Warning: Spoiler Alert
Season Four of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” premiered with back to back episodes, featuring familiar faces, but many in some very strange places. Let’s start with old friend Carrie Mathison who begins the episode as the CIA Chief Of Station in Kabul and now’s known by her staff as the “Drone Queen,” after a series of successful strikes taking out high-profile targets.
The episode opens with Mathison in an embassy car with a driver and two Marine guards, riding through the streets of the city, when she asks to walk the last few blocks to the embassy. Both Marines leave the car with her, automatic weapons at the ready, one walking in front of her, the other behind. Her cellphone rings, it’s the embassy and she’s needed back pronto, so all climb back into the car.
When Carrie arrives, she’s informed that sources have located a wanted terrorist, number four on the Agency’s most wanted list. The event just got reported and the only way to take out the terrorist’s by rockets launched by an F-16 bomber. They have visual contact with the target, it’s a farmhouse near Islamabad and a vehicle owned by the terrorist’s out front of the barn. Mathison’s bothered by the last-minute nature of the information and wants to talk with Islamabad Chief Of Station Sandy Bachman.
Carrie and Bachman videoconference and she asks her counterpart the source and Sandy tells her it’s the same unidentified source that has given them a string of good information. When she tries pressing harder for a name, he replies that the source requested anonymity for good information and so far everyone’s happy. Mathison expresses her concern on quickly they’re launching the mission and Bachman responds that’s the way it goes with high-profile targets, you take them when you see that window of opportunity.
Mathison returns to the command center and gets told that all’s on hold pending her permission and she tells her assistant to get things started. He calls the pilot and tells him its play time, and the pilot acknowledges the order. Seconds later on the video monitor, two bright flashes light up the area and then the barn’s nothing but rubble. After the mission’s completed, Carrie’s crew dim the lights and present her with a birthday cake. She thanks them and blows out the candles.
Back at her apartment she pours herself a glass and a half of white wine to wash down some Ambien, then Skype’s her sister. The call was for Carrie to see her daughter Frannie, who’s being cared for by Carrie’s sister Amy, but because Mathison ran late her father had taken her daughter to the park. We can sense tension between the sisters, as Amy definitely disapproves of the mother/daughter separation, but Carrie can’t care for the baby in a war-zone, which Amy believes is the way her sister purposely arranged things.
Carrie’s not only taking Ambien to help her sleep, she puts in ear-plugs and an eye-shade before she lies down. Her sleep gets interrupted however, when her phone rings and CIA Director Andrew Lockhart’s on the other end in a rather edgy mood. Forty civilians got killed in the bombing and he wants Mathison to get to Islamabad and talk with Bachman, to manufacture a cover story for the bombing.
Sandy’s assistant in Islamabad’s another familiar face, with operative Peter Quinn sits down with Bachman and the American Ambassador to discuss the civilian casualties. Bachman to Quinn’s horror blames it on the civilians, saying they realized they put themselves in danger when they invited the terrorist. The Ambassador says that explanation won’t cut it with the American people or the world community and the meeting concludes in a standoff.
The barn held a wedding and only one person escaped alive, a young medical student Aayan Ibrahim, who lost his entire family in the bombing. Ibrahim was recording the celebration on his cell phone, first taking video of the room with the men in it, then entering the doorway of the room the women gathered in. There were women and little girls dancing joyously, Aayan started filming his mother who took the camera from him and started shooting her son on the camera as he took a courtly bow, then took the camera back and kept filming. Seconds later smoke appeared in the house and the camera stopped recording.
Carrie arrives in Islamabad and Quinn comes to pick her up and she asks to sit down and discuss the bombing before heading to the embassy. Peter tells her he’s no idea who Bachman’s source is, but it left them in a smoking hole this time. Mathison surprises Quinn by touting the company line, that they’re bullet-proof in this situation.
Ibrahim returns to medical school after he recuperates and his roommate implores him to upload his video to the Internet, to get justice for his family, but Aayan outright refuses. He doesn’t want the trouble the attention would get him, but his roommate goes behind his back and has his cousin upload the footage. Hours later the tape’s gone viral across the globe.
Back in Washington representatives from an arms manufacturer come to meet with some military brass, one of the reps is former CIA Chief Saul Berenson. However instead of pitching the weapons system his boss brought him over to discuss, he tries to engage a General in a conversation on the United States had fought 14 one-year-wars since putting boots on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001. His boss Aaron asks to speak to Saul privately, but Berenson tries pressing the General for a response.
