A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Homeland enters the stretch of the Iranian portion of the season, one which arguably should have begun a lot earlier. The final stretch of Homeland’s third season is getting to where it ought to have been all along. The set pieces were stretched too thin, but anyhow, that’s in the past. Brody is in Tehran, Saul gets Alain to get two Mossad agents into Tehran to help Brody, Carrie finds Fara’s uncle Masud, Brody’s loyalty is called into question, Brody is then almost assassinated, and Brody reveals the truth about why he was in Iran to Dinesh Akbari. It seemed so obvious that Brody had turned once again, but then he bludgeons Akbari in the head with a crystal ashtray, smothering him. “I killed him. Get me out of here.” Cut to black. Big Man in Tehran is the season’s best episode yet but also serves to unfortunately shed a light on the weakness of the season as a whole. The third outing for the show hasn’t been as dire as some have made a deal of noting, but the best bits yet are in this one hour and it makes one wonder if everyone would have been much better off with Brody coming to Iran a lot earlier.
The episode largely centers itself around the conundrum of Brody and whether or not his operation in Tehran would work. The episode itself dances around whether or not Brody has turned to great suspenseful effect. Six days go by and the feeling that Brody has committed the ultimate betrayal once again sets itself firmly within the minds of the CIA. And Brody’s interviews certainly seem to cement that power. A poetically written scene follows when Brody is vetted by Abu Nazir’s widow. She herself is trying to figure out where Brody figures into everything.
Character wise this episode was the strongest yet. Carrie’s character, squandered massively in the middle of the season, begins to revert back to the hardcore operative we first fell in love with. Her espionage work is thrilling in the way not much of what she’s done this season has been. Brody’s character was brilliantly crafted this episode by the writers, as if they suddenly became aware again of what they needed to do to craft a believable scenario around the character again. The palpable amount of tension around Brody’s motivations summon memories of the glory of Season 1, where Brody’s character was imbued with a question of what he would ultimately do. It’s enthralling, but limiting it to one episode was a mistake.
What this episode allows Homeland to do once more is put Carrie and Brody in the closest quarters yet this season, arguably. Everything around them may be crap (in this episode it certainly isn’t), but the sheer electricity of them together is ecstatic in nature. All the two have to do is pick up the phone and just breathe and the screen veritably goes up in flames, that’s how electric the chemistry is between Danes and Lewis. The murder and his phone call were phenomenally done and there is a small part of me that really wants those two to make it and live together. But ultimately tragedy is what will be the perfect ending.
The shocking ending propels us towards the finale. The show runners will no doubt kill Nicholas Brody off, for the sake of the story’s sensibilities if nothing else. I love the character and Damian Lewis is a gift of an actor, but there is simply no way that the story can survive with him living beyond the next episode. This season was already buckling and cracking under the weight of the character and Homeland simply put cannot stand it anymore. The episode itself was a remarkable one that crammed in what should have been a story for multiple episodes, moving along at a brisk pace but still giving all of its story elements room to breathe. The production values remain stellar as the story races to catch up in quality.
Title: Big Man in Tehran
Written By: Chip Johannessen & Patrick Harbinson
Directed By: Daniel Minahan
Image Courtesy: Jaymzclements @ WordPress