Season 3 narrowed its focus to Brody and Carrie, both imprisoned by jailers who insist they are only helping.
As the episode opens, we see Brody nearly dead somewhere in a South American forest. His head is shaved and he’s been shot. Yelling in Spanish, armed men throw him into the back of a truck and drive to Caracas, Venezuela. Without any explanation, Brody is carried into a basement operating room straight from a horror movie, where a man speaking perfect American English removes two bullets and administers morphine for Brody’s pain. The creepy surgeon wonders aloud why the gang is taking such heroic measures to ensure that Brody lives when there is a $10 million reward for him dead or alive.
When Brody wakes up, he has been moved again, this time to a makeshift bedroom in a half-constructed high-rise inhabited by squatters, sex workers, gang members and addicts. A pretty young woman – Esme – stays with him as a nurse, though, and Brody can hear chanting from a nearby mosque. Maybe everything will be OK?
As Brody gets his bearings, one of the armed toughs explains that Carrie’s connections have ultimately led to this endpoint, and that Brody is expected to live out his life in the high-rise. The basement “doctor” returns with his child assistant, to explain that life in the high-rise really isn’t so bad (as long as you have a constant supply of heroin). But once Brody is well enough to walk and has his wallet and fake ID in hand, he wastes no time leaving this supposed safe house.
Brody asks Esme to help him find the mosque, where he is sure that he will find refuge. Unfortunately, the upstanding imam recognizes Brody as an internationally wanted terrorist and calls the police. The Caracas gang is two steps ahead, though, and as Brody is dragged from the shower by Venezuelan authorities, gang members open fire on the police, the imam and the imam’s wife. They drag Brody back to the high-rise and give him less comfortable digs that will be more difficult to escape. It’s still not clear why they want him there.
In desperation, Brody finally accepts the heroin offered by his drug-pushing pedophile neighbor, plunging the needle into his own depleted vein.
The other half of the episode is all about Carrie. She’s been in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and seems more like herself: sharp, principled, fragile and ill-tempered. She strongly suspects that her doctor is providing regular updates to Saul, but she falls just short of convincing the psychiatrist that she is rehabilitated and/or chastised enough to receive visitors, much less leave the hospital.
It’s sad to see Carrie constructing Victorian houses out of popsicle sticks when we know that she should be solving international crimes. A mysterious lawyer arrives at the hospital to see her, and a kind nurse sneaks Carrie out to meet her visitor. Her senses still sharp, Carrie smells a rat.
As the lawyer tries to butter her up, she senses that he is offering to get her out of the hospital in exchange for information on Saul and her former CIA colleagues. Carrie is upset with Saul, but she’s loyal to her country. It’s good to see her sense of purpose is intact as she shoos the lawyer from the hospital.
In the final scenes, Carrie and Brody receive opposing messages that have a similar effect. Carrie’s visitor tells her that she doesn’t belong in the hospital, that he will help to get her out. In contrast, Brody’s Hannibel Lector-like neighbor tells Brody to get past the idea of leaving and accept his new life in the high rise. Brody is a cockroach, he points out; isn’t it true that he seems to survive no matter what?
Feeling helpless, both Carrie and Brody reach for the chemicals that will help them cope – for now. I’m looking forward to seeing how the writers break Brody out of this jail tower next week.