Category Archives: Homeland

Homeland: Realizing You’re Fighting Your Own Side

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Seventies were a “learning decade” for the American people, as a President and Vice President resigned their posts, in a year’s time. We also found out about clandestine missions undertaken by the FBI and the CIA and that these missions occurred with very little oversight. New laws and bills got passed, making United States Intelligence Agencies, more accountable, limiting their abilities to do things our citizens would disapprove of. However after 9/11, many of the restraints got lifted and some say the Agency operates as it did in the Sixties.

How must it feel, for an idealistic CIA Agent in the field, risking their lives fighting corrupt governments around the globe, to find out that your Agency’s run through back-door deals, that undo all the good that you accomplished? In the fourth season finale of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” former Islamabad CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison, dealt with that realization in the episode’s closing minutes. Even the one man she trusted, now seems to have feet of clay.

There was very little action or excitement in the season finale, but this season’s had plenty of both in previous episodes. This was an episode, that gave it’s audience some deep background information about the characters, revealing things about the Mathison family, that had never even been hinted at. We also watched as Carrie blew what might have turned out as her “Happy Ending,” by her indecision and fear of commitment.

Carrie’s back in the States and in the first scene we see her looking at a man’s belongings, his shoes, his ties, an extensive matchbook collection, souvenirs of trips throughout his lifetime. Suddenly Carrie’s sister Maggie walks into the room holding an old razor, their dad’s who just passed away and we realize they’re sorting through his belongings. Suddenly the doorbell rings, she looks out the window and sees a Government staff car and a chauffeur in her driveway, she tells Maggie she’ll handle it.

She answers the front door, to find Agency official Dar Adal waiting for her, he tells her he’s sorry about her dad and asks if she’s going to invite him into her home. She tells him that Frannie’s asleep, and they sit down on some furniture on her front porch. Adal, dispenses with social graces and gets right to the point of his visit, he asks Mathison where Peter Quinn’s at. Carrie tells him she’s not sure if he’s returned from Islamabad, he’s on a mission to kill Taliban leader Haissam Haqqani, Dar tells her Haqqani’s back in the tribal areas and out of Quinn’s reach. He leaves, but asks her to contact him if she hears from Peter.

Saul Berenson’s sitting on his bed watching ISI leader and ally of Haqqani, Nasneem speaking to the press about the United States cutting off diplomatic relations with Pakistan. She insults the USA, says that her country’s been under the United States thumb for too long and says if they want to leave, let them. Saul’s wife Mira shuts off the set with the remote control and tells her husband he’s got to get his mind off Pakistan. He got terminated by the contractor he worked for, he wants to return to the Agency, but she tells him he realizes that’s not possible. He says he has to get dressed for his meeting.

Carrie takes Frannie to the park in her stroller and an older gentleman walks up to them and asks if that’s Frannie, he’s a friend of Carries father and has yet to hear of his passing. He tells her that Frank loved her daughter so much, then asks if she’s Carrie. Mathison’s taken aback, but the man tells her that Frank bragged about her all the time, that she had problems adjusting to motherhood, but she’d be back to raise the baby. He said Carrie’s made of tough stuff. She thanks the man for telling her that and heads home.

Carrie and daughter return from the park and she notices a strange car in the driveway with Missouri plates. After she hands off Frannie to the nanny, she walks into the kitchen, shocked at whose with Maggie. It’s the girl’s mother Ellen, a character never mentioned during the series until this point. Turns out Ellen went out to get some milk 15-years earlier and never came home. Carrie’s enraged to see her, asking if she thinks she can pull off the grieving wife routine after all this time?

Carrie tells her to leave the house, when Maggie reminds her that the house belongs to her and she wants Ellen to stay. Mathison says then she and the baby will go elsewhere, which prompts Ellen to leave the house, Maggie hesitates a minute than runs after her but Ellen’s driven away.

Saul meets with a top Government official Joe Crocker, about the possibilities of regaining his position as CIA Chief, with Lockhart’s resignation pending. Crocker tells him there’s nobody he’d rather run the Agency, but once Haqqani releases the tape of Saul as a prisoner, his nomination would go down in flames. Saul then asked about getting a bureau or even become Chief of Station, but Crocker tells Saul it’s not in the cards.

Carrie and Maggie are sitting on the front door step, as Carrie somewhat apologizes for the way she treated their mother. She says to Maggie that she thought she hated Ellen and Maggie responded, she thought so too until she showed up. She says that now she’ll be out of contact for another 15-years, but Carrie tells her she got the tag numbers and can find out where she lives in an hour.

The funeral’s the following morning and Carrie gives the eulogy for her dad. She mentions the things he cherished, like the Baltimore Orioles and he’d yell at the TV for his team to stop stinking up the diamond. She then says he had his demons, but he learned how to control them, then he taught her how to control hers when she developed the same illness. She thanks him for taking care of Frannie, but tells him she’s ready to take over now.

Outside the church mourners come to embrace her and wish her condolences, when she sees Quinn standing 50-yards away, she excuses herself, runs over and embraces him telling him she’d been worried sick. He drives her back to the house in his truck and he got out of Pakistan due to his friends in German Intelligence. Carrie then tells her she had Haqqani in her sights, ready to shoot, when Aasar Khan stopped her, she omitted that Dar Adal was in the vehicle with Haqqani.

Maggie asks Carrie who Peter is and she tells her he’s a friend from work, Maggie says that he’s getting along famously with Frannie. Mathison seeks out Saul and asks Mira if she can steal him for a bit and she smiles and says of course. She asks what he learned in his meeting with Crocker and Saul says not a whole lot. Carrie asks what his explanation of Adal being with Haqqani and Berenson says he left names out of the conversation. He says that right now that information stays with them and don’t share it with Quinn and she wholeheartedly agrees.

Peter comes over right at that moment and asks if he’s interrupting  and they tell him not in the least. the three sit down at a table that looks like it’s in a screened in porch. Peter asks if Carrie’s dad liked Irish Whiskey and she says sure, as Quinn pulls three glasses. After they’ve talked for a while Lockhart, arrives to pay his respects and apologizes for being so late but he got tied up with his lawyers. Peter pours him a glass and they toast.

Quinn stays to help clean up and then Carrie walks him to his truck, Maggie smiles when they leave, showing that she thinks he and Carrie belong together. The couple make small-talk ass they walk back to the truck and Peter has that look on his face like he wants to kiss her but he’s afraid, she looks back looking very frightened. But suddenly they pull together and fall into a deep and passionate kiss.

As soon as they stop, Mathison says she’s going to screw this up and Peter says she’s silly. He tells her he’s seen her at her worst and she says he should’ve run for the hills. Quinn then tells her he wants out of the Agency, but he can’t do it alone, he needs her by his side making the move with him. He asks her to consider it and drives home.

She can’t sleep, so she  gets out of bed and heads into her dad’s room, sits down at his desk and goes through the drawers. She finds a bunch of pictures of her parents when they first got married and sees how happy they looked. The first thing in the morning she’s loaded her suitcase and tells Maggie they’re going on a road-trip to see her mother. Maggie convinces Carrie to leave Frannie with her and Carrie drives to Missouri.

Later that day an old friend and fellow operative Dale shows up at Peter’s apartment and tells him they’re going on a mission to Syria, but Quinn says he’s not going and he’s quitting the Agency. Dale thinks he’s joking at first, but Peter makes it clear he’s serious. Dale pulls out all the stops, but fails to convince his friend, so he hands Quinn the possible last letters from the agents heading over.

Carrie drives straight through the night and arrives at Ellen’s home in the morning. She rings the bell and a teenage boy, answers it and asks if he can help her. She asks if Ellen’s home and he tells her she went to work, Carrie asks teaching and the boy confirms it and says Jefferson. He asks who she is and she replies just a friend and then just stands there. The boy tells her he’s going to school, Carrie apologizes and gets in her car. We watch the boy ride off on his bike and Mathison drives to Ellen’s school.

Ellen’s surprised to see her and Carrie tells her she drove all night. Carrie asks whom the boy is and Ellen tells her it’s her brother, Tim. Carrie blurts out that’s why you left to have more children and apologizes, but Ellen says she deserves it. She can’t talk now, but asks her daughter to come to her home at 3:30 that afternoon.

Berenson and Adal meet in a restaurant booth for a breakfast meeting. Dar asks Saul how his meeting went with Crocker and Berenson says he’s out of the running for CIA Director. Adal asks him, what he’d say if Dar could guarantee to get him back on the very short list to become Director and Berenson, replies he’d tell Adal he’s having a major senior moment.

Adal puts a tiny plastic container on the table and Saul asks what’s that, Dar replies it’s the tape from Haqqani, it’s supposedly the only copy, but Haqqani promised he’d never release it publicly. Saul asks what Dar gave in return and the longtime Agency employee, told Saul he took him off the kill list and gave him free rein in Pakistan in return for keeping terrorists out of Afghanistan. Saul replies Haqqani’s the terrorist and though Adal agrees, he says Haqqani will take over Kabul in the next few months.

Adal then explains the world according to him, which brought no great revelations for viewers. We met Dar Adal in season two of the series and we’ve witnessed him conveniently switch sides, according to the situation. Adal originally pushed for Berenson to become the permanent Director of the Agency last season, but quickly sidled up to former Senator Andrew Lockhart, when he got the position.

Saul tells Adal that he’s uncomfortable with the situation and making deals with enemies, Dar reminds Berenson, that there’s plenty of precedent in the global community. Then he says to Saul to come back to his home and lead them, the Agency awaits him with open arms.

Carrie’s in her hotel room, when Peter calls and says there’s a rumor she’s in Missouri and she tells him she drove there to talk to her mother. Peter asks if she’s given any thought to his proposal and she basically tells him she’s too wrapped up with her mother, to give it any thought. Quinn says that if the answers, a no, that’s okay.

Carrie assures him she’s not saying no, but she just found out she’s got a teenage brother. Then she says, she’s off making crazy trips, just like her dad did, how will things work out between them and Quinn says, so this is the no. She once again assures him, that it’s just the opposite, she just can’t handle pressure right now. She says she’ll call him when she gets home, he says sure, then throws his phone to the floor.

Mathison heads to Ellen’s house and she asks her mother if there’s any chance she’ll confront Tim’s father and her mother tells her the father took off before she gave birth. Carrie asks her why didn’t she just say she got pregnant and come home. Ellen replies she couldn’t bring herself to admit it, she had hurt too many people. She then admits to Carrie she had numerous affairs and Frank always forgave her and took her back, but she crossed the line in her own mind this time.

Carrie says that Frank always said she just couldn’t live with him being bi-polar, but she said her father was loyal. Carrie says she always thought she couldn’t have a long-term relationship because of her condition. Ellen says that’s not the case and Carrie leaves. Mathison heads back to her motel room and packs her bags, then calls Quinn, but his number’s disconnected as is his e-mail account. She gets Adal’s voice mail and asks where’s Quinn then drives home.

