Michael O’Keefe

All posts tagged Michael O’Keefe

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

That melancholy air, that hovered over Season Four of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” lifted like the morning fog, as the show returned from its Autumn vacation. The distrust that kept the characters at arm’s length, and constantly angry with each other, casting a rather oppressive shadow through the first eight-episodes, appears to have departed along with Constantin Rostov. Of course we needed some conflict in at least one relationship, but not concerning either Lizzie or Raymond. We’ll get to that down the road, however let’s start at the beginning.

Our night begins at Lipet’s Seafood Company’s warehouse, as a truck backs into delivering the catch of the day. As the fish are getting unloaded, special attention’s given to one fish, with blood near its mouth. The fish is put in its own tray of ice, and carted over to three men dealing with technical equipment. One of the men, cut open the fish and pulls out a clear plastic pouch with a piece of tech inside it. He pulls it out of the sleeve and puts it into the machine in front of him.

Suddenly, we hear shouting and gunfire and one of the men, tells the other two, to take the tech and run. We soon see the attackers, covered from head to toe in black, and all sporting machine-guns. They get the tech and then throw a couple of grenades as they yell fire in the hole.

When we return from the opening credits we see Agnes and Lizzie, as Keen’s taking a video-selfie, while talking to a future version of Agnes. “When you were a baby, we lived inside a warehouse and we had body-guards. (Say hello Baz.) Inside the warehouse, was a fake apartment. Here’s your daddy, inside your fake living room.” She shuts off the camera, saying it should provide their daughter an interesting college essay. Tom and Liz, briefly discuss Kirk’s status and Lizzie’s ready to let it go. She says their priority right now’s finding a new place to live.

Harold Cooper, provides a bit of comic relief in this go-round, doing a whole lot of huffing and puffing, but going no further than that on two separate occasions. The first one takes place in his office, as he chews out Raymond. Cooper’s livid that Reddington, had the bureau chase down Alexander Kirk for months, costing agents their lives and he let him go. Red tells Harold that he’s got to stop living in the past and tells him about the attack at the seafood warehouse.

He tells Cooper that law-enforcement believe that they were running a dope-ring out of the facility, but they got it wrong. It’s actually been used by the “New Martyrs Brigade,” a terrorist based in Libya. He then shows Harold a photo of the corpse of Algerian Terrorist Hassam Arkani. Raymond says when he gets any more info, he’ll contact Agent Keen, which sends Cooper off on another tirade.

Harold says that Keen losing her badge’s a stain on her reputation, one that Reddington’s responsible for. Cooper growls that since Red entered Liz’s life, he’s caused her nothing but pain, grief and regret. A fact that Reddington seems obviously oblivious to, and helpless in how to rectify it. Raymond gets up from his chair, squeezes Cooper’s arm and says Good Talk Harold, then walks away.

Cooper informs the Task-Force about the NMB and the attack on the warehouse, and assigns his team roles. Navabi finds out that Aram’s getting formally questioned by the Justice Department, as to how his phony girlfriend Elise got access to his laptop. Samar says he’s got nothing to worry about, as he was clueless about the situation. Aram says he’ll come out of the situation looking like a traitor or a moron, Navabi says he’s a moron and he’ll be fine.

Ressler and Navabi head to the warehouse and interview the manager, he says two of the deceased had worked for him for a couple of months, but he didn’t recognize the rest. He says that the crew disabled the cameras at about 9:00pm, so there’s no surveillance footage. One of the agents sifting through the debris, finds a timing chip which Ressler brings to Mojtabai.

A graphic informs us that we’re now in Tripoli, Libya and we see two men having a conversation in Arabic. One man informs the other that Arkani’s dead and the project he was overseeing maybe over. He says that those responsible must be found and the technology recovered immediately. The bald-headed man he’s talking to smiles widely and responds consider it done.

The Task-Force’s summoned to the Post Office, for some urgent meeting. Aram’s been obsessed with the timing chip since he received it. He tells the other’s the quality’s far too good for the NMB, or some other group to have produced. He says the only ones who could make something of that quality, is the United States Government, then identifies the piece as being created by government contractor Blackthorn/Kincaid. Cooper sends Navabi and Ressler to the contractor and tells Aram to start getting ready for his interview.

Harold pulls Lizzie aside, and tells her that he’s going to ask Cynthia Panabaker to restore Keen back to agent status. Liz gets very excited and asks Cooper if he believes it’s possible? He replies that he’s surprised they hadn’t already done it on their own. She’ll be the one conducting Aram’s hearing, and he’ll ask her then.

Ressler’s a little stingy on diplomacy when he and Navabi question the contractor. After a brief spitting match, they identify the piece as being created four months earlier and likely handled by about eighty employees. When Ressler tells them he’ll need a list of all the employees involved, one of the executives hands him a dossier on a former employee, James Maddox. He was one of their top programmers, but developed a drinking problem and they terminated him. Ressler takes the file, but says he still wants the list of the other employees.

Raymond’s in his car when he receives a call from a woman named Wendy, who says she’s got some information on the NMB, and that they’re heading into the country. She says that her intelligence says they’ll be sending about six agents, lead by the bald-headed guy we saw earlier in Tripoli, Farouk. As they’re talking we watch as Farouk al-Thani’s passport’s accepted and he enters the States.

Farouk has the seafood warehouse manager, brought to him with a black bag over his head. The manager apologizes and doesn’t know what went wrong, but he informs al-Thani, that he’s got the surveillance footage that he convinced law-enforcement officials, didn’t exist. Farouk then shoots the manager and makes a call, saying we have to meet immediately. The man on the other end of the phone’s the executive from Blackthorn/Kincaid, that gave Ressler the dossier on Maddox.

Raymond’s dining out, when Dembe suddenly walks over and tells Red that someone’s arrived. A man joins him at the table and says that he’s not there and this meeting never took place. The other man’s Marlin Heiden, Legal adviser to President-Elect Robert Diaz, and Raymond laughs heartily at Heiden’s statements. He then states that Diaz made Reddington a campaign promise and he just wants it granted, he finishes his meal and says that Heiden should tell Diaz, he’ll be in touch.

