HOMELAND Recap: “Big Man In Tehran”

by     Posted 321 days ago

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What made Homeland so engaging in its first season was the question of whether Brody was really a traitor or not.  There were atrocities committed by both sides, but whether he could be brainwashed against his own country — and even regardless of that, could he ever really come home? — ruled the season.  Since then, the show has returned to this question a few times, even briefly regarding Carrie’s loyalty (which we now know was all a trick).  But in the third season’s penultimate episode, the show once again returns to this founding tenet in a definitive hour.  Hit the jump for more.

homeland-season-3-posterHomeland‘s third season has had its detractors (myself sometimes included, although I didn’t fault the show for the Carrie fake-out at the start like so many seemed to hate), and it’s likely that “Big Man In Tehran” will get picked apart and lambasted for purposefully being tricky, creating false stakes that weren’t really likely (such as Brody being assassinated), and basically — just like last week — moving at a breakneck speed when really, couldn’t some of this been drawn out instead of spending all of that time with Dana road tripping earlier this year?

Brody’s wishy-washiness is as irritating as ever, and because of it (as Lockhart aptly said, the one thing we know about him is how much he changes his mind), nearly anything was possible.  Yes, it was likely that Brody was still on board and that Carrie would set him right if not — because, honestly, he might have truly been thinking of retirement in Tehran until the assassins showed up — but, it was still interesting to see how he would or would not execute (literally) the plan.  His talk, for instance, with Abu Nazir’s widow felt completely genuine.  He’s in a complicated predicament; it’s something we saw in Season Two, when he really tried to integrate back into his former life, but couldn’t help but lay out his mat and praise Allah in the garage.  His experiences haven’t left him, they’ve just changed him.  And that, the original premise of the show, is still worth exploring.

homeland-big-man-in-tehran-rupert-friendOn the other hand, things do feel a bit tired.  Once again, Brody goes rogue.  And of course, Carrie defends him and then breaks protocol to reach out to him.  No one believes her, or him, and an attempt is made to capture or kill him.  He escapes, like the resourceful, weasel-like man he is, and makes a choice.  And so forth.

But was Brody really brave?  He doesn’t go into the mission as a suicide.  He calls Carrie for help, and says “get me out of here.”  She probably will.  Still, the point is, Brody can ever only go so far.  He’s always ultimately controlled or aided by other people.  He’s a puppet, and Abu Nazir was his old master.  Carrie is his new one.  It doesn’t make Brody a very likable or honorable character, but Homeland has fallen down on much character development this year.  Instead, things have gone more in the 24 vein in this last part of the season, and maybe, all things considered, that’s ok.

I said last week that Homeland may have written itself out of the top echelon of television (depending on your level of pretension and your patience), but as long as it remains entertaining, it has some value.  These twists might not hold up on repeat viewings, but they do make for a topsy turvy hour of TV.  Plenty of other shows do that, sure.  And there are things about Homeland that are kinda laughable as they happen.  But ultimately, one has to admit that “Big Man In Tehran” has set up a pretty great finale, one that makes us hunger for more.  And that’s worth something.

Episode Rating: B+

Musings and Miscellanea:

– So when did you know Brody was going to kill Akbari?  I like how they kind of subverted that superhero trope of the villain explaining all of his plans, then the hero escapes, whereas Brody tells Akbari everything and then kills him.  Boom!

– “It’s a trap!”- Akbar. Akbari should have known better.

homeland-big-man-in-tehran-mandy-patinkin– Carrie realizing she’s starting to have a baby bump and acknowledging the baby is real … finally.

– Quinn, my favorite character, asking about where Carrie fits into everything at the meeting kinda gave me feels.  I don’t necessarily see them or want them together, but I do like his concern and respect.

– Brody seeing that red door and it reminding him of his time with Nazir (and freaking out for one second) was a nice buried moment and good foreshadowing to the fact he was about to see Nazir’s widow.

