‘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
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
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?
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?
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.
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?”
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?
Triple OMFG Ranking: 10 out of 10, code red. I exclaimed expletives at least three times.
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?