After last week's stunning cliffhanger with Brody and Saul, Homeland went full steam ahead with tonight's hour, "One Last Time," which, thanks to an intense (maybe even Emmy submission-worthy?) performance by Damian Lewis and sharply written dialogue, has made me optimistic about this season's final episodes. This was a well-crafted episode, and I dare say it's the best of this season so far.
I'll admit I wasn't the most confident in the show's ability to bring Brody back in play, given how the writers struggled with logically keeping him around past the first season vest plot. But tonight's episode made good use of the character, dedicating the most screen time to Brody and his torturous post-Caracas rehabilitation without any of it feeling over-the-top or unnecessary. By shaping the episode and every character around Brody's plight, his story felt organic again, instead of being a liability or an afterthought.
Not only that, but ending the episode with Brody leaving for a new mission is a clever way to ensure his importance without dealing with the question of how much screentime to allot him every episode. Saul's plan may have a ton of holes, but including Brody now makes sense, in the "well, this is Homeland so it sort of makes sense" way.
Anyway, on with the (longer-than-usual) recap! We open the hour with Carrie at the naval hospital, recovering from her gunshot wound. Though she'll heal just fine, she'll have to deal with the CIA about her release, and as her doctor points out, she's now on the record as 13 weeks pregnant (er, should she be showing?). Carrie hesitates but acknowledges that she's aware of her pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Saul and Dar Adal are watching Brody being examined in a cell, struggling with withdrawal. Four men -- special ops soldiers Saul brought in, we later learn -- restrain Brody to his bed while he flails around and sobs.
Saul, though, says that bringing the dehydrated and diseased Brody to a hospital is "out of question," and that Brody must quit cold turkey. He trusts that Brody will make it through, but it's not looking good: Brody violently coughs and heaves all over his cell floor, begging for drugs.
Carrie is much more serene with her painkillers in her hospital room. Lockhart stops by to see her, and gleefully notes how the agency caused her to be injured and land in the hospital. "You're lying there shot," he says, smirking. "Still, somehow I'm the enemy." Of course, Carrie's having none of it, dismissing his remarks. But when Lockhart asks what Saul was up to in Caracas, Carrie betrays her ignorance, and Lockhart pounces. "You didn't even know he was there, did you?" he asks, as she turns away.
News of Lockhart's visit reaches Saul, who realizes Carrie knows exactly what he was up to in Caracas. He instructs Dar to keep Carrie at the hospital for the time being "away from Brody," but as for Lockhart knowing about Caracas, Saul and Dar reach the conclusion that their homes and offices must have been bugged because only the two of them knew about Saul's trip. To fix this, they ask -- who else? -- Virgil and Max to do the dirty work. Max proves his competence yet again when he discovers the bug planted in Saul's computer mouse by Alan Bernard.
Back at the CIA safehouse, Brody's carried out of his cell after soiling himself and gets tossed into a shower to be cleaned. Seeing this, Saul wonders how long it'll take for the former congressman to be "ready," but he's told Brody needs at least 10 days to clean up. Saul's not happy with the news -- he only has six until Lockhart's confirmation hearings begin.
Dar, however, has a solution: a Nigerian drug that wipes out the effects of withdrawal faster than quitting cold turkey, but causes "violent, mind bending hallucinations." Saul gives the go-ahead for them to use the drug on Brody.
And that's when the real fun begins.
NEXT: "You will do this one last thing."