Well, that was unexpected. Last night’s episode of Homeland, titled “New Car Smell,” took a turn that most assumed we wouldn’t see happen until at least Season Four. Due to the “confession” that Brody recorded before his aborted attempt at becoming a suicide bomber, the CIA now knows unequivocally that he is a terrorist who is working for Abu Nazir. At the end of the latest episode, Brody is taken into custody, a black bag over his head. So how did that happen?
On his way back from Beirut, Saul is stopped by security forces at the airport. After being brought into a private room, a very calm and sinister-looking man opens Saul’s briefcase which is clearly marked “Do Not Open.” Saul tells him that opening the briefcase and/or examining its contents could set off a serious international incident. The man doesn’t seem to care and we get the sense that his loyalty resides with someone unconcerned with diplomatic ethics. Abu Nazir, maybe? The man finds the small memory drive that we know has Brody’s confession on it. He puts it in his pocket and tells Saul never to return to this country.
On the plane, we see Saul remove the real memory drive from its hidden location. Score one for Saul’s paranoia and forethought. Saul arrives at Carrie’s house directly from the airport and lets her see Brody’s message. She is both elated to have proof she was correct about Brody, but saddened that he is a traitor to his country. Saul then visits David Estes to share the good/bad news. They have two choices: 1) arrest a U.S. Congressman who is also a terrorist and stop one of Abu Nazir’s henchmen, or 2) leave Brody alone for now and hope they can watch him closely enough to discover his contacts in the U.S.
They decide that they will have to begin tracking Brody’s every move and investigating everyone he comes into contact with. A team is assembled and they begin a massive surveillance operation aimed at finding out who Brody is working with and who he may be contacting. The team arranges a coincidental meeting between Brody and Carrie at CIA headquarters to spook him a little bit by acknowledging Carrie is back with the agency. It works. Soon after their “chance” encounter, Brody alerts Roya Hammad (Zuleikha Robinson) to the fact that Carrie is back with the CIA. Roya, Brody’s only contact with Abu Nazir, tells him not to worry because she has been completely discredited and is unlikely to cause any problems.
Brody has other troubles, though. He is staying at a hotel because he and Jessica are having issues at home. After he missed the fundraising event she organized, she’s confident he is cheating on her again and trying to keep it secret. While getting drunk at the hotel bar, Brody calls Carrie and asks her to join him for a drink. She agrees and Saul and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), the man Estes chose to lead the stakeout on Brody, watch from their secret location. At their meeting, Carrie drops hints that they are close to getting Abu Nazir. She is afraid she gives herself away when Brody asks about her electroshock therapy treatment, so Carrie follows Brody to his room and confronts him about his real motives, the information the CIA has on him and the fact that there is a team on their way to take him down.
Homeland has done a brilliant job with the cat-and-mouse game Carrie and Brody have been playing since the show began. But where can they go with this? The CIA now has indisputable proof that Brody is a terrorist working for Abu Nazir and with him in custody, it’s not likely he’s getting out any time soon. I have full confidence in the writers, but how they will keep the adrenaline and suspense going is beyond me.