As this second series speeds up for a dash to the finishing line, it's all about one-to-one confrontations: Carrie and Nazir, Brody and Walden, Saul and Estes.
Saul came out the least scathed of these encounters thus far, although, after he'd informed Estes he was onto Peter Quinn's enigmatic brief, it was only a matter of time before he was stopped in his tracks, led off by a pair of hoods into some labyrinthine CIA ante-chamber, with the chilling words "the deputy director is fully aware".
Brody was caught between a rock a hard place
That was the gentle part of proceedings, before Carrie became hostage fodder by which Abu Nazir controlled Brody, and persuaded him to access the Vice President's pacemaker - yes, really.
Nazir got his longest speech so far, a compelling study of ideology that repelled Carrie - all of which was subtle and underplayed, compared with the reality-stretching antics occurring in the vice-president's office, when some far-off IT bod got to play god, with the second most powerful man in the world.
Damian Lewis got to relish in his nasty Brody side - something we've only seen a couple of times this series, but is always great when it happens, and a long way from the broken man curled up in the foetal position only four long episodes ago.
Carrie had her own taste of Nazir's tough love
There were a lot of 'As if's in this episode - Would Nazir REALLY have let Carrie go? Would Saul REALLY have got the low-down on a top-secret black op by wandering into a cafe? Would Brody REALLY have been able to make a phone call from the V-P's office without the walls hearing? Etc etc.
In the midst of all this palaver, it's that generally overlooked pillar of society, the sulky teenager, who seems to have the only grip on reality - Dana who, when asked, can sum up the series so far… "Turns out my dad is a super spy, terrorists want to kill him, or some such s**t." And there we have it, with two whole episodes left to sort it all out.
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