May 25, 2018
Homeland RECAP: No More Dying – Until Next Week! (S4:E9)
Last week we left off with Dev from Smash telling Carrie that “the Ambassador’s husband” is the mole. Carrie was shocked because she never noticed Martha had a husband. How much damage can one non-entity schmuck with total access to everything do? We’re about to find out.
We open with Quinn “signing off” on the very bad men who are going to be traded for Saul. Quinn calls Carrie to tell her they’ll be at the embassy soon, and she tells Lockhart, who gives the best line reading of the night: a super-sarcastic “Great. I’ll tell the White House.” I’m a miss you, Tracy Letts, when they blow up you up at the end of the season, which totally could happen, maybe.
Carrie’s spidey-sense is kicking in. She’s convinced that “there’s something else going on,” but she doesn’t know what. Lockhart mentions her new best friend Dev from Smash, who he thinks might be playing her. She points out he gave her Dennis “Duck” Boyd. He counters that if he loved her he would have told her Duck’s handler too.
Speaking of Duck, a now consistently sober and competent Redmond takes Dennis into his office for a friendly chat. He tells him about “documents” from Martha’s computer that wound up in enemy hands. Dennis is totally ready to give up Martha, but doesn’t break a sweat when Redmond reveals she’s not the one they suspect. Redmond lets him go after he “swears” it wasn’t him. In the hallway, he starts to make a phone call, but stops. Carrie tells Redmond they’ll give Dennis a couple of hours and talk to him again.
Uh, mightn’t this have been the time to offer him a one-time get out of jail free card and no one-way trip to Gitmo for treason if he just tells them everything—immediately?
Saul meantime is getting his much beaten face washed by a woman in a blue burqa. Is she messing with him in some way, some funny business with a tracking device on his glasses maybe? (Answer: I watched the scene twice and sometimes a face wash is just a face wash.)
Now it’s time for Dennis to meet with Carrie. Have the two of them even been introduced? Carrie says, “Hello, Dennis,” the same way Jerry used to say, “Hello, Newman.” He’s standing on his constitutional right to be an asshole. He says he’s going to talk to a lawyer. She tells him, “You poisoned me. You think I’m going to let you talk to a lawyer? Sit the fuck down.” When he still won’t talk, she leaves him to stew a while in a locked interrogation room.
Saul arrives in Islamabad where he gets to star in a video with Haquanni, but he doesn’t have any lines on account of his mouth is gagged. Then he spends the night being guarded by a small child. Does Haquanni figure Saul won’t try to kill the child to escape? The little boy has a nightmare, and Saul says some words in some language to comfort him. What are these words? Sorry, no subtitles, but they come from Saul’s mouth to a child so they are probably good words.
Mira calls Carrie. She knows the hostage deal is a major loss for the CIA. She talks to Carrie the way you are supposed to talk to a crazed serial killer holding your loved one hostage. She’s calm and diplomatic. She keeps repeating Saul’s name and reminding Carrie that Saul is her husband and Carrie’s friend—whom they both love. She begs Carrie not to let him die.
Carrie goes back to Dennis. She shows him the video of Sandy getting killed. This shakes him up, but not enough to get him talking. She threatens to take him to a “black ops site,” which he insists isn’t still a thing, but he looks like he’s about to shit his pants. Then Martha bursts in and tells Carrie she is so fired, and she takes Dennis away. Martha then plies Dennis with liquor and asks him about his contacts. He doesn’t tell her anything either. Turns out she’s working with Carrie. Carrie and Martha are both shocked by Dennis’ resilience. “It’s like he knew I was playing him,” Martha says.
Wouldn’t Lockhart or someone be a wee bit angry with Martha for her extremely bad judgment in the marriage department?
Morning comes. It’s almost time for the exchange. Dennis tries to leave the embassy with his passport and a change of clothes. Martha has him locked up. Why didn’t he just leave via the secret unguarded tunnel that Carrie uses to meet her ISI contact on rainy nights?
Redmond and Carrie go to the prisoner exchange while Quinn and Lockhart stay behind in the CIA Operations Room. Carrie specifically wanted Quinn there so he could watch over and protect her with magic drones if something goes wrong. But why is Lockhart with him? (SPOILER ALERT: Lockhart is there in case there is an emergency while Quinn is out on a bathroom break and Lockhart is needed to make the wrongest possible decision.)
