Homeland: Big Man in Tehran Review

In the heart of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Brody has found his redemption. And the show just might have found its salvation...

Up until tonight, I have often referred to Sen. Lockhart on Season 3 of Homeland as “Senator McSnooty.” But even I have to begin by saluting the good statesman this evening, as he better than any other person boiled down the essence of Brody to a succinct truth: “He is a man who changes his mind.” If that isn’t the subtitle to Homeland’s Series Bible, I cannot imagine what is. Yes, much of tonight rode precariously on the shoulders of its titular “Big Man in Tehran,” as Carrie, the CIA and even the audience was left completely clueless as to Brody’s motivations. Dropped into the heart of the Iranian regime where one false move could lead to his death, and with his CIA support to getting out of the country dangerously adrift, Brody played his cards so close to the vest that I doubt even he knew what he was holding. But it is clear that the show does. In the penultimate episode of the season, one can look back and realize that this is the Long Goodbye. The final bow for the man who would be a terrorist. While tonight ends on an especially stinging cliffhanger, the target on Nicholas’ head is almost as bright as the ginger hair. And it is about time. Early in the episode, turned CIA asset Majid Javadi convinces his IRGC boss to meet with Brody, then pleading for asylum, to deduce whether or not he should be trusted. Yet, the IRGC head honcho proved to be a little smarter than Javadi has previously appeared by sensing a CIA trap when it is under his nose. Instead of meeting in close proximity with the guy who has already betrayed his own government and Abu Nazir enough times to be called a seven-sided agent (or a heptagon?), he has Brody brought to a safe house in the Iranian capital. Carrie, who was on the ground back in her now famous hair dye and burqa disguise, had set the scenario roughly up so that Brody could kill Javadi’s boss and be smuggled out by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organization that was roped into this because of the spook caught sleeping with Saul’s wife (it’s a long story). They got Brody the cyanide poison and it was all set for…Brody to actually meet with the duplicitous kindness of Abu Nazir’s widow.  A character that we have never met before appears before Brody and, to actress Naz Deravian’s credit, convinces me that she and Brody have known each other for years. It would be naïve to suggest they are friends, but it was as if the bird with a broken wing that the Nazirs healed had come back to her, and she was ready to pat it on the head for its effort. It was also enough to convince the Iranian government that Brody could become their new posterboy for anti-American propaganda. And to be honest, I think Brody was happy to do it. Yes, the episode ends with the former sergeant assassinating the IRGC leader (we’re getting to that, I promise!), but I point you again to Sen. Lockhart’s precise words on the man. The show even has a six-day time jump to drive home how big of a clusterf—ck this operation has turned into. Brody is sitting pretty on the TV essentially spouting death to America and the U.S. president is calling Langley for the one-time congressman’s head. One also gets the feeling that they will settle for Saul, who at this point has Lockhart breathing down his neck as the shadows recede from the wings. The answer is to protect their asset in Javadi by taking Brody out, which would have worked if not for that meddling Carrie…Carrie! In what may be the most contrived moment of the season, Saul implies to Carrie via phone that they are going to cut their losses with Brody…likely with two in the back of the head. And then Saul, Dar Adal and the rest are shocked (shocked!) that she would go rogue to warn Brody that the CIA is closing in on him (it technically turned out to be Mossad). This is a woman who, in regards to Nicholas Brody, has disobeyed Every. Single. Order. Ever. They REALLY thought she would passively sit by while Saul gave the kill order?!  However, lazy plotting aside, it does set up what this whole season is likely about. Brody saying goodbye. As Mossad is closing in, Brody has a heart-to-heart with Carrie across the courtyard of a mosque via cellular. As he told Nassrin, he wants to stop running. For about six days, he thought Tehran might be that place of rest. Spew “death to America?” Why not? Maybe on Tuesday he’ll blow hugs and kisses to Uncle Sam. He just always likes to keep his options open. But unfortunately, these days he has no more options. At least none that can carry on a weekly television series. As he explains to Carrie, he cannot go on the run with her, taking her away from her home and the CIA, which is the nexus of this Showtime hit. He also realizes that he cannot stay in Tehran as the World’s Most Eligible Jihadist. The CIA wants him dead, his daughter hates him, and, worst of all, after being blamed for the Langley bombing, there is nowhere for his character to go. So, it’s time to say goodbye. It is only then that he makes up his mind to stroll into the Iranian Revolutionary Guard headquarters and clear a path for Javadi by taking the boss out for a permanent lunch break. And as Brody snuffed the man with a pillow, only moments after he was told that Abu Nazir discussed Brody being a “Sword for Allah” in this very office, he too realized that it had come full circle. “It all started here,” Brody smirked only seconds before blowing away his safe haven. Yes, he gives the obligatory cliffhanger by calling Carrie and asking her to get him out of Iran, but we all know that’s not happening. When the show let Brody survive the Langley bombing at the end of Season 2 while simultaneously having him blamed for the attack, they put Nicholas Brody into a corner where there was only one logical outcome. And that is not picking out baby cribs with Carrie Mathison at Bed Bath & Beyond. It took Showtime a seeming a season to accept what everyone has been saying: Brody’s story is over. This is how it ends. Brody found his redemption tonight. Next week, the series just might find its salvation. Den of Geek Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


3 out of 5