"I prepared to die."
That's something Brody's prepared to say to a gathering of wounded veterans -- had he actually gotten a chance to give the speech. (We'll get to where he was in a moment.)
But that's a statement and a choice that Carrie comes to embrace at one point during this episode as well. It's a brief moment and one she regrets (and does something about) relatively quickly, but it's one that she acts on at first.
Not being allowed back into the CIA's good graces after the successful mission in Beirut causes Carrie to slowly descend back into her old ways. She didn't want back in the CIA -- she initially told Saul as much. But once she is successful in the Beirut mission, she wants back in ... badly
She starts by retreating from her father's home and returning to her own. She even dresses up as a fake married woman for a night on the town, but looking for someone to sleep with -- something she has not done since the pilot.
But even before she leaves her house, she reconsiders and sees suicide as something that will bring her peace. We do not know what makes Carrie change her mind when she's lying in bed, waiting to die from the pill/wine combo. Of course, we're glad that she does, because Saul arrives later with the salvation she is looking for. Proof that she was right about what Brody did.
Saul and Carrie, however, only have part of the story. They have the part about what Brody almost did last year when he was alone in the room with the Vice President -- they have no idea what he's been up to in this episode.
Abu Nazir's journalist contact reaches out to Brody and asks him to get Brody's bomb vest maker from last year to safety. His identity has been compromised as a result of the successful CIA mission in Beirut.
During the course of that road trip, both Brody and Nigel, the bomb maker, make choices about the other person's true intentions. First, Nigel briefly considers killing Brody after the car gets a flat tire, which seems odd -- what has Brody done to make Nigel nervous about his own well-being?
Throughout their trip, Brody never intends to kill Nigel, but does so later as the result of an accident and because of a very sudden desire to be rid of him in a heated moment.
After Nigel escapes at a trip to the gas station, Brody takes off after him in the woods. Not to kill him, but to bring him back to the car. During a struggle, Nigel is seriously injured and Brody even tries to fix his wound with a tourniquet. It's while on a tense call with his wife, Jessica, where Brody's supposed to give a speech to the Vice President and a ton of VIPs, that he literally, at that exact moment, stops trying to help Nigel and just snaps his neck.
That might have strained credibility a bit. Why finally do it? And why while he's on the phone? Couldn't he have hung up on her first? (The moment still partially works, thanks to Damian Lewis's emotions and facial reactions being top notch as always.)
The more Brody tries to protect all that he's done at the behest of Nazir, the more evidence (and bodies) he leaves behind. Brody foolishly buys food for himself and Nigel at a gas station, miles from where he told Jessica he was. Then he washes off Nigel's blood at that same gas station (or what's assumed is the same one). It'll be awfully easy to find security camera footage if anyone gets clued into what Brody's up to.
Jessica and Mike are both suspicious of his activities. Jessica, however, rises to the occasion and is able to give a speech (with obvious nervousness in her voice) while her husband is absent. She talks about the importance of family taking care of wounded soldiers coming home and how they should better prepare those families. (As if Jessica could at all be prepared for what Brody would come back as.)
She and Brody almost seemed back to normal at the beginning of the episode -- they likely would have had sex on the kitchen counter if Dana hadn't walked in. Brody wanted it fast, as if he wanted it, but simultaneously wanted it over as quickly as possible. Jessica had to ask him to slow down, almost as if showing that she loved him, longing for reciprocal love from Brody.
At the end of the episode, though, she's walking arm and arm with former lover Mike back into the house until Brody arrives, looking awfully suspicious. Both Jessica and Mike are suspicious, but they have no idea what could possibly be coming now that Carrie knows she was right.
The only question is: what will her and Saul do with that info?
Final thought: great fake-out by the producers to make you think Saul lost the memory card at the checkpoint when leaving Beirut. Of course, he was too smart to leave it in the open. (He hides it in a compartment on the outside of his briefcase.) And, of course, the producers are too smart to make Brody's problems go away that easily.
(Image courtesy of Showtime)