Homeland Season Premiere Recap: Easy Targets

Homeland Season 3 Premiere RecapHomeland Season 3 opened on Sunday night with the CIA taking fire in the wake of the Langley HQ bombing that sent Brody scurrying off to Canada, with Carrie’s help. Will a Senate subcommittee expose all the dirty laundry that Saul’s team has to hide? Or will a convenient leak to a newspaper reporter get the job done much more efficiently?

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After opening with a red herring-tastic glimpse of Peter Quinn assembling a bomb in private, much of the episode revolves around the Senate subcommittee that’s investigating the bombing at Langley, which 58 days earlier (in the Season 2 finale) killed 219 people. Chairman Lockhart, addressing Carrie and her counsel, Erin Kimball, accuses the CIA of covering up its own negligence leading up to the attack, musing: “How can they protect the country if not themselves? “If you’re asking if Abu Nazir outsmarted me, yes, he did,” Carrie admits. “If you’re asking if I’ll ever forgive myself, no, I won’t.” Carrie is then questioned about an immunity deal afforded Brody in trade for his help in capturing Nazir – namely, “Immunity from what?” Lockhart asks. “At what point did the Agency know Brody was a ‘bad guy’?”

Blindsided by the document, Carrie goes off script, blurting, “What if I told you I don’t think he did it?” As Kimball scrambles to spin her client’s claim, Lockhart wonders aloud: “Just what is it you’re smoking, Miss Mathison?” During a recess, Kimball reminds Carrie that she cannot make the case for Brody’s innocence in public. But once Carrie walks away to look into the leaked doc (Better call Saul!), Kimball spies her client’s scribbles- and theories-filled notebook, and is reminded of the special crazy she is dealing with here.

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We then cut to the start of much more Dana Brody storyline than you ever wanted. In summary: Dana, having tried to kill herself after Dad was outed as a traitor, now is ready to leave group therapy (where she met a boy with whom she sexts topless photos. Question: Is she disqualified from TurboChap.com? #GoodWifePremiereJoke). Further treatment is a sticky wicket, since the government doesn’t provide bennies to traitors and thus the fam has no insurance nor income. As is, Grandma Brody, having reverse-mortgaged her own house to drum up some dollars, now lives with her daughter and grandkids, and is no champion for her MIA son-in-law.

What is Saul up to? As CIA director – a position he tells his wife he didn’t want – he needs to make the call on a multi-pronged op that will take out six “enemy combatants” in lieu of nabbing the disappeared Brody (or a new biggish bad, Javadi aka “The Magician”). Saul is conflicted about this play — as he tells his wife later, “We’re not assassins, we don’t kill targets if we don’t have to” – but the devil on his shoulder, Dar Adal (played by F. Murray Abraham), reminds, “We need a big win” – and for good measures reports that “Carrie is blowing it” with the subcommittee.

At home, Carrie is grilled again — this time by her dad, who knows she is off her meds and isn’t buying the “alternative medicine” approach she has subscribed to, using exercise, meditation and apparently copious amounts of tequila. Carrie argues that her lithium-induced fugue is in part to blame for the Langley bombing. “I let it happen,” she laments. “I was only half there.”

Back before the subcommittee, Carrie is ready to retract her pro-Brody statements when she is interrogated about her 14 hours unaccounted for after the bombing. (She has claimed she was in the ladies’ room and KO’d by the blast, but witnesses saw her leave the auditorium with Brody.) Feeling the target of a witch hunt, Carrie pleads the Fifth, to which Lockhart growls, “I don’t buy half of what you’re selling…. You are doing and have done great harm to your country, and you will someday pay.”

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While staring out at the Langley blast crater that the government Episode 301is purposely leaving unrepaired, Saul — knowing “it could be the last order we ever give,” should the CIA be dissolved — tells Adar Nal he is going to greenlight the op. The only wrinkle that occurs during the 20-minute window for the six kills comes when Quinn sees that his Caracas target is traveling with a young son. Quinn forgoes bombing the car and instead infiltrates the guy’s home, taking out several guards and then “Tin Man” himself. Quinn fires off one last shot, when someone with a flashlight nears him, only to realize he just killed the little kid. Oh, geez.

Carrie, after hooking up with some random joe she met while shopping for (lots of) booze, awakens to learn that she more or less has been outed as the mistress of Public Enemy No. 1. Before there is even time to suspect that this is Pope & Associates’ handiwork (to get Liv’s name out of the D.C. headlines), Carrie storms Saul’s brunch with Dar Adal and Tim Guinee, roaring, “Brody was your operation, Saul! You proposed it, you sanctioned it and you ran it!”

