Nazanin Boniadi

All posts tagged Nazanin Boniadi

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.  

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo:  Joe Alblas/SHOWTIME

Photo: Joe Alblas/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Life’s changed radically since we last saw CIA Agent Carrie Mathison a year ago, she’s now a mother of the baby girl fathered by her dead lover Nick Brody, although she refuses to bond with her child. Instead Carrie’s daughter’s cared for by her father and sister.

The fourth season of the Showtime Original series “Homeland,” opens as Mathison goes back out in the field, becoming Director of the Agency in Kabul, enhancing her reputation daily with her quick and decisive actions. Carrie earns the title “The Drone Queen,” mastering the art of how and when to use it.

Events run smoothly until video footage confirms a tragic mistake, the last drone strike she ordered, didn’t take out a terrorist cell, instead hitting a home hosting a bridal shower, an unforgivable offense. Now it’s time for Carrie and company to clean up the mess and contain the public relations disaster as effectively as possible.

The series returns with back–to-back episodes, its first week back. Join us after the show for the recap as we break down the action and explore this new universe our old friends now reside in .

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Joining any series as it’s embarking on it fourth season would be a tough task, choosing a series with the complexities of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” at this point might seem near impossible, save for one fact. Season four shuffles the deck and sets up a new storyline after completing what I refer to as the “Trilogy,” in its first three seasons. I perceive the first three seasons of the show set in the world of the CIA and the people, organizations and countries it battles, as season one being the original, season two as the satisfying sequel and season three, while confusing and tedious at times, wrapped up the story nicely.

Before heading to see what lies ahead though you’ll need some knowledge of what took place during those three seasons. So lets break it down season by season:

Season One: After surviving an eight-year stint as a POW in Iraq, United States forces recover Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damien Lewis) in Iraq and a shocked nation hails his return to American soil. Except reality’s far more complicated than that and Brody’s family’s moved on in his absence. His wife Jessica’s (Morena Baccarin) believed that she’s a widow and would never see her husband again, so a few years ago she began an affair with his best friend Mike Faber (Diego Klattenhoff) and were talking marriage. Brody’s got two teenage children and they barely remember him, so there’s definitely an adjustment period for all.

Although most of the country sees Brody as a hero and a candidate for Congress, a brilliant but bipolar CIA operative Carrie Mathison, (Claire Danes) believes the Marine got turned during captivity and works for a terrorist, a theory that gets ridiculed by her superiors. However the agent trusts her gut and pursues the case on her own and things start adding up, making her accusation more credible.

Brody’s in fact working for a well-known power broker in the Middle East Abu Nazir, (Navid Negahban) who befriended him during captivity and left him in charge of protecting his young son, whom Brody strongly bonded with. However, tragedy struck when a CIA bombing attack, destroyed Abu Nazir’s village and killing his son. Nazir used that event, to turn Brody against the CIA and especially its Director William Walden (Jamey Sheridan) now the Vice President of the United States and planning to run as the current President’s term’s in its last year. Abu Nazir engineered Brody getting found and the Marine came back to his country intent on killing William Walden.

Carrie and her boss Saul Berenson, (Mandy Patinkin) debrief Brody and Carrie’s more certain that Brody’s working for the enemy. Berenson thinks she’s heading in the right direction, but won’t back Mathison’s plan to place the Marine under surveillance to CIA director David Estes, (David Harewood) however Carrie does it without permission with the help of a tech friend.  The CIA operative starts stalking Brody, following him everywhere and finally finds the perfect place to “accidentally” run into him, in a meeting for people with mental health issues. The former Sergeant notices her and the two start chatting, which eventually results in them having sex in a car in the parking lot.

Although Mathison’s attracted and developing feelings for Brody, she keeps going full-bore on the surveillance. Meanwhile Nick’s developing a bond with Vice President Walden, who actively recruits him to run for Congress. Things aren’t going as smoothly in the Brody home, as Nick and Jess adjustment to life as a couple once again is proving difficult. Then there are the conflicted feelings of his teenage daughter Dana, (Morgan Saylor) who has stronger memories than her younger brother of “life with Daddy,” however Brody’s still a stranger to her. She walks into the garage while Brody’s engaged in an Islamic prayer-session and Nick explains that he became a Muslim during his capture and Dana accepts it without question promising not to tell anyone including her mother.

