HOMELAND Recap: “13 Hours in Islamabad”

     December 7, 2014


Wow.  Homeland continues to find ways to top itself this season.  “13 Hours in Islamabad” was an unflinching and often harrowing coda to last week’s shocking ending.  What happened to the convoy wasn’t just a one-off attack, he was part of Haqqani’s ISI-backed larger scheme to get a top secret list of assets so he could kill them.  It also mean that “13 Hours in Islamabad” was part of a long nightmare that never seemed to end.  When it finally did, nothing was resolved.  But there’s still so much promise.  Hit the jump for why “I’m trying to kill the motherfucker trying to kill us!  What do you think I’m doing??”

homeland-season-4-posterThis season, Homeland has been something that has eluded it for its past seasons: brave.  It has not been afraid to quickly dispense of recognizable actors (Corey Stoll as Sandy Bachman) or even completely change the game (like the interlude with Aayan, which seemed like it would span and define the season, but ended up being just a footnote).  It let Carrie go full-crazy, but then reined her in so far that she’s actually agreeing with Lockhart about evacuating.  And in “13 Hours in Islamabad,” tragically, Fara was killed by Haqqani.

The scenes in the embassy were Homeland‘s version of Benghazi, but with 36 fatalities — and we were shown just about every single one.  The attack on the embassy carried a lot more weight than the bomb at the CIA, because it felt much more personal, almost claustrophobic.  While Saul and Carrie being fired on out in the square by snipers after the convoy attack felt militaristic (particularly because of the Marine’s presence there), Haqqani and his men taking over the embassy was something different.  It evoked news reports of office shootings, or other sudden, horrific bursts of close-range, large-scale violence.  Though those working for the CIA and the embassy knew, on some level, their lives were always on the line, few surely envisioned such a catastrophic event.

Never was this more finely portrayed than in Martha and Lockhart’s struggle in the vault.  She says they’re at war, and casualties will happen (there are protocols, after all).  Lockhart says, quite literally, “fuck that,” and was ready to give himself and all of the CIA’s assets up to protect Fara and the remaining hostages.  There wasn’t a right answer, here, just like when Carrie lamented to Quinn that both saving Saul and letting Saul die were the wrong choices.  Martha was right that Lockhart was putting them all in danger by handing over the documents, and yet, how could they stand there and do nothing?

homeland-13-hours-in-islamabad-laila-robins-friendEven though Quinn appeared at just the right time to wound Haqqani and take out several of his men, it was too late for Fara.  She bled out from stab wounds Haqqani administered before Quinn shot him (though not fatally, for him).  It was bold choice (Fara is not only a really likable, but a very useful character), and the show hardly had time to mourn before the next battle began to be waged.  “When does it end?” Lockhart asks Carrie.  It doesn’t.

Saul, Lockhart and Martha (and her cowardly, loathsome, dirtbag, maggot husband Dennis) all went back to the U.S., which, as Carrie agrees, is the right choice.  But Quinn, crazy with purpose, will not leave until Haqqani is delivered.  For that, he did a little badass stealth work, and found our old foe Farhad.  Through him, he plans to use a chain of cell phones to get to Haqqani.  Though Carrie tried to get him to not go rogue on this, he went out a window and did it anyway, and she believes he deserves to be brought home (along with their assets, if possible, although that operation has essentially been shut down).  Now, the hunt is for Quinn, and probably Haqqani in these last two episodes, and with only Carrie and Quinn on the job, it’s going to be bananarama badass.

Episode Rating: A

Musings and Miscellanea:

— The tension this season!

— I hate Dennis.  But wow, that scene where he begged to die, and he and Martha worked out the details (not her belt, for instance).  How crushing for Martha, on the heels of just learning about Dennis’ ultimate betrayal that led to the deaths of so many, to him basically asking for assisted suicide.  What did she go through, sitting there knowing he was strangling himself to death?  And then … he didn’t even do it!!!! (No surprise, though).  I just can’t with him.

homeland-13-hours-in-islamabad-rupert-friend— “It’s the one good thing I can do now” – Dennis.  So of course you don’t.

— Glad Max got his own little badass moment swiping a gun and killing another one of Haqqani’s goons.  Also that he called Carrie out for only ever being mean to Fara, and never giving her her approval (and not letting it go even with Carrie said she regretted it).

— How chilling was that banner over the embassy?

— Happy to see Saul being useful for a moment while he helped Carrie try and take out the sniper.  Otherwise, though … put him out to pasture!

— Looks like there may be some trouble in paradise between Khan and Tasmeen …

— “Fucking drive” – Quinn, at his maximum overdrive of badass in this episode.

— One word to describe this episode: harrowing.

— R.I.P., Fara.  Gone way, way too soon.  And now Fara-Max OTP is now also gone!  (I was hoping he might also stick around, to avenge Fara’s death).  So sad.