Farouk meets with the executive and demands that he replace the technology that got stolen. The man from the contractor informs al-Thani that’s not going to happen, but he believes he can identify some of the attackers on the security tape, as Blackthorn/Kincaid has a program that can see through cloth masks.

Keen questions the former programmer Maddox, who says he ran from Ressler and Navabi, because he thought they were process-servers. He’s going through a nasty divorce, and doesn’t want to spend more time in court. He says he knows nothing about the timer chip, but Ressler then walks in with a burner phone and a bank passbook that were found in a search of Maddox’s home. He says he’s being framed, and we can see Lizzie believes him.

The executive gets the tape rendered and they’re able to identify one of the attackers, it’s Navabi. She was part of a Black-Ops attack conducted by Mossad, to keep the technology that could pierce Israel’s defense. Just as they’re discovering her identity, Navabi meets with the other Mossad operatives and tells them that Aram had suspicions about one of their members and they have to get back to Israel.

Aram survives a humiliating interview with Panabaker, and gets cleared of any wrong-doing. Navabi and he make a date to celebrate his name getting cleared after work that evening. Samar gives Mojtabai, a congratulatory hug, before she and Ressler head out to interview a Blackthorn/Kincaid programmer, who claims he saw Maddox with the timing chip.

Cooper tells Keen that despite his best efforts, Panabaker said that Liz won’t be reinstated as an agent. He tells Lizzie that the only way she could gain clearance to get her shield back, would be if the new Attorney-General gave his okay to the arrangement. Harold tells her that’s not about to happen.

Marlin Heiden’s been pulled over by a cruiser and soon he’s joined by Reddington and Heiden realizes the cops who busted him are working for Red. Raymond informs him, that the really bad news is his toxicology report shows him way over the legal limit. This time Heiden laughs as he informs Reddington that he’s been sober for 12-years. Red says and that’s exactly why the President-Elect will have to terminate Marlin, as that’s not a good image for the new administration. Reddington says he can make the charges disappear, if Heiden gets Raymond that meeting with Diaz.

Turns out that the programmer was really a trap set-up by the NMB, Farouk and his crew kidnap Samar, leaving Ressler in the dust. Ressler calls the Post Office and tells them about Navabi, Lizzie calls Reddington and sends him everything they have on the NMB. Raymond recognizes the man that Aram had flagged as a Mossad agent named Ezra, and says he was part of the Black-Ops team that attacked the seafood warehouse.

Farouk puts Samar up on a hook and smiles at her, then says she should save herself a lot of needless pain and suffering and just reveal where the tech’s hidden. Navabi smiles back at him and says she’s good. He soon realizes she’s not going to break and suggests to the Blackthorn/Kincaid executive, that they use Samar’s cellphone to try to track down her Mossad teammates. He says that they can trade her life for the tech. The executive says she saw his face and she can’t leave the room. Farouk says that the executive won’t leave the room then shoots him dead. His instinct serves him well, as the number he hits connects him to Mossad agent Levi. However Ressler and the FBI discover the Mossad agents.

Levi absconded with the tech, and heads to Cornerstone Park, with Ressler in pursuit. Farouk directs Levi to a push-cart vendor, but the agent demands to hear Navabi’s voice before he gives the vendor the tech. She tells Levi to destroy the tech, but the agent gives the package over to the vendor saying that the tech’s not leaving the park until Samar’s returned. Just at that moment Navabi’s released from a white van and Aram tells Ressler and the other agents where the push-cart’s located.

The vendor attaches the tech to a drone and it flies off into the air. Donald tells him to make it come down, but the guy just smiles and says he’s not controlling it. Ressler tracks it down and sees Farouk about to check out of a hostel. A chase ensues and then the two men fight, but Farouk’s hit and killed by a car that hits him. Ressler takes the bag and leaves the corpse in the street.

Samar’s recovering in an ambulance, when Levi comes over to her. She says that he risked Israel’s security to get her back, she doesn’t know whether to hit him or hug him. Levi informs her that he broke off his engagement, Navabi says she’s sorry to hear the news. However Levi smiles and says Samar should be happy about that.

President-Elect Diaz and his wife arrive to have a dance lesson, but he finds that Raymond’s waiting for him. Diaz says that he and Reddington are through, he opened up an investigation into Alexander Kirk, and suspended his Presidential campaign. Red reminds him that Diaz got compensated for that, however he promised Raymond something else. He then says that the current President will want his image burnished by his successor, and that granting Diaz this favor will ensure that.

Cooper finds himself chewing out Navabi, as the episode draws to a close. He says that her actions were unacceptable, and she replies that she was out to save her country. Cooper explodes as he says as long as she works on the Task-Force, her job’s to protect the USA. Samar, replies she was able to save both with her actions. Harold tells her that she can never lie to him, or take on a mission without his authority. He then tells her to go home and get some rest.

As Harold leaves, Aram says that she should go home and they’ll do dinner another night. She thanks him for the rain-check, but he says that he’s not really giving her one. He recounts his interview with Panabaker and says he got embarrassed. He says that he needs to know that the woman he’d raise a family with and grow old together, isn’t a spy. He walks away and we can see the pain in Samar’s face.

In the fake apartment, Tom asks Liz if he understood that Panabaker said she couldn’t be reinstated, then turns on the TV newscast. The anchor’s talking about the surprising move that the out-going President had made earlier that afternoon, granting a full pardon to Elizabeth Keen.

Navabi meets with Levi, to talk about what he said to her earlier. She says as much as that’s what she always wanted, that she’s now in love with another man. How this will affect her relationship with Aram, now remains to be seen.

The final scene of the evening, has Liz saying to Harold that Raymond Reddington got her a pardon from the President of the United States! How does he do these things? Cooper smiles and says he doesn’t know or care, right at that moment. His only concern is doing something he’s long wanted to do. He gives Lizzie back her gun and her shield and says, Welcome Back Agent Keen.

The Story Continues Next Thursday Night at 10:00pm on NBC.

