'Homeland' Recap: Zero Dark Brody

Did Dar Adal tip off the Iranians?

Mandy Patinkin plays Saul Berenson, Claire Danes plays Carrie Mathison and Rupert Friend plays Peter Quinn in "Homeland."
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Did Dar Adal tip off the Iranians?

When Brody's mission to cross the Iranian-Iraqi border first goes awry, Dar – watching the operation with Mike, the White House chief of staff – sneaks out his Blackberry in a moment that could be a coda to Season 2's "Beirut Is Back." And if he did, it may be the most intriguing development of the episode titled "Good Night," which, for all the night vision theatrics, was pretty predictable.

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Of course Brody would put his heart into executing Saul's ludicrous master plan -- to sneak Brody into Iran under the cover of political asylum and set off a state coup. Of course, Murphy's law would prevail, and everything that could go wrong does: with an ugly border traffic jam; a malfunctioning drone; some nosy Iraqi cops; and an IED explosion. Of course Brody would stubbornly refuse to abort the mission, despite Carrie's desperate pleas to stand down (which causes one to wonder, would she be so be desperate for him to survive at the cost of the mission had she not been carrying his child?). Of course their final conversation would devolve into his romantic-if-this-wasn't-an-international-crisis proclamation – "You're going to get me home...You'll find a way, I have faith!"

And of course Carrie does everything she can to indeed get Brody home, including convincing Fara to have her family offer up a safe house. The writing was written all over Carrie's conspiracy theory crazy walls, people. No one expected this to go smoothly.

But if Dar had a direct line to the Iranians – perhaps to Javadi even – that would make things more interesting. After all, if Brody can text Abu Nazir while rubbing shoulders with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a Pentagon lockdown room, then Dar could certainly ping his buddy J: "Hey, we have a present for you on the Iranian border - his name rhymes with Rick Crody."

It would explain why the Iranian military guard was putzing around across the border in Iraq, why they were willing to buy Brody's cover story so easily and how Javadi was able to get to the torture hut so quickly.

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Dar had the coolest head of all when the border-crossing operation started getting nutty. Even King of Confidence Saul Berenson sounded notably defeatist when handing the reins over to the military. If Dar has some side deal with Javadi, it would also explain why he switched from Team Lockhart to Team Berenson instantaneously when he heard the scope of Saul's plan.

"Homeland" expects us to believe that Dar was both deep, deep undercover for years while also golfing Congressional Country Club with Iran's lawyer to the stars. Why couldn't he also be WhatsApp friends with Iran's head of security?

If Dar did tip off the Iranians, it would appear Saul had no idea of it. He seemed genuinely surprised when Carrie popped into his office to smugly announce, "He made it -- and you, Saul, are still in the game."

It could mean that Brody may be walking into a bigger trap, with Javadi and Dar colluding to undercut whatever Saul had in mind for a coup. It would also justify episodes - seasons – of Dar never truly earning the viewers' trust.

Of course, "Homeland" has a tendency to hint at what could be really great plot twists, only to leave them on the table. (Behold, Emily Nussbaum's Great Conspiracy Theory of 2012). And the giant twist that this season turned on was handled rather sloppily. So any hope that Dar Adal is a bad guy after all could just be wishful thinking.

After imitating the are-you-kidding-me crazy of Shonda Rhimes, it felt like "Homeland" creators Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were were pretending to be Kathryn Bigelow a la "Zero Dark Thirty" with this episode and it didn't quite work. To have Brody play hero -- first saving the life of his partner and then boldly defying mission control -- was asking us to forget all the horrible things he's done including being a terrible father, a terrible husband and, oh yeah, a terrorist. As for Carrie's overjoyous reaction to Brody's heroics -- smiling like a proud mother (or should we say, a proud baby mama) - haven't you heard of a a poker face, Mathison? Now that Quinn is tipped off to your pregnancy, you should know better than to look so emotionally invested, lest he blame it on the hormones.