As expected after last week's dustup outside the police station, Dana shows up at Mike Faber's condo and ends up spending the night because she is losing her mind. The next day, he takes her to visit the daughter of that lady they ran over -- and, of course, the deliriously enraged girl has already been paid off by the Walden campaign, so she doesn't want Dana to say anything at this point. They move quick. Dana and Faber bond over his questionable role within the family, but the very most welcome reconciliation is that between Dana and Jessica, who flips into Mama Bear so fast and sweetly that it immediately becomes her best episode ever.
Where's Brody during all this? Oh, it's a real treat. First he goes full-on catatonic in his house, and Carrie has to literally carry him out the door to his next big Roya meetup. At which point he freaks out on Roya -- who by the way has never been better; the sheer amount of time she doesn't have for his nonsense is breathtaking and terrifying -- screams some super paranoid shit in public, and goes off the grid. It is at this point Carrie puts her shocking plan into effect. If you guessed that it involved running away with Brody and fucking in a motel, you'd be right. (You would also not really be guessing.) But it does the trick.
What you might not have guessed is that she also manages to put the whole thing on display for Quinn and Saul and Virgil and Max, the former of whom is not yet so desensitized to Carrie's antics that the WTFness of listening to his best spy fuck a terrorist like a crazy person doesn't make him cry a little bit. I think I saw literal tears. (I mean, and here we thought Dexter's Debra Morgan would be the Trainwreck of the Night. No sir. Always count on Mathison to pull through in a clinch.)
Next day, Jessica still doesn't know where her husband is -- not really anything new -- and is probably feeling a little jealous of Mike's overnight guest, while the boys at the Shop are silently judging Carrie and Brody's reconnecting with Roya. She takes him on an epically long, scary drive, while Carrie and Team Quinn follow and get more and more paranoid, and then after a really intense sequence involving dark cars on darker roads, Carrie once again* runs out into danger... Just in time to see El Mysterioso and Roya shove Brody into a big black helicopter, on his way to being de-deprogrammed by somebody scary.
*(Informal count this week of people referring to various "ops" being "blown" was easily at an all-time high. There were so many ops getting blown every second, you guys! It's almost unbelievable that there are still ops in this world that have not yet been blown.)
While the whole "runaway lovers" part is weirdly lovely (if just exceedingly weird, in the actual sex/surveillance part), and came shockingly early (around :15 to :30, before everybody comes back home from the jaunt) in the episode, it's maybe a little overwhelmed by Dana's very emotional story and the high-stakes spy games of the episode's final act. Certainly the climax of the romantic thread, a long time coming, found itself joined by just as indelible images in the political, family, and intelligence threads, which if you think about it is kind of a twist in itself: I certainly never thought I'd be more interested to see what Dana Brody was up to -- or what Mike Faber's house looks like, or rooting for Jessica's parenting skills -- than impatient for Carrie and Nick to just do it already.
A bit in particular about Carrie's fantasy that Abu Nazir's eventual capture would prove such an epic win that they -- not only America, but Carrie and Brody themselves -- would be able to overlook his sins and all the tragic shit they've pulled on each other, was exactly the kind of delusional/viable that makes their mesmerizing relationship something other than intensely gross. Likewise, watching Quinn slowly come to understand the ways and reasons Saul deals with Carrie the way he does -- and adapting to it, over the episode, as he reevaluates how she works -- might be lost in all the plottiness, if not for the acting involved.
All in all, this episode was more about painting a portrait of a man in imminent danger of losing his shit than about Carrie doing (admittedly insane amounts of) her usual nonsense. It was nice to see other colors in the usually composed Nick, for one thing -- some stuff we've not seen in a long time, some stuff never before -- because it brought out a new kind of investment in his personal future which I don't think was entirely accessible before this double-agent story got underway. But, since he's such a good actor, that also made the episode unusually stressful, even for this show. Which is awesome. But if we never have to watch -- and especially hear -- Carrie Mathison getting fucked like that again, that would be okay too, because that was exactly the creepshow it intended to be. ("We get that you're fired up, but act like you've been there, you know?")
Next Week: The season's third and final act begins, which means a countdown to the Big Event and presumably a death count. Jessica and Dana flip out about the political stuff, Mike Faber continues to be quietly interested in how crazy Brody's turning out to be, and oh yeah, Nick is missing and probably being turned back into a terrorist. Here's hoping Quinn can step up and be the good friend Carrie and Saul need to get through this. I know he can do it!
Dana very nearly got to tell the cops about that old lady she killed, which is like her number one activity of late, but Carrie showed up to tell Brody to cut it out and let the wheels of justice be greased by privilege like usual, because that's how you fight terrorism when you're Carrie Mathison: Doing the opposite of whatever a human being would normally do. Pissed, Dana took off into the streets of DC, presumably to go live with her real dad Mike Faber, who is just like her biological dad in every way except he is: nice, not crazy, and not a member of Al-Qaeda.
Mike: "Dana, what are you doing here at my classy bachelor pad condo?"
Dana: "Things have gone from 'rapidly going to hell' all the way to 'I just realized my parents cannot be trusted.'"
Mike: "Well, whatever gets your mom here. Where she belongs."
Jessica: "Our daughter! Wanders the streets!"
Nick: "You don't even like her. God."
Jessica: "No, but I sure do like yelling!"
Nick: "Look, I can't tell you why Dana couldn't go to the cops. But I'd like to remind you of my CIA Get Out Of Everything Free card."
Jessica: "This is not in that jurisdiction!"
Nick: "I think you missed the part where I get out of Everything."
(Creepy Carrie surveillance van is, of course, right outside.)
Carrie: "I don't have time for this domestic shit. That I caused."
Team Quinn: "Yeah, there's a shocker. He should probably just leave his wife, huh?"
Carrie: "He only has half an hour before his meeting with Roya Hammad. It's going to take at least that long to figure out a way where this ends with us making out."
Nick: "You're so mean about how I just wander off all the time! Even though it's because of the CIA!"
Jessica: "You tell that CIA to fuck off. I am tired of not having you around to yell at whenever I feel like it, which is all the time."
Mike: "Hey, your daughter is here making all these faces..."
Jessica: "Well, I'm going to go get her. And I'm taking Chris. And we are going to pretend we live there."
Mike: "Who is Chris again?"
Carrie: "There goes his wife with a strange little boy. I'd better go in there and make out with him."
Virgil: "Do you want backup?"