Brody's back, and he's bald! The believed terrorist and traitor to America was notably absent in the first two episodes of this season, but returns here a fugitive on the run through South America. This was another slow and steady episode that wasn't afraid to take its time in developing the story, as Brody's captivity in Caracas and Carrie's detainment at the mental health facility provided us with a neat comparison of our two main characters currently trapped against their will.
When we first see Brody (Damian Lewis) he's noticeably a little worse for wear, staggering around clutching a visible gunshot wound to the gut. A mysterious group save him, taking him down to a gloomy underground location filled with flickering lights, and where a camp surgeon (Erik Dellums) removes the slugs from his stomach. From them we learn that Brody received the bullets whilst crossing the border from Colombia and Venezeula, and it's interesting that just like the second episode of Marvel's Agents of Shield, South America is becoming the location of choice for spies to go in order to see corruption - probably because the setting is least likely to offend.
The 'Tower of David' that he is taken to is a real-life unfinished skyscraper that looms over the Caracas skyline, a symbol of economic greed and corruption. "This absess beyond healing we call home," as the doctor notes, is shown to be an impoverished place as we see nudity, children running about and casual sexual acts taking place. For the second episode in a row dodgy bankers are mentioned, with the heroin-adminsitring doctor explaining that Venezeualan financiers caused the rise and ruin of the building. Could bankers end up being the big bad of this series?
Bird in a Cage
It's a smart move to focus just on Brody for the first half of the episode, as having Carrie and Brody separated makes the scale of Homeland seem that much larger. One excellent scene sees Brody peering out from the tower, before it jump cuts further and further away, until he is only a tiny figure dwarfed by the city skyline around him, a metaphorical bird in a cage.
For entrapment was the main theme of the episode, contrasting the plights of Brody and Carrie as they found themselves imprisoned for their own protection. The leader of the gang looking after Brody claims to know Carrie, but we're not given the reasons why they'd want to keep Brody and not turn him in for the hefty $10m bounty on his head.
Determined not to be hooked up on heroin in his hovel, Brody ventures out to a conveniently nearby mosque, believing they'll take him in as he's as Muslim. But in a continuing attempt by the show to distance themselves from accusations of Islamaophobia, here the imam turns Brody in saying, "You're not a muslim, you're a terrorist". But after gunning down both the police officers, the cleric, and his wife, the omnipotent gang soon have Brody back in their clutches.
Law and Order
Carrie (Claire Danes) is still trapped in the institution, but is distinctly more composed due to taking her meds. That still doesn't stop her from announcing her paranoid feelings to her psychologist that the CIA is being updated about her actions, and she is seen constantly looking through window blinds waiting for Saul to return and rescue her. Increasingly confused as to why she hasn't been released she begs her doctor, "Will you please tell Saul that I'm better".
When a visitor does come for Carrie it's not Saul, but a lawyer named Paul Franklin (Jason Butler Harner), who can offer Carrie her freedom in exchange for a meeting with his partners. Carrie believes this to be an attempt to turn her against her former employers, but it's hard to say. Her paranoia is less a condition of her bi-polar than a necessary requirement in her line of work. Brody was being kept for his own protection, but maybe now Carrie is starting to realise the can of worms that could be opened if she continues to speak out against the CIA.
Following on from the comparison in the last episode of Carrie and Dana, this was another quietly engrossing episode that contrasted two separate characters finding themselves in similar situations. Whilst obvious and simplistic, it does give each episode a richness not seen in the previous season. But after three episodes, this has been already a snail's pace of a start that has taken it's time to set the scene. We need to see Carrie and Brody out of their gloomy confines, and back in action, as soon as possible.