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

The Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” takes a one week hiatus next Sunday, so the show-runners left their viewers with an episode busting at the seams, successfully fitting in lots of developments, in the 46-minute broadcast. The episode concluded with an ending I doubt any viewers saw coming, a two-pronged attack by the Taliban, staging the first event to pull off the second part of their plan. Meanwhile the American Embassy in Islamabad’s rather clueless to the entire situation, getting second-hand information on the initial attack and totally unaware what’s about to take place directly below them.

The show opens with the camera fixed on an older, gaunt-looking man, wearing an orange prison uniform, a voice off camera states the man’s name and the camera pans to the next man, all the way to the fifth, by then we realize these are the prisoner’s getting exchanged for the release of former CIA Director Saul Berenson. The man stating the names, hands off the prisoners to Peter Quinn, who signs for them, then transports them to the American Embassy.

Back at the Embassy, Carrie Mathison’s debating CIA Director Andrew Lockhart on whether Aasar Khan’s truly an ally of the United States. The Islamabad CIA Station Chief, says that Khan saved her life and gave up Dennis Boyd, but Lockhart grumbles that he’s yet to give her any names to watch out for on his side. Carrie tells the Director, that Khan’s not going to turn on his own people, but he’ll let her know if something’s amiss.

I wrote earlier in the season that Carrie’s assistant John Redmond’s the biggest asset the Islamabad bureau’s blessed with, at times seemingly the only agent that knows how to handle a situation properly. Though Redmond, attempts to come off as the embittered veteran, just putting in his time until retirement rolls around, he knows how to quickly get to the heart of the matter, demonstrated so well in this episode. He asks the Ambassador’s husband and American traitor Dennis Boyd into his office, to ask him a couple of questions and Boyd doesn’t have any idea what will take place in the next couple of minutes and how it’ll change his life forever.

Redmond starts off low-key talking about murdered Station Chief Sandy Bachman, and it’s come to light that Bachman traded US classified information to a Pakistani source, in return for getting locations of highly valued targets. He references Boyd and Bachman’s friendship and asks the professor if he knew anything about that. Dennis denies any knowledge and then John asks him if he’s certain as the stolen documents emanated from his wife Martha’s laptop. Boyd asks Redmond if he believes the Ambassador got involved and the veteran agent, shakes his head no. Dennis then asks if John believes he gave Sandy the documents, and Redmond say’s he doesn’t know, then asks him if he did. Boyd vehemently denies involvement and Redmond keeps it low-key, telling him that’s fine, if he thinks of anything further, to let John know, Dennis walks out with a false sense of security.

We get our first appearance of Saul in the next scene, as he’s sleeping on the dirt floor of his cell, when two guards wake him up and pull him over to a chair, once he’s seated a woman enters wearing a full veil. She takes off his glasses, and proceeds to wash all the dried blood off his face with a bowl of water and a wash-cloth. When she finishes, he’s taken and put into an old panel van and driven away.

Quinn drives up with the SUV filled with the five Pakistani prisoners and Carrie’s waiting on the loading dock when he arrives. Peter says to Carrie to please tell him they’re doing the right thing and Mathison responds that getting Saul back’s the right thing. Redmond brings Boyd into an interrogation room where Carrie’s waiting, we hear  him on the way in saying he already told John he has no knowledge. Carrie’s facial expressions tell us, she’s not going to utilize her diplomatic skills in this interchange.

She pulls out a bunch of different documents and lays them in front of them, then asks Boyd if he recognizes the documents, he first replies he doesn’t then asks if he should. She takes the gloves off and says these are the documents Redmond told him about earlier, the one’s he stole off his wife’s computer and of course he once again denies everything. Mathison at that point blows any restraints that held her back and tells Boyd that he poisoned her. She pulls out a prescription bottle and asks him if he knows what he gave her, the pills are hallucinogens, twice as powerful as LSD.

He tries to leave and finds the door’s locked, he says he wants to speak to his lawyer and Carrie laughs at him.  She tells him there’s no lawyer coming, she’s got complete authority to do whatever she pleases, she tells him if he refuses to cooperate he’ll be end up in a black-ops site. He says they’ve been repudiated and closed and Mathison, says officially, letting the word hang in the air. She then tells him she’s got the authority to shoot an American citizen on foreign soil. Suddenly the door opens and Ambassador Martha Boyd’s standing there looking incredibly angry. She asks Carrie what’s going on and the Station Chief says they’re questioning her husband. Boyd tells her she’s out of line talking to Dennis without clearing it through her. She tells Mathison she’s through, in Islamabad and the CIA, then tells her husband they’re leaving.

The Boyd’s head back to their living quarters and Martha asks Dennis what that was all about and he replies that Mathison accused him of stealing classified documents and giving them to Bachman, and she responds with saying You, as if that were outlandish. But then she says something must’ve triggered their investigation, could there be a colleague or student at the university that might have tarred him. He says of course not and she tells him she needs to leave to take care of the prisoner exchange. She tells him to stay in their quarters and if Carrie bothers him again to call her.

Martha leaves her quarter, going straight to a conference room with Carrie in attendance and we figure out quickly that Martha’s a co-conspirator trying to get Boyd to admit his guilt. She says she was unsuccessful, but she’ll keep prodding. Carrie starts to head out to where the prisoner exchange will take place and Peter attempts to join her, but she tells him she needs Quinn to stay in the War Room and to keep his eyes open for the least bit of suspicious activity.

Saul got moved the evening before to Islamabad where he receives a greeting from boy, no older than ten and the boy keeps staring at Saul and Berenson meets his gaze, but it soon ends. That night Saul and the boy sleep in the same room and the child starts trembling in his sleep, as a result of a nightmare, Berenson softly whispers something in Arabic, then made shushing sounds and the boy got comforted. The next morning the boy wakes Saul up with a glass of water, whether it’s a result of Saul’s actions the night before is unknown.

Boyd attempts to leave the Embassy and a Marine Sergeant stops him and seconds later Martha’s rushed to the parking lot in a car. She asks him what he’s doing and he says he wanted to get to the University to bring back term papers to grade. Boyd asks her husband what’s in his bag and he says papers, and she has the Marine take the bag from Dennis, she opens it to find it filled with clothes, his passport and cash. She tells the sergeant to put her husband in one of the cells in the Embassy.

