Normally, I’m accustomed to picking my jaw up from the floor at the end of a show’s season, not after its second episode. But the final minute of Sunday night’s Homeland broke open the season in such a shattering, brilliant way that hours later my mind’s still aquiver with the wild possibilities that could unfold in the coming weeks. After a blown mission to assassinate Abu Nazir that almost resulted in Carrie’s head getting shot off (or worse), Saul found a small flash disk hidden inside a canvass satchel. He plugged it into his laptop, and to Saul’s shock (and ours), up came Nicholas Brody’s face. It seems this little plastic chip contained Brody’s confession video, which he shot before his aborted suicide bomber mission to take out the vice president.
“By the time you’ve watched this, you’ll have read a lot of things about me,” said Brody in the video. “About what I’ve done. And so I wanted to explain myself. So that you’ll know the truth.”
And just like that, Brody’s secret was out. How Saul came by this satchel involves one of the best episodes of Homeland’s still short run, a welcome improvement over last week’s comparatively awkward and slow season premiere. Having successfully evaded her pursuer, and with Saul’s cover as an agent clearly blown, Carrie took it upon herself to connect with her Beirut contact Fatima Ali, seeking the woman out at morning prayers. While I personally began to question the woman’s judgment after she mistook Carrie’s wig for dyed hair, Carrie — betraying none of the tumult churning inside her psyche — took what Fatima had to say as gospel truth: Her husband, a Hezbollah district commander, was going to meet Abu Nazir. The next day.
When Carrie finally did come in, she was so overcome with the rush of possibly hooking the big kahuna, she barely seemed to acknowledge that she had not even checked in with Saul, and worse yet, she’d gathered this crucial intel without Saul there. “Meaning you don’t trust my judgment,” asked Carrie, incredulous, the calm facade she’d maintained with Fatima melting away. “Meaning the entire point of the protocol was to keep your judgment out of it,” said Saul. Ouch.
When Carrie and Saul briefed Estes and CIA operations head Scott Ryan, i.e. the guy who will eventually be responsible for the global blackout on NBC’s Revolution (i.e. the scrupulous investigator from CBS’s The Good Wife, i.e. Tim Guinee), Carrie found her judgment questioned even further. The timing was suspicious, coming smack in the middle of an international crisis where any wrong move from U.S. could badly inflame the situation. The area Nazir was going to be at was deep in Hezbollah territory, in tight, narrow streets that would be perfect for a Black Hawk Down-style ambush. Factor in Carrie’s historic obsession with Abu Nazir, and suddenly this slam dunk was looking like a very costly air ball. (One question, though: Does the CIA really have top secret briefings via Skype?)
NEXT PAGE: ”I have never been so sure and so wrong.”