“One Last Thing” for Brody? Flashes of brilliance in Homeland‘s Season 3, Episode 9

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Jay: So this episode may have been the best one all season. Granted, there were some pretty unbelievable parts, and some somewhat ridiculous time-warp moments (like the jarring “Sixteen Days Later” transition), but Brody’s return to the United States as a full-fledged human being (as opposed to a full-fledged junkie) breathed some life into what has otherwise been a subpar season.

Even Dana didn’t bother me as much in this episode. Alan Sepinwall hit all the right notes in his review already, among which were two important ones: 1) Dana works best when she’s in scenes with her father, and 2) Brody is almost definitely not going to survive this mission.

While I’ll probably miss him — and while the show may struggle to figure out how to move forward without him always lurking on the periphery — it’s probably about time he disappears. Even if he were to make it back alive, another season of him trying to woo Dana again probably isn’t a season worth watching.

Of course, Carrie continues to be reckless at all times, including a truly mind-blowing escape from the secret compound to take one of the world’s most wanted men to see his emotionally unstable teenaged daughter. What could possibly go wrong?

Fortunately, nothing did. But Carrie is getting increasingly hard to root for.

How would you rate this episode?

Sam: I would agree that this episode was one of the best of the season. For me, what stood out were the embedded storylines. Remember when we started out this season thinking the show was pushing Iran-as-the-evil-perpetrator in a way that seemed anachronistic given what was happening in real life? Saul’s discussion of his big-picture plan this week seemed to shine some light in that dark tunnel, although I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

One subtle piece that I thought was powerful was Saul’s order to force feed Brody. Granted, we never actually see this, but I assumed it happened. Probably for the best if you’ve watched Mos Def’s video of being force fed. But the exchange between Saul and the special ops guys was pretty stark.

I will say I am glad that the angle with Mira’s lover was not dragged out further with either Mira or her lover/spy actually having any sort of speaking role. It was much more effective to simply talk about the events and to leave them out of the actual scenes.

Dana still bothers me, but I suppose that just speaks to her skill as an actress. Carrie has — more often than not — been tough for me to root for, and as you pointed out, what she did this week certainly doesn’t help. At least Saul’s admitting his frustration more with it. He used to just let it go without much more than a shrug.

A couple of oddities: does a U.S. Senator really have that much time on his hands? Thinking about how the Senator has appeared in the last few episodes, it really makes it seem like he’s strutting around just waiting for his confirmation hearing. Then again, who knows how inaccurate that actually is. (I kid, but only slightly.)

The previews next week seemed to indicate that Brody’s character is going to be meeting his impending doom. You seem pretty convinced he’s a goner. Could you see any scenario in which he does return from Tehran and live?

Jay: I actually laughed out loud at the concept of Saul just shrugging at Carrie consistently screwing up massively important national security operations. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s exactly what he does — metaphorically, anyway. He’s like a disappointed father, which is all the weirder given how serious all of Carrie’s missteps are. Perhaps none was more bizarre than the time she tried to seduce him in the pilot episode, a moment which, in retrospect, seems even more out of character for her than usual.

As for Brody’s chances, it is entirely possible he’ll live after all. In fact, if the preview you saw makes it look as if he’s going to die, I’d almost be inclined to believe the opposite will actually take place. The problem, though, is what comes afterward. Unless Homeland keeps dragging him back for the uber-cliched “one last mission,” the show’s integrity will take an even bigger hit than it already has. In some ways I’d be less surprised to see Carrie go to Iran to meet or save Brody than for him to return to her. But I suppose we’ll find all that out soon enough.

Do you have any predictions?

Sam: Maybe I just picture the SNL skit of Homeland too much, but Saul seems to have become increasingly frustrated with Carrie. It could be that he has a different perspective as the CIA head now. Before that wasn’t a huge concern for him.

As for predictions, I’m gonna say either Saul or Brody dies. Just a crazy theory, but one of the big three seems like they must go. Brody is probably everyone’s frontrunner, but you wonder if this makes it too obvious. Either way, I feel like someone’s gonna die.

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About Samson X. Lim

Samson Lim is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Scholarship Junkies, a Seattle-based scholarship resource organization that works to help students make higher education more affordable. Sam spent the 2010-11 academic year in Berlin, Germany, as a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. When he’s not buried in grad school reading, Sam emerges every once in a while to highlight higher education and financial aid issues in 140 characters or less at @samsonxlim.

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