For those who tuned out of Homeland’s third season because of the lukewarm Metacritic score, the shift from the extravagant second season, and the lack of Brody, it’s time to tune back in.
On closer inspection, the first and second episodes saw relatively few reasons to be sent to the gallows, other than the (thankfully shortened) Brody family subplots. A masterful Carrie performance, a great transition to the dark side by Saul (via Evil Emperor Dar Adal) and the unshakable and undeniably badass morality of our favorite heart-of-gold assassin, Peter Quinn, all created a solid bridge to the third episode’s biggest reveal yet.
We begin with a pan from a serene Venezuelan beach to a small armed gang stationed by a blue pickup. A jeep rolls in and they aim their corsairs at the driver. He instructs them, hands raised, to look in the back of the jeep, where a limp hand wavers.
The driver explains that they were ambushed by Colombians. “Remember, I save his life,” he insists, his hands still in the air. They pull out a bald, bleeding Brody.
Yes, Brody is back and with two bullets in his gut.
They carry him to their semi and drive to a Road Warrior-like settlement, complete with custom gates fashioned from beams and pieces of storefront roll-up doors.
Brody struggles to stay alive, panting heavily as he is driven into an underground facility, where a gangly English-speaking doctor looks over Brody.
The doctor’s cool placidity and melodic voice insure us he has complete control over Brody’s condition. He calmly complains about the flickering lights while his assistant, the gang leader’s teenage daughter, heats heroin on a spoon to quell Brody’s pain.
As Brody’s eyes roll up into his skull from the drug, the doctor instructs a young boy to pinch Brody’s wound as he takes out the gory bullets.
The doctor knows who Brody is, and the $10 million bounty — dead or alive — on his head. He asks the gang leader why go through the trouble of saving him.
Amidst Brody’s heroin-fueled recovery, someone steals his wallet with the passport Carrie gave him at the end of season two.
Brody awakes, sober, disoriented, in a dilapidated stone room overlooking a beautiful city: Caracas, where Quinn shot the banker in season three’s first episode.
The gang leader welcomes Brody to his new home. “Why are you trying to help me?” asks Brody. Turns out the gang leader knows Carrie, but says little else about the matter.
Brody’s recovering Bruce Wayne-style when he gets called up to the roof. The gang leader presents him the thief who stole his wallet. Brody identifies him and they throw the thief off the building. Vexed by the death of the thief and an itch to keep moving “to the next place,” Brody attempts to walk out. He’s stopped by the gang leader who tells him this is “the end of the line.”
Half-way into the episode we finally get a shot of a rested, less crazy Carrie as she tries to make her best face while speaking with a psychologist on her condition.
She tries to coax the doctor to speak to Saul about her improved condition. Silent, he continuous to write in his notepad.
Brody covers up the dead thief and attempts to cajole the daughter to help him escape to the mosque in the city, a refuge. Brody’s bald charm works, but before we see the result of Brody’s masterful escape plan, it’s time for a minor addition to our favorite weekly topic …
What Crazy Thing Did Carrie Do This Week?
While constructing a detailed Popsicle-stick house at the psych ward, she excuses herself to the bathroom and proceeds to bang her head on the mirror until it bleeds. An attendant catches her and Carrie pleads her to keep quiet about the incident. Looks like the lithium and group therapy aren’t helping much.
By the way, have you noticed something? No Brody family side-plots. It’s just crazy Carrie and runaway Brody, back-to-back. Let’s all take a moment to thank the writers …
Anyway, Carrie learns from her benevolent home attendant, Abby, that a man stopped by to check up on her condition recently. Carrie says that it must be Saul and to let her know the next time he comes around. We all know it’s not Saul.
Brody says his goodbye to the girl before she manages to vomit this episode’s most throwaway line: “Take me with you.”
Really? She seemed so happy in that squatter skyscraper. Brody gives her a satisfying “What? No,” apologetically leaving her on the street corner. He comes over and woos the Imam in Arabic, who takes him by the hand and directs him into the mosque, where he is greeted by the Imam’s wife. Bald Brody is quite the player.
While Brody showers, local police barge in and beat him; Imam found out Brody’s identity. Poor guy never has a quiet moment in this show: shot twice in the gut, fed heroin, had a man killed because of him, denied escape, and was beaten up in the shower.
Carrie meets the mysterious visitor — not Quinn or Saul but yet another new face: Paul Franklin (although he does look like Quinn’s rattier brother), an associate at a big law firm. He asks her where they can speak privately.
Brody is placed in a cell under the gang leader’s command: “You will eat here, sleep here, shit here, die here.” To make matters worse, the gangly doctor stands in the doorway, repeating what a “naughty boy” Brody is.
In a serene garden, Paul tells Carrie that he wants to get her out, on the behalf of his partner. (Notice the prevalent theme of generous benefactors and confinement in this episode?) Carrie refuses Paul’s help, her intuition gathering that Paul has alternative motives. “I would rather die in here,” she exclaims, storming back into the psych ward and asking for her meds.
In a killer juxtaposition, the doctor leaves a heroin kit with Brody, who ties the rubber tubing around his arm, cocks the syringe … and the shot fades to Carry curled up in a corner of her room, her own cell, both pariahs trapped with no foreseeable escape.