Homeland: How Can Saving A Life Be A Wrong Choice?

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Episode recaps

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This was a show-me season for the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” attempting to rebound from a less than stellar third campaign. After watching the latest episode entitled “Halfway To A Donut,” I’m pleased to say that the show’s won me back over, after two stellar episodes in a row, have me counting the minutes waiting for the next episode. Although things didn’t turn out the way CIA Director Andrew Lockhart, or Islamabad CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison liked, it proved for an exciting episode and Carrie found out she’s got somebody watching out for her on the other side.

The episode opens with Carrie finding herself fully clothed, waking up in a strange bed, after experiencing her meltdown in the previous episode. She sees an outdoor patio and walks out there, to find a bodyguard in a suit, standing with his arms folded across his chest, she starts to look around and sees ISI official Aasar Khan. He asks her how she’s doing, but she remains silent, then almost collapses against a chair, which the ISI agent puts her in. She asks how she got there, and Khan’s surprised she doesn’t remember, then says she had a very eventful evening. Then he tells her his men brought her there, arrested the police called him and told Khan, that they had Mathison in a straight jacket in a holding cell and he rescued her.

He then tells her she told him things about herself the previous evening, as she thought he was another man, someone she seemed quite fond of and had died. Carrie immediately fills with the shame and embarrassment, that everyone who’s imbibed too much has experienced, those moments you hoped were a dream, turn out to be true. She tries to walk away from Aasar, but stumbles and he catches her, then tells her she needs to rest, but she says no then nearly faints, Khan picks her up and puts her in the bed.

Islamabad’s CIA staff haven’t a clue where Carrie’s at, with the Pakistani delegation arriving at the Embassy for their morning meeting. Khan walks in just before the meeting’s to start and Nasneem, says to him he’s cutting things close and he responds he didn’t expect company. Nasneem, asks Aasar why he got Mathison out of jail and he replied that with the negotiations with the American’s going on, he thought a scandal with the CIA Station Chief was the last thing they needed. Nasneem, tells him, that Carrie’s got mental issues and she tried to get her sent back to the States with her erratic behavior. Khan, advises her she keep him in the loop from now on.

With both delegations sans Carrie, get seated United States Ambassador to Pakistan, turns on a TV monitor, the picture’s the Taliban flag. Haqqani’s guards, wake Saul up, unchain him and start to roughly pull him out of his cell, he notices some loose nails in the doorway as h’s moved. They put him in a chair in front of the flag and both delegations see him, he says three words Don’t Do It. Whatever they want, whatever they ask for, tell them to go to Hell. The guards drag him back to his cell, then Haqqani sits in the chair and says five names then walks away and the camera’s turned off. They’re the names of five American prisoners, whom comprise Haqqani’s senior command, if they’re released, Haqqani controls the area between Islamabad and Kabul. Boyd says they should both get word to their governments and reconvene.

Carrie wakes up and looks much better, she’s got two of her antipsychotic pills with her and she starts to take one, but then spits it into the toilet. She realizes her medication got switched, she walks out of the bathroom and Khan’s back from the meeting and she tells him what happened. He stays silent, so she replies that he must believe it could have occurred, he replies he didn’t do it or know about it. When she asks who did it then, he responds he hasn’t a clue, she pushes him out-of-the-way and says she’s leaving. He offers to drive her back to the Embassy, but she refuses, saying she’ll get there on her own.

When Saul got taken back to his cell he caused a scuffle with his guards so he’d be knocked down and he could grab the loose nails. He’s trying to pick the right handcuff with his left-hand, he keeps getting close, but fails to spring the lock. He hears noise in the hallway, realizes a guard’s coming and lies back on his cot and starts coughing, while the guard peeks through the slot they put meals through. When Saul sits back-up, we see he’s sprung the lock.

Carrie’s in a local hospital, getting her blood tested and a new set of her meds, when Peter Quinn shows up, frantically asking if she’s alright. Mathison tells him there’s a breach at the Embassy and they need to arrange an immediate session with Lockhart. Carrie tells the Director and he says he needs to tell Ambassador Boyd, but Carrie’s against the move. He overrules her and says he’s going to tell her.

Back at Saul’s cell, a guard hears noise from the cell, opens the door and sees Saul’s hung himself by the neck, after kicking a metal bucket, out from under his feet. The guard climbs up on the bucket, pulls Saul down and he falls to the floor. The guard tries to feel for a heartbeat, but Berenson tricked the guard and whacks him with the chains in the head. He then strangles the guard until he dies, grabs the guard’s cellphone, walks out the open cell door and escapes the prison.

Lockhart tells Boyd there’s been a breach and at first she tries to dismiss it, but then she says she’ll institute protocol, changing locks and codes. Lockhart then gives her a backhanded compliment, about the fact that she can deal with an enemy that stabs them in the back. She replies, she’s a diplomat, her job’s to find common interest between the two nations, Lockhart says the Pakistanis hate the United States, how can you find common ground there.

As Lockhart leaves, her traitorous husband arrives, armed with a box of local pastries, he refers to as halfway to a donut. Martha asks her husband to give up teaching for a while and stay in the Embassy, as things are quite dangerous. He begrudgingly agrees, then she tells him there’s been a breach, but he mustn’t tell anyone.

