Recap: Are You Buying What Homeland's Selling?

Homeland Recap Carrie Double AgentAt the time we shot the latest installment of TVLine’s Spoiler Alert!, I had yet to screen this week’s Homeland but had heard that Episode 4 would start to crystallize Carrie’s Season 3 arc.

And sure enough, it did. But: Who knew what, and when did they know it?

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The hour opened with psych patient Carrie heading into a hearing, where assorted medical professionals weighed in — favorably — on her progress. But as the judge broke away to perfunctorily deliberate his decision, he received an injunction from the DoJ, keeping Carrie committed indefinitely.

Soon enough, however, Carrie did get releases, after an anonymous entity compelled the court to spike the injunction. Carrie’s benefactor: Leland Bennett, the mysterious law firm partner whom Paul Franklin represents. Carrie consents to a morning meeting with Bennett, but then promptly plots an “escape.” only to realize that she has been rendered persona non grata, with her car gone and all of her assets frozen by the DoJ. Noting that Dar Adul’s goons are stalking her home, she finds temporary respite at her liquor store hook-up’s place, only to have her morning Walk of Shame intercepted by Franklin.

Carrie thus keeps her meeting with Bennett (Weeds‘ Martin Donovan), who covets her expertise in helping an important client (i.e. Javadi) understand how six “business associates” (the targets eliminated in Saul’s season-opening take-down) were identified and killed. When Carrie understandably balks, Bennett points out how the people she’s looking to protect are the same who hung her out to dry and will probably aim to eliminate her as a “loose cannon” threat. For her insight, Carrie will be “handsomely” paid.

That night, Carrie spends five hours surreptitiously making her way to Saul’s home, to make sure she wasn’t followed. Confronting her former colleague, she says… that Bennett took the bait and that she secured a face-to-face with Javadi. Meaning, it was her and Saul’s plan to use the opportunity of her public disgrace to draw the interest of the man who ordered the Langley Bombing.

Which, yes, is rather cool, and a nifty twist. But when exactly did this “double agent” plan gel?

At the time Saul testified to the Senate subcommittee/threw Carrie under the bus, the plan couldn’t have been in place. Carrie was watching the feed alone at home, and thus would have no cause to “act” betrayed.

Ostensibly, the plan could have been formed immediately thereafter, before Carrie verbally assaults Saul at the restaurant — making that whole encounter but a noisy charade. Yet…

When Saul visits Carrie at the psych ward at the close of Episode 2, her mumbled “F–k you” to him was very much in the spirit of “I never want to see you again, Judas” — not, say, “Drat this plan of ours that got me overmedicated into a pile of goo. But I’ll stay the course. Go, team!”

One might then hypothesize that Saul laid out his plan right then and there (though he may not have had the most lucid audience). Yet Carrie’s behavior in Episode 3 — banging her head against the mirror, manically “hoping” to get a visit from Saul — doesn’t track.

Thus, the most logical guess is that after Paul Franklin first visited Carrie, once Carrie sensed she was being “recruited,” she reached out to Saul and offered herself as an undercover agent of sorts. (Alas, a sticking point: If Saul wanted her free/recruited, why was he frustrated by the phone call that the DoJ injunction had been overridden? Or is Dar Adul not in on the scheme and that performance was for his sake?) UPDATE: Show boss Alex Gansa tells TVGuide.com that the plot was cooked up by Carrie and Saul soon after the bombing.

Fun fact: Javadi apparently has been funding his terror through a bank in Venezuela. Hmm, who else do we know in Venezuela right now…? :-O

Elsewhere, Dana unwittingly helped spring a psychopath from the nuthouse and is now in hiding with him. No cougar sighting yet, however.

What did you think of the big Homeland twist? Certainly an improvement on my “Carrie is only imagining Paul Franklin” theory — unless she’s curled up in the dark corner of her room imagining all of this.

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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48 Comments
  1. Ana says:

    The only thing I’m not buying is Dana and her incredibly annoying love story. It’s insanely ridiculous and just not worth the time being spent on. The twist was a good one.

    • Tony says:

      I do buy the story. Dana’s arch with her father and the strined relationship with her mother lead to her ending up in the institution. It’s quite common to form bonds in places like that. She has found someone that understands her pain, knows her story and accepts her…. Maybe even loves her…… Of course in the back of my mind I’m wondering if he’s a plant by someone to she if she knows or comes in contact w/Brody.