Saul’s put into another panel van, but this time the boy joins him, which confuses Saul until the child straps on a suicide-vest. Berenson calls the guard a coward for sending a child, but the guard replies the boy wants to do it, as a drone killed his father and brother when Saul ran the Agency. Berenson’s handcuffed to a bar in the back as they head to the exchange.

Claire’s about to head to the exchange when her cellphone rings and it’s Mira Berenson, Saul’s wife, asking for assurances that her husband come out of the situation alive, she knows what the Agency’s like and they’re willing to sacrifice their own. Carrie says not to worry, as she’s handling the operation and Mira replies that’s what worries her. She says she’s turned into an exceptional agent that Saul’s so proud of but she loves her husband and she believes Mathison does as well, her voice sticking in her throat she says she does then promises that Saul will come out unscathed.

Carrie, Redmond and a soldier comprise the United States delegation, while the Pakistani Foreign Ambassador, Nasneem and Aasar Khan as usual represent their country. Nasneem tells them that after they’ve identified the prisoners, Haqqani’s men will bring Saul out and then the exchange can take place. Carrie picks up her cellphone and responds Yes Sir, then walks away from the group, she’s actually calling Khan to tell him this doesn’t feel right to her and he confesses to have gotten left out of the loop on the planning of this operation, a very unusual move. He hangs up and she waits a minute or so before she finishes her make-believe call.

The five Pakistani prisoners get taken to the meeting area, taken from the vehicle and lined up in a row as they’re chained to one another, the Pakistan representatives give Haqqani’s the green light and the panel van with Saul in it pulls up, the two guards get out of the front seats to take Berenson out of the van, but he fights his hardest to stay in there. They bash his head against a metal pole and he goes limp, so they pull him from the van. Then the boy comes out as well and all see that he’s wearing a suicide vest. Carrie calls Nasneem, who contacts Haqqani and says the boy’s insurance, as soon as the exchange takes place he’ll depart with the prisoners.

Both sides prepare to make the exchange, the Pakistani prisoners head towards Haqqani’s men but Saul takes a deep breath then sits down on the road, refusing to rise or move, halting the prisoners from Pakistan, from going further. The man who possesses the detonator for the vest threatens to blow them up and Berenson tells him to do it, egging him on to push the button. Carrie and Nasneem exchange messages, Mathison suggests they send some of the troops to carry Saul and the ISI agent says Haqqani would blow them up. She then suggests she go alone and Nasneem gets the okay from Haqqani.

She tells Saul to get up but at first he ignores her, then tells her she betrayed him. She admits she did but it was to keep him alive and he replies he can’t live with this, that our country gave up five terrorists for him. She tells him that Mira called and she promised to bring him home alive and she’s not leaving without him. He tells her then they’ll  both die, but she asks what about the  boy, Berenson responds they strapped it on him, it’s their responsibility not his. She then tells him he sounds just like the Taliban, that’s not the may she knows or the way he reacts, then  she smiles and says I want to go home, he smiles back and the exchange’s completed, Carrie picks Saul’s glasses up off the road.

A three-vehicle convoy, escorts Saul, Carrie and John Redmond back to the Embassy, Saul’s sitting in the back still attempting to come to grips with what’s happened. Redmond’s phone rings and he turns to Saul and tells him it’s Mira. Carrie hands him his glasses, he puts them on pulls the phone to his ear and says it’s me. Suddenly the lead car in the convoy explodes, causing the other two cars to pull over, a drone or missile destroys the second car.

Lockhart’s in the Embassy and hears the explosion, then asks what’s going on and the agents quickly determine the convoy got attacked. The CIA Director orders all the Marines from the Embassy to the scene. Martha Boyd heads into the cell Dennis’ held in and asks how did they wind up here. He tries blaming the CIA, but she stops him. A knock on the door and a guard assesses her of the situation, she tells her husband all the Marines went to respond and Boyd freaks out. He says that’s why Nasneem wanted to know and Martha asks about what? He told her about the tunnel that the CIA use to get in and out of the Embassy undetected.

We head to the tunnel just in time to watch Haqqani and his men enter the tunnel in droves, will he truly succeed in driving the United States out of Pakistan?

The Story Continues on Sunday December 7, at 9:00 pm on Showtime. 

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” presented, a lean, tight, a fast-paced episode in their sixth episode of the season, it also radically changed the season’s dynamic in the process, besides giving us a further look into the competence or the inability to think clearly in times of crisis. We got a glimpse of just how evil, a traitorous character could get and further proof that Carrie Mathison, while an exemplary agent, lacks the skill-set of a CIA Station Chief. While watching her seemingly perfect plan fall apart, Mathison fell apart as well, almost sacrificing her mentor and former Director of the Agency Saul Berenson, until Peter Quinn brought her to her senses.

One could accurately describe CIA Agent Carrie Mathison, as an agent that does whatever it takes to complete the mission she’s assigned to. However to achieve that, Carrie’s made some questionable moral choices, some of which have hurt her, or her cause rather than help it. In the show’s first season she engaged in an affair with a married man, that she believed was a traitor to our country. Her assessment was accurate, however she arranged a way to clear the slate for him and planned to run away with him and start a new life. That fell apart as the second season concluded, when Intelligence officials named Nick Brody as the prime suspect in the bombing of the CIA headquarters and he began a life on the run.

This season Mathison manipulated a naïve medical student, Aayan Ibrahim, the nephew of Pakistani terrorist Haissam Haqqani by seducing him and the young man revealed that his Uncle’s alive, after the CIA believed he got killed in an airstrike on a family wedding.  Ibrahim, felt nothing but shame after their first twist, but then got addicted to the forbidden fruit and Mathison played him like a violin. This episode began with the couple in bed as Carrie quizzes Aayan about his new identity, that he’ll use once he gets to London. As the test concluded, she game him a new passport and money and said they’d leave that night.

