After Brody's abduction and Abu Nazir's appearance last time, this week's episode was all set to showcase what diabolical scheme the terrorist plotter was about to hatch against America. Instead the drama was muted throughout, as Brody is released by Nazir without harm, and after his subsequent information to the CIA the attack at the homecoming ceremony is easily thwarted.
But that wasn't the main area of interest in 'Two Hats', an episode that examined the dual roles and hidden identities the various characters serve in both their professional and personal lives. The waters were muddied for viewers as suspicions are raised about the roles of Quinn and Estes in the CIA, though like the failed terrorist plot, much of what occurred came not with a bang but with a whimper.
"Do you trust me?"
Like a ball being kicked back and forth between two sides, we've seen Brody captured and interrogated by both Nazir and the CIA in the past. To avoid tedious repetition we thankfully don't see him tied up in a dark basement again, but find him suspiciously released from Nazir's clutches in the middle of Maryland.
We've spent so much time with Brody in the past few episodes that it's refreshing to see an element of mystery added to his character once more. Informing the CIA of what happened to him and Nazir's operations, we're unsure if he's telling the truth and is not working for al-Qaeda once more. When he asks Carrie, "Do you trust me?" the question is aimed at the viewers as well.
He's not the only one viewed with suspicion. Carrie was distrustful upon first meeting Quinn because she'd never heard of him in the CIA before. I've always doubted Quinn's intelligence role since he inexplicably survived a hail of bullets in Gettysburg to be right as rain a few days later. Deciding to pick up that lingering story strand, Max and Virgil investigate his apartment to find it barely lived in, and only one photo of a woman with a baby as a clue to his personal life.
Saul pays a visit to the mysterious lady in the picture under the cover of an IRS worker. She is smart and evasive, recognising his guise as a ruse, but does disclose that Quinn is the father of her child. The plot thickens when Max tails the analyst through DC to see him speaking on the bus to none other than F Murray Abraham from Amadeus. Playing a shady CIA figure called Dar Adul, expect the Oscar-winning actor's role to come into focus towards the end of this season as we start to discover who really is running the show at the CIA.
With both Brody and Quinn leading dual lives, the only person who seems unbearably simple and straightforward is Mike. In many ways the all-American hero Brody's made out to be, he's the guy who can be relied upon to help you out in a sticky situation. Here Mike is entrusted to look after the Brody's in DC, getting to play happy families in the flash apartment used as a CIA safe house.
Now that her own soppy storyline involving the hit and run is over, Dana is back to her sullen ways as she chides her dad for making life so complicated, remarking, "Sometimes I just wish he had never come back from that stupid war". Mike, with a habit for saying the most boringly obvious thing at any moment, replies "We all come back from that war with some kind of wound".
If he does have any scars from Iraq, he isn't showing them, and the writers don't seem to want to make him any more complex. Jessica is still attracted to his uncomplicated Ken Doll-like appearance, with the two lapsing back into their sexual intimacy pre-Brody's return.
We all know that Jessica would be happier with Mike and that Brody would be better off with Carrie, but we also know this situation will never be allowed to happen. The two hats of professional and personal life cannot be worn at the same time, and for this reason Carrie would never be allowed to share a role with Brody outside of the CIA, and even then the political spotlight on Brody means that he's doomed to try and play the happy couple with Jess forever.
Whilst the relationships in the show are getting pretty murky and complex, the CIA's thwarting of the terrorist plot goes off without a hitch. At the moment Roya planned to load a bomb in her TV truck, the FBI swarm over them, capturing everyone but Nazir.
This is unexpectedly good news for Brody, for little did he know that if Nazir had been caught, he would have been killed by Quinn as well. The whole finale felt deeply unsatisfying and bereft of tension as the terrorist attack was easily foiled, and Quinn's new role under Estes is called into question.
With only three episodes left, I'm not sure how much can be explored at the top of the CIA, and how it will relay into what we really want to see, how Brody and Carrie now act with the knowledge that Nazir's on the loose in their own backyard. Let's hope the 'convoluted plot' hat is taken off, and the 'character development' hat is put back on next week.