After three days of interrogation, Brody finally gets a second to rest in Tehran, where Majid Javadi continues to be passive-aggressive and kind of awesome. Carrie has, of course, shown up in town because you have to be as close as possible to the shit you're stirring if you want maximum chaos. Fara's uncle provides a safe house to plan the operation, while Saul gets Alain to agree to a trade: His freedom for two Mossad agents to join the party, arrange the assassination, and help retrieve Brody after.
Provided with some kind of cyanide device, Brody's suddenly picked up and brought to a strange neighborhood, where the General pulls a weird move and ends up sending Brody in to be vetted by Nassrin, Abu Nazir's captivating widow, who's been living here ever since Nazir died. After some complicated interactions, Brody heads back out into the street where -- as Carrie watches from the sidelines -- he's finally welcomed publicly as the hero of Langley. On the way back to his compound, he destroys the device.
Which is fine, because when we pick up the story six days later, it's clear he's never going to be anywhere near the General: His propaganda value, as the US discovered last year, is simply too high for him to do anything more useful than just being Nicholas Brody. POTUS is pissed, Lockhart's still being a sweetie about everything, and even Saul must admit that Dar Adal's (usual) plan to murder Brody is probably the best move this time.
Carrie knows that Nick's not actually the enemy of the US he pretends to be -- or does she? -- but something in Saul's voice as he tells her to get out of town and scrub the whole thing alerts her to the fact that her Mossad buddies are going to be killing Nick really fast. She calls him up from the other side of a courtyard where he's about to pray, and back home even Quinn is getting kind of fed up with her way of ruining everything all the time.
Nick loses the hit squad and -- with Dar Adal, Lockhart and even Saul's valid points about Brody's dissociative tendencies ringing in our ears -- reports directly to Nassrim, who finally puts him in an office with the General. After spilling the beans about the entire operation, even the embezzlement stuff about Javadi, Nick abruptly murders the General in his own office, and cries for a while before calling Carrie up and asking for a ride out of there.
Very suspenseful, between the constant reevaluations and re-routings of the plans they love to outline for us all the time, but even moreso for the clever overture feeling to the proceedings: We come full circle on Nazir, on Nick's Al-Qaeda ties; on a sort of microcosm of every way we have ever felt about Brody, every way Carrie has, and the country has; the way one man's terrorist is another man's patriot... Every person he's been, on the entire run of the series.
Which is, in itself, a miniature of the entire series, since the unknowability of Nicholas Brody was always the focus, even when he was gone. And in turn, all of which -- especially given the intense lingering on a scene where Carrie catches her baby bump in the mirror of her Tehran hotel room, and presumably realizes for the 197th time that she is, in fact, pregnant -- makes me wonder just what the fuck is going to happen next week.
Is there any way he can possibly survive this latest thing? And if not, did he accomplish his redemption? Is that even a thing that exists in the universe of this show? Is it even possible, to tell his life in a way that has more brightness in it than the dark? Was the whole season secretly an epitaph for a man who wasn't there, and won't be missed? He's always been one that found beauty in faith -- in the US, in his calling, in Allah -- and I guess that's how we have to roll, for now. Tougher than it sounds, and -- I don't know about you, but -- the heartbreaking Mass Effect music playing over the finale teaser offers zero fucking comfort.
It was so great when, after weeks and weeks of abuse and insanity and pregnancy tests, Carrie got to look Majid Javadi in the eye and say Nasser Hejazi, the dead soccer player he is a little bit gay about. That was so great. Less great was when Saul put his wife's boyfriend in a quote "dark fucking hole" for being Mossad, but mostly for being his wife's boyfriend. This is not great, because they were on a break. If you want your wife to act like a wife, act like a husband and not a raccoon.
Anyway, Brody's in Tehran and there are no dwarves left to save him and no extraction plan when it's over and no chance of this working out okay, but the play is still in play.
Saul: "I still don't like you very much. Because you bugged my house, but mostly because Mira used you to make a point. A point she had verbally explained to me dozens of times. So now that you are a real person, I feel foolish and also like making you feel bad."
Alain: "I'm Israeli. I don't feel bad, I feel mean. And I feel also like I fucked your wife."
Saul: "See, that's the kind of shit I am talking about."
Saul tells him to get Mossad to supply two agents in Tehran to be the new dwarves, but really they will end up being the new Max and Virgil, who aren't dwarves at all. (One is a gorgeous fashion model elf of the woods who is kind of dumb, and the other one is a tinker goblin with one Dobby finger stuck permanently in his ear.) Alain says, "No I can't!" and Saul says "Then get ready to enjoy the rest of your life here at the Fairfax County Dark Fucking Hole Extended-Stay Suites." Then Alain says "Okay maybe I can!"
Brody has been saying his cover story -- which is pretty much his real story -- over and over for three days. There is a man who looks like Bluto doing this part, and there are cameras and lights, and Brody looks like one hundred percent of a mess.
Bluto: "But before you got to the Tower of David and met that strange monster-doctor-villain-angel, who was it that shot you in your abdomen?"
Brody: "I don't know, jerks?"
Bluto: "Are you full of AIDS?"
Brody: "I do not have HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS."
Bluto: "How do you know that? You have been inside containers and towers and jeeps this whole time. When did you administrate this test?"