By Alex Smith, Hollywood.com Staff
I've been staring at my computer screen for roughly 20 minutes before typing a single word, because Homeland is making my brain buzz. I know the Internet exploded last week with newfound vigor over the whole "plausibility" debate, many critics saying the episode felt like something out of those bad seasons of 24. I thought there was a lot of crazy plotting in "Broken Hearts" (I mean, that title alone), but I certainly didn't think it was a major sidestep that derailed the entire series. People were even bringing shark jumping into the conversation, which is just ludicrous. I think that this season is actually so densely plotted that everything will maybe make sense after we've all seen the finale next week. Like, it's possible that the woman from the hit-and-run will return as a zombie and this will all turn into an origin story for The Walking Dead In all seriousness, I'm taking very shallow breaths and thinking up wild conspiracy theories for next week's episode. I'm so scared for all of us gathered here. We need help.
My hunch that these final three episodes are linked was quasi-supported by the fact that we literally start 3 seconds after last week's abrupt end - Carrie is sneaking around the old plant with a pipe. Hey, this is like the CIA edition of Clue! Carrie runs all over the place, following the echoes of Nazir, until she reaches a door where she finds the CIA swooping in. Carrie looks frazzled - blood all over her face, eyeballs like giant saucers swimming around. Quinn is ready to scoop her up, the knight in shining armor with the hidden silenced revolver for Brody's brain. Teams are pouring into the mill/warehouse/season three set of American Horror Story, and Carrie is spinning wild lies to cover up what happened between Nazir and Brody. Carrie doesn't really know how to clean up this mess, how to lie to the CIA to protect Brody while still trying to take down Nazir. Carrie's eyeballs flick in a million different directions at once, and I know exactly what she's feeling.
Last week, the incomparable Emily Nussbaum from The New Yorker floated the theory that Brody has always been playing for Nazir's team; she believes that the entire Walden plot was a show, put on by Nazir and Brody, to convince Carrie of Brody's love and their everlasting bond. Carrie has proven time and time again that she'll put her own unstable emotions before the more rational elements of her world, and there's nothing stopping her from going off the deep end here. I think Nussbaum's theory is almost correct, but I have my own tweaks and ideas, especially after this episode. I've become a crazy person. More on this development later.
Back to the action at hand - Carrie and Brody have a quick chat, making sure everyone is safe. All good, for now. Carrie believes that Nazir has no way to escape the plant, so they're simply hunting a trapped rat. It's never that easy, Carrie Back at Langley, Saul is undergoing another goddamn polygraph test - remember how much drama this thing caused last season? Saul is being accused of helping Eileen/Aileen/Who Knows commit suicide, since she slit her wrist with glasses Saul provided; Saul is smarter than this, screaming about Estes' plan for Brody. Will Saul have enough power to make a difference after Estes is done with him? Who is the mole? Is there an actual pet mole at CIA HQ? Is it possible that Saul is actually guilty? Should I trust Estes at all? Help?
Back at Nazir Power Plant Manhunt Live, the teams are rapping things up, saying that the tunnels underneath the facility are totally clear. Hmm. Carrie thinks that is literally impossible, and that someone must be helping Nazir. The mole must be on a member of the crew! Someone whisked Nazir away! We learn that Galvez, poor Galvez with the Gettysburg bullet wound, has jumped ship. After a lengthy standoff, it turns out Galvez was headed to the hospital because his stiches ripped. Carrie has a lot of horror swimming underneath her skin, and we can start to see her questioning her instincts. This is just like the end of season one slash the beginning of this season! I really hope Carrie doesn't have to dye her hair and wear those awful contacts again. Carrie, please do not go to your darkest scary place. Please.
Now! Behold! Everyone's favorite sad minstrel show - The Brody Family! Chris is eating his cereal like the sad loser he is, and Dana has a hilariously awful meltdown over milk. Jessica brings in some new milk as soon as Dana is winding down, which just causes Dana to freak out over a leaking carton and smash milk all over the floor. The last time I saw milk smashed on the floor, it was during the recent Broadway revival of The Normal Heart and I cried a lot. Now, I laughed a lot! We've come full circle. Seriously, someone needs to sit down and write some good material for Dana and Chris. Sweet Jesus of neglected television children, rescue us.
At Langley, Estes is mugging around with his massive douchebag mask that he's favored this season. Everyone has forgotten that during Quinn's last interrogation he stabbed someone through the hand, but the CIA doesn't seem to care much about previous behavior. Carrie finally gets to wash her face, and Roya is wheeled into the interrogation room. Roya is looking rough, but she's still wearing her hells because she is a woman of glamour. Or something The Roya interrogation seems to be incredibly important; I think this scene holds a lot of clues for our future with Carrie. Carrie tries to slowly unravels Roya's aggressive edge, pushing Roya to believe that she isn't a terrorist and ultimately doesn't share the same ideals as Nazir; Roya looks like she's ready to break before finding her strength - "How could you know what I want?" Roya worms her way into Carrie's head, spouting off about getting lost inside a man that makes you question all of your actions. As soon as Carrie softens, her mind floating to Brody, Roya whips around and explodes. I may yell at Carrie a lot, but she is really f*cking good at her job. This shows a moment where Carrie lost it, where Roya was smarter than our batshit heroine. Carrie is clearly frazzled by the experience, especially when Roya grabbed Carrie's hands through her clunky handcuffs and starts screaming. Roya still has feisty power.
