SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Tower of David" episode of "Homeland" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Color this one of the most somber hours of TV of the week. Even the survivors of "The Walking Dead" over on AMC were living a more hopeful, but no more bloody, existence than Nicholas Brody and Carrie Mathison were in this week's unhappy "Homeland" installment.
First, the good news: Brody's back. After being MIA from Season 3's first two episodes, we finally catch up with him and, well, that's where the good news ends. While trying to make his way from Colombia into Venezuela, Brody was shot twice in the stomach and is bleeding profusely when he's delivered to a group of men near a Venezuelan beach.
They shuffle him off via an underground parking garage to a dark building, where a man who may or may not be a doctor is assisted by a young woman, and an even younger boy. The maybe-doctor removes the bullets — in a room where the lights flicker on and off at best — and makes it clear he knows who Brody is: a wanted terrorist with a $10 million dead-or-alive bounty on his head.
Later That Same Day? Week? Month?
Brody wakes up, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers, in an open-air room. The same young woman who assisted during the operation helps him get out of bed after he refuses more drugs for his pain. He walks to the edge of the room to see where he is, and looks out into a city he doesn't recognize. "Where am I?" he asks.
"Caracas, your new home," says the man who took him to the maybe-doctor. He tells Brody he's safe there, in that building, with him. Brody frets that his wallet and passport have been taken; he's worried that he won't be able to travel without it. The man laughs, and Brody asks why he's helping him.
"You know Carrie Mathison. So do I."
The Tower of David
Brody asks the young woman — who's the daughter of the mystery man helping him — to take him on a walk. They stroll through the building, where they pass children in school uniforms, children playing in the hallways, a tiny bodega, and a woman who's just finished providing entertainment services to a gentleman. Brody takes it all in, but the jaunt has left him exhausted and bleeding from one of his wounds.
A trip to Maybe-Doctor, one of the few people who speaks English, provides background on Brody's strange new digs. It's called the Tower of David, not for any Biblical reason, but because that was the name of the wealthy banker who was financing it before he died "along with the economy," says Maybe-Doc.
Now it's an "abscess beyond healing," abandoned mid-construction and overrun with squatters, Maybe-Doc says.
"We're here because the world can be cruel and judgmental," he tells Brody. "We're here because the place accepts us."
Brody again refuses an offer of drugs from the doctor.
The End of the Line
Brody, still planning on leaving the Tower of David, begins his own round of physical therapy, walking throughout the building to speed up the healing process. When his helper's daughter takes him to the roof, he's given his wallet, watch, and passport, and introduced to the man who stole them from him. Then he watches as the man is thrown off the building. A horrified Brody angrily asks why the man was killed, and his helper tells him the man not only stole from him, but also might be able to identify him for the reward money.
Brody tries to leave the Tower, but is stopped by his helper and (alleged) mutual friend of Carrie's. Brody tells him he can't stay there, that it's time for him to go to the next stop. That what he's been doing, going from one stop to the next on his fugitive run. But Carrie's friend, his helper, has a sobering message for him: This is it. This is the end of the line. You're home.
Brody returns to his open-air room in the Tower of David, where he's visited by Maybe-Doc again. And once again, he refuses an offer of drugs.
Carrie, Carrie, Not Quite So Contrary
We're more than halfway through the episode before the action switches from Brody to Carrie, at the psych ward. She's been in the hospital three weeks, and she's talking to a doctor who she assumes is reporting back to Saul.
She wants the doctor to tell Saul she's doing better. She's taking her meds again. And she tells the doc she realizes now they were all right… she never should have stopped taking them. The doctor knows she's playing along with what she thinks he wants to hear.
Later, a nurse compliments Carrie on the popsicle stick house she's building, and Carrie excuses herself to go to the bathroom. She stares at herself in the mirror and begins banging her head against it, opening a bloody wound on her forehead. A different nurse comes in and promises to help her, and keep her outburst off her charts. Carrie also asks the nurse to let her know when the man who's been trying to visit her — a man she assumes is Saul — returns.
"I'll Die Here"
Brody, determined to flee the Tower of David, begs his helper's daughter to get him to the local mosque. She does, sneaking him out of the Tower and then begging him to take her with him into the mosque. He refuses, and makes his way to the mosque, where a short conversation later, he's allowed to enter the building and is shown to a nice room.
Brody is happily showering, thinking he's found safe haven, when two men enter the shower and begin beating him, dragging his bloodied and naked body into another room. The man who permitted him access is now telling him they know he's a terrorist, and as his men open the door to toss Brody out, the men from the Tower of David greet them, killing the mosque guards, the mosque leader, and a woman who's trying to crawl away to safety.
Brody's taken back to the Tower and thrown into a dark, cell-like room. Maybe-Doc comes in. "You've been a naughty boy. A naughty, naughty boy," Maybe-Doc says. Brody again protests that he can't stay there. "It's like the hole in Iraq. I can't do it again," Brody says.
"Oh, I'm sure you'll find a way," Maybe-Doc says. "Everywhere you go, other people die. But you always manage to survive… you're like a cockroach, still alive, after the last nuclear bombs go off."
And after reminding Brody of the death he's left in his attempts to move on, Maybe-Doc shuts, and locks, the door, and Brody injects himself with drugs.
"I Would Rather Die in Here"
Carrie, meanwhile, gets a visit from the man who's been trying to see here. It's not Saul, though. It's an attorney who tells her he wants to help her get home. She quickly realizes he's not an attorney, and though she isn't sure which U.S. enemy he's representing, she knows he's there to try to get her to turn against her country, the people who've locked her up in the psych hospital, and she won't do it. "I would rather die in here," she tells him and walks back into the hospital, to the nurses' desk, and asks for the meds she has been so desperate to avoid.
* "Tower of David" is the last "Homeland" episode written by Henry Bromell, who died in March after suffering a heart attack. Bromell, also an executive producer on the series, won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series last month for the Season 2 episode "Q&A," with his widow Sarah accepting the statue on his behalf. Bromell's son William helped finish writing on "Tower of David," and gets a co-writing credit with his dad.
Only one question for you "Homeland" fans this week: Is there any doubt that Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, and the Bromells will be Emmy nominees again next year for this episode?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.