Carrie (Clare Danes) is desperate not to let Abu Nazir escape her clutches once more. [Pic: Showtime]

So after two seasons of Carrie and the CIA trying to locate and kill al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Nazir, they've finally succeeded. But is the mission complete? Last week's histrionics continued as a relentless Carrie returned to the scene of her capture and refused to leave until Nazir had been found.

His death, though inevitable, leaves a hole in the series that will be hard to fill. And that hole could become even bigger if Brody meets his demise as well. The terrorist threat from the start of this season has dissipated into a finale that sets up Carrie and Brody against the CIA who want to kill the former marine. Can he make it out alive?

Truth Detector

After Carrie reveals Nazir's US hideout, the intelligence agents flood out of Langley in the hope that they can be part of the historic capture of Nazir. All except Saul, who like a naughty child at school has to stay behind to be talked to by his superiors.

Hooking him up to a polygraph, Saul immediately is riled by their accusations, venomously spluttering at his interrogator, "You tell Estes no matter how many bulls**t charges he trumps up I'm on to him". We've seen in the past that he's not a fan of the old-fashioned lie detector, but when Saul rants about Estes' plan to bump off Brody the interrogator notes, "The machine says he's telling the truth".

It was Carrie's career that was destroyed by those above her at the end of season one, and this time it seems her avuncular mentor will have to clean his desk for knowing too much about the actions of those above him, and more importantly disagreeing with them.

Red Herring

Saul's defiant streak is echoed by Carrie actions as she frantically searches the industrial complex for her captor. The CIA taskforce led by Quinn insist that they've combed over every inch of the place and that there's not even a whiff of the terrorist mastermind to be found.

After he managed to swoop down and capture Carrie in the middle of DC, by this point Nazir seems to have taken on a supernatural demon-like role, a shadow that can never be caught. In desperation Carrie suspects a mole saying, "If Nazir got away someone must have helped him".

Galvez, who mysteriously returned last week after missing the majority of this season, seemed perfectly primed to be the traitor on the inside, but thankfully he turned out to be a red herring. Homeland has been criticised in some quarters for its negative portrayal of Arabs, and to have the one Muslim CIA member turn out to be a terrorist would have been the final straw.

Zero Dark Thirty

But Carrie is right to believe that Nazir hasn't escaped. Her 'good cop' approach during Roya's interrogation spectacularly backfires when the journalist explodes in anger saying, "You think you understand me, or what my family have lost and suffered?" before hailing a series of Arabic expletives in her direction.

But with shrewd attention to detail she notes how Roya says, "Nazir wouldn't run," and is adamant that he is still lurking in the depths of his hideout. The part where Carrie discovers Nazir in the ventilation complex is a scene straight from a horror film as the terrorist thrashes out at Carrie liked a trapped animal.

Surrounded by a CIA death-squad, Nazir's ritualised death is enacted as he is gunned down before he can reach his gun. Despite being the mastermind that the CIA has worked against throughout the show's history, the nadir of Nazir is quite pathetic.

Echoing Bin Laden's demise, in the end you are left underwhelmed by the fact that so much money, time and resources has been poured into ending the life of just one man. The lacklustre look that Carrie wears upon seeing his corpse shows that for those in the CIA this is not something that you should celebrate.

A Separation

Relief is more what's felt after Nazir's death, shown no more so than by Brody upon hearing the news. The al-Qaeda leader who bored into Brody's brain will no longer haunt his every waking moment; for the first time since returning to America he is free.

The CIA tells him that his family can now return home, but this is something he can't do. Freed from the pressures of the CIA and the Vice President to stick together, Brody and Jessica can finally be honest with one another and admit that their marriage will never work.

In those eight years he was away she effectively started a new life with Mike, with even their spoilt daughter Dana declaring, "Why don't you just go live with that crazy woman and leave us alone". Brody has changed since coming back, and can't deny any more his feelings for Carrie.

Happily ever after?

With no Nazir, no Walden, no CIA and no family to monitor his every moment, Brody for the first time is a free man, it's just a shame that he's also a dead one. He goes to Carrie house looking to start a new life with her, but Quinn's shadowy presence lurks outside, waiting to enact Estes' order to eliminate the congressman as soon as possible.

The chief of the intelligence agency are adamant that Brody should be killed as he knows too much about the drone strikes in Iraq, but how will Carrie react when she finds out the plans?

After the absurd elements of previous episodes its refreshing to see the story arc revolve once more around Carrie and Brody's relationship, and the oppressive system that prevents the two outsiders from being together. With only one more episode to go, we'll have to wait until next week's finale to see if Carrie and Brody can survive the impending onslaught.

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