The great strength of Brody as a character and therefore Homeland throughout has been that we can never tell exactly where Brody's ultimate loyalties reside - certainly not after the first season, when Brody decides not to set off the bomb out of love for his daughter not really his native country. But we couldn't be sure of Brody all second season - until the end. And in this season, it looked like Brody, from what little we saw of him, was at first not loyal to anyone, but lately completely devoted to Carrie and the CIA.
The tipoff, looking back, was how Brody was betrayed by the imam in South America. In retrospect, that betrayal doused whatever continuing loyalty to the late Nazir and his cohorts Brody may have harbored. Nonetheless, he gave a pretty convincing performance in Teheran tonight - convincing, certainly, to the leader he was sent to assassinate, and, more distressingly, convincing to Saul and company back at the CIA.
Of course, this wasn't convincing to Carrie, and, I've got to say, it wasn't convincing to me. But I've also got to give this episode enormous credit for playing things so close to the vest that I wasn't completely sure until Brody killed his target. And it's interesting to think about when did he make that decision? My guess is he made it after the conversation with Carrie in which she warned him about the Mossad attempt on his life - ordered by Saul - and he told her to get out of harm's way. In fact, I think the decisive factor in Brody's killing the Iranian leader was Brody's desire to not just get the CIA off of killing him, but off of potentially killing Carrie. Because, in Brody's by no means totally inaccurate sometimes paranoid view, if Saul could turn on him, he could almost as easily turn on Carrie - especially if Carrie got in the CIA and Saul's way. We the audience already saw Quinn literally shoot Carrie - not on Saul's orders, but even so - and though I can't recall if Carrie told Brody about this, it's a good bet that she told him off camera in the time they spent together, or he otherwise figured it out.
And so, this next-to-last episode of the season ends with Saul once again the bad guy, as he was at the beginning of the season. His giving in to kill Brody was understandable but unforgivable.
Let's see if see if he redeems himself in the season finale next week.
And see also Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional