It's not a spoiler alert to say in this first sentence that Brody returns in this week's episode, called "Tower of David." After all, we knew he was coming back; he's seen within the first few moments of the episode and you don't even see another established character until roughly 31 minutes in.
Not only does he return, but he returns in likely the worst episode of Homeland ever produced. It's one that takes the story problems witnessed thus far this season and makes them worse in a vague, boring, non-compelling mess of an episode.
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The show opens in Venezuela where a very injured Brody is brought to a group of men. He's nearly unrecognizable with his shaved head -- and what looks like a bullet wound in his gut.
A doctor works on him in a parking garage, and we can assume days have passed when Brody wakes up in a bedroom. Someone took his wallet and passport. At first, I thought he meant while he was being operated on. But it sounds like that's what happened when he got hurt.
The group of men helping Brody claim to know Carrie. But they're incredibly one-dimensional -- I never even really catch their names -- and we're spending an awful lot of time with them.
(Anyone else think they're lying about knowing Carrie and instead are the remainder of Abu Nazir's team that helped blow up the CIA?)
This episode, however, is trying to drill into our heads that Brody deserves being a virtual prisoner. That he's accepted in that place and that he belongs there. Okay, sure. But that's not exactly dramatically interesting.
Nor is it when the men present Brody with the man that supposedly robbed him but clearly didn't, "confession" notwithstanding. They throw him off a building as Brody screams. This is apparently for Brody's benefit and to convince him not to try and leave.
We then randomly cut to Carrie at this moment. It's jarring, and up to this point, I'm almost expecting the entire episode to be built around Brody's boring time in Venezuela.
But instead, the show continues to volleyball back and forth between the two of them to show how alone they are, how distrusting they should be of their companions and how they're both turning to drugs for their problems.
They both also want out of where they are. Carrie thinks her salvation lies with Saul if he'll just come and speak to her. But he doesn't even appear in this episode. Instead, Carrie is visited by a man named Paul Franklin from a law firm who claims one of his partners wants to help get her out.
Carrie accuses Paul of working for the Israelis or Syrians -- are we heading for a scenario in which Carrie is turned just as Brody was before the very beginning of the series?
Carrie refuses his help, however, and instead finds solace in more medication.
Brody, meanwhile, does escape and winds up at a Muslim couple's home. He's enjoying a shower -- probably his first in a long time -- when local police burst in and start to drag him away. But Brody's "friends" blow them away with shotguns as they're leaving and even kill the Muslim couple. He is taken away and thrown in a prison by his "friends."
That's all that happens in this episode. It's moody. Perhaps it sets up future plotlines. It, of course, has wonderful performances.
But, wow, is it boring.
Homeland airs Sundays at 9pm on Showtime.