Contributor: Henry T.
Written by Chip Johannesen
Directed by Guy Ferland
There was bound to be a letdown after the genius that was “Q&A.” What I liked about this episode, though, was the fact that it played the long game with the audience. The possibility then exists that the long game continues in the series’ main plotline. We’re still left to question the extent of Brody’s knowledge of Abu Nazir’s full operation. This has a concrete effect on the CIA team assigned to watch his every move. It falls hardest on Carrie, but only because she’s like a live wire whenever she’s around Brody.
The interrogation in the previous episode laid bare nearly all of her emotions in regard to Brody, and that predisposes her to trust Brody even as other parties like Quinn or even Saul tell her otherwise. Ultimately, the price was paid in the bodies of FBI and CIA agents in Gettysburg. Going forward, there will be intense scrutiny paid to both Roya Hammad and Brody because of the cost at the end of this episode. There seems to be a plan in place, and it’s being followed to a tee, which means that the enemy is ahead of everyone else here. Even with Brody’s new indoctrination into the CIA.
It’s rough going for the first “mission” that the CIA gives Brody. Something as simple as a photo identification of a new player in the game is wrought with complication. He might be someone who’s completely unfamiliar to Brody or an operative that he has already met. We just don’t know. It’s clear that Quinn doesn’t fully trust him, but that doesn’t bear out the consequences until the very end of the episode. It also doesn’t help that Brody isn’t entirely honest about certain aspects of Abu Nazir’s operation. The show is burning through plot with a lot of speed, and it shows here. Instead of dragging out the secret of Bassel’s death, Brody tells the team immediately. This sets off the fateful action of the plot. The key piece of information is that Roya Hammad is made aware that the CIA and FBI have raided Bassel’s shop.
Just before Quinn is able to find a crucial piece of evidence, a SWAT team kills everyone in the shop. The team is led by the same man who came into contact with Roya Hammad in the beginning of the episode. Now, if Quinn does survive (and there are no indications that he will), he can certainly come back to the CIA with the information that Roya’s contact was responsible for a complete massacre of federal agents. That information is not yet present, and as it looks, Brody may have inadvertently led the CIA into that massacre. Carrie confronts him on this, which leads to a fascinating reversal of positions from both of them. Brody is comforting Carrie after a particularly tough episode. They are closer than either would ever really admit, even to themselves. It’s a fascinating dynamic to watch, and not only because Claire Danes is basically the best crier on television. What remains a mystery is how much or how little Brody knows about the rest of Abu Nazir’s plan.
We see here that Brody is careful with his lies and truths. He tells Jessica the truth up to a point. She has to discern what could be the truth and what is the lie. The audience knows that Carrie is working with Brody, even as Brody makes that lie convincing by telling her that Carrie has been booted from the CIA. This makes it tough on Jessica, and that’s compounded by Mike and Lauder investigating the death of Tom Walker further. When Mike goes to shake some trees at the CIA, he’s met with more resistance than he probably expected. The way Saul firmly and quietly shuts Mike down about Walker’s death tells Mike little and lots about this. He’s on the right track, but has little concrete evidence to back the hunches he has up. It’s only a matter of time before all of this becomes a mess. Brody’s personal and professional life is about to be turned upside-down, and he doesn’t even see it coming.
Also complicating matters is the whole subplot with Dana and Finn Walden. Since the hit-and-run becomes a hit-and-run felony vehicular manslaughter with the death of the victim in the hospital, Finn understandably feels that his life will be over if the news comes out. That doesn’t change the fact that he verbally abuses Dana and is one step away from physically threatening her. It’s yet another secret that Dana has to hold on to, and her guilty conscience is going to cause her to crack. She will tell someone, and my bet is on Brody because they share a bond that isn’t present with Jessica.
Again, this episode was all about setting things up to head into the second half of the season so that things will get knocked down. Certain characters are armed with information that they will use at a time that they think will be advantageous to them. While this remains a transitional episode, it was a necessary one to get elements of the plot into their rightful place. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess.