Image credit: Kent Smith/SHOWTIME
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? After spending roughly 12 hours under the thumb of Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban), Brody (Damian Lewis) makes a series of phone calls that launches a major CIA effort to take down Abu Nazir. But is that actually just part of Nazir's plan?
These selective flashbacks could be just storytelling expediency, letting Brody cut to the chase with the CIA so we only see the more emotionally meaningful moments Brody shared with Nazir. They could be some crafty misdirection to get paranoid over-thinkers like myself to fish for red herrings. Or they could be the show's way of tipping off its audience to when Brody was telling the truth, and when he was lying. (We did at least see Brody and Nazir praying together, which he neglected to tell the CIA about, but I don't think that necessarily proves anything.)
While Saul and Quinn remained highly skeptical of what Brody was selling, Carrie said the prospective attack, murdering soldiers in front of their families, did sound like "quintessential Nazir" — she called it "an idea worthy of him." More importantly, she knew that Brody's claims, and the chance to capture Nazir red handed, were just too provocative to ignore. Back in the interview room, Carrie gave Brody his marching orders for his briefing with the vice president. Brody fixed her with soft, caring eyes. "Do you believe me?" he asked her. "Because that's all I care about right now."
Again, I'm likely just a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but it all set off my too-good-to-be-true alarm bells. Everyone was getting what they wanted. Carrie got Brody back and emotionally available, while the CIA got an imminent attack to thwart, with the vice president sitting in the front row to witness it happen. Even Brody's behavior during Estes' briefing of Walden — and Brody's subsequent conversation with Roya about how he convinced the vice president to allow her to cover the event — went off without a hitch. Brody has been so terribly lost this season, even before he became a double agent, but this week he behaved with a renewed, urgent purpose, as if a crushing weight of doubt had been lifted from his shoulders. What remains up for debate, and one of the reasons this show remains such arresting television: Did Brody get his mojo back during his epic boning with Carrie, or from the renewal of his troubled relationship with Abu Nazir? Or maybe it was both?
One thing is for certain: All the uncertainty surrounding Brody lent the following CIA operation an added boost of suspense — even though the plan Brody laid out unfolded pretty much like clockwork. With Carrie narrating from the field, we watched Roya drive out to a diner for breakfast with her TV crew, while a blue SUV with dark tinted windows — the same one Nazir left in after cutting Brody loose — drove up carrying Swarthy Boreanaz and four other men. Three jumped out and helped SB swap out what looked like camera batteries in Roya's news van while another, unseen person remained in the car. When Carrie noted that the new batteries appeared to weigh roughly 200 pounds, Estes called it: The FBI moved in, SB appeared to be taken down by a sniper, Roya was arrested, and the SUV was intercepted and flipped trying to escape. But the man inside was not Abu Nazir (a.k.a. "Sandman" in CIA parlance, though Carrie used the names interchangeably). So what happens now, with Roya locked up and Nazir seemingly floating in the wind? The teaser for next week's episode suggests that Brody did indeed betray Nazir to the CIA, but I remain stubbornly skeptical of Brody's ultimate intentions. Besides, a new wild card has landed face up on the table with the potential to scramble the whole deck: Peter Quinn.
NEXT PAGE: Saul meets Quinn's baby mama