Falling Star Part Three: The Nameless Star Chapter One
“She has a million names, and the star has none.” – Jacob Clifton
You’re Carrie Mathison, you’ve been reunited with the man you’ve longed for, you’ve feared for, you’ve risked body and mind for. He has turned away. What do you do? You wipe away the tears, you go to work.
She’s agreed to Saul’s audacious plan for infiltrating Brody into Iran with the goal of targeted assassination and with Brody as the assassin. The window of opportunity is narrow, the assassin unwilling.
“When do you need him ready by?”
It’s sixteen days till Senator Lockhart assumes Saul’s job as Director of CIA. He’d never agree to this wild plan. Saul fills her in on the time in Caracas and Carrie decides ..
Squeezed between two special operatives in the back of Carrie’s car, Brody rides, stone-faced to an unknown destination. Outside of a small motel, they wait, they watch. A maid appears pushing her supply cart. Her earbuds firmly in place.
“Dana? “Dana! Dana!”
Hysterical, Brody looks alive for the first time. His guards restrain him. “She can’t hear you, Brody.” Carrie tells him. With fury in his eyes he curses her, “You bitch! You fucking bitch!” It hurts her, but this will be the least of the hurts she will suffer for this man.
In his cell Brody paces.
It’s Carrie’s role to bring him on board with the mission and Dana is her catalyst. She enters with a large nutrient drink. “Drink this and I’ll tell you about Dana.” He defiantly gulps it, finally breaking his fast, and so she does. The name change, moving out..
He frantically begs her to take him back to the motel. She can’t do that but she counters,
“What have you always wanted? Redemption.”
No, not for the CIA bombing …and here they begin to really talk, Carrie to Brody, him to her.
the suicide vest
Elizabeth Gaines and the two secret service agents
the imam and his wife
The route to this “redemption” and a chance to see his daughter –
“Do what Saul is asking.”
“What you’re asking.”
“All right. What I’m asking.”
Without this, telling Dana he’s innocent is “just one more lie.”
She’s brought him back once again. For what purpose; who knows anymore, but the gasoline in this engine is the love they bear one another. A love there is no longer a need to express only to acknowledge as a reason, a purpose in the bleakness that has become their world. The lotus blooms in the mud.
So for sixteen days he trains for battle and at a remove Carrie watches and dares to hope.
He’s a soldier again with comrades-in-arms. It’s been so long since he had anything like a friend. They tease him about “the CIA lady”. “You got something going on? I’ve seen the way she looks at you.” “Nah.” is all he has to say about that.
It’s night of. Carrie paces the briefing room. Brody and his team review the plan, asking all the right questions. The infiltration through Iraq. The crossing. The “defection”. The improvised assassination of Akbari. Finally the extraction. If all goes to plan. After that….there is no plan for after that.
Night has fallen, he finds her smoking on the porch, or rather “it just looks like I’m smoking”. The acute poignancy of seeing them alone together. Yet they speak with ease and familiarity, gentleness.
“I did what you asked. I’m doing what you want …take me to see Dana again.”
“I meant after you get back”
“C’mon Carrie we both know that’s a long shot.”
The honesty of this statement takes my breath away.
“Is that why you’ve been keeping your distance?” He asks. She doesn’t need to reply.
He plays his only hand, “I’m not leaving until I see Dana again.” Of course she must oblige him but before he approaches the motel Carrie shares the piece of Dana’s story she withheld; the suicide attempt. The news presses him back into his seat but still he approaches her door..
“Dana, it’s me.
His daughter is not happy to see him. She loathes and fears him. “Did you ever for one second think if I wanted to see you?” She drives him out but stands in the doorway watching him go.
Brody and Carrie in her car as we’ve seen them before and will again. Gazing straight ahead he says, “I will come back from Tehran.” “I know you will.”, she replies.
“And not just for her.”
They turn and look at one another.
Saul is waiting for them. Brody blows past him, but Carrie, Saul has the nerve to accost. She “reminds” him there would be no op without her.
“I really need for you to get that.”
She knows whats happened, what devices he’s used against her and the man she loves. She doesn’t need “Daddy” to approve anymore!
