Homeland Shocker: Do You Buy the Big Twist?

[The following contains major spoilers from Sunday night’s episode of Showtime’s Homeland.]

Showtime’s Homeland this week did something that you rarely see a freshman drama — let alone a serialized, mystery-based, espionage-tinged one – do: It laid all of its cards on the table.

But as a result, did we really see what we think we saw?

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Of course Homeland‘s central mystery revolves around Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a rescued POW celebrated as a hero by all except one person: Carrie Mathison, a CIA analyst who suspects that Brody was “turned” during his eight years of captivity in Afghanistan and now may be part of a terrorist plot to be carried out on U.S. soil.

Yet despite her suspicions — or perhaps as a means to get closer to her subject? — Carrie last week began an affair with the married serviceman. That hook-up continued this Sunday as the two retreated from their respective at-home dramas to a cabin in the woods. And all was going hunky-dory until Carrie (rather sloppily) let slip a detail about Brody that she would only know if he had been under surveillance.

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When Brody grilled Carrie on the matter, she did perhaps what we least expected — outright shared her theory that his allegiance to America has been comprised, that he is the turned POW she had heard whispers about.

What resulted was the interrogation Carrie wanted to conduct back in the pilot. She lobbed every question that she had at Brody, and he responded with answers that, all told, seemed to debunk her theory. He even copped to adopting the Muslim religion if only because King James bibles were hard to come by where he was, desperately holding onto life.

Carrie’s revealed suspicions understandably threw cold water on the couple’s assignation. Then, just as Brody made tracks for his car, Carrie learned (via a phone call from Saul) that a piece of his story maybe didn’t hold water: He claimed that he was compelled to kill Tom Walker, a unit member with whom he had been held. Walker, though, was ID’d be Aileen as a man Faisel recently met with on the roof of their house near the airport.

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So is Walker in fact alive, and he is the turned POW? If so, was Brody merely led to believe by Abu Nazir that he had ended his comrade’s life? Or was Brody’s account of Walker’s death a lie, seeing as the sergeant had earlier explained to Carrie that survival instinct had taught him to be a convincing liar? Perhaps Brody and Walker are in cahoots?

(One quibble amid this otherwise compelling episode: Just how far into her session with the  CIA sketch artist — of which viewers saw glimpses — did Aileen think to mention that the man Faisel met with was African American? That fact obviously was not among the first words out of her mouth when she started confessing to Saul, who was quick to run Brody’s photo by her.)

What do you think of Homeland‘s decision to loop in Brody here in the seventh hour of the show’s freshman run? Do you think that the Walker reveal keeps Brody on the suspect list? Will Carrie still keep after him? Do you believe, as some have posited, that Brody will now work with Carrie to root out the real threat?

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