TV Recap: Homeland, ‘The Big Man in Tehran’



The Debriefing: Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) continues his undercover assassination mission in Tehran. He is grilled by Javadi (Shaun Toub) who then sets in motion a meeting between Brody and General Akbari, a muckity muck in the IRGC — which will give Brody the opportunity to kill Akbari. Carrie (Claire Danes) has arrived in Tehran to oversee the operation from afar with help from the Mossad. The plot is foiled when Akbari sends Brody to meet with Abu Nazir’s widow. Brody then becomes “The Big Man in Tehran,” the face of the Anti-America movement in Iran. This causes Lockhart (Tracy Letts) to put the pressure on Saul (Mandy Patinkin) to take out Brody.

America’s Most Wanted (Best Overall Performance): Damian Lewis has turned Nicholas Brody into a most brilliant liar. He convinces every character and even the audience that he sincerely means everything that comes out his mouth — yet at the same time he’s able to cast doubt on those same words with one simple glance from his steely blue eyes. Brody’s unpredictability is his best character trait, it keeps audiences on their toes at all times. When he becomes the “Big Man in Tehran” it throws you — is he reverting back to his old self, especially after reconnecting with Abu Nazir’s widow or is he sill carrying out his mission? It’s a tension that rides throughout the episode that’s delightfully excruciating.

The Sleeper Cell (Best Supporting Performance): Going a little outside the box on this one — Tracy Letts as Senator Lockhart delivered his best performance to date. Lockhart’s been a great character — on the surface he’s just another asshole politician, but when you look beyond the suit and tie, you see an intelligent man who might actually give a shit about the state of the country and not just his reputation. When he confronts Saul and Dar about eliminating Brody, his lines are some of the most honest and sober comments in the season (or at least when it comes to Brody in general) and Letts delivers them with a steel-jawed resolve that finally penetrates the defiant armor of Saul.

A “BOO” Nazir (The Worst Part of the Episode): I thought Carrie’s two Mossad agent toadies were pretty stiff and their undercooked performances were luckily saved by the always terrific Claire Danes.

The Key Evidence (Best Part of the Episode): The confrontation between Akbari and Brody was tense, but odd. Brody is just spewing his guts to Akbari and you’re wondering if he’s finally turning to the Iranian side once and for all. It seemed a bit too neat and anticlimactic. Maybe the show was going to leave us on a cliffhanger for next week’s finale…or maybe this is all a big swerve. And then the best part of the episode came, when Akbari admitted that he and Abu Nazir developed the idea of making Brody a weapon for Iran against America in his office. Then Brody mutters “It happened here…” and BOOM he takes Akbari out with a blow to then head and then chokes him. Classic Brody.

The Analysis (Overall Thoughts on the Episode): While the excellence of Homeland is based on the balance of tension and great performance, tonight’s episode was based all around tension. (Don’t worry it was still well-acted). The episode really had you guessing which way Brody would go and the payoff was worth all the near-excruciating moments of tension. Yet, despite the big, climax of this episode, this was merely a table-setting episode as the big plot line is going to be how in the world will Carrie and Brody escape from Tehran?

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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