Homeland: 311 “Big Man In Tehran” Review
Reviewed by Rich Jepson.
After watching tonight’s penultimate episode of Homeland I couldn’t help but think one question, why haven’t we been watching this part of the story for longer? I mean, we had to endure Dana’s escapades, Carrie’s return to the mental health institute and Brody’s been AWOL for most of season 3 so why did they not shorten all of that and lengthen out Brody’s rise to fame in Iran?
It’s like going to Disneyland, spending half the day going on the “It’s A Small World” ride and then just before you leave you discover Space Mountain and you only get chance to ride it once – in a rush. Surely, we could have seen off Dana, Jessica and the other cardboard cutouts that made up the Brody clan in the first couple of episodes whilst bringing the plot of Javadi in around the third episode and then having Brody jet off to Tehran around episode 8.
We could have had more time in this new setting and it would’ve been interesting (yet controversial perhaps) to see his rise as an icon in the Arab world and how his media representation transpired across the globe. But still, looking back at all this, do we really think the most wanted man on the planet could just come out of the black and start parading around the capital? Iran has had a target on it’s back from the US for decades so could you imagine if Bin Laden had popped up on ‘Good Morning Tehran’ six months after 9/11? Like that wouldn’t spark an invasion? As if Iran would think this was a good idea to further insight military conflict after the likes of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Politics aside, a further part to all of this exploration would be the US’ public reaction to seeing Brody resurface and what the President would have said about it. Even if Brody were an asset as big as this, surely public opinion would outweigh any kind of secret mission in the region.
Getting back to events in the episode, besides it feeling rushed, it delivered on it’s aims of being tense, twisting and has ultimately done it’s job in setting up next week’s finale. For the part I’d give it full credit as Damien Lewis once again commanded Brody’s transition and kept us guessing until the moment he struck the killer blow with…well I guess a cushion finished it.
What struck me as odd with this whole interaction was the fact that if Iran knew about Brody from the start then surely they knew about the Langley bombing also, so do they not know Brody’s full involvement with the bomb or did Javadi lie in advance to protect him, in which case it would’ve been convenient for Brody to show up 2 weeks later.
Despite it’s convenience at times and the rushed pace with which this episode went along, it still had it’s highlights and the suspense created by the idea that either Brody would abandon the CIA or the CIA would abandon him kept the question marks there throughout. Carrie’s role in all of this was much better than we’ve seen her in previous weeks when she’s been near annoying at times in her blind pursuit of Brody’s innocence.
Bringing Nazir’s wife into preceedings was also a good move as it gave us some cohesion between the seasons and plotlines. Let’s not forget, Brody is a product of Nazir and even though he’s long gone, he was a major factor in Brody’s inner conflict. Again this was a bit of a missed opportunity as she could have grilled Brody a lot more or at least have some suspicions about his actions to make her return more meaningful.
Nonetheless, Brody is still deep behind enemy lines and far from safety so there’s more than enough time for characters like this to play a bigger part. What can we expect from the finale? Well I’d say we should anticipate that Carrie will need to come up with an exit strategy somewhere between the likes of Argo & The Great Escape, only with less motorbikes and Ben Afflecks.
That is, of course, if you expect Brody to make out of Tehran at all….
Scene of the Episode: The Call – The show kept us guessing to the final moment whether Brody was going to follow through with the plan at all, it’s a perfect set up for what should be a thrilling end to season 3.