"Homeland"--"Beirut is Back": Face/Off
After last week's episode left us on the edge of our seats, "Beruit is Back" sneaked up from behind and promptly pushed us off. I'm not exaggerating when I say that at the end of this hour, my mouth dropped open, then I screeched. But let's back up a bit; before we get to that particular heart-pounding moment, there were others.
Instead of returning directly to rendezvous with Saul, Carrie goes to a mosque where her contact Fatima Ali attends Friday prayers. The women meet outside, find a safe spot to speak, and in exchange for reward and transport to the United States, Fatima gives details of an upcoming meeting between her Hezbollah commander husband and Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban). Carrie gets back to Saul, and relates the information via Skype to Estes and Special Ops leader Scott, who are concerned the purported meeting is a setup for ambush. Later, Carrie overhears a phone call between Saul and Estes; as they discuss her credibility and reliability, she begins to hyperventilate and heads to the roof for some air. When Saul comes to find her, Carrie emotionally confesses it still fucks her up that she could have been so sure, and yet so wrong about Brody. But she also believes in herself--the Carrie who recruited Fatima--and that seems to be enough for Saul, who tells Estes they're going through with the mission to kill or capture Nazir.
Back in the states, Brody and Jessica attend a lavish party hosted by a weapons manufacturing company. Vice President Walden confidentially tells Brody that Israel's strikes against Iran were only partially effective--they need a bigger bomb (which the host company makes), but the President is blocking the export license. Walden wants Brody to meet with and help convince the Secretary of Defense of the urgency to "protect the country." Meanwhile, Jessica is approached by Walden's wife to host a fundraiser for wounded veterans, but when Brody hears, he suggests that if Jessica really wants to help veterans, she'd "take out everyone in this room." Jessica doesn't look nearly alarmed enough; she's an ostrich.
As the mission to capture or kill goes forward, Carrie and Saul listen in, while Estes and Scott direct the operation and high level government officials/the Joint Chiefs of Staff watch via satellite. Vice President Walden heads into the situation room; he grabs Brody--who has no idea what's going on. Everyone watches and listens as vehicles enter the meeting location zone, soldiers clear it, and Abu Nazir arrives. In the seconds before Nazir emerges Brody discovers who they're waiting for and slips out his phone. He texts a warning to his former captor, who narrowly escapes being shot. As implausible as the unseen texting was--and I'm still marveling that he didn't just allow Nazir to be killed--Damian Lewis sold the moment with his shaking leg, hand, and terrified facial expression.
Saul and Carrie quickly leave their location, pick up Fatima, and Carrie unpredictably runs up to Fatima's apartment to find information, as a group of men outside the building begin to attack the vehicle. Saul orders the driver to wait as long as possible, but things quickly escalate--they are forced to drive away. The group of men go after Carrie and once again, she manages to outwit them, clunking one over the head with a brick and escaping with a canvas bag full of whatever papers and computer discs she could grab.
A shaken Brody meets up with Mike and a group of his former Marines, who are convinced the official Tom Walker story is false--Walker was too good a shot to have missed the Vice President. In a statement that seems more about himself, Brody tells a vocal Lauder that Walker stopped being a Marine the day he turned traitor. Before going home, Brody has another meet with Roya--who conveys Nazir's thanks--and he angrily tells her again, he is not their guy.
In the hour's most glorious moment, after Saul's assistant is unable to find any important information in the documents Carrie retrieved from Fatima's home, Saul tells him to get some sleep and begins to put everything back in the canvas bag. Feeling something inside the bag's material, Saul rips it open to find a memory card, pops it into his computer and BAM, there is Brody's videotaped speech--the one that would have played had his bomb vest been successfully detonated.
Those last moments of Saul's face as he watched Brody's video is one of the reasons "Homeland" is so good. We try to read what his expression means; is he just in shock about Brody? Does Saul already know something about the plot? How much will he tell Carrie. And oh, Carrie...how our hearts just soared for you.
Cindy Davis is hyperventilating until the next episode.