‘Homeland’ 4.09 or Mathison’s Law: What Did Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong Again

homeland 4x09

Last week’s episode of Homeland was brought to you by the letter C. C stands for Consistency. As in, consistent failure, but constantly kick ass episodes of Homeland.

(As mentioned in my previous post on The Affair, I was out of the country during the Thanksgiving holiday and unable to view/post for the most part last week. Thankfully for me, Showtime has taken a little break as well, and so I’ve taken that breather to ponder on the goings-on from the “explosive” 9th episode from the week prior.)

Yet another heart-wrenching week of didn’t-see-that-coming cliffhangers, and a sign that this season could be the strongest yet . Let’s quickly look back at the shockers from the last four episodes:

  • 4.06: Carrie sends Aayan to Haqqani, and he is killed in cold blood. Haqqani whips out kidnapped Saul from his car. Carrie nearly drops a bomb on them all and Quinn is forced to restrain her from quite literally pushing the button.
  • 4.07: Carrie is drugged, left roaming the streets in hysterics and hallucinating a shooting. She is taken prisoner where she hallucinates Brody and pours her heart out to him. Her hallucination is revealed to be HISIG Khan.
  • 4.08: Saul escapes Haqqani, but the CIA’s extraction plan is made. Saul almost blows his brains out amid the panic, Carrie promises him extraction, but he is recaptured anyway. Khan reveals Dennis as the mole to Carrie.
  • 4:09: Saul nearly ruins the prisoner exchange until Carrie again convinces him to stay alive. Their transportation vehicle is blown up in an ambush, while Haqqani is infiltrating the embassy through the underground tunnels Dennis has given up to Tasneem.

I’d also like to point out that despite those just being the final moments of the episode, the episodes as a whole have been rock solid. It’s old trick to have a so-so episode and just end with a bang creating a kind of narrative-amnesia (ahem, Homeland season 3) but I must say with the way everything has come together this year, I cannot blame the team of that this time around. With the tightly woven stories, and they way they mostly seem to be coming together, you would think we had been in the final stretch of the season, but no. Since the season opener and Sandy’s shocking death we’ve more or less never stopped freaking the hell out now, have we? Even when it slowed down and allowed us into the depths of Quinn’s pain, Saul’s regret, or Carrie’s darkness, you at least hoped that whatever they were going would come return with a vengeance as the season rolled along — and it has.

Saul’s self-doubt about leaving the CIA has certainly come full circle by now, dragging him to the deepest pits of despair, ripping him from his life, and quite literally looking into the eyes of innocence and evil all in one in that young boy. After Carrie’s “faux affair” with Aayan, his death, holding Saul’s life in her hands three times and a catharsis with Khan-as-Brody, it would appear she’s ready to accept that her job isn’t quite as important and benevolent as she tried to convince herself of when she left Franny motherless. Now, as for Quinn, that remains to be seen, and I take it will be fairly soon. For all the attention they put on his character’s state of mind in the earlier part of this season, I hope that his arc and the change in his character will have a large impact on the coming events, particularly since he and Lockhart are now in charge or figuring out what happened during the ambush and of controlling the impending infiltration of the embassy.

Oh and the big question? Could Carrie and/or Saul actually be dead? Seriously and permanently injured?

THE A-STORY: Getting Saul Back

Quinn isn’t happy about this exchange one bit. The one who originally stopped Carrie from bombing Haqqani seems to be second-guessing that decision now. He directly asks Carrie to tell him that what they are doing is the right thing. Oh yes, Carrie Mathison, the moral compass of the CIA. Her answer: saving Saul is the right thing.

All along, Carrie believes HISIG Khan’s intel that Boyd is the mole. Furthermore, she knows there is a bigger plan for Haqqani than just this exchange, after all, getting Saul was never part of the plan, “it was a bonus”. She’s very right. Haqqani faked his death for a reason and they haven’t figured out that reason just yet. Sure, what does Haqqani have planned that his supposed death would have facilitated? And now we know, infiltrating the US embassy, right? Or is there more?

Saul state of mind is simply horrifying. The hopelessness and helplessness I mentioned in the week prior’s post was alive and well here. Oh and the guilt, of course. I love Saul, it hurts to watch him feel this useless and at the same time so culpable. If he survives that missile ambush, do you think he will ever be the same? I would be absolutely shocked, and even disappointed, if he were to be the same old Saul. From his last words to Carrie, I don’t think he finds that likely himself…

Tasneem clearly caught on to Carrie and Khan talking to each other on the phone right? Did anyone else think this was beyond risky of Carrie to do at that very moment? I mean, send a text message right?

THE B-STORY: Cracking Dennis Boyd

I love you, Martha Boyd! I was crossing my fingers and toes that when Martha found out the truth about Dennis she wouldn’t be a huge pain in the ass about it and refuse to believe the facts laid out in front of her, especially after how shady and flip-floppy he’s been. What was even more kickass was Carrie (and by proxy, the show) faking Dennis (and by proxy, the audience) that Martha would in fact do just that. One more point for women on television who use their brains before their emotions. What unfolded with Dennis Boyd in this episode doesn’t need much explanation, it was just good old television. I also appreciated Carrie cutting straight to the chase instead of trying to entrap him because God knows there was no time to play games. My favorite line of the episode:

Hell of a time for him to discover a backbone!

MORE QUESTIONS AND THEORIES

– Why is Tasneem helping Haqqani? Does Pakistani intelligence really have a vested interest in the Taliban getting back their top officials and blowing up American officials? Or is Tasneem working on her own?

– Is there something more than good old fashion outsmarting to Tasneem/ISI beating Carrie/CIA to the punch time and time again? Aside from having Dennis as a mole there are at least two things which they’ve had the apparent intuition to foresee:

  1. Waiting for and then following the American drone sent to Saul’s extraction point and thereby finding Saul again (4.08)
  2. Knowing that Lockhart would deploy all the Marines at the embassy to the ambush point, thereby leaving the embassy nearly unguarded (4.09)

– Where is Fara (and Max, I guess)? Not that they are important or anything but I miss them. Fara’s character actually seemed to be going someplace this season. Last time she showed up was when Carrie ripped her a new one over her judgment of Carrie’s relationship with Aayan. Perhaps Quinn will use her in Carrie’s absence post-ambush.

– As mentioned before, Quinn needs an episode devoted to him ASAP. If it isn’t this coming week it should at least coming in the following week. And what about him and Carrie? There has been mild-to-cold interaction between them for several episodes now. Understandably there is little time for lovin-and-huggin in the midst of an impending war but its about time we get back to the characters, just a little.

– Does the CIA have any more use for Dennis Boyd? Could they double agent him at this point or was the Haqqani’s end game the break-in of the embassy after all?

– Saul could be dead. But Carrie can’t. Could she be injured? Handicapped in some permanent way? Those cars all blew up, so unless they weren’t inside, there’s no way anyone is getting out of there unscathed.

So what did you all think about the latest episode of Homeland? Do you agree that Carrie seems to keep getting kicked when she’s down, professionally? Is she simply not as good as she once was, or is the ISI just better at this game? Do you think Fara and Quinn’s stories will come back around the way Saul’s and Carrie’s have?

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  1. […] Well, the TVPTB heard me last week when I hoped that Quinn and Fara* would be stepping back into the forefront this week. Just what […]

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