[This post contains spoilers about the ninth episode of 'Homeland' season three.]
(Photo via Showtime / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)"One Last Time." That's what Showtime called its ninth episode of "Homeland" season three. We were treated to a stroll through memory lane. But what did the title refer to? Was it one last time for a heart-to-heart between Dana and her dad? One last time for Brody and Carrie to share smiling glances? One last time for a convoluted, 'so ridiculous it just might work' plan by Saul?
And the plan. Let's talk about this plan. Here it is, in Saul's words: "Brody seeks political asylum there, gets an audience with [the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard] - he takes him out. Javadi's the heir apparent. He ascends the throne, and he goes from being one of the 20 most important people in Iran, to one of three. Only he's working for us." Here are the list of things that need to happen for Saul's plan to work:
1. Brody, who was practically catatonic just weeks earlier, is able to compose himself enough to convince Iran he's both the Langley bomber and looking to take up residence in sunny Tehran (we'll get back to that below).
2. Javadi, who has a complicated history with Iran to begin with, has been able to ingratiate himself within the regime in record time.
3. Brody gets close to the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard...and kills him.
4. Javadi assumes power because of this vacancy.
This could, of course, all happen. Maybe the final three episodes of "Homeland" will prove the roller-coaster ride was not as absurd as it appears laid out in print. I hope so.
The timing of the episode is fascinating. In the same conversation with Carrie, Saul says the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard is the "single greatest impediment to peace" and he hopes this plan will bring "something besides another war. Something that'll change the facts on the ground, just enough. So two countries that haven't been able to communicate for over 30 years except through terrorist actions and threats can sit down and talk." Obama could have used similar words to describe the goals of his own deal with Iran this weekend.
But back to Brody. He's "not what we expected but he's what we've got," Saul tells Dar Adal. Or put more bluntly by one of the nameless marines tasked with working him back into shape: "a mess" and "a junkie."
And he is - crying, with severe heroin withdrawal. The medicine he's given to expedite his recovery gives him serious hallucinations, where he sees more of his past (for one last time?): Tom Walker and Abu Nazir. He tries to stab himself with a broken chair leg until Saul eventually steps in.
Brody tells Saul he wants to die, but Saul teases a way out, a chance for him "to be a marine again. The man you were."
In secondary plot development, Virgil and Max are running surveillance in Saul's house, and stumble on the other man, Alain Bernard. Turns out he's not some former Olympian or a French sociologist - he's an Israeli intelligence officer. And worse: he's working with soon-to-be CIA Chief Andrew Lockhart. Saul confronts the Senator with the news, but let's him off easy. "You could destroy me with this," Lockhart says, but Saul says he wants time to run his operation, and doesn't want to hurt his wife or the CIA.
We fast forward as Brody runs and trains with the boys, and suddenly a little more than two weeks later he's basically a Marine again. With his mission in hand, he wants to see his daughter. She's not very interested - she tells him she doesn't want to see him again: "either of you," noticing Carrie in the doorway. But there is one person who wants to see him - the unsettled heroine who has been in and out of hospitals all season. "See you on the other side," Carrie tells Brody as he heads to Iran.
Was it one last time where Carrie and Brody said goodbye? Or is it one more time we'll see the same storyline, continued for yet another season.