A helicopter awaits. The team files down the porch steps, Brody stops and looks into her eyes, then proceeds on.
He turns back.
“See you on the other side.”
He gives her a slight smile and a nod. As Sean Callery’s elegiac music plays, Carrie with her leather coat and her hands in her pockets gazes on in pure contained heartache.
The operation is on. The team has landed and are approaching the border. At CIA Carrie watches anxiously as comms are established. A night vision check reveals a reverse negative view of Brody. She visibly relaxes. We made it this far. She smiles.
At sunset Brody prays. The teams eats and banters, preparing for the trial ahead. Crossing into Iran.
In a chilling aside Dar, in DC, monitors the progress of the mission with the vice-president, assuring him that the value of the mission outweighs the risk.
“And in the unlikely event anything goes wrong, we have it covered.”
The snafus begin immediately. There’s a backup at the crossing. Before the team can switch to plan B, they are accosted by local cops. Brody keeps his blue eyed, red haired head down. The cover story doesn’t satisfy the police. Under pressure the special ops leader gives the signal to open fire: “Good night.” All hell breaks loose. Brody breaks as well. Ops leader, Azizi, grabs him and holds him still
“Tell me this is not the end of the road for you!”
The training kicks in. He calms.
Splitting off, Azizi and Brody enact Plan B taking the truck to another crossing. They hit a mine and the truck rolls.
Carrie, watching all this on the night vision feed, is frantic, almost in tears. She can’t help letting it show! Not professional, especially as the CIA group has been joined by Senator Lockhart and the JSOC Commander.
A figure emerges from the wreck – Brody! He’s alive. His voice fills the ops room. He’s in command, soldierly. Carrie swells with pride and love.
But Azizi has lost his leg and the explosion draws not only the special ops team but Kurdish soldiers. The Kurds fire on the Americans. As the team draws back into shelter, Saul turns control over to JSOC. The intel mission has failed. Now it’s a military operation. Following orders the soldiers begin their retreat. Brody refuses.
“Passenger refuses to pull back.”
So close to the border. He can make it in a sprint. His team mate, Turani, decides to stay back and supply covering fire. In D.C. they get Carrie on the line. She can’t convince him. “You will die over there.” He tells her she’s wrong and why
“Cause you’re gonna get me home!”
“Don’t put that on me!”
“You’ll find a way. I have faith. That’s all. Out.”
One way or another they have always found a way. Sacrifices. Humiliations. Recoveries. Love that justifies it all. Has to justify it all.
He makes it across. He and Turani are immediately captured by the Iranians. Brody claims asylum as the CIA bomber. Carrie could not be prouder. One step closer to redemption.
Sharing a cell at the border, Turani and Brody discuss torture and await developments.
In D.C. Carrie approaches Fara, and for the first time informs her of the second phase of the operation that Fara was instumental in setting in motion. The Brody phase. A “brother” agent has been inserted into Iran. The problem now is getting him out “at a critical moment…. our extraction plan just went up in smoke.” Carrie wants to involve Fara’s uncle who lives in Tehran. “We need a defacto safe house.” Fara understandably balks.
In Iran Javadi arrives. Brody formally requests asylum. Javadi asks,”Are you ready to go to Tehran?” “What about him?” Brody gestures to Turani and Javadi summarily executes him. Everywhere Brody goes people die. The doctor in Caracus said it.
“Now we go to Tehran.”
In the Iranian capitol an impromptu game of catch-up unfolds. Under three days of intense interrogation Brody lays out the legend of his action, escape and desire for asylum. With the story cemented and witnessed, Javadi takes a video of his testimony to Akbari, telling him Brody is “a guest with potentially huge propaganda value.” His boss questions the “guests” reliability, so Javadi proposes a face to face meeting so Akbari can decide for himself.
Saul has recruited two Mossad agents who are stationed undercover in Iran. Carrie arrives at a Tehran hotel and contacts Fara’s uncle. He’s frightened but ready. The situation is tight, the players tense, the music alone would make you anxious!
