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‘Homeland’ creates more drama — with visceral reactions on episode 10 from viewers

Was Carrie Mathis(Claire Danes) let off hook too easy by Abu Nazir last week's episode 'Homeland.'?

Was Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) let off the hook too easy by Abu Nazir in last week's episode of "Homeland."?

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9 to 10 p.m. Sundays on Showtime

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Updated: December 7, 2012 6:54PM

Last Sunday’s “Homeland” sparked a visceral reaction among fans, many of whom felt the Showtime thriller wasn’t its usual smart self. (Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading.)

Episode 10, titled “Broken Hearts,” got skewered for serving viewers a head-scratching smorgasbord of things that seemingly didn’t make sense, from Skype video chats on Blackberries and disappearing phone taps to a remarkable lack of surveillance in the Naval Observatory and the generally bizarre behavior of Brody (Damian Lewis).

It’s that last one — Brody’s behavior — that’s had me obsessing like a certain jazz-loving CIA operative with a penchant for corkboards, highlighters and pinot.

I’ve rewatched the episode three times now and I’m more convinced than ever: Brody partnered with Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban) to kidnap Carrie (Claire Danes). (The New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum also articulately espoused this theory earlier in the week, but I swear I reached this conclusion on my own, God as my witness. And by God, I mean my husband Chris, who was sitting next to me on the couch last Sunday night when I blurted it out.)

I don’t care how much Brody likes knocking boots with Carrie; I simply didn’t buy his overwrought plea to Abu Nazir to free her from captivity. It felt like Brody and Nazir were putting on a play for a literally captivated audience of one. They wanted Carrie to think that she got her walking papers because deep down, Brody loves her and would do anything — including offing the vice president — to save her life. I think the plan all along was to capture Carrie only to let her go.

Why would the cat who has its mouse by the tail lift its paw and let it escape? Because this is a smart cat who knows the mouse will be back — along with several of its key mice friends — to go after the big cheese, aka Nazir. Carrie, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), Quinn (Rupert Friend) and anyone else who knows the score on our favorite freckled congressman can be lured into that abandoned mill and blown to bits in one fell swoop. If everyone who knows about Brody’s turncoat past gets deep-sixed and his classified file magically disappears, Brody could continue his climb up the ladder of power.

Here’s one more theory: David Estes (David Harewood) is a mole, and he’s going to ensure that all of the loose ends wind up in that abandoned mill for a very unpleasant surprise party. He also will take care of making that classified file go away.

I realize these hypotheses stand a good chance of being completely, utterly wrong. But the fact that I’ve invested so much energy playing out various scenarios is a testament to how addictive and compelling “Homeland” is.

As we head into season two’s penultimate episode at 9 p.m. Sunday, there’s only one thing I know for sure: I’ll be watching.

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