“There’s Something Else Going On” was another incredible, tense, and twisted hour from Homeland that stuck to what the show does best: political posturing and CIA business. It’s not surprising that almost all of this season’s best episodes have done away with the soap opera elements (Carrie’s “trip” through the city ignited a few, they were contained in her mind, so they get a pass). “There’s Something Else Going On” showed just how difficult and sprawling this war has gotten, and that, as Carrie said last week, even the right choices are wrong. Hit the jump for “what the fuck? What the fucking fuck??”
You have to know by now that when any character says, “bring him home alive,” he’s not coming home alive. And not one, but two characters said that to Carrie in “There’s Something Else Going On:” Mira and Martha. It raised the stakes to incredible heights during the tense standoff during the exchange. Every moment, from Saul resisting getting out of the van, to the appearance of the young would-be suicide bomber, to Saul just sitting his ass down all suggested the worst. And yet, Carrie hugged him like the father he really is to her, and encouraged him to survive this for her, for Mira, and for himself. So he allows her to lead him away.
What we did not (or at least, I didn’t) see coming was the RPG attack on the convoy returning to the Embassy. It looked like, just before, that the most major thing Saul would have to deal with is how to return and live with the guilt and shame (whether earned or not) of his capture. He had to find a reason to put his glasses back on, and return to the world with a desire to live. The phone call from Mira seemed to be that moment, but instead, everything (and everyone) was blown up and burned. We know, of course, that Carrie is not dead. But did Saul survive the attack? That would be the worst possible outcome if he didn’t; the prisoners would have been returned for nothing.
Further, Dennis admits sheepishly to Martha (is there a worm lower than Dennis on TV right now?) that Tasneem is his contact (formerly Sandy’s contact), and in addition to the documents and the switching out of Carrie’s meds (with a hallucinogen twice as strong as LSD), he also happened to tell her about the secret passageway to get in and out of the Embassy, which Haqqani is now exploiting.
“There’s Something Else Going On” wasn’t all about prisoner exchanges and explosions, though. It was nice to see Carrie, John and Lockhart all on the same page regarding their plan to neutralize Dennis, and also get Saul back. What wasn’t as expected was that Martha was working with them against Dennis, although, it’s not unreasonable; the more unexpected thing was her storming in to defend him. The Martha we knew would have been more suspicious, and in fact, she was.
Carrie interrogating Dennis, setting up the exchange and even calling Khan during it, and also saving Saul while putting herself in danger made “There’s Something Else Going On” one of Carrie’s most badass episodes yet. She was strong and decisive, and wasn’t questioned by the men around her (like she usually is). What will be done in the wake of this latest attack, though, is anyone’s guess. Carrie is resilient, but potentially losing Saul (or anyone within the Embassy) could shake her. Or, it could send her into a torrent of badassdom we have not yet seen.
These are dire, dire times. Regardless of who lives or who dies in these next episodes, the U.S. and the CIA’s problems are beyond repair here. Homeland is, visually and through plot points, expressing something is usually saves for bald exposition: that this war is quicksand.
Episode Rating: A
— “The right thing is getting Saul back” – Carrie to Quinn.
— A sampling of Carrie quotes to Dennis: “You are a traitor, and I am the fucking CIA.” “You poisoned me, you almost killed me — you think I’m going to let you have a lawyer? Sit the fuck down!”
— So the exchange, and then the attack on the convoy, were all bonus parts to a plan to get inside of the Embassy to begin with. Amazing plan.
— I’m surprised the Taliban didn’t just take Saul’s glasses to begin with. He would not have been a threat without them.
— “Don’t let him die” – Mira, who appealed to Carrie’s understanding of Saul not just as part of the CIA, but of the real world (which she does, more than Mira knows!)
— “No. Fucking no” – Saul about the boy with the suicide vest (no wonder he was having nightmares). Saul then turning to say he should go ahead and blow himself up was just the last mutterings of a broken man. He knew that was the wrong choice, although, it’s easy to see why he would say it anyway.
— “What the fuck? What the fucking fuck??” – Lockhart, apropos a lot of this season (in a good way).