The four-man unit that’s heading for Syria makes it’s final preparations, when Quinn arrives asking who’s the new guy, he steps up and Peter says he’s taking his spot. The rookie’s unhappy, but Dale’s extremely pleased that Peter decided to join the mission.

Mathison drives to Adal’s house and rings the bell until he gets to the door, she thanks him for returning her message and he replies she’d supposed to contact him when she saw Peter. She asks where he is and he tells her to get in the house. He tells her that he’s most likely in Syria at this moment, she says she needs to speak to him and he replies they went dark an hour before. He says it’s an open-ended mission, and they’ll most likely head home from Iraq. She says she needs to talk to him and Adal says she can’t.

She then looks him dead in the eye and tells him she saw him with Haqqani in Islamabad. He asks her what game she’s playing and she says getting what I want. She says if she doesn’t get her to speak to Peter, she’s heading to the Washington Post and telling them what she saw. He says she’s crazy and perhaps she’d like to talk to Saul first, she replies she knows what Berenson will say. Adal says, well ask him yourself, opens the door to his patio and she sees Saul sitting there. Her face shows her shock and disillusionment, she silently leaves, gets into her car and drives away, ending the season.

Homeland: Haqqani Remains On Top

Photo Courtesy of Showtime
Photo Courtesy of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After bouncing back from a rather listless and tedious third season, the fans have experienced a roller-coaster ride on the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” this go-round, which makes the episode entitled “Krieg Nicht Lieb,” really seem like they just attempted to fill an hour, without advancing the story, more than a few inches. The series ends season four on Sunday night November 20, and this episode came off as  out of place, with the solid, dramatic stories the series played out over the past few weeks.

Evacuating the United States Embassy in Islamabad’s running smoothly, the process began in the previous episode after Taliban leader Haissam Haqqani and his men took over the Embassy, killing some Agency members and wounding many. CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison, remains at the Embassy with a skeleton crew and a duel mission, following protocol in closing down the bureau and getting Agent Peter Quinn, whose gone rogue to head home with the rest of the Americans. Quinn’s out to assassinate Haqqani, a probable suicide mission that he tells everyone he’ll survive.

The episode opens on a busy street in Islamabad and we see ten foot banners of Haqqani hanging from every building, Mathison asks ISI bureaucrat Aasar Khan if he’s happy that the Taliban leader’s attained folk hero status and Khan replies he tried to stop it from happening. Carrie asks why he couldn’t and Khan tells her it was a coup.

The subject turns to Quinn and Aasar, tells her that the ISI search-teams have instructions to shoot to kill on sight. Carrie stresses how valuable Peter’s skill-set make him in the Agency and Khan laughs and calls him an assassin who set fire to a bazar. He tells Mathison that it’s Quinn’s head or his and asks if he’s pursuing Haqqani, she first says she doesn’t know then admits to him that he is.

Carrie heads back to the Embassy and talks to her staff, saying her most important mission’s to get everybody out safe including Quinn. Max asks why she’s not trying to help Peter and she replies it’s a suicide mission he’s going in alone unprotected, Max asks what if they protect him and Mathison dismisses the idea without thought.

We see Peter in an alley, rummaging through a garbage bin and grabbing two rags, which she then wraps around the palm and knuckles of each hand. He jumps over a stone-wall, breaks into a house and puts his hand over the mouth of the blonde woman sound asleep in her bed. Although this woman’s new to us, she knows Quinn and realizes the mission he’s on. She tells him he needs a shower, then tells him they’re still some of his clothes in the drawers.

The woman’s a member of the German Consulate in Islamabad and she agrees to trace the burner phone he found on the member of Haqqani’s crew he shot in the previous episode. She also agrees to help him construct a pipe-bomb made from C-4 explosives. She returns later to see Peter’s acquired a large quantity of C-4 and she tracked down the newest generation of the burner phones, thus tracking down Haqqani and his followers.

Max opens a safe and pulls out a black leather gym-bag, Carrie as Station-Chief gets immediate notification once the safe’s opened and she asks Max what’s in the bag. She opens it to find a large amount of cash and Peter’s passport, she asks Max where Quinn’s hiding and he tells her he doesn’t know. She finally convinces Max that Peter’s mission’s doomed to fail and he’ll get killed in the attempt and he gives up Peter’s location.

Quinn’s finishing his shower when he hears the doorbell ring, then someone knocking and of course he doesn’t respond. The German woman arrives home right then and asks if she can assist Carrie and she replies she’s looking for Quinn. The woman smiles says she’s not heard from him months. Carrie asks to leave her contact info, at first the woman demurs, then finally agrees. Mathison notices the water on the floor from when Peter stepped out of the shower.

Carrie’s in the garage about to get into her car, when Quinn comes down and congratulates her for finding him, but he tells her he’s still going through with her plan. At that point two men from Mathison’s security team come into the garage and attempt to bring Peter back to the Embassy. However Peter immediately over powers one of them, then grabs the second man’s pistol and shoots the guy in the leg. He puts his hand around Carrie’s throat and says if she wants to stay alive, listen, then he drives off.

Back at the Embassy, Mathison receives a call from CIA Director Andrew Lockhart, whose biding his time until he gets replaced after the Embassy takeover. He asks Carrie if something’s going on in Islamabad, as all these meetings are going on that he’s left out of. Mathison replies that if something’s going on, she’s out of the loop as well and they promise to inform the other of any updates.