The next few seconds prove critical to the episode, but in reality doesn’t make much sense. The move that triggers the rest of the plan into action’s a decision the med student makes, that Carrie could only hope would occur, Ibrahim tells her that he needs to go back to his University to collect his belongings. If Aayan stayed in the safe-house, Mathison couldn’t implement the rest of her plan, a move that struck me as little more than wishing on a wing and a prayer.

Although she had luck on her side in that instance, she’s unaware of a  high-placed mole, attempting to get himself off the hook with the ISI, as United States’ Ambassador Martha Boyd’s husband Dennis, starts watching the Station Chief and her associates around the clock. In the last episode breaking into her apartment, he discovered her stash of meds that keep her Bi-Polar condition in check, he uncovers far more important information in this installment.

Carrie’s alienated two of the people she counts on the most over the last few episodes, Peter Quinn and Fara Sherazi. She tries to enlist Quinn’s help in the day’s operation, but his anger and resentment, convince her he’s not the right man for the job, so she gives the assignment to her assistant John Redmond. Her encounter with Fara, begins just as rocky and Mathison reacts by spewing out all her frustration with the mission on the young woman whose completed each task assigned to her. Calmly, but firmly, Fara tells Carrie not to treat her like the enemy, because this mission’s on because of the footwork Sherazi did and her discovery that Haqqani’s alive. Chastened, Carrie asks her to head to the safe-house and get rid of every scrap of evidence that Mathison and Aayan were there. Dennis Boyd, eavesdrops on the conversation and follows Fara out of the building.

Quinn gets reports that Farad Ghazi, wasn’t on the plane to South Africa, that Berenson alerted him to in the previous episode. Ghazi’s the man the ISI hired to manipulate and manage the supposedly spontaneous riot and subsequent pummeling to death of Sandy Bachman and didn’t board the flight to South Africa. Instead he set up the kidnapping of Berenson for the ISI, as the former CIA Director got assaulted in the airport’s men’s room and injected with a drug that knocked him out. Quinn, unaware of the danger Saul’s in tells the analyst to attempt to contact Saul and find out what he knows.

Aayan’s in his dorm room packing his stuff, when his girlfriend Kiran walks in and asks where he’s going and he tells her to London. She asks why he didn’t tell her and blames Kiran’s father, who got him kicked out of the University, when he reported Ibrahim stole drugs. She asks him to take her with him twice, the second time we can see he no longer cares for her and she see’s it as well. When she finds out the “journalist’s” a woman, she asks if he’s in love with her and he responds she doesn’t know.

As Aayan’s about to leave his dorm, he sees a big imposing guy who appears to be an ISI operative waiting for him. He sneaks out the back-way and gets a jump on the other man, he then hides in a building and the guy runs past it, thinking Ibrahim’s still in the crowd. He makes it back to the safe-house and tells Carrie the story and she says that the development’s very bad and they’ll have to push back the departure. But the medical student has another idea.

He says his Uncle Haissam can provide him safe passage to Afghanistan and he can fly to London from there. Carrie tells him it’s too dangerous, but suddenly the man who followed Aayan and several others, break into the safe-house and attack the pair. Mathison gives the medical student his passport and money and screams run, he eludes his attackers, by climbing onto the roof, then jumping down to the street behind the house, he watches from the shadows as the men carry a struggling Mathison and put her in a van and drive off. That’s when we find out the attackers were CIA operatives and the whole attack was nothing more than a ruse to scare Ibrahim into running to his Uncle. But how could Carrie be certain, that Aayan would want to leave the safe house before heading to London.

Fara heads to the safe-house and gathers three Hefty-bags worth of belongings and puts them near the front door, she then covers a broken window pane with cardboard and masking tape. When she does we see Dennis Boyd outside the house. When Fara gets ready to leave, she fails to notice Aayan’s family photographs scattered on the floor, with the bag containing them on its side. She doesn’t get suspicious that the cardboard, covering the window pane’s been pushed inward, but it’s obvious Boyd came in and rifled through the bags.

Dennis then sets up a meeting with Nasneem, his ISI contact at an al fresco café across from the safe-house then informs her about the former operation and gives her some pictures of Ibrahim, which makes her smile broadly. After telling Boyd he has a gift, she excuses her quick exit as she needs to relay the information immediately.

Tech genius Max, loaded a tracking chip into Aayan’s passport, so they’re able to follow him on his journey, they watch him board a bus that will take him to a town near one of his Uncle’s training camps. He encounters trouble with a soldier questioning his passport at a check-point, but bribes the soldier to allow him to proceed. He then gets back on the bus and for the first time in weeks the young man smiles broadly as he recognizes the spot he and his Uncle spent many hours at when he was a child.

Quinn gets a message from the analyst that Saul never boarded his plane and Peter realizes something terribly wrong’s in play. He heads down to where Carrie and the others are monitoring the situation and tells her Berenson’s missing. Seconds later, Haissam Haqqani  arrives at the spot his nephew’s at, telling the young man he should never have come there. He then asks if his American girlfriend’s aware that he’s there and Ibrahim attempts to play dumb. Right then Haqqani signals to an aide and they drag a bound man out of the car, we immediately realize it’s Saul. The Uncle asks Aayan if he knows this man and the young man truthfully says he doesn’t. Haqqani tells his nephew there’s an American drone over their heads ready to take them out, because of Ibrahim’s actions. He kisses him on the lips, thanks him for the meds and shoots him between the eyes. Carrie screams to her operatives to take the shot, but Quinn screams Saul’s there, she repeats the orders screaming again, but Peter tells them they have the former CIA Director with them and they can’t fire. Mathison looks Quinn in the eyes, realizing he’s right but she’s filled with contempt. She heads to her office, pacing back and forth like a caged tiger, then in a fit of fury knocks everything off her desk with one sweeping motion.

The Story Continues Next Sunday at 9:00 pm on Showtime. 

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning Spoiler Alert

As Alice said after a while in Wonderland, “Things Keep Getting Curiouser and Curiouser.” CIA Agent Carrie Mathison’s Wonderland in the Middle East, also known as Islamabad, followed that path in the fourth episode of this season’s story line in the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” with an hour chockfull of revelations, as well as the realization that many characters have hidden agendas. That included what Carrie referred to as a game changer, a person close to power, stealing information and getting caught by a merciless foe and the return to Islamabad for Agent Peter Quinn.