The episode ends with Saul testifying before the Senate intelligence committee, starting with a statement about the “decisive step” the CIA took toward justice by whacking six enemy combatants – “There’s a little less evil in the world today.” Lockhart, however, notes the CIA went after “easy targets” and questions the convenient timing of this strike. “This committee will not be distracted from its purpose,” he asserts, to which Saul asks, “Which is what? Pointing fingers and assigning blame?” Lockhart then asks about the day’s big news, that a CIA case officer was canoodling with Brody. Saul at first shrugs it off as “flawed” information, but ultimately claims the agent in question “has a history of erratic behavior” because she is “unstable and bipolar,” a condition, he says, was concealed from the Agency for 10 years.

Lockhart follows up: Did this agent also conceal from her superiors the fact she was boinking Brody? After an extended pause, Saul responds, “Yes” — while Carrie watches from home, in amazement and disgust.

What did you think about Homeland‘s much anticipated return? Has Saul let you down? What do you think Carrie’s next move will be? And can you believe there’s even more Dana storyline next week?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Alichat says:

    Wow….I was wondering if this would be the reason for the break between Saul and Carrie! That was genuinely startling.

  2. Tina says:

    Great episode, Danes and Patinkin were on fire (as usual), but why did there need to be four different bottles of salad dressing at the Brody family dinner table? Who has that much dressing?!?!?!

  3. Hope Season Three is going to be even better than Season Two was like how Dana is questioning her entire world and dealing with not only worrying about her dad but the whole Finn Walden problem. So many reasons to think about what’s going to happen for the rest of the season: Is the agency falling apart? Is Saul becoming his inner David Estes? Is Carrie’s life in danger? Is it really life or death for Brody? Is Dana still more annoying than ever and the million dollar question on everyone’s mind: did Brody or someone else moved Brody’s car when the bomb destroyed the CIA building? There’s a lot to figure it out this season on Homeland and we cannot wait to see how the remaining 11 episodes is going to played out.

  4. BTW, in case you guys saw the promo. Virgil makes an appearance but I don’t know if he’s becoming the male version of Chloe O’ Brian from 24.

  5. neha says:

    It was a solid premiere, but it was strange not seeing Brody at all.

  6. Jenny says:

    I think it was a good premiere. I don’t what’s going to happen to Carrie. Can’t believe Saul threw her under the bus. Its obvious he wants to save the CIA but at Carrie’s expense? I can’t really figure out how Carrie will even begin to clear Brody’s name. Also, the actress who plays Dana seems to get worse each season. Someone get her acting lessons fast! She’s like a deer in headlights. Why do the writers give her so much air time? Her brother is more interesting and that’s saying A LOT.

  7. Alienate says:

    Pulled me right back in…. I’m ready for this season’s ride!

  8. what! says:

    So far so good!

  9. M3rc Nate says:

    Pretty boring IMO. I guess you could say Brody was the buffer for me, i liked his character and he was so interesting that it helped with the insanely neurotic off balance crying all the time or on the verge of a cry and breakdown Carrie. Now that it seems to be the Saul and Carrie show, meh.

    Wasnt a fan of Carrie banging the red headed dude…i mean i guess we are under the understanding that she thinks she will never ever see Brody again so she misses him and is using the red head as a replacement? But it just cheapens what she had with Brody IMO.

    I was never a fan of the family so that kinda kills it for me. The instant Dana took the photo of herself topless i knew “that photo is gonna get out somehow and its gonna frak up her world even more, as “Daughter of Traitor topless with boy from suicide patient rehab facility”. Meh..it all seems so melodramatic. I dont feel real hardcore tension like the previous seasons. I really think they “wrote ourselves into a corner” waaay more than they think. Without Brody….there just isnt enough for me to be interested.

    I get that some TV shows are all about people that are in the grey, and have flaws that are annoying…(Breaking Bad etc)…but sometimes i just really wanna watch a show where theres someone to root for…or at least a guy whos doing wrong that is written SO well and is so easy to empathize with that you are on his side, like Brody, Dexter, sometimes Walt. But now im supposed to be on team lady-cry-a-lot? Or cant-make-a-decision-McBeardface? Or the annoying step mom or the not really that good of a mom? or the annoying son? If anything im on team assassin-who-killed-a-kid-on-purpose, and for him to shoot everyone.

  10. David4 says:

    The episode was a horrible bore which nothing happened! Claire is nuts and more people know it. Wow.

    And the preview for next week looks weak too.


  11. James D says:

    i loved it. but i agree with others that it was weird not seeing Brody at all while we got a heaping ton of his family, which i was hoping would be the opposite this year, but alas it was still fantastic episode should be another stellar season, Saul is a bit of a d-bag i guess he didn’t get the memo about taking care of your own.