Carrie and Redmond meet General Bunny and Tasmeen at what looks like an unused military airstrip or the future home of the Islamabad Galleria. General Bunny shows off a “you are here” printed map of the site. The ISI role will be to act for the Taliban—grab the prisoners from the Americans and let them go. Given that Haquanni’s plan for world domination includes overthrowing the present regime, why exactly are they doing this?
General Bunny assures Redmond that Pakistan doesn’t want to see the prisoners on the street any more than the Americans do.
Will it be too much to ask if before the season is over we get some explanation for what the ISI is doing?
Carrie still senses something fishy in the setup, so she pretends to get a phone call, but it’s an excuse to call her new boyfriend Dev, who for some reason is standing many feet away from the action. She asks if they are about to be double-crossed. He admits he was shut out of the planning. She demands he tell her the identity of Dennis’ handler. He doesn’t say a name, but walks over to where Tasmeen is standing, and it’s enough for Carrie.
Saul’s little friend is coming with to the exchange, but first he has to put on his suicide vest. Did you know they make children’s sizes? Saul is told the boy’s father and brother were killed in a drone attack back when Saul was the CIA director, so the boy is happy to be sacrificing himself to avenge them.
Over at the exchange site, the van with the prisoners arrives. Then the van with Saul pulls over in the middle of the tarmac. Saul is dragged out and dumped. The boy is next to him. The vest is revealed.
Carrie tells Tasmeen to tell Haquanni that if anything happens to Saul they’ll execute the prisoners “Right here, right now.” Tasmeen gets back to her that the boy is “insurance.” Haquanni won’t blow up his own men. Once the prisoners are free, the boy goes back with them.
But Saul is just not with the program. He isn’t going anyplace. The man with the detonator comes out threatening to blow the whole thing up, which is fine with Saul. Carrie goes out to talk to him. In a weirdly uncomfortable bit of irony, that will earn one or both of them Emmy awards, she points out that if he gets blown up so does the kid.
Saul is good with that. “He said his prayers. He thinks he’s going to fucking heaven.”
The Drone Queen drones on, telling Saul that their side doesn’t blow up innocents—except if they are assets she’s sleeping with, or wedding guests. Maybe if Saul wasn’t so beaten down, if he’d had a good breakfast or a decent night’s sleep, he could have stood up to Carrie—pointed out how much mischief Haquanni’s henchman will cause or that their side has innocent blood on its hands as well, and that maybe it all just needs to stop, that sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good of the one even if that includes the plus one kid. Saul could have put his hand up in a Vulcan salute (which Mandy Patankin would totally be able to do) and bid the world a tender farewell, but as has been said before on these pages, NOBODY SAYS NO TO CARRIE MATHISON. She keeps talking, and talking, and talking, and finally she tells him, “No more dying.” Resistance is futile. She walks him off the tarmac.
What else is going on at the same time or immediately after? Bunny is letting the Taliban guys go so they can bomb stuff in Islamabad. Martha is visiting Dennis in his jail cell. Dennis is still blaming everything on the CIA. Martha is rolling her eyes while maybe wondering how strong Saul’s marriage is.
Carrie and Saul are in the back of a car driving to the embassy. Redmond and the driver are in front. Redmond answers his phone. It’s Mira. He hands the phone to Saul, who puts on his glasses before he speaks to her. Nice touch. The glasses are what makes him Saul again. Then BOOM. The car in front of them explodes, and it looks like the windshield in their car blows out too. Then there’s another boom, and we see things from the screen in the Ops room.
Someone says it’s an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). There are three cars in the convoy. It looks like at least two are on fire. Did Carrie and Saul just explode? Not 100% clear, but Lockhart can’t reach Carrie by phone and where the fuck is Quinn? Seriously? Quinn’s job was to watch Carrie’s back. Why aren’t you on the job, Quinn?
Lockhart sends the Marines—ALL OF THEM—out of the embassy and over to the site of the explosion a few blocks away. A guard tells Martha, who is still with Dennis, about the deployment. Dennis confesses that he told Tasmeen about the not-so-secret tunnel. And then we see Haquanni and the henchman walking through that same tunnel and into the now totally open embassy.
Note to US State Department: Please plug up all your embassy secret unguarded tunnels!
Whatever happened to Fara and Max? Are those crazy kids honeymooning in Goa by now? Or will they be back next week, saving the compound with Quinn? It looks like there will be more dying, but somehow I don’t think Homeland will kill off its two stars. Did anyone out there see anything I didn’t in the shots of the convoy? Don’t be shy! Your theories are welcome.