Quinn, who tried leaving the Agency hours before, got back into the mission, when he discovered that the riot that killed former CIA Chief Of Station Sandy Bachman, wasn’t a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Methodically searching each frame of YouTube videos of the incident, Quinn realizes an intelligence operative coordinated the riot and subsequent pummeling of Bachman, until he died.

The episode opens with Mathison arriving at the hotel of her former boss and former Director of the CIA, Saul Berenson. She tells the now private citizen what Quinn discovered and asks if he can reach out to old contacts to inquire about the new information. Berenson talks about missing his flight, but tells Carrie he’ll go as far as he can with his old contacts.

She heads back to the Embassy and complains to her assistant John Redmond, that she’s going through an arduous process daily to get in and out of the building. She says he doesn’t seem to have that problem and he brings her into his office and informs her that there’s a tunnel he uses and tells her where it’s located. When she asks why he held back from telling her, he replied she didn’t ask.

Carrie’s back in her office, trying to come up with a match in her data-base for the man in the video, when Redmond enters and asks what she’s doing and she explains she’s trying to track down a suspect. Redmond sees the picture that Carrie got from freeze-framing the tape, takes over her computer and shows her who her suspect is, a local mercenary named Farad Ghazi. Redmond says the ISI probably hired him for the mission.

The American Ambassador in Islamabad, Martha Boyd’s husband’s a professor and teaches at a university in the city. As he finishes his lecture, a very attractive Pakistani young women, approaches him and compliments his lecture. However she quickly drops the façade and gets to the reason she’s in his classroom, she’s aware that he supplied Bachman with the information that he traded to the Pakistanis, in return for giving up high-profile targets. Boyd denies knowing what she’s talking about, but his face twitches when she mentions that he accessed his wife’s computer and stole information. Boyd gets hinky and leaves.

He calls a friend at the university he worked at in the States and gets a minor position, enough reason to tell Martha he needs to move back home. The Ambassador’s upset with her husband, running out on his classes and her, but Boyd tells her this is his chance to get his career back on track and he already accepted the offer. He tells her he’ll leave the following week.

Saul meets with an old friend, whose now a Pakistani General, but insists Saul call him by his old nickname Bunny. Berenson asks to speak with someone high up in ISI about Bachman’s death. The General then goes into a tirade that 9/11 occurred because the Israeli and US governments did it to give them an excuse for the USA to invade the Middle East, and Saul tells him he’s crazy. Bunny, then brings up invading Iraq and Berenson admits that operation got underway by deception, but that 9/11 was the real deal. Saul then tells the General, he recalls that Bunny owes him a favor and the General responds it’s a bit late to call in favors. When Berenson asks why, Bunny tells him that the United States have lost and they’ll be driven from Afghanistan, as the Soviet Union got expelled in the eighties. He does agree to set up a meeting, however.

Aayan Ibrahim arrives at his girlfriend’s Kiran’s home to pick up the drugs he took from the university he studied at, but she starts crying and tells him the bag’s gone. Her father discovered the bag and destroyed the contents, despite her pleas, just then the father come’s home , calls Aayan a drug-dealer and demands he leave his home. Ibrahim tells him he’s not a drug dealer, but the father tells him he called his school and reported he stole drugs from the University and Aayan will soon be expelled. Ibrahim’s beside himself and quickly leaves the home.

Saul meets with ISI representative Aasar Khan, trying to determine who ordered that Bachman be killed and Khan says that it was a spontaneous reaction when Sandy drove by the crowd in the square. Berenson, tells him that’s not true, he knows there was an operative calling the shots from the crowd. Khan asks if he has a witness or a photograph and Saul responds a witness can be bought, a picture manipulated, but the evidence he’s seen, was quite  compelling. He then asked Aasar if he issued the order and the meeting quickly ends.

Peter arrives at the building, where Carrie’s hiding her personal team and Fara welcomes him, then tells him Carrie’s not back yet, but should arrive in about ten minutes. Right then Max enters the office, with his face white as a sheet, Ibrahim’s back and Max got flustered. Fara goes out to welcome Aayan, but he says he’ll only speak with Carrie and Fara tells him to sit in Carrie’s office and she’d arrive in minutes. Mathison walks in shortly after, already informed that the young man’s arrived. She quickly waves hello to Peter, then closes the door to her office and listens to Ibrahim.

Aayan, realizes that with his impending expulsion from the university, he’s got no future in Islamabad and asks Carrie if she really can get him to England as a medical student. Carrie tells him that her newspaper’s done it for others and he smiles. He tells her that before he cooperates he needs 80,000 rupees and can’t reveal what it’s for. She tells him unless he reveals the purpose for the money she can’t authorize it. She then asks him if he’s gotten threatened and can see that he has by looking in his eyes, she then shows him the picture of Farad Ghazi and asks if he’s the man that threatened him and once again she gets her answer from Ibrahim’s expression. She tells him that Ghazi’s incredibly dangerous and Aayan’s in deep trouble if he contacted him. She then tells Fara to give him the money out of petty cash. As he leaves, Fara and Max follow him in their vehicle.

Ibrahim takes a cab to a teaching hospital and talks with a nurse, after a while he gives her the money and she tells him she’ll return. A while later, she returns with an orange plastic bag stuffed with the drugs he requires. He then jumps back in the cab and Max and Fara give chase again.

Professor Boyd, carrying an armload of empty boxes heads to his office to pack his belongings, when to his surprise he sees the woman from his lecture again, this time accompanied by two thugs who get Boyd to sit down and listen. She then tells him if he leaves now for the States, a package will arrive at FBI Headquarters in Washington, filled with the info he purloined from Martha’s computer. He’ll be convicted of treason and his wife’s career will get destroyed, but if he stays and cooperates, he can leave a free man with his troubles and secrets buried forever.

Max and Fara, stuck in a traffic jam with Aayan a few cars ahead of them, his patience runs out and he leaves the taxi and starts walking to his destination. Fara also gets out and follows him at a safe distance. She sees the former medical student embrace another man and her face registers her shock.

