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Triple OMFG Ranking Last Night's 'Homeland': You Shot Me!

By Cindy Davis | TV Reviews | November 18, 2013 | Comments ()


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‘tis the season…for poetry. After last week’s T.S. Eliot, this eighth episode moved on to a short verse, from William Carlos Williams (misattributed in my mind to E. E. Cummings):

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

As each segment unfolded this hour, scenes that might have seemed straightforward and simple were injected with foreboding and suspense; every person was suspect, every action potentially held double-meaning. I found myself—like Carrie—thinking “Something’s not right here. It’s all coming together too easily.” And indeed, nothing was exactly as it seemed. For those jumping on and off series’ bandwagons; a show like Homeland becomes hard to stick with when it is less than perfect. But for those of us who wait it out, episodes like “A Red Wheelbarrow” make everything worth it. My brain was hopping and skipping with theories, sometimes ahead, and sometimes completely off base. And that’s half the fun of these spy-thriller rides, isn’t it…seeing what we can figure out on our own, and practically peeing our pants in surprise when we’re taken down a path we never expected?

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He’s the Bad Guy! No, Wait! It’s That Guy! It is a credit to both the writers and actors that I suspect nearly everyone of being a bad guy —or The Mole—and spent most of this episode spotting nefariousness, whether it was actually there or not. The hour opened with Saul and Mira having reconciled; Saul lovingly prepared his wife a breakfast for bed, burned his fingers retrieving her toast and expertly danced around Mira’s request for him to stay home. It was sweet to see Saul able to enjoy a few moments of normalcy before heading back to the office. And while he was gone, Mira met with her little Baguette, but just long enough to break it off. As soon as he overreacted, my mind went into suspicion overdrive, so it was no big surprise to see the Frenchman had snuck into the Berenson home. Though Mira nearly walked in on him, Frenchie had time to switch the house computer’s mouse and establish an outgoing frequency.

Fara—still upset over Javadi—played hooky two days in a row, sitting outside the double murder house and raising her employer’s mistrust. Was that creepy guy who visited really from the Inspector General’s office? And if he was there on behalf of Saul, our feelings of adoration are again confused. How badly does Saul want whatever he really wants? It’s feeling less and less likely this is only about a permanent promotion. At least these little asides made Fara less suspect as a double agent, if no less of a loose cannon.

After Carrie confronts Saul in the two minutes they have together, I feel as concerned as she over Saul not telling her Brody was in the clear right away. Along with Quinn and Adal (I’m never sure which side Adal is on), the four discuss luring out the Langley bomb-maker through Javadi’s ex-lawyer, Bennett and Bennett’s right hand man, Paul Franklin. Adal has a connection with Bennett, so he sets up a meeting to feed Bennett information that the agency is looking at his law firm. Bennett in turn, sends Franklin to meet with Carrie, and Franklin tells Carrie (who he still believes is a double agent working for Javadi) to find out what specific information the CIA is looking for. After Carrie arrived home and used the Batphone—better call Saul—we realize the two are once again a step ahead of the bad guys. Carrie tells Saul “It’s on,” and gives her the go ahead to inform Franklin they know about the bomb-builder. So, even though Carrie was upset earlier, when Saul didn’t immediately tell her about Brody, would a few smooth words from Saul really soothe her? Carrie also asks for some personal time, and Saul says, “Sure,” because he probably wants Carrie out of his hair for a while—but from Carrie’s point of view, how could she possibly drop out of this mission anytime soon?

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Carrie’s Off Her Meds, But Her Spidey-Sense Still Isn’t on Full Tingle: While Carrie is holding up fairly well under all this pressure, especially considering she’s on no medication and she’s thirteen weeks pregnant, she’s still not bringing her A-game. Still, she does a grand job acting out for Franklin during their church meetups, doesn’t set off any alarms, and she finally manages to get in for her first prenatal appointment. It’s difficult not to feel empathy for Carrie as she’s struggling to prove to everyone around her (and herself) that she can do her job well; she’s working against some of those same people to prove Brody’s innocence, and she’s pregnant with her first child. Even as her obstetrician explains what Carrie needs to do, Carrie knows—we know—she can’t do any of the things she should to keep her baby healthy right now; “What I’m doing has to do with the father—it’s important to a lot of people.” And just like the poem, and that coded text, so much depends up Carrie; anything she does could—and does—send either side (Bennett/Franklin, the CIA) scrambling.