We head to the hospital that Aayan Ibrahim’s girlfriend Kiran works at and she finds a manila envelope with her name on it, and enclosed are three photographs and a note. The pictures show Ibrahim talking with his uncle Haqqani, the second shows the Taliban leader shooting his nephew and the third shows Aayan dead on the dirt road. The note asks that she meet the person who left the photos in the hospital’s room number 37.

Peter’s there waiting and Kiran asks how can she know the pictures are real, Quinn shows her a flash drive and says she can watch the entire tape, that’s just a few frames. He tells her Haqqani killed a bunch of his friends as well and he wants to make the Taliban leader pay, but he needs her help.

Back at the Embassy, one of Carrie’s staff informs her that the video of Haqqani shooting Ibrahim’s gotten leaked to the Internet and gone viral immediately. There’s a message calling for a protest against the Taliban leader in the next hour at the exact location Haqqani’s at. Carrie gets a car to drive her to the protest, certain this is the attempt on Haqqani’s life that Peter’s planning.

Quinn’s put the C-4 in a metal pipe with a receiver in it, that he’s got the transmitter for, he then attaches a large cardboard sign with Aayan’s picture on it to the pole, this is how he’ll get the pipe bomb into the rally. The protest takes place in a rather narrow area, making the good-sized crowd appear enormous. Police are on the sidelines getting ready if needed and the crowd gets louder and more agitated.

Carrie’s car’s stuck four blocks away, she puts a wrap around her head then swipes a traditional Pakistani dress to slip over her clothes, so she doesn’t stand out. As she gets closer to the rally, Peter drops the pipe-bomb down a sewer grate that’s directly in front of the driveway, Haqqani’s car will use minutes later.

Carrie arrives and realizes where Peter’s stashed the bomb so she stands on the grate. Quinn calls her cellphone and she tells him she won’t move, as he’d be shot seconds after the bomb exploded. She tells him she can’t lose him, he curses her, hangs up the phone and puts the transmitter in his pocket.

Seconds later as all the Anti-Haqqani protesters got driven away, a Pro-Haqqani crowd screams his name in adulation. The limo’s sun roof opens and the Taliban leader stands up in the car waving to the crowd, which causes Carrie to snap. She pulls a pistol and is just about to shoot the terrorist, when Khan stops her pointing out one of the occupants of the car, longtime CIA bureaucrat Dar Adal.

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

Homeland: Haqqani Takes Over US Embassy Leaving 36 Dead

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This was Haissam Haqqani’s plan all along, the reason he faked his own death, as well as the public execution of the former CIA Station Chief Sandy Bachman. The kidnapping of former CIA Chief Saul Berenson, was just a happy accident, that got the Taliban leader back five of his most powerful allies. However, on the tenth episode of this season’s “Homeland,” Haqqani’s plan got revealed to all, to take over the American Embassy in Islamabad, steal a valuable document accounting for all United States operatives and friends in the region  and causing the United States to withdraw all personnel from Pakistan and cutoff diplomatic relations. The Embassy and CIA staffs both suffered other losses during the ordeal.

Not only did the Taliban leader have a solid plan, bumbling and bad decisions by United States bureaucrats, helped Haqqani attain everything he desired, causing plenty of bloodshed for  both sides. However, the victories that the Terrorist gained, far outweighed his losses, a far different story than how the vanquished Americans fared.

The story opened minutes after the last episode concluded, as Carrie and Saul regain consciousness after  surviving an attack on the convoy taking them back to the Embassy. Unfortunately, Carrie’s assistant John Redmond and the passenger in the vehicle’s shotgun seat, didn’t survive the attack, Redmond killed as a large shard of glass pierced his jugular vein. The Marines extract both Carrie and Saul from the vehicle, then the unit’s captain, receives a call from Peter Quinn at the Embassy telling the C.O. to send his unit back to the Embassy as Haqqani and his men are attacking.

The captain begins to relay the instructions, but get’s stopped mid-sentence, felled by a sniper’s bullet, soon joined by three or four other gunmen raining ammo down on the Americans. Saul grabs Carrie and they crawl to safety behind a jeep, a Marine gives Saul a rifle and asks him to provide cover for him as he prepares to charge the enemy. Berenson gives the weapon to Carrie, as he tells her he’s not a marksman. Carrie calls ISI leader Aasar Khan, telling him they’re under attack and he says he’ll call for troops.

As the Pakistani Diplomat dials his phone, Nasneem whose riding in the car with him, puts her hand on the phone and tells Khan to wait ten-minutes before alerting his troops. Aasar protests that the Americans are under attack and Nasneem replies that the Americans have insinuated themselves into their culture for far too long, it’s time they get a taste of their own medicine. Khan reacts as if a blindfold’s, suddenly gotten removed and realizes that Nasneem’s allied with Haqqani, whose killed Aasar’s soldiers, she replies with the Americans gone, Haqqani will stop posing a threat. Khan says she’s very naïve, while she counters he’s the naïve one as he works with the enemy believing their friends.

One of the veteran operatives, a man named Hensley asks CIA Director Lockhart if he knows Level Two Security procedures and Lockhart replies well enough, so Hensley tells the Director he’ll brief the staff. Lockhart tells everybody to prepare to incinerate high-level security documents and prepare to crash their hard-drives. Hensley gives the Director a small case containing all the contacts that Bachman gathered in three years, it’s the only copy so Lockhart has to get it to the vault.

