TV Review: Homeland S03E11, Big Man in Tehran

The assassination plot with dramatic twists, a visible baby and many other “it’s complicated” moments in the season’s penultimate episode

Deborah Cornelious December 11, 2013
  • Acting
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
  • Cinematography

homeland Ep11 smallAfter last week’s gut-wrencher of an episode, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) finally came face to face with Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub), albeit the marine helping him had to die first. Casualties notwithstanding, this week we were treated to “Big Man in Tehran,” an episode we watched while on the edge of our seats. I can’t remember sitting up straighter during any “Homeland” episode, and this includes the first two seasons. You’d have to watch it to believe it.

“Big Man in Tehran” picks up from where we left with Brody now being grilled by Javadi’s men to veto his authenticity. So far Javadi is putty in Saul’s (Mandy Patinki) hands, doing exactly as his puppet masters have been wanting. The plan is to get close enough to Danesh Akbari , the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Cops (IRGC) who was never unguarded even for a single moment. Inevitably, then, this episode was entirely devoted to Brody getting into close contact with this target. But in true “Homeland” style, the creators didn’t just hand the situation to us on a silver platter. They fiddled around with several outcomes, almost bombing the entire plan before giving us what they promised. We couldn’t contain ourselves when Brody was about to meet Akbari, but one glance at the time and we realised we’re too early for this sort of suspense to be cleared. Rightly, a sudden turn of events leads to Brody having to prove his trustworthiness again, to Abu Nazir’s (Navid Neghaban) widow because apparently she can see right through him. Brilliant addition, no doubt, but what we find hard to believe is that they would so much faith in a woman, albeit she is the wife of a slain hero. But given the status and state of women in Iran, leaving a white man alone with a lady, even for professional reasons is a little stretched.

Brody’s immaculate acceptance and approval from the media compel him to change his plan and really fall into place as the survivor seeking asylum. Our mouths were agape at this point. The ex-marine has always been portrayed as unpredictable. We never know what that guy is thinking. He was a terrorist in the first season, then a double agent in the second and in the third, he’s an asset to America who’s gone rogue. But wonders will never cease with Brody and there is more to come. It must be noted that right from the beginning, Carrie Mathinson (Claire Danes) has had her gut in place about her lover’s disposition. Even when she was sure he was a bad guy, or when he truly had changed. In “Big Man In Tehran” too, Carrie believes Brody will come through, even though we thought it was the pregnancy hormones talking. Sidenote: Other than a single scene where Carrie notices her baby bump, the show’s really not addressing the elephant, which we find really weird.

The flip-flopping, the constant fear of what’s happening next and the volatile decisions that the characters are forced to make in difficult situations are what tied “Big Man In Tehran” together. When Carrie was putting herself and the mission in danger to save Brody, we felt Saul’s anger. When the latter made the unbelievable decision to cut the agency’s losses, we feared for the lovers’ safety. That’s good, nay, great stuff right there. However, next episode has to deal with the backlash of what’s gone down this week. The season finale will see the baby debacle come to fruition, and Carrie and Brody’s relationship come to the fore. Still, there’s no sign of Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) and Fara Sherazi’s (Naznin Boniadi) stories getting any attention, which is disappointing.

But the finale, titled “The Star” (in reference to Brody?) already has a released preview where our anti-hero is seen ranting about what he is now, which is not a marine. We’d like to pen our thoughts on what we think will happen next, but “Homeland” will definitely shock us. You can count on that.

  • Watch the finale of “Homeland” Season Three on December 16, 2013, 10 pm on Star World Premiere HD.

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