Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2, Episode 8 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "I'll Fly Away."
This week's episode of "Homeland" takes its name from an old Christian spiritual called "I'll Fly Away."
Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away
Are the writers signaling to us that Nicholas Brody's days are numbered? It doesn't seem possible that Showtime would give Damian Lewis the Sean Bean treatment -- not when he's doing such a bang-up job in those corny ads where everyone falls all over themselves in slow motion. But clearly, the countdown to Abu Nazir's big attack is under way. It's so close that Nazir himself is in town -- but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
Like it or not, we start this episode with sad guilty Dana, who is literally riding the "Blue Route." Is she visiting the daughter of the woman she and Finn plowed into during their momentary escape from the Secret Service? Nope, she's headed to see her backup Dad, Uncle Mike.
Meanwhile, Jess is panicking about Dana's absence -- and blaming Brody for not following through on his promise to bring their daughter up on felony charges the way any truly caring parent would. He says it's not his fault, the CIA made him do it, eliciting what might be Jess' best line of the season: "National security. You invoke that more than the fucking president!" (Not difficult: The president in this series doesn't seem to exist.) Her demand that Brody call the CIA and tell them to "back off" snaps something inside him. "I CAN'T, I CAN'T, I CAN'T!" he shouts in a moment that you can't help thinking will wind up being presented to Emmy voters next year.
Naturally, Carrie and Virgil are outside in the van listening to this charming domestic interlude and stressing out because Brody is running late for his latest powwow with terrorist glamour-puss Roya. Inevitably, she decides that the only way to salvage the situation is for her to risk exposing Brody's CIA connections to the entire neighborhood by barging in as soon as Jess leaves. She finds Brody curled up in a corner, his Marine-tough facade utterly shattered. "Everything's falling apart -- this is a nightmare," he tells Carrie.
"It's almost over" is her ominous reply.
And so Brody, shoulders hunched, hands in his pockets, eyes darting in every direction, arrives late for his meeting with Roya and winds up telling her off. "Quitting is not an option," she informs him threateningly, but he doesn't care anymore. He's done. Realizing that her lover/asset is now in danger of either (a) Having his skin peeled off by Nazir's henchmen or (b) Being packed off to Gitmo by the CIA, Carrie springs into action. She has Virgil cut the tracking on Brody's phone and then runs out to intercept him for an impromptu reenactment of their sex-and-manipulation fest in "The Cabin."
This time, the setting is a no-tell motel rigged with CIA surveillance sensors. Brody confides in Carrie that he's never felt more alone: "I've finally done it. Burnt every bridge -- with Nazir, with the CIA, with my family. I'm more alone now than I was at the bottom of that hole in Iraq." He's relieved that, whatever else lies ahead, he won't have to lie anymore. He's been cracking under the pressure of playing the hero, playing the future vice president, playing the upstanding husband and father when he knows deep down that he is none of those things. But Carrie knows his secrets and still loves him. As that realization is sinking in, she shares her vision of their future, where they join forces to stop Nazir and that act of heroism erases the stain of everything that's come before. "You know how crazy everyone says you are?" Brody asks her. "You're crazier than that." Classic neg, Brody!
Next thing you know, they are humping away like jackrabbits as Quinn, Saul and the rest of the CIA's pervert squad listen in. Quinn wants to haul Brody in, but Saul urges him to give Carrie more time: "She's turning it around." Quinn, keeping up his streak of great comebacks, replies, "Is that someone turning something around or is that a Stage 5 Delusional Getting Laid?"
We all know how this works by now, of course: Carrie goes rogue, Quinn and Estes freak out, Saul buys her time and she winds up being proven right. The exact same thing happens again when Brody winds up driving with Roya out to some god-forsaken spot in the middle of nowhere. After promising Quinn to "stay the fuck back," Carrie insists on doing a ride-by, which reveals that Brody and Roya have been joined by the mystery terrorist who shot up the tailor's shop in Gettysburg. This time, Carrie wants to move in, but Quinn insists on waiting. They've got the targets surrounded -- the smart move is to wait and see what they do next. But no sooner has Saul noticed that the clearing would be a great place to land a helicopter than a chopper lands, scooping up Brody, Roya and their anonymous friend. "They're just gone!" Carrie shrieks, unable to bear the burden of being so irredeemably RIGHT all the time.
Meanwhile, Dana has been busy bonding with Uncle Mike, who is apparently the type of home chef who wears a kitchen towel over his scrupulously toned shoulder. Dana musters the courage to ask him about his relationship with Jess -- was it hard for him to step back when Brody emerged from his spider hole after all those years? "Yes, it was," he admits, but "there was no question in my mind about what was the right thing to do." Dana lets that sink in for a moment. "And you actually did it," she muses. Now she's more determined than ever to disturb the peace of that poor girl whose mother she killed.
Mike gives her a lift in his muscle car, which idles outside as Dana knocks on the door. Somehow, the girl immediately knows what this means: "It was you. I should have known." She then warns Dana not to say anything to anyone because it will just muck up the lucrative arrangement she put together with Walden's goons. Dana receives this news as if it were the worst outcome imaginable when in fact, it is the luckiest, most convenient thing that could happen to her. She gets to claim the moral high ground and remain on the streets. Let's hope this is the very last we hear of Operation: Get Yourself Unnecessarily Arrested.
Just before the end of the episode, we see Brody being escorted through what is presumably some kind of villain's hideout as a black car pulls up. Care to guess who's inside? That's right, it's Nazir himself. I had to rewind to figure out what he says to Brody: "Ni-cho-las."
Can Nazir turn Brody back against the CIA? Will Roya ever have a bad hair day? Will Quinn and Carrie come to blows? Will Saul shave his beard in honor of Movember? Will Jess and Mike be able to keep their hands off of one another while Brody is having his finger nails extracted in an undisclosed location? Did I miss any good or bad moments in this episode? Let me know in the comments!
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.