After the team is led by Franklin’s contact with the bomb-maker to a Lynchburg hotel, Carrie keeps watch and spies Franklin’s black vehicle arriving. Though he was told by Bennett to get the bomb-man out of the country, Carrie sees Franklin retrieving a gun and attaching a silencer, then staunchly refuses Adal and Quinn’s commands to stand down. Carrie realizes if the bomb-maker dies, Brody will have no real defense; Adal and Quinn are more concerned that Carrie will blow months of cover and the continuing mission. But this little wheelbarrow keeps rolling on, and I’m not sure who was more surprised Quinn actually took that shot—the audience or Carrie? Even though we knew Quinn wouldn’t shoot to kill, that moment was among Homeland’s finest shockers—the goosebumps crawled right up my arm.

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As she lay bleeding on the CIA truck floor, being transported to the hospital, Carrie’s brain finally kicked into high gear: “Fuck…fuck, something’s going on. None of this makes sense. Where the fuck is Saul?”

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Everything’s Going Saul’s Way: Earlier, Saul nervously headed into his meeting with White House Chief of Staff, Mike Higgins, only to find the perpetually angry Senator Lockhart waiting like a cat ready to spring. But for every whiny, stupid sentence out of the Senator’s twisted mouth, Saul confidently fired back with a smart explanation; yes, he had Javadi in hand; no, he didn’t arrest Javadi—rather, turned him into the highest placed asset in U.S. history. Why don’t you stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Senator. The final and most satisfying moment of the back and forth came when Saul mentioned that Lockhart should leave the room, since he’d come to brief Higgins, and Lockhart didn’t possess the necessary security clearance. Nine days is nine days, Senator. Lockhart fusses, then slinks out when he realizes he’s lost the fight. Saul lays out his plan to move Javadi up the Iranian chain of command and into place for—you guessed it—regime change. Higgins likes it (we’re the U.S. of A. and we dig controlling the chessboard) and agrees to take the plan to the President.

Not only did Saul get to have breakfast with his wife, but dinner too…all on the same day. Mira is temporarily delighted, but then Saul delivers the news that a) He’s leaving for a few days—make that a week, and b) Mira can’t come along. But instead of getting upset, Mira takes it well and the couple make the most of their time together.

While Adal, Quinn, Carrie and Co. were carrying out the perfectly executed plan of outing the Langley bomb-maker’s location, Saul flew out of country to pick up the main piece for the next part of his plan. Initially, when I saw the gates open and immediately realized Saul had arrived at the citadel where Brody was being held, I thought he was going to bring back Brody to be accountable for the bombing (regardless of the fact Saul knows Brody didn’t do it). Maybe Saul wanted to draw attention away from Javadi and Iran so his regime change plan would go down without a hitch, and since most everyone believes Brody did it anyway, Brody would be the perfect fall guy. But of course, (as evidenced by next week’s previews) Saul has something else entirely in mind; he’s going to use Brody in a different way. The question that remains is: to what end? And the nagging ickiness that remains is: Saul has no qualms about blackmailing and using Brody to his advantage. So, uh…go Saul?

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Triple OMFG Ranking: 10 out of 10, code red. I exclaimed expletives at least three times.


Other thoughts:

So, will the trauma and blood loss cause Carrie to lose the baby? I think we all feel like it’s impossible for her to have a child within the framework of this show, and all presumed she’d miscarry at some point. If it happens, who will she hold responsible? Adar…Quinn…Saul?

Though it was necessary for Quinn to take the shot and stop Carrie (gotta love him pushing the other agent out of the way so he could make sure Carrie wasn’t killed), it’s hard to reconcile the action with Quinn’s recent contemplative nature. And how many times can Carrie get away with doing her own thing against orders? From the previews, it’s evident she gets in to see Brody; presumably Saul will use Carrie to manipulate her babydaddy. But still, how many times can she buck the system? I predict both Carrie and Brody leave the show by season’s end.

It makes so much more sense now that we know it was Saul, rather than Carrie, having Brody held in Venezuela against his will. And all that money is why a bunch of disloyal goons were willing to do anything to keep a wanted terrorist alive. Is Saul about to blackmail him into assassinating the current Iranian leader? Just how quickly can Brody be weaned off drugs?

Loved Franklin’s Breaking Bad moment, but he should have worn a gas mask. Heck, even Jesse knew: Fumes, bitches!

I’m fine with Baguette being in the house and sneaking out past Mira, but who closes her own bathroom door to pee when she’s alone in the house? Not me.

Toward the beginning of the episode Quinn and Carrie went over photos looking for suspects, Quinn says, “I can’t believe these people are gone.” Did that rouse anyone else’s suspicion, or is my tin hat too tight?


Cindy Davis, (Twitter)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • MontroseMama

    I am OK with plot holes, or pot holes, it is TV after all. But this show is getting kind of silly. They had to stop letting Carrie just do whatever she wanted. I still like this show. But I watch mostly because it is all I have until Justified, Downton and Sherlock come back on. And because of Quinn. I find him the most interesting charcter on the show.

  • BeardoGomez

    Now that Eastbound is over, this is my only real Sunday night appointment viewing.