Estes receives the results of Saul's polygraph - there's more than enough material to force Saul out; the administer of the exam mentions Saul's outburst regarding the assassination of a Congressman, but such moments have been removed from the results report. This looks very bad for Saul. Estes very quickly confirms my suspicion when he alerts Saul of the results, and essentially kicks Saul out of the CIA. Still, I wouldn't count Saul out. This is a resourceful man. I'm still not buying the popular opinion that Saul is the mole; that way of thinking also makes this plotline too convenient, an easy way to get Saul away from the intelligence hub.
Carrie drives away from Langley, her scarred body still recovering from her experience with Nazir and Roya; however, something clicks, a clue of sorts from Roya in the interrogation room - "Nazir wouldn't run," so he must be hiding in the tunnels. Carrie is adamant about her hunch. There's a final team getting ready to pack up, but Carrie convinces them to head back in for once last sweep. Back to the tunnels! Cue the most horrifying sequence Homeland has ever put together, mainly because the team decides to split up so that Carrie is left with only one solider for support. Like, back up? Please? Thank you? Carrie and Lone Ranger find the secret room where Nazir has been holed away; when Carrie runs off to grab help, Nazir slits Lone Ranger's throat. AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SPLIT UP. Carrie runs for the hills, screaming at the top of her lungs, and then gets smacked down by Nazir. This woman has endured far too much pain lately.
While it looks like Carrie could die and Nazir would get away, the rest of the team catches up with the terrorist-in-chief and surround him on his knees. Nazir reaches for something in his jacket (aka reaches for nothing, knowing he'd be killed with the sudden reach?), and the soldiers fire away. Nazir is dead. Yep. Carrie's face looks like it's about to break, from a combination of pure joy and agony that can only be realized when something you've wanted for far too long finally comes to fruition.
Nazir is dead. That's a huge statement to be able to say here at the penultimate episode of the second season of this show - Nazir was the Big Bad! Bigger than Brody! How do you fill that hole? I do believe that last week's zany plot came from a need to outwardly express Brody's "love" for Carrie, but only so Nazir/Brody could control Carrie. I think Brody has always been on Nazir's side, and I think that the two have been orchestrating "cooperation" with the CIA for a long time, just another step in their elaborate plan. I believe we only have a sliver of what really happened between Brody and Nazir after that helicopter ride. I believe Nazir has been waiting to pass the torch down to Brody for a long time now, and that his own assassination/suicide was all part of the plan - Nazir understands higher sacrifice. I believe Brody killed Walden as a glimmer of revenge for Issa, but also as a way to clear the path for his own presidential campaign. Sure, I need to map all of this out on a color-coded timeline bulletin board to see if it actually makes sense, but my mind has been heaving on this rollercoaster of a season and I finally know where I want the show to go. My brain is insane. I've become so obsessed with figuring out the dynamics of this season that it has become the only thing I think about. Get me wine and my jazz CDs. I hope I'm right, or I'm wildly wrong because these writers have cooked up something larger than life.
We finish out the episode with one of the show's big depressingly beautiful moments - Brody and Jessica, sitting in their driveway, fully acknowledging the rift in their marriage. There is no greater fix. Divorce is in the future, an attempt to move on. Brody starts to bring up all of the crazy things Carrie said when she came to the house months earlier Jessica doesn't care. Did Jessica know, have the slightest hunch about the crimes Brody committed? She doesn't care anymore. It just doesn't matter. She's ready to move on. "Carrie knows everything about you You must love her a lot." Jessica chokes out the end of her marriage to Brody.
Brody heads over to Carrie's home, and he explains that there was never a choice between picking who lived - Carrie or Walden. I don't trust Brody. I don't think Brody deserves our trust. Brody heads inside with Carrie as Quinn watches from his car. Estes told Quinn that the mission was still a go, and that it would need to happen soon. Quinn has a bullet for Brody, but will he use it? I don't think Quinn will go through, mainly because there is no character on Homeland that could replace the massive scope of Brody's character. I think we also need Brody around because he will carry on the legacy of Nazir... I think we also need Brody because he is about the run for President of the United States. I don't care if you think I'm crazy. I'll continue to hunt down the bad guys. Carrie will join me. We'll be unstoppable. Did this episode fix last week's problems? Not really. Did this week's episode feature some thrilling sequences and make every relationship on the show that murky? You bet! I'm already crying because I can't believe the finale is next week. My brain hurts.