My favorite episode of Season Three so far, and one of my favorites for Homeland in general, this one was just a blast all around, and as much as I and other critics have been theorizing that Homeland is and should remain about Carrie, this episode shows just how much stronger the series can be when Brody’s actually in play. Don’t get me wrong: Claire Danes’s face gives great reaction shots (which is why she’s such a great choice for playing this largely passive, observer role), but for the last several episodes, she’s had little to look at and has occasionally been too swept up in the action (the soapy stuff). Here, with the object of her affection thousands of miles away, fighting for his life in the darkness, so close (and yet so far) from the Iranian border–where things will get even tenser for him–all she can do is watch, terrified, as Saul and then the military gamble with Brody’s life. The stakes have never been tighter, and with the whole episode taking place largely in real-time (for the last half-hour), there are some nail-biting encounters, between overly curious Iraqi police, IEDs, and having terrible traffic/luck at the border. You can’t plan for that human element . . . but watching it? Greatly satisfying. You can read the full recap over at Slant Magazine.