Is it just us or has Homeland been beating us over the head with foreshadowing about the fate of Nicholas Brody? The show has thrown us for many a loop this year, teetering on the edge of sanity and reason for much of its thrilling third season. Sunday night’s episode “Good Night,” however (I mean, that title: c’mon!), felt like a series of suspect verbal signals to Brody's death that left all questions, no answers.
OK, seriously though: are you just fucking with us, Homeland? Played fast and loose with potential lines of doubletalk and foreshadowing surrounding Brody’s fate, it seemed all but certain that this would be the hour of his death.
But it wasn't, leaving us flummoxed. Was it all just one big red herring? Another instance of Homeland being the smartest and the dumbest show on TV? Or is it a smokescreen of different color: namely, a bigger deception? We’ve pulled some quotes from tonight’s episode (and one from last week for good measure), to suss out our suspicions the only way we know how: by over-thinking word choice to death.
“The key is to relax the goat before you cut its throat.”
Are we talking about a goat here, or Nick Brody, sacrificial lamb? Not to downplay how bad a guy Brody was-slash-maybe-is, but such an MO would allow reprieve for the murderer if it involved a little tenderness. Sort of like when the CIA got Brody clean, too, don't you think?
“I know what I’m here to do.”
Brody’s confidence in that line was quiet and contented; as if he knows death is certain. He would be one to know what a suicide mission looks like. Not to mention he's seen it first hand: Abu Nazir knew heading to America would get him killed, and it did. If Brody still believes in a greater purpose, it feels like reason enough to go through with it, regardless of his own well-being.
“I’m not going back.”
Sure, Brody was referring to the aborted mission’s fallback plan…but was he, really? Or was it more about how he's not going back to being a hero? Or to America? (Or are we reaching? Don't answer that.)
Special Ops: “We’re all moving out.” Brody: “Not me.”
Brody proved himself to be just as nervous and bumbling in this mission (i.e. the murder of the Iranian policemen) as he was prior to the suicide bombing: until the border was within his sights. Is it because he sees the mission has a future, or because he sees freedom on the other side of that line?
“I’ll see you on the other side.”
With Carrie’s last words to Brody in last week's “One Last Time,” the gift that is/was his death was ribbon-wrapped and tied with a bow. The build-him-up-to-tear-him-downness that's inherent in Brody’s turn from heroin addict to ready-and-willing agent (thanks to the totally-real ibogaine) all but sealed his fate as dead man talking, especially when you consider that the show is on a much-discussed, purposeful season-long trajectory. And let’s be real: the other side? What is this this word choice from, Touched By an Angel or Homeland? (Unless it's foreshadowing for something much darker coming in the future...oh!)
While some may argue that words are meaningless, there are also the actions of the operation’s central figures to consider. Saul, Lockhart, and Adal all spoke in vague terms about Brody and his role in the mission. At one point, Lockhart — who knows "everything" about the mission, "including Brody" — quipped that Carrie “must be one hell of a salesman to get Brody to do this.” Lockhart's silence following Carrie's reaction felt telling. Silence was also the name of Dar Adal's game, what with his insistence on waiting for the dust to settle, to see how things play out.
Not to mention the continual deceptions of Saul. While the rest of the staff in the war room was surprised, Saul told Lockhart he was informed the senator would show up. Coupled with Saul’s decision to remove himself from the room, turning the mission over to the military when it seemed all-but-certain that Brody was about to die? And his declarative, almost parroting statements back to Carrie when she revealed Brody made it across? Conclusions feel easy to draw.
And then there's this: What if Saul knows about Carrie’s pregnancy? He’s shown himself to know more than lets on numerous times: could he also know about — and be using — Carrie’s pregnancy as an inoculation against blowback from Brody? Considering Carrie feels it is just as much her mission as Saul’s — there is no way she would allow the willful murder of the father of her child and the man she loves — it would be easy for the CIA to pivot should the mission's true machinations come to light. After all, Carrie's love for Brody is already out there thanks to the hearings.
And one thing must never be forgotten: Saul's a manipulator, regularly putting work ahead of those he loves: is this just more of the same? Saul is well aware of the love and trust Carrie puts in his hands.
Brody’s death either as a pawn of Saul's or a true-blue terrorist reborn would send Carrie into an epic tailspin, with the former causing disillusionment towards the agency she has sacrificed her life for, and to question, well, everything. By no means guaranteed, it does seem like an increasingly enticing ending heading into the season finale.