Episode 10 kept its focus on Brody’s uncertain border crossing as “Operation Hellfire” haltingly unfolded. The action took place both in the fields at the border between Iraq and Iran and at a command center at Langley, where Carrie, Saul, Quinn and Lockhart watched and listened. Brody was allowed to be a war hero for an episode, which was unfortunately not as exciting as the writers wanted it to be.
The episode features Brody traveling with his special ops support team as he prepares to seek asylum in Iran. Saul’s plan is that Brody will claim responsibility for the CIA bombing, seek asylum in Iran, arrange a meeting with top Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials, assassinate one or more high-ranking Iranians and exfiltrate the country. The end goal of the mission is to advance Javadi’s career within the Iranian government, thus extending CIA power in the region.
As Carrie and Saul watch from CIA command, Brody encounters predictable obstacles: a run-in with Iraqi police, an encounter with his own nerves, a land mine explosion and finally, a shoot-out with Iraqi authorities alerted to CIA presence by the prior encounter. At every turn, Brody is aided by the cool and collected Yousef, who leads the undercover operation on the ground.
After Yousef is badly wounded in an explosion and the mission is besieged by Iraqi shooters, Saul sadly calls off Operation Hellfire from the command center in Langley. Excited by the prospect of being a hero, though, Brody refuses to abort the operation.
Brody and a special ops agent sprint to the Iranian border and are taken into custody by an Iranian military unit. They stick to their script and claim to be Al Qaeda operatives seeking asylum, but it isn’t clear whether the Iranian authorities believe that story.
The most interesting moment of episode 10 arrives at the end. Javadi is conveniently summoned to the jail where Brody and his assistant are being held while they await interrogation. As he walks in, Brody and Javadi size one another up. Javadi knows that Brody isn’t the bomber, but does Brody know that Javadi knows? Will either of them guess that the other is also reporting back to Saul?
For the time being, Saul’s position of power appears to be safe, since Lockhart is dutifully honoring Saul’s requests to postpone the senator’s confirmation as the new agency director. Carrie, too, is more willing to work with Saul by the end of tonight’s episode. With two men in Tehran, Lockhart and Carrie in his pocket, Saul emerges from episode 10 on top.