Brody heads to the IRGC headquarters and gets led by Akbari's men to his office. Javadi sees this and, knowing he's in danger, calls the CIA to pass the message on. Lockhart again notes the obvious: that Brody must be there to tattle on Javadi. "Brody knows we just tried to kill him," he tells Saul. "He's going to burn the whole f--king thing down." Speechless, Saul just looks down at Dar.
(And here's where the episode trips up a bit. It's still a great hour, but with Lockhart constantly stating his worries and not-quite-screaming bloody murder about the mission, I began to think we were all just being fed a red herring. If we were left with just Saul's anxiety, Carrie's hotheadedness, and Brody's vulnerability, this might not have come up. Alas.)
Akbari welcomes Brody into his office and dismisses his guards, honoring the Big Man of Tehran with his full and undivided attention. The IRGC head stands up and seats himself nearer to Brody, then asks, "Why would anyone want to kill such a treasure?" Brody answers just as he promised he would earlier. "To stop me telling you about Javadi," he says, explaining everything the CIA knows about Javadi embezzling from the IRGC and how he was sent to Tehran to take out Akbari.
At this, Akbari doesn't make a move to leave. He simply sits and states that he will deal with Javadi, but Brody has one more thought in mind. "You spoke with Abu Nazir about me, in this room?" he asks. Akbari confirms it, and Brody nods. "Good," he says. "It all started here."
And then he leaps up, grabs the glass ashtray -- Chekhov's Glass Ashtray, if you will -- and slams it across Akbari's head, knocking him out. The music shifts to near-white noise as Brody, panting and sobbing, grabs a pillow and suffocates Akbari on the floor. It's eerily similar to the way Javadi held his ex-wife to the ground as he stabbed her again and again, but this time with Brody, it's a much more emotional kill. Brody cries as his saga comes full circle -- Abu Nazir first spoke of Brody there in Akbari's office, and it's in the same office Brody finishes off the last man who thinks he has a hold over him.
Brody lifts the green pillow and moves away as the blood pools around Akbari's head. He grabs the dead man's phone, dials Carrie, and waits as it rings. Carrie, sitting on the floor of her hotel room, picks up.
"It's me," Brody says. "I'm in Akbari's office."
"Brody, what have you done?" Carrie asks.
"I killed him," he replies. "Get me out of here."
The episode ends with the shocked Carrie, on the brink of panicking about the next phase of the mission (the one she cares the most about, as Javadi reminded her earlier): Extract Brody.
Right now, that's not looking so easy. There are guards outside the door, a dead IRGC leader in his office, and a CIA that still needs to be warned to not take him out. Brody just proved himself to be as rash with his actions as Carrie, and it's going to be hard to clean the mess up.
But was he completely rash and going off his instincts with this murder? Was it ingrained in his DNA to carry out missions, lest he lose himself? It strikes me that maybe Brody did plan this out after the failed meeting, like Carrie thought he was doing, but he simply needed the catalyst of the CIA trying to kill him to make things happen. Or maybe I'm giving him too much credit. Maybe it's just piece after piece moving into place so we can barrel on to a finale that will definitely be about Carrie trying to remove her baby daddy from Tehran.
And speaking of the baby daddy, the show could not make it any clearer that Carrie's pregnancy is about to take the spotlight. When is she going to tell Brody? (I thought she was about to play that card when he was refusing to join her in the courtyard.) How will he react?
With one episode left this season, that's quite a few loose ends to tie up. We still don't know if Brody's sticking around, and I for one fear the writers will use his actions at the end of this hour to hurt us even more by offing him in the finale.
Still, that's enough speculating for now. I'm pleased that this episode pulled off its twist without making it feel like the audience was the only one duped (as the third hour of this season did for me), and I'm most pleased that the writers reinforced Carrie's strengths, Brody's heart (even if we had to hear him reference only Dana during it), and Saul's changed faith.
So what's your take on "Big Man in Tehran," readers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.