Homeland Recap: Tinker Tailor Soldier Saul

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Saul is making breakfast for his cheating wife. They are lovey-dovey and about to indulge in some sexytime. It’s the morning after the day when Saul put Javadi into play and locked Lockhart in a conference room. He’s got his mojo back, and he’s been sharing it with Mira.

Quinn and Carrie are already at work trying to figure out who made and placed the bomb at Langley. Based on what Javadi told Carrie – the bomber is alive and had to be someone who was there. They go through photos looking at possible suspects. Carrie notices Fara hasn’t arrived yet. Given the way everyone treats Fara, they probably need her to make a coffee run.

We cut to Fara sitting in a parked car, looking stressed, and then driving off.

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Saul has a meeting at the White House with Mike Higgins, Chief of Staff – the guy who didn’t tell him that Lockhart was going to be the new CIA director and Saul was going to be lucky to keep his pension. Oh joy! Lockhart is also at the meeting and he’s all “He let Javadi in and out of the country and I’m telling.” Lockhart is droning on and on about Saul’s misdeeds because Lockhart loves the droning. But no amount of droning can harsh Saul’s mellow. Saul gets Mike to kick Lockhart out of the room because Lockhart isn’t king yet, and doesn’t have have high enough security clearance. Saul fills Mike in on Phase II. Javadi will rise to the senior ranks of the military and then “down the road” regime change. The Chief asks “How?” And viewers may also be wondering, but we will never find out because Saul just says, “It’s all in the report.”

Mira’s in some cafe meeting her boytoy. She tells him she’s giving Saul another chance. He reminds her they spent the previous day making sweet sweet love in his room at the Ritz Carlton – which is less terrible than doing it in her house, which a certain recapper thought she had done because it didn’t look like a hotel room. So Mira may not be the worst human on the planet, but she may be the stupidest because later when she’s out, we see the boyfriend sneak into the house which the CIA doesn’t guard even though Saul’s the acting director, and it’s only a couple of months after the worst terrorist attack since 9/11. He does something to the desktop computer, which they have because it’s 2003 and they are old and still probably have AOL. Mira comes back to the house while he’s there. This could be the end for her, but then she goes into the bathroom and he gets out before she sees him. In his car he fiddles with a device.

It turns out he was bugging them to catch all those super-secret spy conversations Saul has at home, or will be having at home after Lockhart’s coronation when Saul starts running a shadow-CIA out of his den. (Kind of a like a certain lady lawyer on another popular Sunday night show who runs a law firm from her living room.)

Saul is at the CIA and tells Dar that the Chief of Staff is taking his plan to the President. Dar is totally on Team Saul now. Saul mentions something about an upcoming trip that Carrie “doesn’t know about” and “better not even suspect.” Hmmm. Dar and Saul enter a room where Carrie, Quinn and anonymous CIA guy are waiting.

Carrie wants to compare notes with Saul about what Javadi said about Brody not being the bomber. Saul is not being very forthcoming. Carrie gets a wee bit unhinged and Saul gets a wee bit defensive, and it’s Dar of all people who interrupts in a helpful way, getting them back on track. Dar is being courteous to Carrie and not treating her like a complete rogue nutter. How long will that last? Spoiler alert: Not long.

A plan is hatched. Dar is on a corporate board with Bennett and they’ve been golfing (which is not a euphemism). He will approach him, get him rattled, and see if that leads to the bomber.

Fara, who never showed up for work, enters her house where she lives with her ailing father. Soon, a creepy stranger from the inspector general’s office comes by to chat. Despite knowing her father is right there in the back room, he talks to Fara about how she hasn’t been at work the last couple of days, and her boss Saul Berenson, the Acting Director of the CIA is concerned, so she better knock it off and show up tomorrow. He leaves. Her father starts yelling at her because no one is nice to her, ever. Dad thought she worked at an investment bank. He is afraid this spy stuff is going to endanger his family in Tehran. She tells him they needed her and she’s an American. She doesn’t tell him how everyone is mean to her and her boss was pretty nasty about her headscarf and sent that awful butcher back to the old country where he will grow more powerful, and it’s all her fault. What does this family drama have to do with the main story? Maybe nothing, but at least Fara isn’t a teenage girl making poor choices and we don’t have to hear about THAT this episode.

Dar meets Leland Bennett in some swanky Washington joint where Dar gets to deliver the best line of the episode, possibly the season. “I do terror now, by the way. I’m not sure you knew that.”

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He tells Bennett his firm’s name has come up in some investigations, so he might want to get in front of this and cooperate. Bennett says, “Twenty years ago I might have fallen for this weak shit.” But you have, Leland! You have! Because the whole point was just to stir the pot and you are stirred if not shaken.