Back at the building with her secret team, they monitor a cell phone call that Ghazi receives. It’s code for him to pack up and leave and Carrie wants her, Quinn and another man to arrest Ghazi and take him into custody. Peter tells her the idea’s insane and she responds she’ll go herself, but Quinn tries to restrain her. Just then Fara calls and tells the man who answers that it’s critical she speak with Carrie immediately. Carrie tells the man she can’t talk but he stresses how distressed Fara sounds.

Carrie picks up the phone and says she can’t talk, but Fara soon catches her attention. The man that Ibrahim met with, was his uncle Haissam Haqqani, the ISI leader allegedly killed in the strike on the farmhouse that killed all guests at a wedding except for Aayan, who somehow escaped death. Mathison realizes that the reason Haqqani faked his death, was that Intelligence Operatives stopped looking for him, the search ends when the suspect dies. They stop thinking about arresting Ghazi and now are intent on catching Haqqani through his nephew.

When Aayan returns Carrie tells him that he’ll stay at a safe house for the next couple of days until they can send him to England, but she sees the news doesn’t sit well with Ibrahim. She then tells him she’s sleeping in the bed for the night but she’ll vacate tomorrow and he’ll have the place to himself, however he’s relegated to the couch for the night and says she’ll get him sheets and a blanket.

Mathison then decides the way to win Ibrahim’s trust is seducing him, so even though she’s not attracted to the young man, she puts the moves on him as the episode concludes.

The Story Continues Next Sunday at 9:00 pm on Showtime.

Photo:  Joe Alblas/SHOWTIME

Photo: Joe Alblas/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Showtime Original Series “Homeland” started its fourth season, with two back-to-back episodes in which the action barely stopped, however in the third episode  “Shalwar Kameez,” the action while intriguing, slowed to a crawl. While the first two episodes setup the story-arc for the season, episode three set things into motion on many fronts, that should make for a more entertaining season than the final year of the “Brody Trilogy.”

The episode kicks off in Islamabad, as Carrie Mathison arrives to begin her assignment as the CIA Chief Of Station, expecting to address her staff at a meeting she scheduled with longtime Agency employee John Redmond, who expected the promotion to Chief Of Station. She meets with Redmond and United State Ambassador Martha Boyd and Redmond told her he decided not to schedule the meeting, that he could debrief her himself. Carrie’s unhappy with his actions and tells him to get everybody together in 15-minutes.

Mathison and Boyd, begin their relationship in antagonistic fashion, due to the Ambassador’s imposed a lockdown on the Embassy, including all CIA personnel. Carrie tries explaining that her people can’t do their jobs behind walls, they need the information they can only gather on the street. Martha counters with, relations with the Pakistani government and the people are in the worst shape since the American’s caught and killed Bin Laden. She refuses to risk lives, for intelligence information. Carrie leaves the office to attend her meeting.

Mathison starts talking to her staff and thanking them arriving at such short notice. She starts talking about her predecessor Sandy Bachman, beaten to death by an angry mob and asks if any of them believe Bachman had shared information with Pakistani operatives to receive the great tips he kept getting. Redmond thinking he can intimidate her, patronizingly calls her young lady and then tells her it’s time for to go have a private chat. Mathison glares at him and tells him to sit down.

She then asks the staff about their former co-worker Jordan Harris, who claims that Bachman shared information to acquire the targets he took down. One member of the staff insults Harris, but Carrie says that’s not the point, the question is, did Harris tell the truth? They go on to other subjects and one staff member says they’re basically useless with the lockdown in effect. She agrees with the man and tells him she hopes to have it lifted in 24-hours. She then tells Redmond they can conduct their conversation, as the meeting’s dismissed.

They head into her office and he asks her how she pulled off the appointment as Chief Of Station, as CIA Director Lockhart originally promoted him, only to call back a few days later to tell him Carrie was getting the gig. She told him that she asked very nicely for the position. Redmond starts becoming insulting and insubordinate and Mathison cuts him off at the knees, saying she’s got no qualms to have the Marines escort him from the Embassy and put him on the plane back to the states. Her phone rings and she gets a text saying We’ve landed, she ends her meeting with Redmond, telling him to sober up, she can smell the booze on him from the other side of her office.

Back at the Agency’s Headquarters, the third person in the car with Carrie and Sandy, when Bachman got pulled out of the vehicle, then got pummeled to death, Peter Quinn’s traumatized by the incident. In fact its effected him so badly he wants to resign from the CIA and sits down with the executive shrink. She reminds him he’s gone through this process before when he accidentally shot and killed a child, he tells her does but the two incidents are nothing alike. She asks what’s the difference and he said last time he got eaten up by the situation, now he just wants out.

They discuss the riot that led to Sandy’s death and the way he’s behaved since, alluding to his beat down of a jerk in a diner in the previous episode. Peter fractured the guys jaw and needed 63-stitches, Quinn nearly killed the dude, but says it’s one snap in a 12-year career. She says he blames himself for Bachman’s death, as he didn’t risk trying to help Sandy enough, because he’s got romantic feelings for Carrie and only worried about her safety.  Quinn glares at the psychiatrist, then at the camera that Dar Nadal’s watching the interview from and tells them to collectively shove it.

F. Murray Abraham captured the public’s interest, when he played the role of Antonio Salieri to Tom Hulce’s Mozart in the film “Amadeus.” Salieri’s a loathsome creature, starting out as a mentor to Mozart and when the prodigy surpassed his own talent, he became his adversary. Dar Nadal lacks the jealousy of Salieri, however they’re both opportunists and Nadal’s got a sixth sense that only a seasoned veteran can acquire, as to which direction the wind’s blowing, so he can be where opportunity knocks. He knows whom to align himself with and when to terminate a relationship, as we saw last season as he first supported former Director Saul Berenson, then read the writing on the wall and jumped to Andrew Lockhart’s side when he found out he was the President’s choice to direct the Agency.

