Most of the episode focuses, of course, on Brody's post-arrest interrogation. In fact, we only step outside that basic scenario after nearly half the episode has gone by: Dana and Finn commit a hit-and-run that will presumably bind them together, Tyra/Landry style, while Jessica spends the day getting the runaround from one of Nick's functionaries (at David Estes's request) that moves her divorce threats pretty close to the line.
Peter Quinn spends this first third of the episode trying to get to the bottom of things with Nick, so we see a lot of different colors there. While the character moments are nice, and it's always fun to see what is actually going on inside Nick's mind -- and you won't catch me complaining about any time we get to spend with Quinn -- the show knows we don't really care. It's about Brody, and Carrie, and catharsis for all of us. So by the time Quinn has slow-burned into a rage he later pretends was a "Bad Cop" act and fully stabbed the kid through his terrorist hand, it seems like everybody's as ready as we are for act two.
Which, um, does not disappoint. Last week's explosive hotel stuff was all about pulling out their emotional resentments, pushing the blisters until they popped, and that delirious feeling that one of them still might end up killing the other hangs over this week for sure. But without much to say on the intrapersonal-disappointment front -- at this point, explicitly saying "I was in love with you and you put me in the loony bin" is kind of as far as that sort of thing can go -- this week we turn the Carrie & Nick show toward the real, secret seed of everything: An American Prisoner Of War Has Been Turned. But why? And how can such a thing happen? And how can it be fixed?
The righteous anger and concern that Carrie showed last week about this subject -- her utter confusion and rage that the man she loves could love a man that took so much from him, and that's poised to take so much from everybody -- blossoms into an on-the-cuff, improv game of mental cat and mouse: Her attempt to interrogate the truth out of Nick Brody becomes an attempt to interrogate the crazy out of Nick Brody. And she does, actually, pretty well.
While they have the Real Or Not Real, multiple-layer compartmentalized spy-identity thing in common, Carrie's never been brainwashed or radicalized or converted to a new religion. So she approaches with what she knows of him, what she knows of the betrayals of reality that madness can bring about, and an appeal to the thing they're both so desperate and thirsty for: Actual, authentic truth.
With heartbreaking compassion and some radical admissions -- "I want you to leave your wife and children for me" is just one of the insane, true sentiments she airs over the hour -- Carrie manages to break through years of Nick's conditioning. At least, enough that he turns over Roya Hammad and some details about the life and death of the Tailor (Still funny! How?) and, by episode's end, has assumed an entirely new shape.
As much as last week seemed to change the show irreversibly, this episode -- which will be hailed in years to come as a classic, not only for this series or genre, but of dramatic television full stop -- goes even further. The episode's finish finds Carrie and Brody delineating their spy/asset cover story as a resumption of their affair (Real Or Not Real?), Saul and Quinn retargeting Operation Brody once again, and Brody coming clean to his wife about his new position with the CIA. Which should complicate everything and endanger everyone quite nicely, actually.
Next week: I give. From the title I'd imagine it has to do with the fallout from Bassel the Tailor, maybe. And given the way the story is working I'd say something like, "Brody's first mission as a CIA operative goes hilariously wrong in every possible way!" Except instead of hilarious, because it's this show, you would say bodycount. "Everything goes bodycountly wrong."
Carrie was right. Congressman Nicholas Brody was brought in for questioning. Nobody knows where he is.
Carrie stands around, looking very wiggly; inside, Nick taps his foot and stares at the cameras. By the time David gets there, he's fuming.
Estes: "Was this not a surveillance operation?"
Quinn: "Have you ever seen this show? 'If you want to make God laugh, tell Carrie Mathison your plan.'"
Saul: "She says he made her. She barked at him about the ECT thing, and he saw her in there, and so she went upstairs before he could signal anybody."
Quinn: "Which would make sense, if we believe Carrie. Except she's overemotional and reckless."
Estes: "Is it misogynist to refer to Carrie as 'emotional' and 'reckless'?"
Quinn: "This ain't Tumblr, don't overthink it. It's not that bitches are crazy, it's that this particular bitch is a crazy person. Now, get out of my way. I have a Congressman in secret detention what needs stabbin'."
Estes: "Carrie, Quinn is going to question Brody. We have maybe 24 hours before Nazir's people figure out he's been made, and they go to ground or pick somebody new for whatever this season's big op is. Meanwhile, I will go back out into the world and lie to absolutely everybody about absolutely everything for the duration."
Carrie: "With respect, I think I should question him."
Saul: "Clearly that is what's going to happen. Give it about ten minutes, Peanut. And remember that you have no right to be here in the first place."
Brody: "I'm a United States congressman. You can't just kidnap me and shackle me to the fucking floor..."
Quinn: "Wrong. Thanks to Obama and Baby Bush and your buddies in Congress, we can do basically anything we want."
Brody: "Oh, my civil liberties! Oh, the price we pay for the illusion of safety! Oh, the chill of a TSA agent's gloved hand moving up my thigh!"
Quinn: "So like, you understand that we're taping you and everything that happens in here will be used against you in your trial? Your treason trial?"
Brody: (Eventually screams, breaking for the first time, for a lawyer that will never arrive.)
The report says that Brody was captured in 2003 and subjected to five years of profound and constant torture. "Brutally beaten, electricity, isolation..." These are knowns, facts. They aren't the truth.