Falling Star Part Two: The Silence

“The Silence of a falling star lights up the purple sky.”


Season Three of Homeland is one of it’s darkest and not only for the obvious reason.

Carrie learns what Brody has known for a long time: mission before the man applies to her, too.

In a very busy, noisy season, in the background is the silence between the lovers. We wait for their reunion. They wait for a sign, a word, with ever encroaching despair.

Shorn of his identifying red locks, gut shot, weak, in great pain and desperate, Brody appears in Venezuela, dragged into a towering city unto itself, an unfinished skyscraper in Caracas. He’s under the protection of El Nino, a lowlife gangster. Another denizen of the Tower, who may or not be a doctor (a mesmerizing performance by Erik Todd Dellums), wonders what happened. Nino says, “Something went wrong.” The doctor wonders further, why go to the trouble of saving a man with a dead or alive bounty on his head. A bounty of $10,000,000.
 “Maybe someone did you a favor one time.”
“Must be some favor.”

So this is all part of a plan. Carrie’s plan, of course. Of course. Even when Brody asks why he is trying to help him Nino replies, “You know Carrie Mathison. So do I.”

Brody begins to prepare for the next phase of his journey. Resisting the heroin which has relieved his pain but leaves him unable to think, he begins to rebuild his strength. When a man is executed for stealing from him, Brody has to go. He tries to walk away. Just leave, but Nino and his men catch him. Nino tries to make the situation clear. This is the end of the plan.

“There is no next place.”
“Does Carrie know I’m here?? Does she?”
“No one can know you’re here…. Where you are Carrie doesn’t want to know.”

With all of his art Damian Lewis shows a piece of Nicholas Brody’s heart crumble at hearing this. What if Carrie has abandoned him?

Throughout his imprisonment the Muslim call to prayer from a nearby mosque, has comforted Brody. He hears it again as he prepares the executed thief’s body in the Muslim way. So he makes his way to the gold domed mosque. The imam receives him into his home. At last he is out, moving on, only to have the police storm the house. The imam has turned him in,”You’re not a Muslim, you’re a terrorist!” The police are followed hard upon by El Nino’s men who slaughter the imam and his wife along with the police. Horrified Nick is again caught in and the cause of a bloodbath.
Nino throws him into a locked concrete cell.”Carrie won’t save you! No one will save you ….Do. You. Understand. Me?” Eyes dead in his head, Brody nods. Damian again shows us a man we haven’t seen before: deeply, cynically angry, completely without resources. A hole “just like in Iraq. I can’t do it again.” The doctor leaves Brody with a fixed syringe. “Sure you can.” Adrift in hopeless time he makes the only viable escape because there is no next place.

“Carrie doesn’t want to know! Carrie won’t save you!”

There’s a huge bounty on him yet he must be kept alive.

This is no longer a Carrie Mathison operation.

At home in Virginia, Carrie has a map of the world strewn with stick pins, clippings and color coded strings. Not the decor of a woman who knows where her lover is.

Saul and Carrie have devised an operation to track the Langley bomber. The bombing was on 12/12 their operation began “in the early hours on 12/13”.  Carrie’s role is to act as bait. To play the unstable operative with wild ideas about the bombing, who takes the fifth when pressed by a Senate Intelligence committee. All in order to lure  the mastermind of the attack  into approaching her. She’d be an incredibly valuable asset. However next thing she knows Saul is outing her before the committee  in every way but by name both as “sleeping with Sgt. Brody” and as having a bi-polar condition. She is truly hurt and surprised by this. Suspicious as well. She approaches the press to “tell her side of the story.” Dar Adal takes this news to Saul, “We knew this might happen. We planned for it. I’m going to stop her.” Saul nods.

When Carrie approaches a reporter, a wild scene ensues leading to her arrest.

Meanwhile the bait is left dangling. Her internment goes on for weeks. Dar and Saul work with DOJ to keep her in. She begs to get word to Saul, asks for him constantly. A man does appear but he’s a mysterious stranger. A law associate who says he can get her out!

“No charges. Psychiatric detention.”

This is not the plan Carrie signed on to… Nevertheless the bait is out. The trap is set.

Fara, a new agent, tracks the money for Saul. It leads eventually to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Specifically to Deputy Intelligence Chief Colonel Majid Javadi and $45,000,000 of embezzled funds. We have the mark!

Meanwhile the bait is left dangling. Her internment goes on for weeks. Dar and Saul work with DOJ to keep her in. She begs to get word to Saul, asks for him constantly. A man does appear but he’s a mysterious stranger. A law associate who says he can get her out! Even that is not enough to deter her from the plan, her’s and Saul’s. Clever if it weren’t so sad. Back she goes – to hell. Shortly Franklin, the associate, returns with a better offer, a meeting with a partner. Release, negotiations, evasion of her own Agency take Carrie to law partner, Leland Bennet. She finally wins the prize: the promise of a face to face with the same Javadi who has been unearthed by Fara.

