbari; he has important information about Javadi. Brody is escorted to Revolutionary Guard headquarters and ushered into Akbari’s office. He confesses everything to Akbari: his continuing involvement with the CIA, his mission to kill the General, Javadi’s cooperation with the mission and the CIA’s intention to move Javadi up the chain of command.

Akbari listens to Brody and praises him as a true friend. They reminisce about Brody’s mentor, Abu Nazir, and Brody acknowledges that he has not been able to carry out all of Nazir’s plans. “I came here to redeem myself,” Brody tells the general, right before picking up a heavy crystal ashtray and bashing it against Akbari’s skull.

TWIST – the assassination is on! Brody smothers his target with a green pillow. The scene is both gruesome and eerily similar to the last season’s assassination via pacemaker of Vice President Walden. When Akbari stops moving, Brody looks around shakily. He picks up a phone and calls Carrie. It’s done, he tells her, now get me out of here.

It’s a phenomenal cliffhanger, and the exfiltration of Brody from that office should make for a nail-biter of a season finale. Although nothing about Alain and his Mossad connections makes sense, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief enough to care about getting Brody home safely.

Here is where I’m getting stuck, though: if Javadi knows that Brody didn’t place the bomb, shouldn’t others also have this information? Javadi insinuated to both Carrie and Saul that he knew Brody was innocent, but he never explained how he acquired that information. It’s curious that no one else in Javadi’s circle seems at all surprised that Brody has confessed to the bombing.

Meanwhile, Carrie is pregnant, Quinn is concerned in an attractive way, Saul is inept and/or evil, Lockhart is submissive and Dana is cleaning hotel rooms. In other words, there are a lot of loose threads hanging here.

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