Forgive me, Nicholas Brody. I had wished you dead. Now, I want you to live.
I have long thought that Homeland should have killed off Nicholas Brody, its POW-turned-terrorist-turned-Congressman-turned-terrorist-again-turned-bald wanderer played by Emmy-winning Damian Lewis. I subscribed to Emily Nussbaum’s theory that if Brody’s suicide vest had gone off in season one it would have been an “uncompromising one-season series—something impossible, because of those damn TV economics.” I ardently believed that it was silly that Showtime stopped the writers from knocking him off again in season two. I held firm that after the mystery of Brody was solved in the first season—yes, he is/was/is a terrorist—the mere fact of having him around forced the show to tread water. If they just got rid of him they could start the show from scratch and then, perhaps, inject energy into it. Brody, however, has been gone for most of this season, and, if anything, the energy has been down. Who did we need? Turns out, we needed Nicholas Brody.
Last night’s episode did something remarkable: it made me want Brody to survive. That's not to say the show didn't get me to this this point of Brody-love in a pretty cheap, sorta bananas way. As viewers, we are supposed to believe that in a matter of weeks Brody got over his heroin problem, got on board with Carrie and Saul’s plan to insert him into Iran and have him kill the head of the Revolutionary Guard, and got all marine-like again. Okay, Homeland writers, okay. And for the first part of the episode, before Brody cleaned himself up (in a quite literal fashion), I was groaning. The prospect of an entire episode of Lewis’ crazy eyes as Brody hallucinates and shits himself was not pleasant. But Homeland has never been afraid to move things along quickly, and by the time Brody was visiting Dana at the motel where she apparently lives and cleans up and promised Carrie he would come home, I was on the character’s side.