So far there have been two big characteristics about Homeland's second season.
The first is that they have been burning through plot in a way I would have never expected. They could have spent a whole season on what they did last week, but instead they seem to be on a high-speeding roll of going from one huge plot development to another to the point almost every episode has ended with a season finale level cliffhanger. The second is that while they had Carrie on a very particular journey of coming back to where she once stood tall, they have been having Brody doing some pretty far-fetched stuff like texting Nazir and killing tailors in the woods. Both of those characteristics took what I would call a left turn in this episode.
Like in the one before it, the developments in this episode could have also been spread out through almost half a season if the writers would have liked to. By having Brody being taken into custody, they finally gave him something to do, but when Brody was captured it took years of breaking him to make him turn into islam and ally himself to Abu Nazir, while this time around, it takes one interrogation to win him back. In most cases, a show wouldn't make this work, it would artificial, a big plot mechanism.
The thing with 'Homeland', though, is that we have a whole season worth of story behind this episode. We have everything that happened between Brody and Carrie, how he almost destroyed her life. As well as all that happened to Brody since he came home and his reconnection with his family, especially Dana. All this backstory doesn't only help to make what could have felt as a highly contrived episode work, but also turns it into one of the series' best.
I say it helps, because the backstory would probably not be enough to make the episode work if we didn't have the amazing acting talent of Claire Danes, and in this episode especially, Damien Lewis. Lewis remains silent for long parts of the episode while he is being interrogated, but he has make such a great work of developing the character and has such great chemistry with Claire Danes, that he gives us a lesson on how reaction is as much a part of acting as action.
After what happened in this episode, and the fact that it didn't have one of the cliffhanger episodes of previous entries this season, I would dare to say this was finally the time in which the show settles the stage for the rest of the season, but then again, with how things are moving, I wouldn't dare.