The affair between Mathison and Brody heats up, but so do her suspicions and doubts that the former Marine’s exactly who he says he is. Berenson believes her case now’s got credibility, but Estes maintains blowing it off, thinking too much of her case’s based on circumstantial evidence. Carrie decides she’s going to prove her case and take down the apparent hero, so she goes off her meds. Not sure what life’s like for people who really deal with bipolar depression, but on Television the standard practice’s to stop taking your meds without confiding in anybody. The reason’s always explained that although the medication controls the mood-swings, these people decide that they’re far sharper non-medicated. But that move always comes with a toll down the road.

Mathison decides to confront her lover about her suspicions, telling that there are members of the CIA who believe he’s spying for someone in the Middle East and she’s one of those people. Needless to say the talk ends badly and possibly at the worst possible time as Brody and Walden will be at the same event in a couple of days and the former Marine’s scheduled to wear a suicide vest and blow himself, Walden and all around them to dust. Carrie gets wind of the situation and contacts Nick’s daughter Dana, telling her she must get her father to promise to come home that night.

A party official’s shot and killed by a sniper, which causes security to gather all the VIPs and put them in one small secure room, the scenario that Brody and his handlers assumed would occur. The former Marine’s already to take his life for the cause, already leaving a video saying goodbye and explaining the steps he took. He’s just about to ignite the vest, when his cellphone rings with Dana on the other end. She tells him she’s got a bad feeling and he needs to promise her, he’ll see her at their house that night. Nick tries to ignore her pleas, but she finally gets to him and he promises he’ll see her soon, thus ending the threat.

Nick finds out Mathison told Dana to make the call, he then talks to Estes and confesses they had an affair, but she’s now stalking him. Carrie gets in hot water with Estes and going so long without her meds, has her scraping near the bottom. She finally agrees to hospitalization and electro-shock therapy, which she’s undergoing when season one ends.

Season Two: Brody’s now a Congressman and one of the fair-haired boys on Capitol Hill. He’s on a very short-list from which Walden and his advisors pick Walden’s running mate in his campaign for President. After the bombing attempt failed, Brody convinced Abu Nazir that controlling the Vice President could end up far more effective than killing him and Brody’s worked hard to enter the inner circle that gives Walden advice.

Carrie, recovered and back on the job, finds out that her instincts were spot-on when the Agency somehow gets a copy of Brody’s suicide video. Estes never apologizes to Mathison or admits he messed up, instead he wants to use Brody as a double-agent to take down Abu Nazir. If he does that and resigns his Congressional seat, the United States will decline to press charges and he’ll be a free man.

Brody and Carrie start heating up again as Nick realizes his marriage to Jessica’s over, she fell in love with Mike while imprisoned and he’d assumed the role of the dad in the family. Brody tries to get Abu Nazir into a situation that will result in his downfall, but the Middle Eastern War Lord figures things out and comes to the United States.

Abu Nazir captures Carrie, but then lets her go, after Brody agrees to kill the Vice President. Walden has a severe heart condition and Brody exacerbates it, takes his meds away and refuses to let the front-runner to become the next President of the United States call 911 and he dies on the carpet of his office. Carrie returns to the warehouse that held her with a SWAT Team, Abu Nazir steps out of the shadows and looks like he’s reaching into his robe and gets gunned down immediately.

With nobody aware of his role in Walden’s death, Brody’s off the hook and a free man. He and Carrie decide to leave the country adopt new identities and start life over again. However, first there’s the memorial service at CIA Headquarters they both need to attend, but they leave early as Estes’ eulogizes his former boss at the Agency.

They head back to Carrie’s office to celebrate and discuss the future when Nick notices, someone moved his SUV from the parking lot to right in front of CIA Headquarters, while they are realizing what’s happened, the vehicle explodes destroying the chapel with all inside. The bombing was Abu Nazir getting revenge from beyond the grave on Brody. Saul, out of the country on Agency business, rushes back to Washington to become acting Director of the CIA.