We see a security monitor and then see a Marine’s face and the monitor grants him access, but the soldiers dead and held up to the camera by Haqqani. He and his men storm the Embassy main floor shooting at anything that moves. Peter and the Marine he’s with start to make their way from the basement to the first floor, hoping to take out the Taliban.

The remaining office staff, including Fara and Max are on their knees lined up next to each other. Haqqani realizing that Fara’s Arabic, pulls her up and starts questioning her. He then asks if she’s Muslim and she responds she is, he asks if her family knows what her job entails and she replies they do, he then says that she kills her own people for the enemy, lets her go and picks up a young man next to her, whose sniveling and crying. Haqqani says this man will tell him where Bachman’s files are.

The Taliban leader marches his hostages to the vault and stands right in front of the security camera and says to open the door, when there’s no response, he kills a hostage. United States Ambassador Martha Boyd gets on the audio system and says she can’t open the vault and a second hostage gets shot. She says she’s helpless until she gets clearance from her superiors and a third’s killed. Peter and the Marine are now watching around the corner, Peter says that the Taliban won’t want to get into a firefight, they’ll simply run down the stairs when the pair start shooting.

Fara’s the next in line and she’s crying and shaking, Haqqani pulls her to her feet, removes a large knife from its sheath and says he’ll slit her throat right in front of the camera, unless Lockhart comes out with the documents. The CIA Director panics and says he’ll come out, not to kill her. Boyd gets in his face and says if he opens the door, they’re all dead plus all the people named in Bachman’s files. Lockhart says she doesn’t know that, but she says it’s a darn good guess. Lockhart pushes her out-of-the-way and presses the button but  it’s on a 60-second timer, he tells Haqqani as soon as the timer releases the door he’ll come out.

Just as Peter and the Marine get into the position to shoot at the Taliban, Lockhart comes out, Peter swears quietly, but holds his fire.. Haqqani tells the CIA Director to give the case to an aide, he does then tells Haqqani to release Fara. He takes the blade from her neck, she starts to smile then he spits out something in Arabic and stabs her in the back killing her, then shouts to his men to kill them all.

Peter and the Marine open fire, hitting Haqqani and killing one man, two men help the Taliban leader to the stairway, while two more stay and trade fire. Quinn kills one and Max reaches his corpse, grabs the guy’s pistol and kills the other one. Peter and the Marine try to catch Haqqani and his men, but one puts a Plastique Explosive against a wall, caving in the tunnel, so that Haqqani and his men escape, while rubble stops Quinn and the Marine from chasing them. Just then the Pakistani soldiers arrive at the Embassy  and to where the remainder of the Convoy’s at. Saul and Carrie head to the Embassy, as Peter reaches the first floor, finding Max cradling Fara’s dead body .

A graphic appears on the screen, informing us four-hours have passed. Lockhart and Boyd sit in her office watching news reports about the attack, when the phone rings, Boyd looks at Lockhart and asks whose going to answer and he responds, it’s all hers. Carrie and Max are sitting on a carpeted stairway, when Max tells Mathison she’s mean, all Fara lived for was to impress Carrie and she never gave her as much as a kind word. Carrie tells him she was training Fara, but she wishes she had complimented her, Max says just a few words would have meant a lot and we can see by Mathison’s facial expression she agrees. Lockhart comes over and tells her he needs to speak to her.

He then tells her the White House just called and they’re closing the Embassy and breaking off Diplomatic relations with Pakistan. Carrie says she agrees with the decision and she’ll stay behind trying to locate the assets before the Taliban do, when Lockhart says they want her home immediately and it’s his fault, as he handed Haqqani the list.

Martha Boyd’s told by the Marines that her husband Dennis summoned her to his cell. He tells her he wants to do the right thing and hang himself in his cell and she tells him that’s crazy, but little by little he talks her into it, that if he kills himself there’ll not be a trial, so it could salvage her career. He then mentions it would kill their son to have his father in a maximum security prison as a traitor. He convinces her to grab his belt out of his locker and make things up by doing the right thing. She grabs it then throws it to the floor just outside the cell, as she leaves the room he grabs the belt.

Peter’s grilling Saul, trying to get him to remember anything he can about Haqqani, but Saul’s barely lucid and his memory’s shot. Carrie calls out Quinn and asks what he’s doing, Peter responds they’ve got 72-hours to catch Haqqani. Mathison tells him they’re evacuating the country the next morning and he’ll be on the transport.

Quinn leaves the Embassy with another staffer and soon terrorist mercenary Farad Ghazi’s vehicle’s following them, Peter thanks his buddy then exits the vehicle, with Ghazi’s three thugs trying to follow him. He creates a distraction, loses the men and jumps  into Ghazi’s vehicle with his pistol aimed at the other man’s head. Peter takes him to a small room, locks the door and asks Ghazi where Haqqani’s at and the man says he doesn’t know, we then briefly see the implements Peter will utilize for torture.

It’s the following morning at 6:30 am and the evacuation’s underway, in another act of cowardice, Boyd backed  out of taking his life, as Martha sees when she finds him handcuffed in one of the vehicles. Carrie tells Lockhart that Quinn’s AWOL and asks for five days to locate him, that he’s saved too many lives not to expend the effort. Lockhart grants her request, but reminds her that she and Quinn are on their own.

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

Homeland: CIA Gets Played Again

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. 

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

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME
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.