– I like how the PR department apparently did not care about getting Brody any new clothes.

– “One thing we know about Brody is this is a guy who changes his mind” – Lockhart

– Lockhart was very gracious with Saul about the Javadi plant, wasn’t he?  And very gentle when discussing Brody’s removal (from this Earth).  Him losing his bite so easily seems out of character, but maybe I just miss their sparring.

– “I killed him. Get me out of here.” – Brody




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  • Leo Spaceman

    “gave me feels” and General Akbar’s quote. This is not he forum for stupid internet memes. As a paid professional your product should be professionally written.

    I have never once in my life heard an American born and raised person ever once call America “The States.” When an English actor playing and American calls America the states it stands out and to me at least feels obvious the person is not raised in America. To call our country “The States” sounds like you are referring to that group of nations over there. Since the Civil War The United States of America has considered itself a single nation (Unless Nicholas Cage Circa National Treasure Was lying to me). Charlie Hunnan (Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy) does it too, and it really stands out when bad boy all American Entrepeneur / Gun running, woman beating, murdering, drug muling biker boy doesn’t properly refer to America as America.

    So if you have a highly important target drawn out into the open for the first time in years, rather than have your ground team snipe a bullet through his head, you choose to have an ex junkie was up to the man and stab him with a needle while he is surrounded by armed guards.

    They could have very easily tested Brody’s loyalty the second they walked him into that building rather than having him meet the target. If they strip searched him then and there, they would have found an instrument that he intended to use to murder the target.

    That conversation he had with the ex-wife should have been a give a way that he was in contact with America in some way because he knew that his daughter had tried to commit suicide. They could have deduced that he was a spy.

    So we have a group of people gathering around a sighting of Iranian hero Brody and no one from Iranian Intelligence realizes there is an white woman awkwardly standing in the crowd. Surely Iranian spies can recognize key players in American Intelligence just like the CIA can recognize key players in America.

    So the CIA can see Brody talking on the cell phone, but they cant see the woman talking on the cell phone right on the other side of the fountain.

    Really the person that was entering the Mosque with Brody thought nothing of the fact that Brody walked back outside and took a phone call with a phone that he didn’t previously have? He wasn’t being discrete about being on the phone.

    There had better be some major event in the next episode that justifies why we had to deal with that little punk s**t that was in the mental hospital because his brother “killed himself.”

    • Brad

      But Quinn is the greatest character ever. I mean, he’s just so … there and he’s always got something interesting to offer. Won’t you come back for more Quinn action?

    • Brad

      But Quinn is the greatest character ever. I mean, he’s just so … there and he’s always got something interesting to offer. Won’t you come back for more Quinn action?

  • Jim

    Carrie and Brody probably shouldn’t have sex again if Brody has Hep C and possibly AIDs

  • Jim

    Carrie and Brody probably shouldn’t have sex again if Brody has Hep C and possibly AIDs

  • Summer

    Glad Brody got his redemption and I hope he gets out of that office. I don’t understand why so many people want Brody killed off. To me he is the most interesting character on the show. I did not think that he went off track with the plan, its just when plan A (kill Akbari on the street) did not work out, Brody had to improvise. He gained Iranians’ trust by going on national TV and admitting to the crime he did not commit. That already was a huge sacrifice on his part.

  • Summer

    Glad Brody got his redemption and I hope he gets out of that office. I don’t understand why so many people want Brody killed off. To me he is the most interesting character on the show. I did not think that he went off track with the plan, its just when plan A (kill Akbari on the street) did not work out, Brody had to improvise. He gained Iranians’ trust by going on national TV and admitting to the crime he did not commit. That already was a huge sacrifice on his part.

  • Bo

    Lest this writer forget that Lockart is up the creek without a paddle as far as Saul is concerned. Saul has him over a barrel with what the knows and confronted Lockart with. Come on, Allison. If you’re gonna comment and write about a show then pay attention and remember key, but simple, plot points. Jeez! How do I get you job?

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