Aaron gets him in the hallway and tells him he’s now in the private sector and his discussion won’t help get sales. Saul realizes what Aaron’s saying makes sense, but the sentiment doesn’t pacify him, or ease his longings to go back and work for the agency.
Protesters rapidly gather in Islamabad after the video goes viral and Bachman decides to leave the Embassy without informing anyone. Just as he gets out on the street Peter and Carrie see Aaron’s face on a local newscast, his covers been blown as he’s revealed as the CIA Chief Of Station involved in the bombing. Quinn calls Bachman who lies at first and says he’s in the embassy and Peter informs him he’s been made. He finds out where Aaron is and he and Carrie plus a team of soldiers attempt to rescue him.
Bachman attempts to flee then hides inside a building seeing a group of men gathering outside the doorway. Two men come down the stairs and exit the building, then tell the others the agent’s in the lobby. As they enter the building he runs through a series of hallways and doors escaping to a seemingly safe street, but soon three men approach him from each direction, just as Quinn and Carrie arrive in Peter’s car. Bachman gets into the vehicle and Quinn attempts to drive away, but the force of the crowd keeps the car standing still.
The crowd starts rocking the car then banging on it with sticks and polls, finally breaking the passenger window next to Bachman, but Quinn shoots the man trying to grab Aaron in the head. They then break the back side window and try to attack Carrie and Quinn once again kills the attacker. The crowd’s far too large to combat and they eventually pull Bachman out of the window and pummel him to death on the street. Peter realizing Aaron’s dead, shoots out the car’s back window and escapes by driving backwards.
They get to the Embassy and Carrie wants to run inside and inform the Ambassador, but Peter’s visibly shaken by the incident and asks Mathison for a minute to compose himself. Carrie says they also have to come up with a story for the Ambassador, as she says they could have done more to save Bachman. Quinn looks at her as if she’s insane and asks her what’s wrong with her and she turns the question back on him, then tells him she’ll meet him inside in five minutes. When Carrie asks to speak to the Ambassador at the reception desk, the young woman tells her Carrie’s got blood on the side of her face, the blood that spurted from the head of the man who tried to attack her in the car.
Lockhart orders both agents back to Washington immediately, then Carrie’s informed her worst nightmare’s come true. She’s been recalled back to Washington permanently, meaning she’s going to have to deal with being a mom and trying to raise her infant daughter. Mathison seems terrified and resentful at the prospect and her sister Amy trying to force that responsibility on her only makes things worse.
Lockhart’s feeling quite vulnerable and he believes having Mathison by his side during the upcoming Senate committee hearings will be a huge asset for him Mathison however tells the director, that she should get the assignment for Islamabad so she can straighten out whatever situation Bachman got the Agency into.
Amy finally shames Carrie to spend a day with Frannie and after feeding and changing her daughter she takes her for a drive. She take the infant to the house Brody lived in when they first met. She tells her daughter, that although she’s a terrible mother Brody would have made a terrible father. But he was glad when Carrie told him she was on her way. She tells Frannie she wants to feel happy also, but she just can’t do it.
She takes the baby home to bathe her, then gasps when her head almost goes under the water. However she then contemplates drowning the baby until Frannie starts to cry and she picks her daughter up and cries alongside of her, realizing in that moment she can’t raise her daughter. She gets Frannie dressed and then drives over to the CIA archives building, where an agent that served in Islamabad got buried by Lockhart.
The agent Jordan Harris doesn’t want to talk with her at first, but then realizes she’s indeed searching for the truth. Harris came back from Islamabad to inform Lockhart about Bachman’s shady dealings, the Director not only ignored the information but put the agent in a thankless meaningless new position. Carrie tells him she’ll get the information out there and will try her best to get him back in the field.
Dar Adal who worked with Saul at the Agency, comes to discuss the current environment with his old friend. He says there were rumors before Islamabad that Lockhart’s stock’s falling in certain corners and since the attack there’s blood in the water, which could lead to Saul coming back as Director of the CIA. Berenson says, on the record I’m happy in the private sector, but both men realize Saul’s fibbing.
Carrie confronts Lockhart over Harris’ allegations and tells him he’s guilty of treason. He asks her what she wants and she tells him Islamabad, he replies that’s impossible. She tells him he has two choices, she gets her transfer or she goes public. He begrudgingly agrees to her terms. She meets Quinn later that day and tells him they’re heading back to Pakistan, but Peter declines the offer. She asks him how he could do this to her, Quinn gets up looks her in the eye and tells her it’s not all about her and leaves.
The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 9:00pm on Showtime.