Adam B. Vary
May 28, 2015 AT 05:01 PM EDT

think, finally, maybe, perhaps, after Sunday night’s stellar episode, we’ve conceivably learned what the rest of Homeland‘s season 2 could possibly be about: Nicholas Brody becoming a double agent to help the CIA stop an attack on the United States by Abu Nazir.

Or not!

That’s the thing about this show. At the end of last week’s episode, I was convinced Carrie had firebombed her chances of getting back into the CIA when she blew into Brody’s hotel room and blew her cover. Instead, by the end of this week’s episode, Carrie had stationed herself as Brody’s key contact running his new double agent mission for the CIA. So while it seems for now that Brody’s turned away from the dark side of the force, by next week he could be back killing younglings — who knows?

One thing is for certain: The episode revolved around an unbroken 16-minute scene between Carrie and Brody that will stand as one of the single best dramatic scenes ever presented on television — pay, basic, or broadcast. I could spend 5,000 words alone parsing just this scene’s bravura nuances (it’ll be more like 1,000, promise), but for now I’ll just note that it did what I thought was nigh impossible: Convince me that Brody still had a sliver of hope of being saved.

We opened with both Brody and Carrie stuck, alone, in a cold anonymous room, sweating their hotel room confrontation just hours before. Carrie, at least, wasn’t in chains, but she had to wait outside as Saul and Peter Quinn briefed Estes — who revealed himself to have terrible taste when it comes to keeping-it-casual oatmeal-colored sweater jackets — on what had just gone down. At every turn, a fed up Quinn tried to undermine and/or freeze out Carrie, and at every turn Saul stepped in to her defense, succeeding in keeping her in the room as Quinn ran Brody’s interrogation. “I should be in there, Saul,” Carrie said once everyone else had left. “You’re lucky you’re in the building,” Saul said with his trademark dry understatement.

With a 24-hour window before Brody’s absence caught Abu Nazir’s attention, Quinn wasted no time lining up Brody’s lies one by one. (I loved Quinn’s pointed response to Brody’s protest that a U.S. Congressman can’t just kidnapped and shackled to the floor: “Actually, we can; thanks to your colleagues in Congress, we have fairly broad powers to detain and interrogate.”) Brody lied about knowing who Issa was. (Not sure if this meant Carrie remembered his connection to Issa, though it certainly seems like she did.) Brody lied about having met Issa. Brody lied about knowing about the drone strike that killed him. Brody lied about having met Abu Nazir, about converting to Islam, about Tom Walker’s plan — and, most importantly, about wearing a bomb vest with the intent to blow up the vice president. And then, after getting all these lies on the record, Quinn opened up his laptop, and played Brody’s suicide tape back for him. Almost imperceptibly, Brody’s face dropped, as he began to realize the trap he’d just stepped into.

But the pressure was on the CIA as well. Despite Estes’ efforts to excuse away Brody’s absence as due to the flu, Jessica was understandably freaked out that her husband had gone missing — and their kids were too. (Thank jeebus for the rare moment of levity, when Jessica tried to placate her kids’ fears by reminding them, “It’s pizza night!”) She even brought soup for him at his hotel, only to find his room empty, and the previous day’s newspaper sitting unopened on the table. Quinn, Saul, and Carrie needed Brody to confess what he knew about Nazir’s operations soon, before Jessica began to ask too many questions.

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