Homeland: Carrie’s Meltdown

Photo: Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo: Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

There are moments watching Television, that make us appreciate the medium, an hour of our lives in which we get sucked into the screen in front of us, when the acting, the writing and the production, leave the viewer drained after they exit the emotional rollercoaster they just got off. The Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” hit that sweet spot, in the episode entitled “Redux,” reminding long-time viewers, just how engrossing this series is, when all cylinders are firing. While doing little to advance the story-arc of the season, the acting performances, topped by Claire Danes as Islamabad’s CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison, were award quality throughout the episode. We also witnessed perhaps, the most realistic descent into delirium, captured by any medium, as the episode progressed and concluded with a mind-bending scene.

We also witnessed the depths to which Dennis Boyd, husband of American Ambassador to Pakistan Martha Boyd, will sink to keep his tail out of the deep-fryer. The professor, perhaps the most unlikable traitor to this country since Benedict Arnold, as he attempts to settle up with the ISI, broke into her quarters, flushed her anti-psychotic medication down the toilet and replaced it with another drug, in the same color capsules. The act resulted in Carrie exhibiting her bi-polar behavior, but also caused her to violently hallucinate.

The episode opens with CIA Director Andrew Lockhart, arriving at the American Embassy in Islamabad by orders of the President, to secure the freedom of the Agency’s former Director Saul Berenson. Berenson’s being held by Taliban Chief  Haissam Haqqani, used as a human shield to protect the terrorist from United States drones. Haqqani’s not been home to visit his wife and children, in three-years and he’s using the opportunity to head to his home village for a much-needed reunion.

After speaking briefly with the Ambassador, he talks with John Redmond and Peter Quinn and asks where Carrie is, Quinn believes she’s in her quarters and goes inside looking for her, then calls her cellphone. She tells him she’s working on some leads with Fara and Max and Quinn tells her to get to the Embassy, as Lockhart’s on the warpath. As he leaves her quarters, we see Boyd hiding in the corner, his brow covered in sweat, thinking he’d get caught, he then replaces Carrie’s medication with the other drug.

Lockhart chews out the staff of the Islamabad bureau, calling them out on the unit’s dysfunction over the last few months, then tells them they’re the best chance to recover Berenson safely. Mathison walks in at that point and apologizes for being late, Lockhart confronts her and asks where she was in front of her staff and refuses to move the conversation to her office. She tells him she’d been working a lead on Haqqani, to rescue Saul. They’re interrupted and told that the Pakistani delegation had arrived and the pair head to the meeting.

Ambassador Boyd’s trying to maintain a diplomatic air to the proceedings, but Lockhart does his best to revert to “blunt talk” as soon as possible. He flat-out says that the Pakistani’s negotiate often with the Taliban and they’re to broker a deal with the Taliban to gain Saul’s release. The Foreign Minister refuses to address the Director, instead telling Boyd that the accusations are insulting. Lockhart then says here’s how it’s going down, Berenson’s returned in 36-hours, or the $2 billion aid package to Pakistan will immediately undergo review. At that the Pakistani delegations gets up, turns around and leave as a unit. Carrie however runs after them and catches Aasar Khan, the man who speaks to the Americans for the ISI.

We can see that Mathison’s starting to get jittery and Khan remarks about how fast she’s speaking, a sign her medication’s wearing off. She asks him about the surveillance footage at the airport the night Saul got abducted and he responds, that ISI saw no signs of Saul getting kidnapped. She then says she wants to look at the footage and he says he’ll take her to the airport right then they can look at the tapes together. Carrie says she needs a half-hour and will meet him at the airport. She heads back to her quarters looking ill, but she freshens up and pops another of the substitute pills.

Her and Quinn arrive at the security station and look at the tape presented to them, they see Saul at his gate, then moving to the food court, but those are the only images they have. Khan states that the cameras were out at the gate that Farad Ghazi, was at to catch a flight to South Africa. Mathison’s starting to really lose it at this point, speaking in fragments instead of sentences, she also accuses a security guard who’s leaving the office of smuggling out video footage in his briefcase and demands he opens it. He does and Peter’s embarrassed when it’s just paperwork.

The bureau’s gotten a video feed of an old green Mercedes driving to Haqqani’s village, being swarmed by villagers and realize that the member of the Taliban’s getting a hero’s welcome. They watch as all including Berenson, get out of the car and at that point Carrie walks in, totally manic. She starts screaming they need to get a rescue team there before nightfall and Peter tells her that’s not possible, a mission like that would take six-months to map out. She keeps ranting until Lockhart finally screams at her and tells her to take a break. She heads to her quarters, gets the spins and falls to her bed, then passes out.

She wakes up in a haze as Max calls her phone, telling her he’s located Aayan Ibrahim’s girlfriend Kiran, they hope she can tell them the drugs she held onto for Aayan, so they can identify the illness plaguing Haissam Haqqani, in an effort to locate him through a doctor or hospital. Carrie’s barely functioning at this point, tells Max to pick her up in 15-minutes. She then takes another substitute pill and takes two with her.

She’s full on hallucinating by the time she reaches the hospital that Kiran’s working at. The fluorescent lights are strobing on her and everything looks a bit unreal. She finds Kiran, identifies herself as the journalist helping Aayan then asks Kiran what the drugs were she held for her boyfriend, but the girl says she has no idea. Mathison then goes on a swearing jag as she tries to remember the name of the nurse who sold Ibrahim the drugs at the hospital, when she remembers, Kiran doesn’t know her, but Carrie says she’s lying.