At last Carrie is brought to Javadi. She passes to him a tiny hypo of cyanide for use in the assassination. He makes sure that it’s understood that, the assassination, is the mission; getting Brody out is “strictly optional.” With that agreed
Back in the US Quinn wonders, “Where’s Carrie in all this? She’s done her job… shouldn’t she be pulled out before the event?” Saul replies,
“She doesn’t see it that way.”
The call to the meet finally comes. As he dresses Brody rolls the cyanide up in his sleeve, he’s ready..
In a square all are assembled: Carrie, Brody and the Mossad agents. Akbari arrives and gestures Brody forward. As he approaches Akbari gets back into his auto and drives away!
Brody, palming the weapon, is redirected to a red door. The door to the home of Abu Nazir’s widow!
Yes, she is vetting Brody for Akbari. Who better, but they are truly touched to be with each other, each loved Nazir and Issa.
“Why did you come here?”
“I had nowhere else to go.”
“What do you want?”
“I want to stop running.”
He emerges to a cheering crowd. Carrie, in the mass of people, watches over him. Here they are again. Brody celebrated under false pretenses, sent by men who don’t care if he dies, Carrie his only lifeline.
In the car his driver says.
“You’re a big man in Tehran! A really big man!
Brody crushes the syringe on the car door. He passed the vetting. The propaganda tool is mobilized. On television and YouTube Brody can be seen harshly criticizing America.
Within CIA he is deemed to have gone from an asset to a serious liability. “Our window is closed.” They tried to extract him; he didn’t show up at the rendevous. Javadi has opined that Brody will never get close to Akbari now. Saul asks,”So we just discard him?” Only Brody knows the Javadi play. Only he can expose them. Lockhart speaks for Dar
“We can’t trust Brody, we never could. It’s time to end it.”
“You mean end Brody?” Saul pushes.
Saul suggests that they have to know what’s in Brody’s mind. Of course he calls Carrie. She vehemently defends him! No, he hasn’t turned! “He’s done what we always do. He’s adjusted.” Blowing off the extraction? “He still thinks the plan will work…That’s what I’m saying.” No he hasn’t reached out ,”We always said it was too risky. What’s going on?” Over Saul’s shoulder, Dar Adal shakes his head “no”. Saul orders Carrie to come back.
“We can’t just abandon him here.”
She vaguely assents to Saul’s order, “Yeah. Bye” No one on Saul’s end believes she going to do any of that. Saul orders,
“Let’s get it done. Do it now.”
They plan to use the two Mossad agents again. This time to kill Brody at the mosque he visits for afternoon prayer. Carrie is two steps ahead. Fara’s uncle slips Brody a phone, “A friend will call you now.”
“It’s me. I’m across the courtyard.”
There she is across the lovely Persian courtyard and past the beautiful fountain. The guardian angel who has believed, trusted, defended and loved him in ways he may never know. Their eyes meet and for a moment they just take each other in. This is the closest they’ve been to each other since he left the States. She tells him she there to get him out. The Powers That Be are nervous.
“I think they’re cutting their losses to protect Javadi.”
She can’t convince him to leave. That won’t be an exit from the hell he’s been in.
“I’ve been through all that, Carrie and I won’t do it again. I won’t do it to you.”
She sees the Mossad closing in. She warns him and he is on the move. They work together like an old partnership.
Of course CIA has a drone feed on all of this. Their operation. Saul calls, “You really fucked this up!” “He still thinks the plan can work. He’s working for us.” she replies and closes her phone. It isn’t even close.
Losing the Mossad agents, Brody heads straight to Nazir’s widow, Nassrin’s, house. He tells her all about the Javadi play, Phase One. He must warn Akbari! Arriving at the IRGC Headquarters, Brody gains entry easily. Nassarin has clearly reached out. As he mounts the stairs to Akbari’s office, Javadi catches sight of him. Brody the one person who knows the real play. Javadi ducks back and sends a message to his handlers in America.
Saul, Dar Adal and soon to be CIA director Senator Lockhart choose to believe Javadi over Carrie. And the mill of fate rolls on.
Chapter 2 to follow.