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Homeland: Haqqani Remains On Top

Photo Courtesy of Showtime
Photo Courtesy of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeland: Haqqani Takes Over US Embassy Leaving 36 Dead

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeland: CIA Gets Played Again

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME
Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME
Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeland: Carrie’s Meltdown

Photo: Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo: Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeland: Kabul, We Messed Up The Mission

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime
Photo Courtesy Of Showtime

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Season Four of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” premiered with back to back episodes, featuring familiar faces, but many in some very strange places. Let’s start with old friend Carrie Mathison who begins the episode as the CIA Chief Of Station in Kabul and now’s known by her staff as the “Drone Queen,” after a series of successful strikes taking out high-profile targets.

The episode opens with Mathison in an embassy car with a driver and two Marine guards, riding through the streets of the city, when she asks to walk the last few blocks to the embassy. Both Marines leave the car with her, automatic weapons at the ready, one walking in front of her, the other behind. Her cellphone rings, it’s the embassy and she’s needed back pronto, so all climb back into the car.

When Carrie arrives, she’s informed that sources have located a wanted terrorist, number four on the Agency’s most wanted list. The event just got reported and the only way to take out the terrorist’s by rockets launched by an F-16 bomber. They have visual contact with the target, it’s a farmhouse near Islamabad and a vehicle owned by the terrorist’s out front of the barn. Mathison’s bothered by the last-minute nature of the information and wants to talk with Islamabad Chief Of Station Sandy Bachman.

Carrie and Bachman videoconference and she asks her counterpart the source and Sandy tells her it’s the same unidentified source that has given them a string of good information. When she tries pressing harder for a name, he replies that the source requested anonymity for good information and so far everyone’s happy. Mathison expresses her concern on quickly they’re launching the mission and Bachman responds that’s the way it goes with high-profile targets, you take them when you see that window of opportunity.

Mathison returns to the command center and gets told that all’s on hold pending her permission and she tells her assistant to get things started. He calls the pilot and tells him its play time, and the pilot acknowledges the order. Seconds later on the video monitor, two bright flashes light up the area and then the barn’s nothing but rubble. After the mission’s completed, Carrie’s crew dim the lights and present her with a birthday cake. She thanks them and blows out the candles.

Back at her apartment she pours herself a glass and a half of white wine to wash down some Ambien, then Skype’s her sister. The call was for Carrie to see her daughter Frannie, who’s being cared for by Carrie’s sister Amy, but because Mathison ran late her father had taken her daughter to the park. We can sense tension between the sisters, as Amy definitely disapproves of the mother/daughter separation, but Carrie can’t care for the baby in a war-zone, which Amy believes is the way her sister purposely arranged things.

Carrie’s not only taking Ambien to help her sleep, she puts in ear-plugs and an eye-shade before she lies down. Her sleep gets interrupted however, when her phone rings and CIA Director Andrew Lockhart’s on the other end in a rather edgy mood. Forty civilians got killed in the bombing and he wants Mathison to get to Islamabad and talk with Bachman, to manufacture a cover story for the bombing.

Sandy’s assistant in Islamabad’s another familiar face, with operative Peter Quinn sits down with Bachman and the American Ambassador to discuss the civilian casualties. Bachman to Quinn’s horror blames it on the civilians, saying they realized they put themselves in danger when they invited the terrorist. The Ambassador says that explanation won’t cut it with the American people or the world community and the meeting concludes in a standoff.

The barn held a wedding and only one person escaped alive, a young medical student Aayan Ibrahim, who lost his entire family in the bombing. Ibrahim was recording the celebration on his cell phone, first taking video of the room with the men in it, then entering the doorway of the room the women gathered in. There were women and little girls dancing joyously, Aayan started filming his mother who took the camera from him and started shooting her son on the camera as he took a courtly bow, then took the camera back and kept filming. Seconds later smoke appeared in the house and the camera stopped recording.

Carrie arrives in Islamabad and Quinn comes to pick her up and she asks to sit down and discuss the bombing before heading to the embassy. Peter tells her he’s no idea who Bachman’s source is, but it left them in a smoking hole this time. Mathison surprises Quinn by touting the company line, that they’re bullet-proof in this situation.

Ibrahim returns to medical school after he recuperates and his roommate implores him to upload his video to the Internet, to get justice for his family, but Aayan outright refuses. He doesn’t want the trouble the attention would get him, but his roommate goes behind his back and has his cousin upload the footage. Hours later the tape’s gone viral across the globe.

Back in Washington representatives from an arms manufacturer come to meet with some military brass, one of the reps is former CIA Chief Saul Berenson. However instead of pitching the weapons system his boss brought him over to discuss, he tries to engage a General in a conversation on the United States had fought 14 one-year-wars since putting boots on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001. His boss Aaron asks to speak to Saul privately, but Berenson tries pressing the General for a response.

