I don't have much to say about it. It was good, but good in a sort of Muggle way that belies the bonkers way the season started out. What you think will happen, happens, for the length of the hour. It's very sad and sweet and lovingly made, but seems to exist mostly as a document to stamp the end of the season. Maybe they're just all cried and crazied out, maybe it's me, but either way it was serviceable and enjoyable, and tied up the season in the proper way. I think generally people will like it. For whatever reason this show is a bitching magnet, so maybe going conventional was the smartest way to be.
Brody makes it out of the General's office alive, and gets as far as the gates of the IRGC before he's forced to take the limo driver hostage and brute-force his way out. Meanwhile, Carrie's on the phone desperately trying to get the extraction plan from a week ago back in action. But when Javadi's immediately tasked with Brody's capture -- a manhunt that could make or break the next step in the plan -- it's up to Saul to make the call whether or not they should be caught.
Against Dar Adal's wishes, of course, Saul and the JSOC set up a major operation that will take them out of Iran and into Afghanistan. They spend the night in a rustic safe house, where Brody continues feeling guilty -- about the General, plus everything -- until the sun comes up. Of particular interest is the way they keep trying and failing to understand each other's perspectives, after three seasons of being intense about each other: He doesn't understand her self-abnegation, and she doesn't get his inability to be a proud soldier, when that's supposed to be all he ever was. When Carrie plays the pregnancy/destiny card, it chills him enough to fall asleep in her lap, and when the choppers show up, they're both at a kind of peace.
Which is lucky, because those aren't our choppers. It's Majid's manhunt, here to take Brody into custody for treason and leave Carrie in the wind. Turns out Senator Lockhart got himself into the CIA Directorship a few hours early, and with the President's emphatic support and Dar Adal's more circumspect approval, decided to hand Javadi one last win. It puts the cards on the table in a pretty accessible way, making every twist and plotpoint the moral decision of one person or another, but always the same basic question: At what point does the worth of the asset's life outweigh the good their death or actions will do? If it's your lover, or your surrogate daughter, or your greatest hero, does that change whether or not their sacrifice is worthwhile, when it's what they signed on for Day One?
Carrie heads back to her Tehran hotel for one last hail-mary, but Javadi has her brought in for a closed-door meeting in which he points out that the mission has been accomplished, everyone in the CIA knows Brody's a hero, and that she's gotten more than she had the right to ask. He warns her about Nick's public hanging at 4AM that night, and she begs for one more phone call. They don't say much of import, but it's very moving; moreso as she begs Saul to pull more tricks out of his hat and slowly realizes it's never going to happen: Their collective hilarity of luck has finally run out, and that's that.
It's nice that we don't get Dissolving-Capulet Carrie or a Chin-dancing jazz freakout; she takes her cues from the very exhausted and very at-peace Nick Brody, who is attending to his goodbyes with the same precision and dedication that he prays four times a day, or that sent him on his first tour to Afghanistan. While her fierce faith in their future was one kind of beauty, part of her I think realizes that Brody giving himself and his will up to Allah, in the end, might be even moreso. They didn't even know half the languages they had in common.
Nick asks her not to come to the hanging, knowing that she is Carrie Mathison and will most certainly be attending, so she's there when Akbari's widow spits in his face and puts the noose around his neck herself. Carrie literally climbs the walls, in this case a chainlink barrier, and is eventually knocked to the ground and leaves, weeping. And that's the story of Nick Brody: Eight years in a hole, three years as a monster, and one very exciting couple of months at the end there. He died knowing about his daughter, though, and with the understanding that he had touched something very rare. The rest doesn't really matter, because the rest is just about war.
Four months later, Carrie receives a commission from the Senator Director to be the new Istanbul Station Chief. Her eight-months-pregnant ass tries one more time to get Nick a titular star at that night's commemorative ceremony, and of course Lockhart can't do that without risking his own house of cards, so she bitches at a very sweet Quinn for a while before noticing that she is eight months pregnant, and runs off to take a pregnancy test.
Back home, Maggie and Dad are excited to take part in any area of Carrie's life at all, with their cribs and Babybjörns, but basically roll with it when she tells them she has no interest in being a mother, and that the things that will make her a great Station Chief are the things that will be fucking up her daughter. The Dad gets mad because that's exactly what Carrie's mother did -- take her off the board because she underestimated her own strength -- but Maggie just tells them to shut up and see what happens in a month.
Saul has moved to the private sector, and will be moving with Mira to start work in New York after he's done with their (gorgeous!) Moroccan vacation. They toast breakfast croissants to his secret victory in Iran -- which has become suddenly very diplomatic and reasonable ever since the General's death, for some reason -- and he gets to have several conversations (with Mira, Dar Adal, and even Carrie) about the emotional task of getting no credit for the thing he actually accomplished, and instead being forced out of his true home.
Adal thinks he's sadder about it than he acts, but Carrie gets it: It's exactly the same way she feels, watching him walk away for the last time from the safer world they built together. And how she feels drawing Nick's star for herself on the Langley wall that night, where nobody will ever know who it stands for.
Previously, Nick Brody knocked the General at the top of the IRGC unconscious with a giant ashtray, and then suffocated him to death. Now, despite the mission having gone so badly that his handlers told the support team to kill him, he's still hoping that Carrie can somehow do her Carrie thing and get him out of Tehran. He makes it all the way to the downstairs door before a tense moment where he realizes he's forgotten to turn in his visitor badge from last week, on which they spent almost as much time focusing our attention as they did the ashtray on the desk, or the fact that Abu Nazir first suggested him for recruitment in that very room up there.
Anyway, he turns in the badge and climbs into the car that'll take him back to his golden cage, knowing the second the General's body is discovered he'll have no choice but to use the gun he stole from the General's desk. There's kind of a funny moment where the secretary -- I think the same grouchy one that hates Javadi -- checks in, doesn't see Akbari in his office, almost ignores it... but then comes back around to check, like "By any chance are you lying on the carpet behind your desk? Oh crap, you are. And dead as hell."
So it is that Brody's car has just been checked through the gates by a very mean man when the yelling starts. He holds the gun to the driver's neck, and forces him to drive and drive. Better get on outta there, Nick Brody! Pretty exciting stuff.
Carrie: "So guess what?"
Saul: "You're naming the baby Saul."
Carrie: "I'm pregnant? That's crazy! No, I was just calling to say that I missed my plane to Geneva..."
Saul: "Peanut, you motherfu..."
Carrie: "It's okay though because guess what? Despite you trying to have my boyfriend literally murdered, he has completed the mission."
Saul: "What are you talking about?"
Carrie: "General Akbari lies dead in his office, from which Brody just called me."
Saul: "Just for the sake of argument, isn't that also what he would say if he had been turned again, or captured, or..."
Carrie: "Does every episode of this entire show have to be about this? Just assume at this point that I am right, instead of presuming that I'm wrong. You will save so much time."
Saul: "Don't dismiss the possibility he's leading security forces to your location right now, and confirm for me you're aware of what happens if you're caught."