But no - by the end of the hour Estes knows, the CIA know, Carrie's back in the field, and Brody's a prisoner again, this time on home soil. That white-hot, emotionally charged final scene between him and Carrie could so easily have played as the end-of-season finale, and the pair's mesmerising dynamic could just as easily have sustained several more episodes. In fact, much as we're in favour of fast-paced storytelling, we could have done with a few more scenes like that beautifully tense sequence in the bar.
Still, it's probably for the best that things didn't stretch out for that long, since Brody's politics plot is the one that's attracted most criticism so far (with his missions from Abu Nazir becoming so ridiculous that they've spawned their own rather excellent spoof).
That early conversation in which Saul and Estes discuss the benefits of "leaving Brody where he is" could presumably have been lifted verbatim from the Homeland writers' room, but Carrie put paid to that plan when she followed Brody to his room and gave the CIA no choice but to take him in.
Last season's 'The Weekend' was where the Carrie/Brody relationship reached its peak, so it's fitting that the same scriptwriter Meredith Stiehm returned here to pen their electrifying reunion.
We know Claire Danes is a great actress, but who knew Carrie was quite this convincing? As Rupert Friend's Quinn bluntly reminded her, everything she's suffered over the past few months has been entirely down to Brody, but she managed to contain her anger and put on the beguiled, flirty façade so well… until he started needling her about the ECT treatment.
And did Carrie really think Brody had seen through her at that point? Or did she simply snap, and come up with that story as a way to get her revenge right then and there? It's impossible to tell, but the latter makes more sense as a lead-in to the exhilarating hotel room exchange.
"I liked you, Carrie", "I loved you," was a brilliantly savage gut punch, and fascinating too because Carrie believed Brody to be a terrorist and a traitor all along last season, and fell in love with him anyway. So when she finally gets to spit those words at him, calling him "a disgrace to his nation", we're left to wonder whether it isn't his personal betrayal she's really avenging.
- This was the week of hard truths for Brody from the beginning: Jessica flat-out admits she doesn't trust him, while Mike's also been putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with a disturbing 4. Presumably it won't be much longer before he confides his suspicions to Jessica, although she'll probably be able to do the maths just fine herself once she hears Brody's in CIA custody.
- We still just aren't finding a good reason to care about Dana and her courtship with the VP's son, although it feels like a plot that'll pay off in a big way later on in the season. Or next week, at the rate these writers are going.
- David Harewood got the rare opportunity to be something other than hugely dislikeable this week - not only did Estes apologise to Carrie, but he has a cute son! But now there's a new Rupert Friend-shaped tool in town, Estes can presumably afford to soften up.
- Virgil's back! And he's still Carrie's bitch. We're betting there's some decent dirt in Quinn's past for him to dig up.
- It's not an unfamiliar device, but the moment when Brody hears "blood splatter" instead of "bug splatter" at the carwash was a subtle way to remind us of a) just how badly the tailor mission ended and b) just how unbalanced Brody is. Last season culminated with Carrie going off the rails mentally thanks to Brody - we're betting the tables just might get turned this time around.