Carrie is in her car when she gets a text on one of her special spy phones. She meets Franklin in an empty church because everybody in the DC metro area is a godless heathen. He tells her they need her to find out what the CIA has on Bennett and the firm. She goes home and gets out another phone and calls Saul to tell him “It’s on.” Kids, if you’re thinking of one day joining the CIA, learn to keep track of multiple phones.

Saul is home. Mira knows it’s Carrie on the phone based on Saul’s “tone.” Saul apologizes to Carrie for not sharing earlier what Javadi told him about Brody. He knows how much it means to her. Mira is hearing his side of the conversation and her body language says, “For this I gave up my French lover?” Carrie is a little taken aback by Saul’s being nice about anything Brody related. She says, “As long as we get the real bomber.” Saul says, “We will.” Does he really agree with Carrie that Brody isn’t the bomber?

Saul tells Mira he has to go away for a few days. She wants to go with him. He tells her it’s not that kind of trip. She has that look again, like “Jesus Christ I could so be having hotel sex with a hot, younger French guy right now.”

Carrie goes to a doctor to get that growth inside of her checked out.

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She’s thirteen weeks along and this is her first pre-natal visit. It’s Brody’s baby. She really was downing those vodka bottles when she was “faking” her mental illness. She does not want to terminate the pregnancy because this is American television and she is not Jane Tennison. The doctor mentions her dangerously high blood pressure. Carrie explains she’s under a lot of stress at work saving the world and all. Theres’ still no explanation of why a pregnancy test wasn’t part of her routine work-up on the psych ward or what meds she should or shouldn’t be on for her mental illness.

After a brief debrief at the CIA, with Saul MIA, Carrie goes back to the church. She tells Franklin the CIA knows the Langley bomber is in the US and they’re going to get a FISA warrant on Leland. Back in the car, Franklin calls Leland and they each blame the other for screwing up. The bomber’s name is never mentioned. Franklin, under Bennett’s orders, is going to get the bomber out of the country with a new identity.

Franklin texts the bomber. The CIA has the message but can’t trace to a number because he’s using an “anonomizer.” Is that a thing, or just a cool made up word like flux capacitor? There’s a stake-out at the hotel where Franklin told the bomber to meet him. Dar is in a van. Quinn is up on a roof with a telescopic rifle. Carrie is somewhere with binoculars, and they’re all communicating via bluetooth. Kudos to Homeland for being great at sequences with two or more people in different locations talking to each other as the action unfolds.

Carrie sees Franklin putting a silencer on a gun. She reports that he’s not taking the bomber out of the country. He’s taking the bomber out as in dead. Saul promised her the bomber. The bomber can clear Brody – the only thing that Carrie cares about. She can’t let Franklin kill him. She starts going toward Franklin. Dar is pissed because if she stops him she blows her cover and Javadi’s. Quinn tells her he won’t let her jeopardize the operation. After a final plea with Carrie, Quinn shoots.

She lets out a very brief scream as she goes down. Franklin hears something and turns around. A dog is barking. He keeps going. The bomber opens the door and Franklin shoots him in the head – much like the way Javadi took out his daughter-in-law. Then Franklin goes inside the room. How many nebbishy lawyers travel with their own wet-work kit? He’s got the body in the bathtub and he pours some stuff over it that sends up a nice vapor. Looks like he’s done this before – maybe a few dozen times.

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While Franklin is doing his thing, Carrie is collected and put in the van. Quinn is bandaging her. She was shot in the bicep and may have nicked an artery. Carrie is mad, but not particularly at Quinn. She knows something is going on and that none of this makes sense. Yes, Carrie, this is how many of us have been feeling all season. She asks Quinn to lean in close and then she asks him, “Where the fuck is Saul?

We’re about to find out where the fuck Saul is. He’s in Caracas, at the Tower of David, and he’s brought a big bag o’ cash for El Niño. Turns out it was Saul who placed Brody in the Tower for some as yet to be revealed purpose. But even Saul seems taken aback by Brody’s state. Saul has to put a handkerchief over his mouth because of the stench. Brody is in a corner on the floor, syringes everywhere – very much as he was when Abu Nazir “rescued” him from the hole. He’s dirty, beaten, almost comatose. He stares at Saul with eyes registering barely a flicker of recognition.

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Looks like Saul is about to become Brody’s new personal Abu Nazir.

Who saw this coming? Saul engineering Brody’s stay at the Tower is another page out of John LeCarre’s playbook, and Saul, right down to his problems with the higher-ups and his cheating wife, is becoming George Smiley. Can’t wait to tune in next week and find out Brody’s mission.

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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  • FatGuyFromQueens

    So foreshadowing,… Carrie loses the baby, right? That part next week can write itself.

    • I thought Quinn was gonna shoot the baby RIGHT OUT OF HER!

    • It would be a disaster for the show to saddle Carrie with a child. She better lose that baby.

  • Ashley Simon

    Your recaps are magically delicious.