  2. Esromjk says:

    Though the ep dones’t air in Oz until later tonight- I just watched last weeks ep yesterday & I did in fact wondering Carrie & Saul had thought up this plan.

  3. Nan says:

    Love the twist that Carrie and Saul are working together. Also, is it wrong to want Dana to die so very much?

    • Marc says:

      No, it’s not, because last night as I watched live and could not FF her bloody scenes I wished that she had succeeded in offing herself. That’s what the writers who are soaking viewers with poor Dana’s plight have done to us.

  4. ben says:

    Perhaps the whole show has been in Carrie’s head, it’s not like that twist has been done before, eh?

  5. Ali says:

    Ok, its getting interesting again, but what’s with the tween love story, who cares? What happened to Jessica and Mike or even Carrie and Quinn? That is if we even need a love story, What’s going on at the CIA is much more interesting.

  6. mantua says:

    Carrie and Saul may have agreed that she should commit to the ‘cover’ a 100% so the bad guys wouldn’t get suspicious therefore putting herself in a mental state where she experienced the steps of the plan (Saul sells her out on national TV / the restaurant scene / he visits him at the psych ward after she got agressive treatment etc.) the way she was supposed to, had the betrayal been for real. Another explanation could be that the two wanted to make sure that in case she is being watched, she doesn’t get made because of a simple mistake like not reacting to the TV hearing etc. If the first season taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t THAT difficult to get 24/7 feed from ANY house.

  7. James D says:

    i really hate to say this but I’ve been extremely dissapointed with this season. it has lost all its charm and is quickly turning into eye soar. my intention is not to hate on anything its just my opinion, but seriously what are they doing, half the season has been about Dana and her little crush, the rest has been Claire Danes crying and quivering. I saw the setup a mile away both Carrie going under cover and the Terrorist cells connection to Venezuela, so i really am not sure what they are trying to accomplish this season. sorry for the rant I just expect better from this show.

  8. apollopriestess says:

    I had a quick thought she would become a double agent after taking the offer and go to Saul after and say she would be one. But it explains why she went full on w/the meds after the meeting w/ Franklin…so they took the bait. Well we know Peter is in on it, but Saul is pushing it, especially when she heard that girl screaming and saw that was what she had become w/out her meds. But her spycraft was the same as if she was abroad, ie. the hiding, finding somewhere to go etc.. But Saul proved how he may not be a Director, but he is a master spy.

  9. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Ah, so the phone call of “Tell Saul I give up” sure takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it. I did figure out pretty early on that Carrie would just pretend to be flipped, but the fact that Saul was in on it was a bit of a shockeroo. I figured she would pretend to be flipped, then go to Saul and use the fact that she could be a double agent as a way to get back in the CIA’s good graces. Good job, Homeland, you fooled me. I was trying to figure out the “whens” of the whole thing too, and was ready to demand the show give flashbacks to show how this little grift came about. But it makes sense to me now that it has been from the beginning. I think Carrie’s reactions to Saul selling her out during his testimony and his visit to the hospital was just Carrie basically being like, “I f—ing hate this plan, why are you making me do this Saul? This hurts, and I hate you for making me do this.” She really did want to throw in the towel during her hospital stay because the whole thing just sucked so bad to go through. Bipolar people really do hate the roller coaster that going on and off medication puts them on. It’s not fun. And I also imagine Saul was putting on an act for Dar Adul because he doesn’t want anyone to know of his plan since the CIA still has the mole problem. Carrie was probably putting on a lot of acts too. They had to make it look real that the CIA had abandoned her. So they made it look as real as possible. As far as the mirror head banging thing, I just think that was all part of the “I totally f—ing hate Saul for making me stay here and building popsicle stick houses all day.” Carrie is not having a good time with this. Her wishes that Saul would come to the hospital were probably all part of her just wanting to tell him she wanted to give up on the whole thing.
    .
    I must be the only person watching Homeland that doesn’t mind Dana. Sure in earlier seasons she was a bit hard to take, but I’ve really warmed up to her this season. Give Dana a chance, guys! She just wants love! I have often wondered how badly it would mess up a person to realize the person they loved most in the world was a terrorist, so I’m glad they are sticking with the Brody family for a little while longer. And yay, Mike! And yay, Virgil! i was left under the impression we wouldn’t be seeing them at all this season. Though if Mike is still around, I’m wondering why he hasn’t been more around.
    .
    One thing I very much wonder is has Carrie convinced Saul that Brody had nothing to do with the bombing? And is Homeland trying to wean me off of Brody by not having him be in entire episodes because they plan to kill him? Don’t wean me off Brody, Homeland! And will Damian Lewis drop to supporting actor at the Emmys since we’ve seen so little of him and will Mandy Patinkin jump to lead?

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I sorry that was so long. Apologies.

      • Marc says:

        I didn’t know that it was a set up all along, after she agreed to work for the Iranians last night, I said to my husband, “that’s her way back in”, so like you, I thought that she would have used this opportunity to get back in with the CIA, so yeah, I was fooled on that front too.

        However, Venezuela was pretty obvious from the first episode.

  10. cws86 says:

    This show sucks now. It better not get nominated again and steal a spot from a more deserving show.

  11. guest says:

    I stopped watching mid last season, I stopped liking the characters and the story line.

  12. Jenny says:

    Ok finally something happened. But why did the build up last 4 episodes?! Could have happened in 2. Also fun fact about Venezuela got me all kinds of excited! BRODY! it’s….just…getting…interesting!!!

  13. DavidSask says:

    The show is a MESS and deserves criticism its getting, this year should be its end, PS. LISTEN TO YOUR VIEWERS HAVE LEFT AND KILL OFF DANA FROM SHOW!

  14. Nichole says:

    I think the reason Saul and Carrie hatched this plan some time ago and every they have done, even in private, is part of keeping up the act in case someone is watching. For Sauls part, he has to assume that someone in the CIA was in on the bombing, it’s the only way, as someone with clearance into Langley had to have moved the car near the building in the first place. Was a good twist though, really didn’t see that one coming, though Carrie showing up to see Saul was to say “hey drop the witch hunt and i’ll be your inside person on this thing”. Agree with everyone on the Dana angle, don’t see the point of that at all, though it’s good to see what the fallout is for the family in this situation, they are spending too much time on the teen romance, it’s not Twilight for heavens sake!!

  15. Timmy Bauer says:

    “No cougar sighting yet, however.”. I’m still laughing!!! :-)

  16. sparky says:

    Why didnt they do the family story from Jessicas perspective….would have been much more interesting. A mother dealing with a suicidal daughter trying to put food on the table and keep things as normal as possible when the world treats her as though she is the terrorist.

    Enjoyed the twist….actually didnt see it coming. But I am glad that this season is finally coming together. The first couple of episodes were depressing the hell out of me!!! Cant wait for next Sunday. Oh to watch this or The Good Wife live!!!

  17. Marc says:

    Homeland was like a speeding train, going 120mph, and then that twit Dana came on and it comes to a grinding halt, screech, chug a lug, poof, sigh, groan, done. They have a superb actress in Morena Baccarin, the head of the household, forced to endure so much and desperately trying to keep her family together, yet, the writers are determined to put the focus solely on Dana and her creepy boyfriend whose now her only reason for living. I cannot drum up one ounce of sympathy for a snotty selfish teen who steals the family car to run off with her boyfriend. Yeah, yeah, she’s a teen and that what teenagers do, but that’s the point, the focus of the show shouldn’t be on this young punk.

    • BrianR says:

      I agree Morena is more interesting and it was nice to see Mike back, I wondered what happened to him. A nice stoyline for Morena might be her having to take really miserable or demeaning jobs to get money.

  18. Marc says:

    As Saul told Carrie how brave she was, it reminded me of Dumbledore and Harry when they met at King’s Crossing and he told Harry how brave he was after Harry allowed Voldemort to kill the horcrux inside him.

    The entire operation rests with Carrie, who has to carry this burden without giving anything away, and knowing that this feud with Saul was only a show doesn’t really make me feel a whole lot better because it seems to me that Carrie wasn’t merely pretending while she was in the hospital, but was actually going through a crisis.

  19. Mary says:

    It doesn’t make sense that they started this plan right after Langley was bombed. Like the article mentioned, too many scenes just don’t make sense then.

    • BrianR says:

      It does if Carrie told Saul about Brodie. He may have said well then you need to go crazy so we can get the plotters to come out of hiding and show themselves. They knew thet needed a scapegoat so Brodie fit that role and she would be the unstable CIA agent that he used to get the car into the bombing.

  20. Pat D. says:

    Like somebody already said…I figured after the meeting at the lawyer’s mansion that Carrie might go run back to Saul as a double agent as a way “back in”—but I never thought she was always undercover until she showed up on the deck at Saul’s house in the middle of the night. Then, I pretty much knew exactly what was going to happen. It was kinda cliched (I could swear I’ve seen that type of “he/she was undercover ALL ALONG” setup like 100 times before), but thinking about it, the writers pretty much didnt have any other way to do it, unless they truly meant for Carrie to be a threat to national security.

    Which in hindsight, might have been more interesting than the plot that follows, but we’ll see.

  21. It was a good twist but it has too many plot holes. What, my money’s all gone? What, I’ll be captured if I go and borrow the van? What, my car is missing? I get that she may or may not have been watched the entire time, but it was kind of unnecessary and was only there to trick us.

  22. Terry says:

    Time to get rid of Dana… So sick of her and the Brody family drama. Also where the hell is Peter Quinn, he better be back next episode… I need some Quinn and Carrie time. Just please no more Dana… The whole love story teen angst BS is getting on my nerve.

  23. FierceRobert says:

    Someone needs to kill off Dana. She is incredibly annoying.

    As for the twis, the writers wrote it so that we would be duped. The plan – as confirmed by series producer – would’ve been created prior to Carrie being thrown under the bus.

  24. I think that Carrie was in on it from the beginning. My take is that when Carrie was at home on the couch watching Saul’s testimony that was how anyone would react regardless of if she was in it or not. At that point she realized that her entire life was forever changed, even if she was working for Saul. Her credibility to the outside world was gone. I think that was a “it’s too late to change my mind” type of cry.

    I haven’t loved this season as much as 1 & 2, but last night’s twist blew me away and makes me think it’s going to get better fast. And I also agree with all the Dana hate. Who cares about her and her boyfriend? This show is about so much more than a tween romance. I know there is a deeper message (queue the trip where Dana was at the place where her dad deployed), but I just don’t care.

  25. MoB2 says:

    I definitely like the plot twist between Saul and Carrie. I couldn’t believe Saul sold her out like that. I didn’t see the twist coming but I thought that Carrie use the meeting to get back in with the CIA. I am also happy that Carrie is not wrapped up in everything Brody this season.

    As for Dana…that storyline is boring.

  26. sabrina says:

    Great episode. The twist was definitely not one that I saw coming.

    I really wish that we could see a lot less of Dana though as her storyline seems unnecessary.

  27. notimelikethepresent says:

    I for one loved the juxtaposition last week of Carrie in the mental hospital and Brody in the “Venezualan Hilton”. Both were a form of prison they have to endure for a greater good. And the road they are both on is as bleak as all hell yes. But ultimately, what’s the long game for Carrie and Brody? Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

    If Saul and Carrie’s plan was on soon after the bombing, then in the 6 months post Carrie could have talked Saul into using Brody as a scapegoat in return for Brody fulfilling some deep undercover mission – say being recruited by the bombers and infiltrating further into the network that presumably had some link to Abu Nazir.

    Of course with Brody we haven’t yet seen any on screen clues into the backstory that got him to South America from the Canadian border. We know however Carrie had a friend “June” and a travel plan from there presumably mapped out. With Brody on an Interpol list with a $10m ransom, it would only be a matter of time before the wrong sorts would pick him up, with some helpful nudges from the CIA along the way, and trade him (aka whatever happened in Columbia) until Saul/Carrie have him right where they need to be. Brody’s gain is in working to redeem himself. His reputation is irrecoverable, but maybe he gets immunity, a false identity, and a cabin in the mountains to retire to with Carrie when the long game plays itself out.

    Carrie cared too much about her career and reputation to flee the US with Brody. She saw the only way to resolve the situation was to work to clear Brody’s name with intelligence authorities and to use the position he was put in with the bombing framing (his car) against the terrorists for their ultimate game. Its’ the ultimate spy play.

    I’m presuming the Venuzualan baddies work for Javadi, and when they told Brody they know Carrie, it’s because they already have insider procured intel that she’s a CIA agent and was (at least) his handler when he was doubling for Abu Nasir.

    And the whole kit and caboodle is a brilliant plan by Saul also to out the mole/s and having Dar Adul play along is what Saul wants. Notice he wouldn’t discuss what his new analyst found in front of him and then would not let her formally flag her findings.

    Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess! Very intrigued to find out what the rest of the season has in store for us.

    Some Easter eggs…
    – Brody was told “some bankers” decided not to finish the Tower he is held in.
    – Carrie when opening the safe in her closet decided not to take the gun, but the passport. This was her self-affirmation she was fully committed to the plan and was going to pull the meeting with Bennett off without a hitch.
    – Carrie as a trained undercover agent who wanted to disappear would never have visited an ATM, or used her own cell phone to call Virgil to borrow a van. All trackable.
    – She notably did not go to her storage unit (or network of storage units probably) that she went to with Brody to collect false passports, cash etc.

    Didn’t think I would say this, but I like the Dana storyline this season. Think it would be interesting to see whether we see Brody back in the US in some shape or form or whether someone in the Brody family finds out the CIA have known where Brody is all along. To our on screen knowledge, they have no awareness of Brody working as a double agent. But maybe circumstances might change, which might bring the two storylines back together somehow.

    If the stupid Dana storyline last season showed us anything (agree that took up way too much screen time!), through the VP’s son getting away with the hit and run, and Dana’s realisation and disgust at the way the world really works, it’s that nothing in the world of Homeland is black and white. She remembers that her father didn’t pull the trigger in the bunker after all, deep down somewhere.

    Ok now this post is taking up way too much space. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

  28. Holly says:

    Virgil’s “Say hello to your mother” to Carrie certainly got me thinking. On another note, the thought crossed my mind that Saul was actually ‘using” Carrie to carry out this operation until I saw the Update mentioned at the end of the recap about what Alex Gansa said to TVGuide. This season is much more muddled than past seasons but I’m still liking it, including Dana’s storyline. I was glad to see Mike back with Jessica, at least in this episode.

  29. I just want to ask you, plead with you actually to get rid of the overly depressed Dana stuff. Seriously it’s Boring us to death. Most teenage girls would have moved on rather than rummaging thru a dirty garage at night in this constant state of depression. Dana is shown sitting alone, staring out the window thinking of ways to either hurt herself again or connive a way to hurt her mother.By now-
    She would be out with her girlfriends having fun; trying to escape all that BS that her father has seemingly caused in Her life. Teens are all about “ME” & how can I get away from this, so I can feel better. That’s how they move on….

  30. eyahn says:

    bought it all :)

  31. Fluff says:

    I thought it was amazing. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, not entirely, but I wasn’t sure if it was wishful thinking. When the lawyer first came to see Carrie, I thought maybe she’d say yes and play double agent to try and get back into Saul’s good graces.
    They did a great job setting it up. Saul throwing Carrie under the bus was brutal but they put him in a situation where you could see that he had to make a choice between his life’s work and protecting Carrie and he could have done it to help her too.
    Sure, that meant Carrie doing everything wrong for a couple of episodes but we’ve seen her off her meds before so it wasn’t out of character or implausible.

    Now I’m wondering if Brody is in on it. Seems like a strange coincidence that he happens to be in Caracas, since it’s the place the money is being laundered.

  32. Mikael says:

    It was nice seeing Mike again. I was wondering what happened to him. After the whole plot of him & Jessica still being in love when Brody came back, I found it hard to believe that he would abandon them. When Jessica was complaining that they had no money, I was wondering why Mike wasn’t helping them out, since that seems like something he would do. I’m sick of Dana too. Maybe she and her boyfriend will form a suicide pact. And I was completely thrown by the twist! I have a feeling that only Carrie and Saul are in on it. Dar Adal is not.

  33. cjeffery7 says:

    thats the same psychopath from Dexter. for his sake i hope this doesnt become his type… though he plays it well.

  34. doug williams says:

    why would any agent who is being stalked keep her gun in a safe?

  35. neutronine says:

    If Carrie knew all along, it seems like a complete manipulation of the viewers just to sell their twist. It isn’t reasonable for Carrie to act as she did behind closed doors, etc. when no one but her would know what she was doing. It was a cheap ploy. Even when Carrie acts out in public and in the hospital, she totally sells her fear that she might never get out. I trust that CIA operatives are manipulative, but oscar worthy acting under the influence of medication??? They should have had Saul throw her under the bus without telling her why then reveal his plans let them hatch the plan out together after she got a visit from the recruiting lawyer. I like the show a lot, but the writing needs to be as good as the first two seasons or I am not going to be a viewer for much longer.

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