Saul’s wandering around the desert on a pitch black night and calls Carrie, to tell her he’s escaped, she tells him to stay where he’s at and she’s heading to the Embassy, and for him to call her in ten-minutes. When he calls back, he’s patched into the speaker system of the Embassy’s war room and Peter and Carrie attempt to calm Saul down. They fix on his phone’s GPS signal and they find his location, Peter tells him to walk straight ahead until he reaches a mountain ridge, when he arrives there, Quinn tells him to look below and find the lights at 10:00. That’s where their nearest asset is, a grocer who helps American operations and it’s 20 miles away, which they tell Saul works to his advantage as he’ll become the proverbial needle in a haystack. Peter tells the former CIA Director, the information asks Saul to repeat it back, he says he wants to talk to Carrie privately.

When he gets on the phone with just Carrie, he tells her he’s not going back as a prisoner of the Taliban, he either escapes or Carrie bombs them all. He then says he wants her to promise him, their deal’s escape or die and she says alright. He tells her he needs her to promise, or he’ll dive off the cliff he’s perched on. She promises him the deals, escape or die.

When he gets to the town he sees the market and walks in the door, the man grabs a pistol and asks who he is? Saul asks didn’t the American’s tell him that he was arriving and the younger man tells him to shut up. Berenson replies, that if the man has no idea who he is, then the man should shoot him, but if he does know he really needs some help. The grocer puts away his pistol. The CIA bureau has established satellite visual contact  and see that Berenson’s arrived, so Lockhart and Carrie head down for the next meeting with the Pakistanis.

Martha Boyd’s speaking with Khan and the Pakistani Foreign Minister, apologizing for Carrie and the Director’s absence, Aasar notices that Nasneem and Dennis Boyd are talking as they’re getting coffee. Boyd’s freaking out saying that Nasneem promised Carrie would take the next plane back to the States, but now she’ll figure out he poisoned her. Nasneem, tells him to calm down, then says she needs a favor from him, but he says the heat’s too high, she tells him this favor’s easy, writes something on a napkin and leaves. Boyd picks it up and Khan realizes that the pair were the ones that gave Carrie the other pills, substituting them as her own.

When all get seated Boyd starts telling the Pakistani delegation, the President’s conditions for moving forward in the negotiations. First and most important they’ll require daily proof that Saul’s alive, the Foreign Minister says he’ll convey that to Haqqani. A man on Haqqani’s list’s contracted a viral infection and doctors estimate he’ll get cleared for travel in three days.

Carrie keeps looking at Nasneem, wondering why she’s so calm, when the ISI must realize that Saul’s escaped. She starts to tune out the conversation and figure out why the woman’s so calm, she suddenly figures it out, excuses herself and leaves the meeting. Nasneem smiles as she exits the room. Lockhart leaves shortly after and asks what’s wrong and she replies the Pakistanis know where Saul’s hiding.

When they return to the war room, Carrie tells the staff that finding Saul’s almost impossible, but the Pakistanis found him by where the drone’s positioned. She asks someone to track Pakistani military movement for the day and finds out their hosts have the area surrounded. They get a call from a Special-Ops Team, who tells them their exits blocked by Taliban and they need to take a detour, as they hang-up, the satellite feed shows a truckload of Taliban operatives in the town square.

The grocer and Berenson discuss how the grocer came to help out the United States. The Taliban took over his neighborhood and everyone showed fear except his father, who challenged the Taliban’s authority. They shot him in his front yard and everyone else backed down. He called the Americans the next day.

The grocer’s cellphone rings and Carrie asks to speak to his guest. She then tells Saul they’ve changed the location to a park about 20 blocks away. She tells him to leave his phone on and he asks the grocer if he can take it, the man says yes and gives Saul his pistol as well. He thanks the man and leaves, but the Taliban now fill the town.

When he gets outside Carrie starts giving him directions but Saul sees the Taliban operatives and starts to panic, she has him duck into a building and exit out the other side and he sees even more. He sits down on a bench and tells Carrie he’s had a good run and puts the pistol to his chin. Carrie and the others see him on the monitor and she tells Berenson they’ll thread the needle together and he can’t let the evacuation team down. He takes the gun away from his head and pockets it, Carrie leads him into a building and to the exit, he walks out and gets swarmed by Taliban. He swears, and screams at Carrie that she lied to him, she says turn the monitor off. Andrew Lockhart goes back to the negotiations and says the United States will meet all of Haqqani’s demands.

Carrie and Peter sit down and assess the situation, she says she tried to do the right thing and save Berenson’s life and Quinn tells her she made the right move. She questions his statement, as she broke her promise to Saul and he despises her now. She asks Peter how can saving a life be a wrong choice? He says they haven’t slept in two days and they can discuss this the next day.

Mathison starts to lie down, when her cell phone rings. We next see her walking with an umbrella outside as it’s pouring, she enters a parking garage and sees Aasar standing there. She says to him, well you won and he replies did we? She says he said he wanted to tell her something and he says first he wants her to realize he wasn’t involved in the switching of her meds. She replies that she’s told him that and why’s it so important that she believe him. Khan replies he’s not sure why, maybe because it’s the truth. She remains silent and he says to her the next time she talks about the distrust between them, to remember this moment and starts to stomp away.

She stops him by saying that whoever did switch the meds is really messed up, but she tells Khan that she believes what he says and he walks back to her. She says the reason she knows he’s telling the truth’s because she remembers, not everything, but enough and at the end….. He interrupts her and blurts out Dennis Boyd switched her meds and he’s out to get her, that’s all he can tell her.

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

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