In the beginning of “Big Man in Tehran,” the penultimate episode of Homeland‘s Season 3, the chief CIA target and military leader, General Akbari, is watching a video of Brody pleading for asylum in Iran. He’s trying to figure out if Brody can be trusted. It’s a moment that helps this newcomer fit right in with the rest of the Homeland cast.
Meanwhile, Carrie’s rubbing her belly on the balcony in Tehran. She has a meeting with the “two best men in Tehran,” whom the CIA has hired to help murder Akbari.
Peter Quinn, the handsome voice of concern and reason, says wait, wait, hold up. Carrie did all the planning work. “Shouldn’t she be pulled out?” Saul responds, “She doesn’t see it that way,” respecting Carrie’s vision, adding to the dramatic tension.
So Carrie is fully involved in this operation and standing just yards from Brody as he approaches Akbari to kill him. They make eye contact, Akbari gives a little, “Hey, come hither” wave and once again, Brody is nervously clutching a small, tubular piece of metal in his hand. But Akbari then leaps into a vehicle and scoots away. Plan foiled.
Brody’s brought into a house, where a beautiful, intimidating, seductive woman intones, “Nicoolass…” She’s Abu Nazir’s widow, with whom Brody lived for several years, and Akbari is using her to vet Brody.
And Brody gets vetted. And he becomes a cause célèbre in the country—-a symbol of victory! Crowds encircle him, shouting, snapping pictures on camera phones, wowed and awed. He says calmly,”By the grace of God I am here to seek asylum, this is the only place I can find peace.” Carrie looks on, confused, perplexed, still faithful. So their relationship goes. Someone declares, “You’re a big man in Tehran, Brody. A really big man.”
He’s on TV, saying “Iran is my home” and delivering a “death to America” spiel, as Saul calls it. The president is furious. So Saul makes some decisions. First, he orders Carrie to get on a plane and come back. She agrees, but everyone knows she’s not going to do that. Carrie realizes they are going to kill Brody to cut their losses, so she warns him. (Everyone’s lying to each other, but in a way that everyone knows exactly what everyone else is lying about. These detectors sure are good at detecting.)
Team CIA (Saul, Dar Adal, and Senator Lockhart) realizes its plan is out of the bag. Lockhart’s seething: “Who! She wouldn’t fucking dare.” Haha, you guys know she would. They’re concerned that Brody is going to go to Akbari and fess up about the CIA’s plans to assassinate him. And Brody does exactly that! This is the episode where the exposition precedes the action.
But don’t you go thinking there is no twist, because there is one. Brody carefully reveals the whole plan to Akbari—-how Brody was supposed to kill him so that Javadi, who is now controlled by the CIA, could take his job. Akbari nods away and then tells him about learning about Brody from Abu Nazir in that very room. “It all started here,” says Brody. Then ashtray to the damn head, pillow to the damn mouth. Akbari is smothered and Brody has basically revealed the real plan only in order to perplex us for like three minutes.
Then Brody calls Carrie. Oh, lover, “What have you done?” she asks. “I killed him to get me out of here!” END SCENE. One episode left. Will Carrie be able to get Brody, herself, and the bebe out of Tehran?