  12. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Awww, you guys are too mean to Dana. I think the actress is fine. There were moments in the first couple of seasons where Dana was a bit too much for me, but I thought she was great in this episode. Poor kid has been through so much.
    The stuff with Quinn and the kid was pretty rough. Easy to see coming, but rough nonetheless. Did Quinn have any dialogue in the show at all tonight? I don’t think he did.
    I feel a little let down by Saul, but I understand he is caught between a rock and a hard place. Selling Carrie out might have been the only way to save the CIA in his opinion.
    I liked the premiere just fine. It was a nice set-up for things to come. Glad to have Homeland back. I was literally counting down the months, weeks, days, and today the hours until it came back. I’m also glad to have your awesome Homeland reviews back, Matt. Good times, good times.

    • Carrie fan says:

      Well put Britta Unfiltered…. Funny name by the way! I like Dana and actually like the subtleness to her acting. She feels real to me. And I always find myself rooting for Carrie – and understand that feeling when you believe in something so strongly and know it’s true/right/what have you and everyone just discredits you. I hope for her sake that Saul isn’t the mole and throwing her under the bus but somehow protecting her, but no matter what that Brody will come back with info (going undercover in the middle east) and in the end of the season will help Carrie clear his name and hers. Here’s hoping for a happy ending on an always unhappy show!

  13. Natalie says:

    I liked the episode even though it did seem a little slow at times. Just set up for the rest of the season, especially the part with Quinn and the child.( I am trying not to spoil it for others who haven’t seen the episode yet) I know it was an accident but you know there will be some personal fallout from it.
    As far as Carrie hooking up with a random guy…that is behavior we have seen before particularly when she is off here meds.
    I agree with everyone else in regards to B’s family… ho hum

  14. nellibly says:

    At first I couldn’t figure out why Saul appeared to throw Carrie under the bus at the hearing. Now, I think he’s trying to save her. Whoever is leaking the information to the committee chair, probably has enough to have her charged her with treason. By painting her as mentally unstable – and, after all, she really is – he may be setting the stage for her to be found incompetent to stand trial. Whatever it is, it will be a fun ride.

    • billnyc says:

      Yes, I agree. I cannot see Saul abandoning Carrie. Their bond has been too strong for that … it is almost father and daughter. And he didn’t go into the room expecting to say that … he only made the statement after the chair’s allegations and a long thoughtful pause. So your idea that he’s setting Carrie up to actually save her makes perfect sense.

      • Miss Priss says:

        I think Saul is behind the bombing. I think he was trying to cover up everything with Brody while getting rid of David. F. Murray is too obvious a baddie.

  15. Keira says:

    quinn is so hot!

  16. BrianR says:

    Holy crap Saul not only threw Carrie under the bus he got in and backed it over her too.

  17. Kim says:

    I feel no sympathy for Carrie; did everyone forget she helped Brody escape? Saul needs to separate her unstable tail from the CIA ASAP. Could you have imagined how David would have thrown her under the bus, Saul did her justice. She really needs to be put in a mental hospital, cause her stone cold crazy and delusional. The drugs didn’t cloud her decision-making; her love for Brody is what she should be blaming.

    Brody’s family gets on my everlasting nerve!! It’s like for 2 seasons they had their heads in the sand, especially his wife. She has no chance of getting a job she might as well hang that up. Oh and I don’t like Brody, it’s something about his dark demeanor I don’t trust and Carrie a fool for trusting him.

    And I hope Saul gets more ruthless, from the preview it seems old Carrie is really going to go off the deep end. So I hope he does bring out the inner David Estes!!

  18. Miss Priss says:

    Quinnie is the strangest boy, he seems more off than Carrie and Brody combined. He’s wound so tight, he tries to be an assassin with honor but it ain’t working. Something tells me Carrie and Brody are going to end up in Quinn’s little black ops unit with the other misfit spies.

  19. Mikael says:

    About the Brodys not having any money, what happened to Mike? Did he just abandon the family after Brody was outed? I would think he would be supporting them since he already kind of was while Brody was a POW. And they played up the whole Jess loves Mike but is sticking with Brody to keep the family together thing and now he’s just gone? Seems like bad writing just to give the family a story, which isn’t even that good. I don’t want to see them complaining about how poor they are all season.

    And this Magician guy, is he the one behind leaking the Brody video and ordering the bomb? So someone else in the CIA is working for him, unless it actually was Brody?

  20. Greg says:

    It’s obvious that Brody didn’t bomb the CIA and that Saul wasn’t initially planning on throwing Carrie under the bus. He either did it to save the CIA or to protect Carrie because he knows she’s off her meds, or both. Most likely the former.

    The first episode wasn’t terribly exciting but it sets up the rest of the season. We’ll see how much the unfortunate loss in writing affects the show.