Eventually Carrie, after a five hour trek, finds her way to Saul. He’s sitting outside in the evening’s dark. He turns . He’s visibly startled to see her.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to shoot you, motherfucker! I know I’m being played!”

But, no. She assures him she’s taken all precautions and delivers her real message with her twitchy smile:

“It worked.”

Saul embraces and praises her. Their plan is working just as devised except for a major diversion –

“You should’ve gotten me out of the hospital, Saul. You shouldn’t have left me in there.”

As he ushers her into the house Carrie says, “I can’t keep going.” and much as the doctor to Brody, Saul says, “Yes you can. Yes you can.” The doctor offers heroin, Saul holds out the hope of saving Brody.

It’s important to keep in mind that while Carrie and Saul share the goal of running Javadi for gathering intel, he has no interest in exonerating Brody at least not now. Furthermore he knows where Brody is.

The big prey is caught. Both jaws of Saul’s trap are sprung: Fara’s financial investigation and Carrie’s lure. Carrie gets herself face to face with Javadi

He offers her money, salvation and a bit of revenge. The alternative is to be at best a scapegoat, at worst a declared traitor. How she loves lowering the boom! CIA has in it’s hands enormous leverage –  proof of his embezzlement from the IRGC. And he must meet with Saul. “Now?” “You can finish your cigarette.” she says blithely. She’s so good at this. She loves entrapping this prize quarry. One step closer to Brody.

“This is just the fucking beginning.” – Peter Quinn

A note about Sean Toub/Javadi. What a superb performance! Toub created a man in full. Ruthless, without a doubt, but also a watchful man. He observes his world without judgement and  responds only in his best interest, whatever that takes. He sees Carrie and Saul very clearly and not without a certain compassion.

The Big Reveal. In Saul’s interrogation of Colonel Javadi he divulges the  goal of this operation: play Javadi back into Iran “Not just as a spy” Saul discloses, “but in power….I know a way”. He doesn’t yet say so but the way is named Nicholas Brody.

They have Javadi – completely. Fara, the child of exiles from the 1979 Iranian revolution, is appalled. “Was this always the plan?” “It was always the hope.” Carrie replies. She’s still with the op.

In fact Brody and the bombing are not even discussed until, the interrogation and negotiation over, Saul diverts Majid into a small room and closes the door. With no surveillance, he finally asks the question. “Who was responsible on the ground that day?” Javadi replies, “Not Brody….One of Abu Nazir’s guys.”

Carrie rides guard as Javadi drives back to his jet. He tantalizes, compliments her, teases her, works her “difference of opinion” with Saul about Brody. Plays all of the manipulative tricks in his arsenal.

Until arriving at the plane, he says, “I guess you don’t want the truth.” She can’t take it anymore and runs after him. His own Big Reveal: The man who built the bomb also moved the car. The lawyer Bennett knows who he is and, furthermore, the man is still in the US.

A small smile of hope flickers across Carrie’s face. Another step closed to Brody.

While Carrie recruits Quinn to bring the bomber to justice and  prove Brody’s innocence. Saul unveils Phase Two of his plan to Dar Adal, and the President’s Chief of Staff. Goal: regime change in Iran, Method: move Javadi up the military command, Instrument: Nicholas Brody. On getting the President’s approval (probably deniable), Saul is flying out soon to an undisclosed destination. Dar asks, “Does Carrie know?” Saul replies that she “can’t even suspect.”

When he sees Carrie and Quinn, Saul shows little interest in their plan to smoke out the real bomber. He lies to Carrie, denying that Javadi distinctly cleared Brody. Evading her questions he makes it about her.

“You’re angry I didn’t share a conversation with you about Brody.”

“No, I’m angry because you seem entirely indifferent to catching the actual bomber!”

He’s playing so dirty! Dar intervenes and agrees to meet up with the infamous Mr. Bennett. Intricate plotting finds the players in the parking lot of a motel. Bennet’s boy, Franklin, is meeting the “actual bomber” to putitatively arrange his escape, in reality he’s to be executed.

Before he flies out Saul gets an update from Carrie. He apologizes to Carrie “I should’ve shared that intel on Brody sooner. I know how important it is to you.” “As long as we get the real Bomber.” she replies reluctantly . The “intel” he regrets not sharing is nothing compared to what he still hides!

“She’s always been on her own.” – Saul Berenson

Dar is running the bomber operation in Saul’s absence; he declares that the top priority is to keep Franklin in play. His unstated goal – to save Phase Two. But Carrie’s not in on this and she sees Franklin is armed! She won’t have it! She won’t stand down! This is the proof of Brody’s innocence! She takes off on foot for the motel. Even Quinn won’t help her . The best he can do is shoot to wound, not kill and he takes her down.

