In reintroducing Nicholas Brody, Homeland takes an entire episode’s leave from the larger concerns of the season 3 storyline and, after a considerable and lengthy introduction to Brody’s bleak new circumstances, begins to twin the experiences of its two leads in an effort to demonstrate just how similarly unpleasant their two situations really are.

There’s a great deal going on with Brody, the most pressing of which is that, when we finally see him for the first time since escaping at the end of last season, he has been shot twice in gut. The circumstances of his having been shot and the reason why a group of Venezuelans seems to work tirelessly to get him to safety and attempt to save his life a largely left unresolved early on for the benefit of the scene in which a shockingly calm-voiced man and his young assistant set upon the task of removing a bullet from their patient and then getting him stitched up. Of course, much of the doctor’s efforts are helped by the fact that a young woman named Esme shoots the dying Brody up with a syringe full of heroin – which later becomes a staple in the Venezuelans’ attempt to keep him locked away in Caracas’ unfinished Tower of David.

As unsettling as Brody’s circumstances are, the swiftness with which time passes and we see him healing from his injuries suggests he has been a somewhat unwilling resident of the world’s largest slum for some time, and when he attempts to leave he is told by El Nino, the leader of his benefactor/captors, that there is a $10 million bounty on his head, leading to the question of why he isn’t firmly in U.S. custody, while El Nino and Dr. Graham (the doctor who seems to know everything about Brody) gleefully roll around in the reward money – being mindful that the Tower of David doesn’t have any guardrails, of course.

Once the episode establishes that enough time has passed and Brody is now jogging the stairwells of the decrepit, half-finished tower, Homeland introduces us to Carrie’s ongoing situation inside the mental hospital, where she attempts to convince her doctors that she’s gotten better, has once more resumed her medication, and is simply waiting for a visit from Saul. As it becomes apparent that Saul’s not coming, and that a mysterious lawyer is intent on making her acquaintance in the manner of a CIA agent attempting to turn an asset – a fact that only makes the already paranoid Carrie scream out for her meds – Carrie’s desperation for a friendly face (even Saul’s) that can alleviate her present situation is further juxtaposed by Brody’s worsening state of affairs.

There’s an intriguing twinning of their circumstances that has them each locked away in a place they’re desperate to escape while being simultaneously drugged up to their eyeballs – making the comparison even more complete is the fact that both are willingly taking what has been prescribed.

It’s a dreary, but compelling hour of television that reintroduces a character who is both one of the show’s main draws and one of the things putting it in its own problematic predicament. With any luck, Carrie and Brody will find a way out that not only gives them what they want, but gives Homeland the storyline it needs as well.

Homeland continues next Sunday with, ‘Game On’ @9pm on Showtime. Check out a preview below: