Homeland Recap: Everbody's Got A Plan

The official title of this week’s Homeland episode is Gerontion – named for the poem by TS Eliot which I’m sure we all read in the 9th grade. Naming a classy-cable TV episode after an even classier poem is now a thing.

We open where we left off. The bodies of Fariba and her unlucky daughter-in-law are still in the house. And holy shit, there’s Baltimore’s finest, Detective Meldrick Lewis.

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Yes, this is Bethesda and an entirely different show, but Clark Johnson is immediately recognizable as Meldrick Lewis from “Homicide,” and he seems to be playing the same character. The police caught a break because a neighbor’s security camera caught Peter Quinn outside of the house. How did it get Quinn and not Carrie or Javadi? Don’t ask. It’s television. Just because they fancy it up with poetry doesn’t make it plausible.

At the safe house, Fara is telling Javadi how much trouble he’s in on account of the $50 million or so he stoled from his government. Carrie is watching on a closed circuit television in another room. Javadi ignores Fara, and asks, “What’s your point Saul? That I’ve been brought down by a girl?” And then as though he knows Carrie is watching in another room, he adds, “By two girls?”

Fara is not pleased with this condescending bullshit and says something in Farsi. The two of them have a yelling match no subtitles because the show doesn’t believe in them. Fara then leaves the room in a huff because Saul and Javadi want to be alone and have grown-up man talk. Fara goes over to the TV and watches with Carrie who tells her not to let it get to her.

“He manipulates people. That’s what he does,” Carrie says. Who? Javadi or Saul?.

Javadi is trying to make a deal. He’ll tell Saul anything. He just wants his money and a secure compound. Saul tells Javadi that’s not the play. He’s sending him back to Iran where he’ll be Saul’s guy on the inside. Javadi does not like this plan, because of what how it might get him killed, but the alternative is Saul sends him back to Iran and rats him out.

Cut to Quinn taking a shower. Unfortunately, the camera does not linger as long or as lovingly as many of us would have liked. Nor is it one of those situations where there’s a lot of steam and we think we can see more than we actually can. Quinn hears the doorbell. He puts on a towel and goes to answer it, passing some bloody clothes lest we forget how he walked in just as Javadi was finishing slaughtering his ex-wife.

It’s Dar and he is not happy.

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He recruited Quinn, but does Quinn call? Does he write? No he does not. Dar has had no idea where he’s been for days. Dar mentions the murder of Javadi’s ex-wife and daughter-in-law. Quinn asks him, “Do you want me to look into it?” Dar is really hurt now because Dar is like a one-man NSA, and he throws a copy of the security camera photo at Quinn, saying he hopes the police nail him.

Quinn goes back to the safe-house where it’s decided Carrie will call a police captain who owes her a favor and at least they can keep the photo “off the wires.”

When Carrie gets back to the scene of the crime, her contact explains that if he stops the investigation and tells the the detectives it’s due to “national security,” there could be Wikileaks which have become a real and dangerous thing on television. So Quinn needs to come in and be “candid” even if he can’t tell the police anything. Then Carrie vomits to remind us how pregnant she is.

Over at the safe-house, Javadi and Saul are still trying to out-irritate each other. Javadi brings up the murder. Did Javadi kill Fariba just to prove a point to him, Saul wonders? Javadi says it’s because she was unfaithful, and jokes, “I should have stoned her, but you didn’t leave me enough time.” What a kidder!

Now it’s time for Saul to break out the old photos just like last week.

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First, Saul shows Javadi a photo of the four of them – Javadi and Fariba, Saul and Mira out for dinner, Fariba’s 21st birthday. Then he says, “It’s the curse of old men to realize in the end we control nothing” – hence the episode title. It’s all about a couple of old guys sitting around talking. Mostly one old guy talking because he’s the one holding the cards. The other one is listening, looking for the angles and trying to play them. Sal throws out pictures of Javadi’s more minor bombings, saying they are “unworthy of you.” Javadi makes a crack about Langley not being unworthy. He also asks how going back to Iran as Saul’s spy changes anything.

Here’s where Saul gets really loopy, and sounds more grandiose than Carrie at her most manic. He talks about how men like Javadi and him have plotted in the back rooms while “shallower men have held the stage.” The Langley bombing changed all that because it gave him power, and now by sending Javadi back as his boy, he can use him to make sure the cycle of violence and counter-violence ends. He implies that Javadi would also get something out of this. “You started this. I think you’ll want to be there when it ends.”

Carrie gets back from talking to the police, and Fara asks if she knew the plan was for Javadi to go back. She wants to see Javadi stand trial. Carrie says something dismissive and condescending to Fara because doesn’t everyone?

Out of Carrie’s hearing, Saul asks Javadi who was responsible, on the ground, for blowing up Langley. Javadi says, “I thought it was Brody. That’s what you told the Senate.” Saul presses. Then Javadi admits it wasn’t Brody, but one of Nazir’s guys. One might think that at that point Saul might ask for a few more details, but they’re in a hurry to get Javadi back to his guys and then on a plane out of the country.

Wait a second, a plane? Didn’t he come in by car from Canada? Isn’t a plane a little conspicuous? Is this how all the most wanted terrorists travel to and from the United States?

Saul goes outside the safe-house and calls Mira. He’s gone misty eyed about their days in Tehran. She’s at home with her French lover in bed behind her. At HOME.

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Class act, Mira.

Which one of them is a worser human? Saul for being passive-aggressive and emotionally detached or Mira for doing adultery in the house she shares with her husband instead of having the decency to go to a hotel?

Javadi changes into a clean shirt that doesn’t have his ex’s blood all over it. Carrie and Fara are making up fake documents for him to take back to show his guys. Somehow this involves white-out which who knew they even still made, and scissors. Fara grabs the scissors as Javadi passes by, and for a second you think she’s going to go bad-ass and stab Javadi with them, but she doesn’t.

Saul is back at the building what didn’t get blowed up at Langley. Dar is still miffed because Saul never tells him anything and Dar knows he’s been out doing secret spy stuff behind his back with Quinn and maybe “that headscarf.”

Javadi is driving with Carrie to the plane. He’s still trying to work her. He asks whose idea it was to use her as bait, and then answers his own question. Classic Saul. He starts hinting around about Brody. He tells Carrie that Brody didn’t move the car. Then he asks if she’s curious about who gave the bomber the keys to Brody’s car and whether or not Brody knew the blast was coming. She won’t play along, but you know she’s dying to.

Quinn has his sit-down with Detective Meldrick Lewis. Lewis’ first question is “You Peter Quinn?” Quinn is such a man of mystery that it takes him a minute. “Peter Quinn is my legal name,” he finally admits. Please give Clark Johnson his Emmy NOW. He’s beyond Meldrick Lewis. He is the bestest homicide detective ever. He is better than Pembleton. Yeah, I said it. He’s smart and tough but you can tell “the job” is just tearing him apart. Quinn just wants to confess. But Lewis-Johnson-Pembleton-Columbo-Kojak wants more. He wants the truth and he knows he’s not going to get it, and he knows that he is complicit in something big and dark and ugly. “I’m just trying to understand this shit that you people do. This shit that we’re a party to because we pay taxes. This shit.” Later the detective, who reads Chomsky, gives a succinct analysis, “You fucking people. Have you ever done anything but make things worse?”

Back over Langley, Saul is telling Dar and Lockhardt that he’s recruited Javadi. Lockhardt starts harrumphing about “human intelligence” – which he doesn’t believe in. He’s also pissed at Saul’s “cold-war bullshit” because it’s “magical thinking” unlike drones and military solutions which never cause any blowback. Tracy Letts is now doing a full-on Cheney complete with sneer and grumble.

When Saul starts to explain the details – that Javadi was lured into the country by Carrie, and Lockhart realizes he got punked, he demands to see Carrie right now, that instant. Saul is totally fucking with him and doesn’t give a shit. He tells Lockhart that Carrie isn’t available as she’s putting Javadi on a plane back to Iran. Lockhart wants Javadi to publicly “fry Javadi’s ass” in the US of A because that’s how we do justice here. Saul explains they have the opportunity with a high level double agent in place to transform the entire middle-east. Lockhart replies, “You sound like you’re fucking high.” No, really.

Since Saul is not going to stop the operation, and Lockhart isn’t director yet, he says he’s going to call the President, only he can’t figure out how to use the phone and then Saul locks him in a conference room and turns off the lights and it is the best.

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Lockhart yells for Dar to let him out, but Dar is totally in love with Saul again – unless he’s the mole – and they go back to Saul’s office to make sweet sweet love drink Scotch as real men do.

Carrie and Javadi drive onto a runway because why not. As Javadi goes up the stairs to his plane, Carrie yells and he comes back down so they can talk. He tells her that the man who built the bomb is still alive and in the US, and that his lawyer Leland Bennett knows where he is. Why would Javadi give this to Carrie? The only hint is maybe he’s blaming Leland Bennett for getting him into this mess. Carrie turns to go back to the car. We see that big Carrie smile and her eyes her dancing.

Carrie goes back to the murder house, and waits for Quinn. Quinn felt good about confessing even though these weren’t among the many murders he’s committed. He tells Carrie he’s done with this whole CIA thing. “I just do not believe it anymore. That anything justifies the damage we do.” But Carrie doesn’t want him to quit until he does one more thing – help her prove that Brody isn’t the Langley bomber.

Quinn says, “Sure Carrie. Whatever you need.” Was this more of his deadpan sarcasm? A dig at Carrie for being so self-absorbed she doesn’t have a clue that Quinn is dying inside because of the terrible things they make him do? Or is he in love with her the way a 16 year old girl is in love, and he’d do anything for her, including helping her get back with Brody because her happiness means more to him than his own?

We end with Saul returning home to an uncomfortable Mira. Now, he’s all lovey-dovey, asking her forgiveness and telling her how beautiful she is. How many people think it’s just like what Saul says to Carrie in the opening credits “You are the smartest and the dumbest fucking person.”

So, with five more episodes to go where does this leave us? Looks like Carrie will be busy clearing Brody’s name. But has Brody choked on his own vomit yet, or is he just another card that Javadi is going to play? Maybe we’ll learn next week.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Homeland

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  • I am the smartest commenter because I caught a reference to The Wire last week or the week before, and now they are bringing on Meldrick Lewis, who also played a crusading reporter on The Wire. I win the internet.

  • FatGuyFromQueens

    So as the cast of characters and sub-plots start becoming like some bizarre version of, if not a Greek epic, then *some* epic long lost, this is the epic of the post 9/11 US, Parzifal, The Kalavala, Homeland. ANd like all the epcs there are no truly good people, and no truly bad ones, only good and bad acts – along with a lot of boring non sequiters.

    • And flawed people. Lots of flawed people, walking wounded, etc.