In the ambulance with Quinn she asks if the bomber is dead. He is.

“Something is going on…

Where the fuck is Saul?”

Saul arrives in Caracas, at the Tower of David, El Nino’s realm. Nino is expecting him and the bag of cash he delivers.  It’s obvious that Saul intercepted Carrie’s plan but at what point is unclear. Certainly the intercept was the first step  in Phase Two. That and making sure Carrie could never prove Brody was  innocent. He finds his asset in his filthy stinking cell. Strung out, undernourished, in a drooling state of mental and physical atrophy, he turns his red rimmed eyes and slack jawed gaze to Saul. Unrecognizing, unrecognizable.

“He’s not what we expected but he’s what we’ve got.”

We cut back and forth between the prisoners. Brody suffers the agony of acute withdrawal and it’s going to get worse. He’s reduced to a keening starving child. Begging for his “stuff”.

In the Naval hospital Carrie suffers the growing awareness of her betrayal. Senator Lockhart, who will soon head CIA, visits. He wants to know , “What was (Saul) doing in Caracas?” Seeing her face he adds, “You didn’t even know he was there, did you ?” We can see her doing a quick calculation. She does now and she knows why.

Dar reveals this information to Saul. The plan remains the same: keep her under guard and

“Keep her away from Brody.”

Seven days in and Brody is not progressing enough for Saul. Dar suggests the psychedelic drug ibogaine. It could kill him but it could speed withdrawal. Some nausea vomiting, oh, and mind bending hallucinations….

Visions of Tom Walker singing the Marine’s Hymn drives him to attempt suicide with a leg he wrenches from a chair.  He uses it as a daggar to his ulnar artery. He flashes back to his original captor, Abu Nazir, stopping a similar attempt. This time it’s Saul holding him back. No one will release him.

Damian Lewis is a brave actor in these addiction and withdrawal sequences. He shows no dignity, no courage, no remnant of the man we knew. The actor is willing to get down into the snot and the shit with this character he’s created. He’s eloquent.

As Saul watches over, Brody finally opens his eyes. “You’re alive.” he informs him, “That wasn’t a given.” It quickly becomes clear that this is not good news to Brody. Saul pitches him “a way out”, “a chance to be a Marine again, to be the man you were before they broke you”. Brody is not interested. On the contrary

“Please, no more. I’m done”

“You are not. You will do this one last thing.”

“Kill me now.” Brody begs. Saul snarls, “You wanna die, huh?” he sends him out in the pitch black night  on a boat with a crew of marines. They drop him over the side . They wait, he doesn’t surface. If they hadn’t pulled him up, his death wish would be fulfilled. Now he won’t eat. The clock is ticking. Saul’s operation must be completed before Lockhart assumes Saul’s job. Dar advises, “Our window of opportunity is closing. It’s now or never.” Saul nods. It’s time to deploy their ultimate weapon. It’s time to bring in Carrie.

Carrie waits in her hospital gown and sling for her trusted mentor. All their cards are put on the table. No, he did not intend to save Brody. No, he never believed she was unconscious for 14 hours while Brody slipped out of the country. So let’s not talk about lies.

“You know I was in Caracas….. Don’t you want to know how he is?”

“How is he?”

She asks slowly, with intense trepidation. He’s not well and he must be got into shape. He must, to fulfill his part. “Brody” Saul states flatly, ” is Phase Two.” Saul fills her in on the ultimate goal of this op. Brody is to defect in order to take out Darnish Akbari, head of the IRGC, one of three most powerful men in Iran. “Brody can get to him as the Langley bomber.”.

“At best it’s a suicide mission.” – Carrie

Saul goes on with some happy horseshit about breaking log jams and the power of talk. But right now Brody is here. In Virginia. She can give him one more chance.

Asleep in his cell Brody  hears someone enter. He closes his eyes again and slowly becomes aware it’s her. He turns and looks at her. She smiles softly, “Hey.” She reaches out and gently strokes his arm. Seeing her, feeling her it’s too much, it’s too little, it’s too late. He rolls away, turning his back, retreating into silence


Where are we now? Brody has pulled back into a place he refuses to leave. She didn’t come for him, not in any way that he can see and something died. He abandoned dignity, humanity for oblivion. There’s nothing he wants back. She’s a dream he had once but he’s had a lot of dreams. They all turn into nightmares.
We did not get the joyful reunion we hoped for.
The woman who never believed she was suited for love, has loved and can’t stop now. Even though it is  Carrie’s love that was used to get him into this situation she won’t stop. She’s been double crossed, deeply betrayed  by Saul and that changed everything. She will not betray Brody, but she will use him. She believes she is using him to save him. And maybe it’s true. Or maybe the finer points don’t make any difference anymore.
The situation on the ground has changed radically. Her goal has not. She means to save Sgt. Brody.



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