A quick review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I find a pay phone...
As with tonight's "The Walking Dead," I didn't get to see this episode until right before the holiday began, so I don't have time to address "Two Hats" at the length I might in a normal week(*).
(*) And Showtime told critics tonight that the last three episodes of the eason won't be available in advance, meaning those three reviews will be written on either very late Sunday night or, more likely, Monday morning.
Instead, let's go straight to the bullet points:
* Carrie, Saul, Estes and Quinn spend much of the episode wondering if Brody being in the presence of Abu Nazir might be enough to undo their deprogramming efforts. That doesn't seem to be the case — though note that Brody does not tell the CIA agents that he and Nazir prayed together during the night — but it nicely parallels what's happening with Mrs. Brody, as spending the night in a hotel suite with Mike is enough to at least temporarily rekindle their relationship. Given that Jessica and Brody's sex life has been non-existent, and that she knows that Brody has been lying about being around Carrie — and that, as Dana notes, everyone's life has been largely worse, not better, since Brody came home — it's not hard to see where Jessica is coming from. And as with the Jessica/Brody sex scenes last season, the explicitness of this one has value from a character standpoint, as the contrast between the strained/humiliating sex she and her husband had and what she and Mike do is important. This is a man she is comfortable with, as opposed to how she is with her husband.
* The title "Two Hats" refers metaphorically to Peter Quinn, or whatever his real name is, since we discover he's actually some kind of black ops assassin assigned to make sure Brody is dead the second the operation is completed and his services are no longer required. This adds a whole new level of complications for the remaining episodes, even with Roya and most of Nazir's local terror cell in custody, because sooner or later Saul will tell Carrie what he knows, and Carrie will of course run to warn Brody, and Brody's loyalty might turn again, and then... a mess. A big, big mess.
* If I hadn't spotted F. Murray Abraham's name in the credits, I certainly wouldn't have recognized him as the man Quinn met on the bus, but it's good to have Louis CK's Oscar-winning uncle around. Presumably, we'll see a lot more of him in ensuing episodes.
* Loved the mutual bluffing going on during Saul's interview with Quinn's policewoman baby mama. Carrie is our protagonist, and rightly so, but every time Saul is placed in charge of an interrogation, it's not hard to envision a version of the series where Mandy Patinkin is the star.
* I know that 9/11 occurred in the "Homeland" universe, but it was still interesting to hear Nazir explicitly refer to Osama Bin Laden. I'm trying to imagine the show's alternate history and how these two men's terror campaigns intersected.
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org