  • Dominic

    No reason to hate this episode . I thought they said in previews that the Brody FAMILY would learn shocking news , so I was prepping to read everyone whining about Jessica and Dana ...
    give the writers credit at least , for not letting Carrie get her way and F things up . Not so much OMG but a FINALLY ! moment . And now they can end the pregnancy yes .. If Quin stayed contemplative , his fans here would be upset , wouldn't you ? I think he's been very correct in his logic AND emotions .He made his feeling known without bailing on Saul or Carrie
    Mira too conveniently has a "Baguette" ; he had to be NOT the innocent type
    tin hat might be too tight , cindy . HOW could they bring anybody back , from being blown to bits ? The intimation has been that there CAN'T be any survivors . have to go back to the Saul-first-at-destroyed HQ scene to confirm that . guess that was the "contemplaintive " Quinn for ya .. ..

  • Sean

    I am starting to get annoyed at this season. A great deal. The huge leaps in logic and basic common sense.
    The wife of the acting director of the CIA cannot have an affair. She would have a protection detail, or at least one bodyguard. Anyone she came in contact with have a complete background check. No one could come into their house. It would be under constant monitoring. No one could steal information off their computer.
    Also, the acting director of the CIA cannot fly out of the country and go to drug dealers stronghold in South America. Again, people would pay attention to such a thing.

    The most important thing that is bugging me is that Iran is working with Al-Queda? Shia working with Sunni? Both sides would rather work with Israel than each other. Also, Iran would never directly attack a target in the US. They know what would happen a few minutes later. Just too big of a leap in logic.

  • Dominic

    'Estranged " wife . nobody follows a wife feeling jilted . I wasn't surprised at "Baguette" turning out to be a spy ; I thought it was going to be Mira that had been turned , tho...
    I think they can cover Saul's trip . Esp since we know now that these guys have been connected to Saul all along . He CAN'T delegate that to anybody, since Brody is still personna non grata....
    Correct Shia would not work with Sunni . Did they say Javadi was Shia ? Altho it's a big country some could be at peace with their brothers . I think ur totally wrong on Iran not attacking us ; the key is DIRECTLY .
    Maybe the Sunni-Shia connection can be explained by this being orchestrated INdirectly through Iran ..

    Yes they are making blunders . Cause this season , again , is more about the people drama rather than just stopping terrorists . .Sac logic for the interpersonal drama in the story

  • Parsnip

    Not a lover of this season, sticking with it out of loyalty, but this episode kicked things up a notch or three and now finally I'm excited about next week.

    I'm nervous for Saul, he just seems too confident that his plan will succeed. How can he be so sure Javadi (who's very dangerous and slippery) has turned?

    One thing, where did Saul get the $10mill? Oh, one more thing. gas mask dude...fumes alone would knock you out, no?

  • Dominic

    Then , this is when you have to realize , that NOTHING in this episode could have happened , had not those events in prior episodes you "aren't loving" taken place . So go back OnDemand and realize how good the epis actually were , knowing what you know now

  • Melissa Doucette

    There was a 10 mil reward for Brody. He is the acting director, stands to reason he could get his hands on it pretty quickly.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Also, ten million's not really... Like, in the grand scheme of things, that massive a sum. The CIA probably has a nice big fund that doesn't require detailed descriptions of expenditures for just this kind of thing.

  • Kristin

    Come on Homeland...If you watched Breaking Bad you'd know that the acid would dissolve through the tub and into Jessie's first floor hallway.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Even if you aren't in Jesse's house. All acid dissolves directly into Jesse's first floor hallway, regardless of starting location. Wormholes, bitch!

  • Dominic

    ok obv plothole # 4 .

    Think the writers were just trying to look cool , like " yeah we know about dissolving the body stuff " .. When actually just leaving the body in the bathroom , would be better . Make it look like some drifter who stiffed a dealer ...

  • RilesSD

    I really thought that Mira was involved in the bombing. She "came back" the day it happened, right? Oh, and Saul doesn't have a security system on his house?

    This was an incredible episode, and I'm really loving this season (with the exception of the laundry room of course).

  • Bananapanda

    Saul should definitely have an alarm system and would likely have weekly scans of the house for bugs, given that he's acting Director of the CIA, for Pete's sake.

  • Kip Hackman

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Though I can't recall if Mira ever mentioned what Saul's job was to the Frenchman.

  • Dominic

    ok that is a plothole . it could be covered later ( how much have they really focused on Saul's door ? ) but that's like the 3rd obv plotholes so far into this season , they should have caught . )

  • Parsnip

    That bothered me too, the absence of a security system, especially given Saul's job.

  • John W

    I don't care what people say about this season, I love this show. Claire Daines is great.

    I get the feeling that Fara is going to play a big role somewhere down the line.

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