After calling Quinn for days without a response, Nadal goes to his motel room, Peter tries to get rid of him but lets him in the room. He tells Peter that he’s only concerned with his well-being, but Quinn calls him on it, saying that Nadal just doesn’t want to lose an asset. Dar admits he’s correct, that they spent lots of time and money turning him into the strong operative he’s become. He then chastises Quinn for beating up the jerk at the diner, saying he didn’t deserve the beating he received. He then echoes what the psychiatrist stated, that his feelings for Carrie effected his judgment and he abandoned Bachman. Peter goes ballistic and chokes Nadal until he nearly passes out then releases him. Dar catches his breath and then tells Quinn he’s glad to see he hadn’t lost it.

Carrie’s got to break the lockdown rules, to meet the party that texted just landed and tries using a technicality to bend the rules. She gets her driver to drop her off at a hotel, which she goes into and then exits from the other side, climbing into a waiting taxi. The CIA operative who monitors all employee actions outside of the embassy, follows her on his motorcycle, then they get separated by traffic. She uses a distraction to exit the cab and waits in an alley to make sure the operative follows the taxi. She then moves on foot until reaching her destination, an office where two old allies from Langley, Fara and Max greet her. She’s brought them over to try to recruit college student Aayan Ibrahim, whose family got destroyed in the attack setup by Bachman’s info.

Fara’s going to take on the role of a London journalist and attempt to convince Ibrahim to share his story with her and her “paper.” Max took on the role of coaching the former analyst and will drive her to the meeting with the student. Carrie stresses that Fara should attempt to seduce him enough to build trust, to grab his hand or put her hand on his arm. She’s practiced her London accent and has it down pat. When she leaves the room to take a call from her father, Max tells Carrie he thinks she’ll nail it.

Things didn’t quite work out that way however, as Fara got introduced to Aayan from one of his professors. She thanks him for the meeting, but he explains he did it only because his professor insisted on it. She then tells him she’s a journalist from London and her paper wants to tell his story (Surprisingly, she never mentions the name of her paper and Ibrahim just lets it pass without questioning her. She could write for the London Times, or some unknown monthly, but apparently that doesn’t concern Aayan.) He tells her he can’t talk with her and breaks off the discussion as quickly as he can.

Carrie meets with Fara and Max and Fara’s distraught she didn’t accomplish their goals. Mathison asks if they’d have better luck in a second meeting, but the former analyst expresses doubt, saying Ibrahim seemed terrified and thinks he may have received threats. Carrie thanks them both and then heads back to the Embassy.

Entering the Embassy we hear a very familiar voice loudly telling old stories and as Carrie turns the corner we see our old friend Saul Berenson’s talking and laughing with Martha Boyd. Mathison shows her surprise when greeting her former boss and mentor and asks why he’s there, he explains he came along with the security team his company sent over. Carrie asks to talk with Saul, then apologizes to Boyd for interrupting their conversation, but the Ambassador says no worries and heads back to her office.

Visibly unnerved by his presence, Mathison tells Saul that this will look to others that she sent for him to receive aid, he responds as long as he’s there does she need any? She reflexively says no, then hems and haws and says yes, she asks if he could get Boyd to lift the lockdown and he say’s consider it done. She thanks him yet we can clearly see the relationship’s not as close as it was, there’s no hugs or the unspoken bond that existed for them for a long time.

Peter decides to check out all the video on YouTube emanating from the riot that claimed Sandy Bachman’s life, while he’s guzzling booze. We see the horror in his eyes as he watches the images and flashes back to being in the car and starts to wonder if he truly did sacrifice Sandy’s life for Carrie’s safety. The horror on his face increases as his belief that Nadal expressed the truth saying Quinn’s only concern was Carrie.

Carrie goes up on the Embassy roof to catch a smoke and seconds later, she’s joined by Martha Boyd also indulging her addiction. The Ambassador tells her Chief Of Station that they’re looking from the best vantage point in Islamabad. She then tells Mathison she’s aware that Carrie disobeyed the lockdown and Carrie asks who told but receives only silence. She then says that maybe they could start over and Martha says that’s exactly what Saul suggested.

Carrie tells her that he called Boyd one of the good ones, and Saul doesn’t speak highly of many people. Martha responds he should, they almost got married and Mathison’s jaw drops in shock. The Ambassador explains they were kids in Beirut and thankfully came to their senses, she then says that Berenson’s not the reason she’s rescinded the lockdown. When Carrie asks why, Martha tells her that Mathison made sense when she said her staff couldn’t do their jobs stuck in the Embassy. The relationship appears friendly at this point and that’s mutually beneficial.

After having a farewell breakfast with Saul before he heads back to New York, Mathison heads to a café on the other side of the city. We see Aayan Ibrahim, finishing his breakfast outside the café and his buddy, one of the waiters stops to talk with him. Suddenly a woman calls for a doctor and the waiter says Aayan’s a doctor, but Ibrahim corrects him saying almost. He asks what’s the problem and the woman says that a woman seems in agony in the restroom. The two men run to the ladies room and hear a woman moaning, after trying to get her to respond Aayan walks into the restroom.

In the least surprising moment of the episode, Carrie’s the woman on the floor moaning and quickly reveals her moans weren’t from pain. She then tells Aayan she’s Fara’s bureau chief and she wants the story. Ibrahim attempts to leave but Mathison keeps him trapped. She tells him she’ll keep him protected, get out of Pakistan if he wants. Get him into medical school in Britain or the United States, asks him if he’s interested in attending the Royal Medical Academy? He asks what he’d have to do in return and she replies share your story with us. She then says she’s going to put her business card in his pants pocket and it’s up to him if he wants to contact her.

Back at his motel, Peter’s been watching videos of the incident for days, when he notices something, a Pakistani Intelligence Operative orchestrated the riot and attack. He’s seen contacting agents via radio before and after the incident. Quinn sends the link and calls Carrie and she quickly realizes he’s correct. She tells him she truly needs him in Islamabad now and the first two times he refuses. On her third attempt he tells her she’s the toughest person on the planet to say no to, and Carrie realizes Peter’s on his way.

The Story Continues Next Sunday at 9:00 pm on Showtime.