The deal that Brody (Damian Lewis) made in order to keep his family from the destructive nature of the truth – and to keep the former Marine from spending the rest of his life in prison – was also the lifeline keeping his paramour from once again being relegated to the dust bin of formerly great CIA analysts. As such, Homeland has been playing with the notion that Carrie (Claire Danes) would do anything to keep her asset in the game, without giving away exactly what it was she hoped to save. Is it the mission, her career, or her feelings for an unfortunate terrorist?

‘I’ll Fly Away’ isn’t exactly interested in settling on a single motive for Carrie. As she tells her off-the-grid asset (after they enjoy some take-out in a cheap motel), she’s essentially loaded the bases with the hope that all her runners can head for home. Despite everything that’s transpired, there’s some real hope for a future scenario where good triumphs and past mistakes are forgiven in light of some staggering accomplishments. In short: Carrie is holding out hope that Brody will be her ticket to salvation. It’s the same kind of desperation that led her down such a destructive path last season, but for whatever reason, Carrie Mathison can’t help but double down – especially when Brody, under incredible pressure from the CIA, Roya (Zuleikha Robinson), and his family, decides he’s suddenly had enough and calls it quits.

There’s a lot of desperate belief that, in the face of things going horribly wrong, everything will somehow turn out okay, just as long as the lies can stop. The trouble is, the only way for things to not completely fall apart is for Brody to perpetuate the lie.

At the same time, Dana (Morgan Saylor) is met head on by those who would do the same thing – but for a different purpose. In a sense, Dana is experiencing a situation not unlike her father’s; she is at the whim of powerful people who feel that their goal is more important than a random human life. How will being stopped from doing the right thing shape the course of Dana’s future? There was a time when Finn’s cynicism may have seemed like a charming façade, but now Dana’s come to better understand where his worldview comes from, and it’s not a particularly good place.

In the meantime, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Quinn (Rupert Friend) have to listen in while a “stage five delusional” gets Brody back in the game. Unfortunately, the congressman’s outburst has made his terrorist contacts as nervous as those inside the CIA. Despite Brody’s apology, and affirmation of his commitment to Nazir’s plot, Roya appears unconvinced. Her silence and skepticism leads to a tense drive (the kind you take where no one talks, but you know you’re in trouble) that appears poised to end only one way.

It’s a frantic scene in which the writers lead the audience to believe Brody is either going to be killed, or Carrie is going to compromise the entire situation in an effort to save his life. Instead, Brody’s whisked away by helicopter to some unknown location, and is once more at the whim of those who see him as a necessary means to an uncertain end. If Brody – or anyone else – thought they were in control of something as simple as their own decisions, then ‘I’ll Fly Away’ proves there is much for everyone to learn.

Highlights from the episode:

  • Is Saul’s support of Carrie based entirely on a belief in his protégé, or is part of it because he just wants to annoy Estes (David Harewood)?
  • Dana mentions to Jessica (Morena Baccarin) that her dad’s been working with Carrie. This, like everything else Brody does, cannot end well.
  • Dana zeros in on Mike’s (Diego Klattenhoff) emotional stake in the Brody family with a precision that feels remarkably compassionate and helps to make her character something deeper than a mere teenager going through a terrible ordeal.

Homeland continues next Sunday with ‘Two Hats’ @10pm on Showtime. Check out a preview of the episode below: