Homeland Season Premiere Recap: Easy Targets
Homeland 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?
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.
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.”
While staring out at the Langley blast crater that the government is 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.