A hospital security guard comes over to intervene, but Mathison sees Peter Quinn instead and asks him if he’s stalking her. The security guard says he doesn’t want to hurt her, when Carrie savagely attacks him, still believing its Peter. She then leaves the hospital and it’s as if she’s on another planet, as she barely negotiates walking, nearly getting hit by several cars. She then bumps into a giant man who yells at her in Arabic. She then looks about 50-yards down the street, seeing a car she’s sure is tailing her. She pulls out her pistol shatters the driver’s side of the windshield, then as the passenger gets out she shoots him dead. We hear sirens, a police vehicle pulls up and we realize Carrie imagined she had a gun and shot the men, she’s handcuffed by the officers and put in a holding cell. She’s terrified in there as bugs and dripping water seem monstrous to her.

A few minutes later, the two men she thought she shot come for her, put her in a straight-jacket then into their car, refusing to answer Mathison’s cries of where they’re taking her. Minutes later she arrives at a mansion, the men take off the jacket and leave her in a finely furnished room. She sees doors to the backyard, but quickly backs away when a Doberman jumps at the glass door from the outside. She tries another door, it’s unlocked and she attempts to explore the area when she hears footsteps. She hides in the corner and tries to attack the man, but she’s subdued by Nick Brody. Yes, you read that correctly, he former lover, the father of her daughter Frannie, the man hung until he died last season in Iran, NICK BRODY.

Now we realize it’s impossible, Carrie realizes it’s impossible, but there he stands with a full head of hair, wearing a tailored blue suit. Mathison says it’s not happening she watched him die and Brody says Carrie’s had a really tough night and she’s confused, he’s perfectly fine. He puts her hand on his face, saying see it’s really me and she says she wants to believe it and Nick tells it’s truly him. At that point she kisses him on the lips and on the neck, hugging him and crying, asking how this is possible. Brody sits them both down on a bay-window sill and she crawls into his lap and says Brody it’s so good to see you. At that point Aasar Khan, asks whose Brody, but Carrie doesn’t hear him, now deliriously happy, still believing Brody’s holding her.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on Showtime.

Homeland: Back To Square One As Mission Blows Up

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. 

Homeland: Is There A Line, Carrie?

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert:

Covering Professional Sports for the last nineteen-years, one realizes that a great coach doesn’t always become a great manager and great players find their talents sometimes, fall short attempting at leading. Carrie Mathison’s proved she’s an intelligent, resourceful and successful CIA Agent, but she gets too tasked-focused to act effectively, leading and coordinating others, as we witnessed on the fifth episode of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland.” While progressing on her recruitment of Aayan Ibrahim, she allowed two incidents to take place, one that could end in the loss, of her old friend and former boss.

The concern of a player or operative’s to get their job done; no worries or concerns with others as they only control their own mission. As the CIA Station Chief in Islamabad, you’ve got to be a great manager, or whom to delegate things to, otherwise you’ll constantly be playing catch-up, a less than ideal situation for a Spy Agency. Twin forces guide the United States Embassy, starting with Ambassador Martha Boyd, incompetence and corruption, both factors combining for a chaotic situation. There’s little trust and too many personal agendas and Mathison’s blind to most of them.

Carrie ended the previous episode seducing, the medical student she’s attempting to recruit, nephew of Haissam Haqqani, the ISI leader and the sole survivor of an Agency air-raid on a family wedding taking place in a farmhouse. This episode picks up the morning after, as Ibrahim still can’t quite believe he really had sex with Carrie, while she sleeps, he picks up the sheets to look at her body. However, he’s also ashamed, as the actions violated his religious beliefs. Mathison tells him they don’t have to be intimate again.

She goes out to get breakfast and meets Saul Berenson in his car, before he heads back to the states. The now private citizen’s set to meet his successor, CIA Director Andrew Lockhart, to inform him of what Carrie’s discovered, the attack on the former Station Chief Sandy Bachman got set up by ISI and that Haqqani’s alive, not a victim of the airstrike as all believed. The pair discuss, Carrie’s tough task of recruiting Aayan Ibrahim in three days, although by the facial expression of Berenson’s it seems he’s figured she’ll do “whatever it takes.”

Peter Quinn and Fara’s assignment’s trying to find the Cleric that accompanied Haqqani, when he met with his nephew Aayan, they rent the shop across the street from the meeting spot. The decision worked as the Cleric soon appeared and Quinn got pictures of him sent back to the embassy. Quinn and Fara discuss Carrie for a bit and we can tell by Peter’s talk of manipulation that he’s aware that Mathison’s had sex with the college student to make him more trusting of her. Since Peter carries a torch for Carrie, (which she’s unaware of) he’s not fond of the tactic.

The young woman that threatened to expose the Ambassador’s husband Dennis Boyd of collaborating with the enemy, whose named Nasneem’s a pretty big player for ISI, we discover during a morning meeting with Aasar Khan and other ISI members. Khan, who met with Benson in the previous episode to discuss the ISI, tells Nasneem that Saul’s taking a flight back to Washington and the woman says she could care less about him. We find out later, that’s not the case.

Boyd, who told his wife Martha in the previous episode he decided to move back home, told the Ambassador he changed his mind, but she shows no pleasure in his news. She knows he’s up to something, though she’s clueless that he and Bachman traded top-secret information, in exchange for getting locations on ISI members that got killed or arrested by the Agency. She asks him why he’s staying and when he stands there silently, she shakes her head and storms off.

