‘Homeland’ recap: Season 3, Episode 11: ‘Big Man in Tehran’
With a title like “Big Man in Tehran,” the first thing I thought of was Brody meeting the ghost of E Street Band saxophone player Clarence Clemons in the unlikeliest of places.
But alas, the titular Big Man here is Brody himself, who did the job! He totally did it! There was a bit of a question there about whether or not he’d do it, but he’s now the Big Man, so of course he did it!
Anyway, let’s start from the start. The first thing we see is somebody who we always thought was a big man, but is clearly keeping in shape. Mandy Patinkin, you’re looking great, dude! Have you got another role coming up, because with that shirt tucked in, there are no rolls coming up! Seriously, Saul Berenson, you’re looking so good that we’re going to award you the main image for this recap. Anyway, we see Saul visiting “the greaseball who f—ed [his] wife” in solitary confinement. Of course he’s not being incarcerated for that offense, but for being an Israeli spy. Saul asks him to give him some guys on the ground in Tehran. He reluctantly agrees. There’s that reluctant agreement again, that we keep coming back to in recap after recap.
Then we’re in Tehran where Brody is telling his “story” in front of a camera. Javadi is there, and Javadi keeps pressing him. Brody is all, “Why are you being so hard on me? Wah wah wah.” (I’m paraphrasing.)
Meanwhile Carrie has arrived in Tehran and assumed a French alias. She goes to visit Fara’s uncle, who reluctantly agrees to give her the cellphone that he has been sent.
Akbari, who is Brody’s target, has a conversation with Javadi. They discuss the Brody video. It’s odd to see Javadi so subservient. Akbari gives Javadi a hard time for not giving Brody enough of a hard time! That’s when we see why Javadi was appearing to grill Brody in front of the camera. Javadi tells Akbari that as a person seeking political asylum, Brody could have “huge propaganda value.”
Javadi introduces the idea of Akbari and Brody meeting. Akbari RELUCTANTLY AGREES!
Carrie meets with a few dudes supplied by “the greaseball” and they give her a syringe of some sort with cyanide in it. She meets with Javadi and gives it to him. Then when a doctor is performing a physical on Brody, he leaves the syringe behind for Brody to take.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this we see Carrie notice her baby bump in the reflection.
Back at base, Quinn learns that Carrie is also in Tehran. He expresses some concern about her, because, well, ya know, he knows she’s prone to being crazy and he’s the only friend of hers who knows she’s carrying Brody’s baby. Wait, is this a soap opera or a CIA action show?
In Tehran it’s time for Brody to meet up with Akbari. One of Akbari’s goons comes to fetch him in the morning. Brody’s all, “Wait, but how am I going to sneak the cyanide onto my person?” (He doesn’t really say that, but we can see he’s thinking it.)
He tells the guy to fetch him his shoes, and while he’s distracted Brody rolls the cyanide up in his sleeve.
The goons take Brody to meet Akbari in a central location in the streets of Tehran. Akbari waves to Brody as they get out of their cars. The goons have all locked down the neighborhood and are standing guard with guns. Meanwhile the dudes who gave Carrie the cyanide are helping out and have planned to set off an explosion to distract all of the people participating in this meeting.
Carrie is in a car just outside the perimeter of the area they’ve closed off. Wouldn’t that be a little suspicious; a white woman who is very interested in this secret, yet public, meeting?
Anyway, Akbari waves to Brody and Brody gives a half smile, because I imagine it’s pretty hard to offer up a full smile when you’re there to kill the person, especially since Brody is always so sincere when he kills people! Remember when he killed the vice president, and he explained to him all of the reasons why he was killing him? That’s actually a very courteous way of doing your killing, Brody! Nicholas Brody, the courteous killer!
Anyway, the wave from Akbari is a psych out. He waves and then jumps into a car that takes off. The goons shuffle Brody into a home right in the square, where he meets with … the widow of Abu Nazir!
Uh-oh! If there’s anybody who could sway Brody’s mission, it’s her! Their conversation seems to reach into a soft spot of Brody’s heart. Is he changing his mind? When he emerges from the building it seems as though he has, or at least the public face he puts on is very convincing. People on the streets recognize him and he’s all, “This is the only place I could find peace!” They cheer wildly, because, you know, to them he’s not the guy who’s going to kill a high-ranking officer, but he’s the guy who blew up the CIA building.
He gets in the car with the goons, who have seemed to warm up to him.
“You’re a big man in Tehran,” says one of the guys. TITLE LINE! Yes!
Brody half-smiles, and we think that’s because he’s going to carry out his mission. But a second later he destroys the cyanide syringe.
So then it’s six days later and Brody has sort of gone rogue. He’s all over Iranian television, talking about how much he loves Iran. He’s also blown off the CIA a bunch and decided not to meet them at a pickup point when they try to abort the mission. So everybody thinks that he’s been brainwashed again after meeting with the widow of Abu Nazir.
So the CIA, upon Lockhart’s recommendation, decides to cut their losses, which is a nice way of saying they decide to kill Brody. Carrie gets wind of this and goes into Crazy Carrie mode. But in this case, you can’t really blame her. The life of the father of the child she’s carrying is being threatened. So she has Fara’s uncle give Brody a telephone and she calls him. It turns out that the very dudes who supplied the cyanide are going to get rid of Brody!
So Brody flees to the widow of Abu Nazir. He’s like, “I have very important information about Javadi and I need to see Akbari.”
This is exactly what the CIA was nervous about; that Brody had been turned again and was gonna spoil the whole plan and ruin Javadi as an asset!
So Brody goes in to meet Akbari, and Javadi sees him doing so. He’s clearly about to poop his pants.
And Brody sits with Akbari and tells him absolutely everything. Akbari is surprised, but he’s very grateful.
Of course, this is all just Nicholas “Courteous Killer” Brody in action. After the confession, he blindsides him with an ashtray and knocks him out. While he’s out cold, Brody suffocates him.
He then calls Carrie and is like, “Baby, I did it! Now get me out of here, sweet darling!” (Again I’m paraphrasing.)
But all in all, this was the most exciting episode since “Game On,” because, hey, it’s ‘game on’ again!
Grade: A -