The Training Montage
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The training montage is an almost obligatory thing that has sort of become a hilarious cliché by this point. In One Last Thing, which was titled Horse & Wagon and also known as One Last Time (pick a name and stick to it, dammit), we cross over multiple converging story lines that are struggling to have enough room to breathe. Brody’s heroin withdrawal, a decent question considering how hooked on those drugs he was, is dealt with decisively, even if in the process Brody goes on the route of stabbing himself to death. But the most substantial moment in this episode relates to Dana Brody, for whom the writers have struggled to give anything substantial this entire season. Her final meeting with her father where she clearly states that she never wants to see him again is heartbreaking and gives Brody the final push to agree to go to Iran and thinly hoping for something resembling redemption.
The episode begins with a junkie Brody. Naturally, considering Saul’s plan, having a CIA asset that’s beyond hooked on heroin presents a couple of rather significant problems. Like how he is going to function, for example. Dar Adal suggests using ibogaine to speed up the recovery process, which sound perfectly reasonable until the reality that the drug induces hallucinations is made available. The drug is given to Brody anyway. The hallucinations set in and he destroys his chair, using the pieces to then stab himself. Saul calms him down. “Be a Marine again,” he said but Brody frankly isn’t sure what that even means anymore. “I’d rather die,” he replies and frankly no one can blame him for that sentiment. In a meta sense, that dialogue feels like the writers telling everyone “We want to kill him off already.”
Saul goes to Carrie, outlining his Iranian plan. Brody would be trained and smuggled over the Iranian border. He would then use his “credentials” as the Langley bomber to gain asylum within Tehran. He wound find the Iranian official Dinesh Akbari, who has been a thorn in the negotiations, assassinate him, and under threat of exposition to the Revolutionary Guard have Javadi take his place and do the CIA’s bidding. Frankly this sounds phenomenally complicated and just a little far-fetched. Nor is the American government likely to wholeheartedly endorse a plan that requires the full cooperation of a guy who just a montage after quickly recovering from heroin addiction with the aid of a hallucinogen. But without Brody, the entire thing certainly goes for a tailspin. Carrie goes hardcore, man-up mode with Brody, noting that even if he didn’t blow up Langley, he’s done plenty of other … things that would get him into plenty of trouble. But those threats do very little to dissuade Brody. He’s done for. In a brilliant moment and a great callback to the marvelous Q & A from Season 2, Carrie realizes that Brody’s soft spot is his emotional side. She arranges a meeting with Dana, who is understandably less than pleased to meet her father. “Tell me what you want me to say so I can say it,” she said curtly, her arch and pain evident throughout. She shuns Brody out and it’s a great last scene for the two. Morgan Saylor as always is great. It’s truly odd that the Brody family won’t be in the finale. Everything suggests that the finale will be a tough going for everyone involved. If this is Dana’s last appearance and it certainly looks like it, then she’s going out with another fantastic performance that drew tears from my eyes.
Virgil and Max are back and frankly this entire season could have been a lot more electric if those two were constantly on our screens. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love these two? It’s a little unfortunate that the storyline they were assigned to was so clearly telegraphed from the start. Mira’s affair wasn’t that surprising considering her separation from Saul, but everything has been pointing towards Alain Bernard being something else. Turns out he’s a Mossad agent who was hired by Lockhart to snag Saul’s life in order to clear his own pathway to the director’s chair. Saul’s naturally furious but leave it to our favorite bearded man to turn the situation into his favor not for himself, but for the mission. Although I have to say, I really wanted him to say something along the lines of “I’m Saul Berenson. You had an affair with my wife. Now prepare to die.” Yes, that never gets old.
One Last Thing is a lesser episode than the previous Saul-centric hour but continues the strong trend of the second half of the season to push itself forward with momentum. It is increasingly clear that the show’s building to a confrontation in Iran that hopefully shatters the status quo for the show altogether. But with a bleak sort of tone that has been building a stronger narrative, there is a pervasive sense that this mission will not end well for some. For others, and perhaps even Homeland itself, it will be a new leaf.
Title: One Last Thing
Written By: Barbara Hall
Directed By: Jeffrey Reiner
Image Courtesy: The Huffington Post