Saul’s in the airport to catch his flight, when he spots Farad Ghazi, the man the ISI hired to manipulate and manage the supposedly spontaneous riot and subsequent pummeling to death of Sandy Bachman. Berenson calls Carrie’s cellphone and like everyone else that day gets his call directed to voice-mail, he tells her what’s going on and tells her to call him immediately. Ever the spy, although unarmed and lacking backup, Saul follows Ghazi to the gate for a flight to South Africa. He calls Quinn this time and tells him to make the Agency bureau in South Africa to keep on the lookout and that unless Saul calls back to assume he caught the flight.

Quinn’s being looked for at Embassy by Martha Boyd, as she just got a call from a local hotel that Dennis’ causing a scene in their bar, but Carrie’s assistant John Redmond, volunteers to get her husband, saying he used to be the guy who got belligerent in bars.

Back at the safe-house, Mathison starts interviewing Ibrahim under her guise as a reporter. She starts asking him about his uncle Haissam Haqqani, and his relationship with his uncle. Haqqani’s the brother of his father and they were a tight-knit family during his childhood, until the Uncle moved to the mountains to avoid drone detection. He used to make Aayan laugh as a child by slurping his tea and he told his nephew, he fought in more battles than the amount of hairs on Ibrahim’s head.

Carrie asks Aayan, if he thought of his Uncle as a hero and he said he defeated the Soviets, when they invaded Afghanistan in 1980, which helped lead to dissolve the Soviet Union. He then said Haqqani would’ve found a way to defeat the USA as well. Mathison then says there are rumors his uncle’s alive and Aayan goes ballistic, telling her that’s ridiculous and insulting, ending the interview session.

There’s no question that John Redmond’s the only part of the Embassy’s management, that’s competent and aware what’s taking place, the former assistant to Bachman, got the promotion to Station Chief, only for it to get rescinded when Mathison blackmailed Lockhart. The one unknown’s Redmond’s motivation, his network’s large enough to be working his own agenda, is he also bitter and disillusioned enough to serve two masters?

Redmond goes to the bar sharing drinks with Dennis Boyd, whose clearly drank twelve too many. He starts talking about what a great guy Bachman was and Redmond questions his statement, though admitting he was fun to drink with. Because the alcohol’s loosened his tongue, Boyd’s about to confess to Redmond his exploits with Bachman and the trouble he’s now in, when a familiar face interrupts the conversation. It’s Nasneem, who knows Redmond well and she makes believe she recognizes but never has met Boyd. After some brief small talk she goes back to her friend and Boyd asks what’s her deal, Redmond replies she’s an operative for ISI and likely working in the bar. She accomplished her mission as Boyd, no longer wants to spill his guts and suggests they head back to the Embassy.

Carrie apologizes to Aayan, then tells him she’s got an infant daughter Frannie, whose father died on an assignment before her birth. She tells Ibrahim, that Frannie’s father, another reporter got killed on an assignment she sent him on and she can’t forgive herself. He asks if she’ll tell her daughter when she gets old enough and she replies how can she, while he counters with how can she not. She breaks down and he hugs her, once again Carrie’s pulling strings through the tears, realizing that her “letting him in,” will get him to reciprocate. The prayer bells ring and she excuses herself, but Ibrahim tells him he wants to be with her again.

Fara and Peter are still on stakeout when they see the Cleric on the move, they take off to tail him. Peter follows him in their car, while Fara follows on foot, they’re not sure where the cleric’s headed, but right now he’s their best chance to get information about Haissam Haqqani and why he wasn’t at the wedding despite Bachman’s information that authorized the airstrike.

Back to the airport and Saul’s still keeping watch on Farad Ghazi, whose flight’s boarding, the terrorist gets into the line to board, then leaves and heads to the men’s room. Saul stations himself outside the bathroom, but doesn’t call anybody to make them aware of the situation. He watches for a while as several men enter then leave, but Ghazi’s yet to appear. When two young guys walk out together and head separate ways, Berenson heads into the facility, looks around, sees Ghazi in front of him and the two young men that just left the bathroom, take him from behind and sedate him with a syringe, they wheel him out in a wheelchair. Ghazi calls Nasneem and lets her know they’ve captured Berenson.

Peter and Fara follow the Cleric to a car, that he gets in as a passenger. They follow him to a military-checkpoint, which they realize they can’t approach. Quinn tries calling Carrie, but once again her phone goes right to voicemail. He swears in his message and when Fara asks why he’s upset, Peter tells her that only Carrie can contact Redmond to get a drone following the cleric, according to the Agency, the pair aren’t in Islamabad. He then gives Fara a tracking device to put on the Cleric’s car which is at the checkpoint, he’d draw too much attention as an American.

Fara approaches the car, but the guards yell at her to head back to her vehicle and she loses her nerve. As she walks back to the car, the trunk of the car the Cleric ‘s inspected by the soldiers, who don’t mention that Saul Berenson’s bound and gagged in the trunk. Peter loses it as Fara returns to the car with the tracking device.

There’s a knock on the front door of the safe house, Mathison attempts to ignore it but finally answers it and meets Quinn across the street, who goes off on her for having her phone off all day and missing two important developments in their case, blowing an opportunity to have eyes on the Cleric. Carrie gets defensive and says she’s trying to recruit an asset and Quinn responds, from his perspective she’s having sex with a child, which she wonders why that fact bothers Peter. He says it shouldn’t and walks away. She heads back to the safe house and the Puppet Mistress has worked her magic as Aayan admits his uncle’s alive.

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

Homeland: Sex, Lies And Videotape

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.

Homeland: Welcome To Islamabad

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.