Aaron gets him in the hallway and tells him he’s now in the private sector and his discussion won’t help get sales. Saul realizes what Aaron’s saying makes sense, but the sentiment doesn’t pacify him, or ease his longings to go back and work for the agency.

Protesters rapidly gather in Islamabad after the video goes viral and Bachman decides to leave the Embassy without informing anyone. Just as he gets out on the street Peter and Carrie see Aaron’s face on a local newscast, his covers been blown as he’s revealed as the CIA Chief Of Station involved in the bombing. Quinn calls Bachman who lies at first and says he’s in the embassy and Peter informs him he’s been made. He finds out where Aaron is and he and Carrie plus a  team of soldiers attempt to rescue him.

Bachman attempts to flee then hides inside a building seeing a group of men gathering outside the doorway. Two men come down the stairs and exit the building, then tell the others the agent’s in the lobby. As they enter the building he runs through a series of hallways and doors escaping to a seemingly  safe street, but soon three men approach him from each direction, just as Quinn and Carrie arrive in Peter’s car. Bachman gets into the vehicle and Quinn attempts to drive away, but the force of the crowd keeps the car standing still.

The crowd starts rocking the car then banging on it with sticks and polls, finally breaking the passenger window next to Bachman, but Quinn shoots the man trying to grab Aaron in the head. They then break the back side window and try to attack Carrie and Quinn once again kills the attacker. The crowd’s far too large to combat and they eventually pull Bachman out of the window and pummel him to death on the street. Peter realizing Aaron’s dead, shoots out the car’s back window and escapes by driving backwards.

They get to the Embassy and Carrie wants to run inside and inform the Ambassador, but Peter’s visibly shaken by the incident and asks Mathison for a minute to compose himself. Carrie says they also have to come up with a story for the Ambassador, as she says they could have done more to save Bachman. Quinn looks at her as if she’s insane and asks her what’s wrong with her and she turns the question back on him, then tells him she’ll meet him inside in five minutes. When Carrie asks to speak to the Ambassador at the reception desk, the young woman tells her Carrie’s got blood on the side of her face, the blood that spurted from the head of the man who tried to attack her in the car.

Lockhart orders both agents back to Washington immediately, then Carrie’s informed her worst nightmare’s come true. She’s been recalled back to Washington permanently, meaning she’s going to have to deal with being a mom and trying to raise her infant daughter. Mathison seems terrified and resentful at the prospect and her sister Amy trying to force that responsibility on her only makes things worse.

Lockhart’s feeling quite vulnerable and he believes having Mathison by his side during the upcoming Senate committee hearings will be a huge asset for him Mathison however tells the director, that she should get the assignment for Islamabad so she can straighten out whatever situation Bachman got the Agency into.

Amy finally shames Carrie to spend a day with Frannie and after feeding and changing her daughter she takes her for a drive. She take the infant to the house Brody lived in when they first met. She tells her daughter, that although she’s a terrible mother Brody would have made a terrible father. But he was glad when Carrie told him she was on her way. She tells Frannie she wants to feel happy also, but she just can’t do it.

She takes the baby home to bathe her, then gasps when her head almost goes under the water. However she then contemplates drowning the baby until Frannie starts to cry and she picks her daughter up and cries alongside of her, realizing in that moment she can’t raise her daughter. She gets Frannie dressed and then drives over to the CIA archives building, where an agent that served in Islamabad got buried by Lockhart.

The agent Jordan Harris doesn’t want to talk with her at first, but then realizes she’s indeed searching for the truth. Harris came back from Islamabad to inform Lockhart about Bachman’s shady dealings, the Director not only ignored the information but put the agent in a thankless meaningless new position. Carrie tells him she’ll get the information out there and will try her best to get him back in the field.

Dar Adal who worked with Saul at the Agency, comes to discuss the current environment with his old friend. He says there were rumors before Islamabad that Lockhart’s stock’s falling in certain corners and since the attack there’s blood in the water, which could lead to Saul coming back as Director of the CIA. Berenson says, on the record I’m happy in the private sector, but both men realize Saul’s fibbing.

Carrie confronts Lockhart over Harris’ allegations and tells him he’s guilty of treason. He asks her what she wants and she tells him Islamabad, he replies that’s impossible. She tells him he has two choices, she gets her transfer or she goes public. He begrudgingly agrees to her terms. She meets Quinn later that day and tells him they’re heading back to Pakistan, but Peter declines the offer. She asks him how he could do this to her, Quinn gets up looks her in the eye and tells her it’s not all about her and leaves.

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

Tonight: Homeland-The Drone Queen/Trylon And Perisphere

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 .

NJATVS Preview: Homeland

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.