By Casey Rackham, Hollywood Staff
Where we left off: Saul (Mandy Patinkin) continued to track down those responsible for the Langley attack, Quinn (Rupert Friend) struggled with the death of the young boy he shot, Dana (Morgan Saylor) and Jessica (Morena Baccarin) attempted to fix their family problems, Carrie (Claire Danes) went off the deep end (thanks to Saul and the CIA), and Brody (Damian Lewis) was nowhere to be seen. (Check out our recap of Homeland season three, episode two if you need more of a refresher.)
Tower of DavidSo long, Dana, and hello, Brody! In contrast to the previous two episodes of Homeland, which have been filled to the brim with Dana-drama, the third episode of the season kicks the angsty teen to the curb (and almost everyone in the main cast except for Carrie) and focuses in on daddy dearest.
Let's focus on the positives first: Brody is in our lives once again, and he's brought back the suspense that the show's been missing. The episode opens up in Venezuela with Brody frantically being transferred from one truck to the next because of bullet wounds to the gut and an insane amount of blood being spilled out of him. Cut to him in a poorly-lit warehouse being shot up with heroin (for the pain) before a suspicious looking (and sounding) doctor operates on him with the help of a little boy (the doctor might be a pedophile). Within minutes, there's already almost enough suspense to make up for the lack of excitement in the first two episodes.
For an unknown period of time, he's cared for by Esme, a sweet young woman who can barely speak any English, and visited by El Niño (Manny Perez), Esme's father and the ringleader of the group that is keeping him hostage/safe. Unable to take being locked away in a decrepit, towering building looking over the city (and unable to stomach the sight of anyone else being pushed off the building to their death), he escapes his confines and seeks refuge in a mosque that he sees from his room. Assuming that those at the mosque will keep him safe, he graciously accepts the comfort of an imam's home only to be set up by the imam and attacked by Venezuelan police. Luckily for Brody, El Niño's men come to his rescue and quickly (and mercilessly) kill the police, the imam, and the imam's wife. Thanks to naïve Brody, the suspense and murder, which clearly makes the show what it is, is once again an integral part of Homeland.
As for Carrie, she's still locked up in the psych ward, but it looks as if she's finally succumbed to taking her meds again - even though it's just for show. She doesn't want to be back on her meds, and she doesn't want to be doing anything they're making her do (like building popsicle-stick model homes, an activity which drives her to bang her head against a mirror until she's bleeding), but she's just doing it so she can go back home. Towards the end of the episode, a lawyer comes to visit her on behalf of an unknown associate who wants to work with her, but Carrie refuses his plea assuming that they want her to turn on the CIA. The episode ends with shots of both Carrie and Brody alone in their own personal cells.
And now for the bad, or rather, the shaky aspects of the episode: it tries too hard to mirror the stuck-in-a-hole positions that both Carrie and Brody are in (we get it, they're both alone), and for as much time as it spends on Brody, it doesn't really explain too much of what's actually happening. Brody's plotline has brought back the suspense that has clearly been missing from the show, but it doesn't explain why Brody is in Venezuela, who El Niño is, what the creepy doctor is up to, or what they're planning on doing with him. You would think that at least one of those questions would be answered during the nearly 40 minutes that were devoted to Brody.
But in the end, while there are definitely some issues with the pacing and focus of the episode, Brody is finally back and that gives us hope that things are looking up for Homeland.
Highlight of the episode: When the imam calls out Brody for what he really is: You're not a Muslim. You're a terrorist.