Raza Jaffrey

All posts tagged Raza Jaffrey

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.

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:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo:  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.

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.