All the evidence points to Brody, although he wasn’t involved and to make matters worse, the tape of his goodbye speech before sacrificing himself to kill Walden surfaces on TV. Claire and Brody’s plans for a new life together gone, she gets him to the Canadian border and he turns into a fugitive eluding authorities as season two concludes.

Season Three: Congress and the Senate want answers on the bombing of the CIA building and one Senator Andrew Lockhart’s getting lots of face time on the tube. Acting Director Saul Berenson throws the blame on Brody and seemingly throws Mathison under the bus, telling Congressional Committees, broadcast live on national TV that Carrie had an affair with Brody and she’s bipolar and a history of staying off her meds. Mathison gets into a debate one on one with Lockhart, as she addressed his committee and comes out looking bad. Operative Peter Quinn, (Rupert Friend) who joined the team during the second season, can’t understand while this avalanche of manure’s falling on Carrie’s head. She’s even involuntarily hospitalized spending a stint in the psychiatric ward.

Just when this viewer thought that the scenario they presented made no sense, they revealed they planned it that way. In an unusual move the show runners kept the audience in the dark about the plan concocted by Saul and Carrie, to throw the blame elsewhere so the real architect of the attack would act less cautious, making themselves visible enough to get caught. Berenson’s found his man, an old friend in Iran who worked with Saul when the Shah still ruled the country Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub.) Berenson’s investigation uncovers Javadi’s stolen large sums of money from Iran, a deed that would cost his life if the Iranian government found out. So once again Berenson turns an agent, as Javadi’s next in line to become President of his country. Saul plans to get Brody asylum from Iran for blowing up the CIA building, then getting tight with the current President until Brody gets the chance to kill him. Javadi then becomes ruler of Iran and the United States has the friendliest government in that nation since the they overthrew the Shah in 1979.

Brody’s not survived well in his travels as the CIA find him imprisoned in a South American prison turned into a junkie by his captors who filled his veins with Heroin. By the time he got rescued, other Marines believed he was too far gone to recover enough to carry out orders. Brody shocked them all however, getting back into top physical shape, hoping this mission would clear his name.

While this went on the gears were turning in the nation’s capitol, as Andrew Lockhart has surprisingly been named as next Director of the CIA, which could make for a tough transition as Berenson and Lockhart don’t get along. Although maintaining his game face, Saul’s crushed by the decision as he assumed the position was his. But ever the professional the mission comes first and he gives it all his attention.

After some very tense moments and some needless deaths, Brody gets asylum from Iran. The President and the former marine meet which is when Brody’s supposed to kill him, however he doesn’t. For the next few weeks Brody becomes a celebrity in the Middle East as he denounces the United States and Western culture. The powers at the CIA determine that they have to assassinate Brody, however Carrie gets to him first and warns him of his fate. She also tells him she’s carrying his child.

After an attempt on his life goes awry, he meets with the Iranian President and tells him all about the CIA plan and Javadi’s role in the plot and then kills the President. However he’s soon caught and he’s hung in public as a giant crane grabs the noose attached to his next and Brody quickly dies. The upside of the mission’s that relations between the United States and Iran are far improved from what they were before Brody’s mission, as the third season and the trilogy come to an end.

The game resets in Season four, as Saul’s no longer with the Agency moving onto the private sector. Carrie’s now stationed outside of the country as Bureau Chief in Kabul, while her infant daughter remains in the States being cared for by her father and sister. Lockhart’s reign as CIA Director seems rather bumpy from all the preseason rumors, could Saul be coming back this time as a confirmed Director of the Agency?

If you enjoy, intrigue, espionage as well as sharp writing and stellar acting, than Homeland’s a show for you, but be prepared this show’s not escapist TV. The writers seem to have a good handle on events in the Middle East and within the Agency. A critic a few years ago labeled it “the thinking person’s version of 24.” Never having seen the Fox series, I can’t comment on the comparison, but Homeland will keep you thinking.

Homeland Debuts Sunday October 5, at 9:00pm on Showtime.