Homeland Season 4 Premiere Recap: From Islamabad to Worse

Homeland Season 4 Premiere

What does Homeland look like (mostly) minus Nicholas Brody?

The Showtime drama answered that question with Sunday night’s double-episode Season 4 premiere, which found Carrie serving as Station Chief in Kabul after trading away her cushy Istanbul gig for one that disallows dependents — carrot-topped cuties included.

But more on poor Frannie in a bit.

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RED WEDDING
The season opens with a literal bang, as Carrie oversees a strike on a Pakistani farmhouse, inside which is No. 4 baddie Haissam Haqqani. The intel came from a usually reliable source of Station Chief Sandy Bachman’s, but time doesn’t allow for due diligence in confirming. “Drone Queen” Carrie gives the go-ahead on the bombing, which it later is realized took out not just their target but scores of the civilian attendees at a wedding. One of the few survivors, a med student named Aayan (Life of Pi‘s Suraj Sharma), captured iPhone video of the tragically interrupted revelry, which his roomie Rajeem sneaks onto the Internet, initiating an uproar.

Carrie immediately catches flak from all corners — including increasingly disenfranchised CIA colleague Peter Quinn, who’s disturbed by Carrie’s claims of “bulletproof” reasoning; CIA boss Lockhart, who orders her and Sandy to immediately spin this travesty best they can; and even the First Lieutenant who piloted the strike, who confronts her at a bar.

Picking Carrie up at the airport, Homeland Season 4 Previewit is Quinn who reveals how she left her Istanbul post for one that would “force” her to leave baby Frannie back in the U.S., in the care of her saint of a sister. Then seeing on the airport TVs that Sandy’s cover has been blown, they scramble to alert and exflitrate their colleague in the middle of town, only to have their vehicles surrounded by an angry mob. Quinn, the poor guy, is prompted to start shooting their way out, but it’s not enough to save Sandy, who gets pulled out of the car to be punished by the mob. Carrie wants to try to retrieve Sandy (“We could have done more to save him!”), but Quinn knows a lost cause when he sees one (“F— you, Carrie!”) and speeds the car away.

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WELCOME HOME…?
Episode 2 opens with a perturbed Lockhart (and Bachman’s distraught wife) greeting Carrie and Quinn back in the States. Afterward, Carrie goes to her sister Maggie’s house but does almost everything she can, for naught, to avoid reuniting with her baby. And even when she does, begrudgingly cradling her, it’s 100 percent awkward. Maggie says that their father (who was played by the late James Rebhorn) isn’t pitching in as much as promised, so they have “a lot to talk about.” Quinn meanwhile is getting drunk at his motel’s pool when the Rubenesque manager confronts him about littering. They wind up not just hooking up but grabbing breakfast the next morning, where Quinn winds up opening a (near-lethal) can of whoop-ass on some jerks who were chiding his plus-size friend.

Back in Pakistan, Aayan is, amazingly, feeling some guilt for the CIA station chief’s brutal beating, seeing as his leaked video amplified the unrest. He then packs a bag filled with many vials of something, which he leaves with his girlfriend.

DROWNING HER SORROWS
Carrie asks Lockhart for Sandy’s station chief post but gets shut down in a hurry, seeing as she is being formally recalled to the States, permanently. “Think of it this way — you’ll get to spend time with your kid,” which is obviously not a selling point for Carrie. That said, Carrie follows through on a promise to watch Frannie the next day, so she plops the car seat into the front row passenger seat (at least it was facing backward?) and takes the wee one for a tour of her dead baby daddy’s house. “I was arrested on that lawn” is among the warm, fuzzy anecdotes Carrie shares. Then revealing more than a bit of herHomeland Carrie Drowns Baby shattered psyche, she notes, “You were the last thing he was happy about…. I tried to feel that too… but with his being gone, I can’t remember why I had you.”

That tees up the most harrowing mother/daughter moment, when in the middle of bathing — and upon accidentally letting slip — Frannie, Carrie lowers the six-month-old ever lower into the water, to the point that she is barely submerged. But Carrie thankfully snaps out of it and scoops her daughter up, cradling her and they both cry.

On a, um, lighter note, Dar Adal informs Saul — who has been phoning it in if not nearly tanking it in his new job for a private military contractor — that Carrie has been recalled, and that the wedding massacre may pave the way for a changing of the guard at the CIA. “Lockhart is vulnerable,” Dar notes. “There’s blood in the water.”

Carrie, after bailing Quinn out of jail, presses him for possible leads on Sandy’s suddenly unreliable source. This points her at a guy named Harris, a former case officer who himself got unceremoniously “recalled” — apparently for wanting to reveal that Sandy was trading secrets, with Lockhart’s knowledge, to his source in trade for good intel and big wins/kills. Confronting Lockhart at Sandy’s funeral, Carrie uses this damning info to secure the Islamabad post she covets, so that she can suss out the snitch. And while Saul promises his PMC services as needed abroad, Quinn insists he cannot go along.

As the second hour closes, Carrie breaks the news to Maggie, who suspects full well that her sister manipulated the situation to get away from Frannie… Quinn gets a sweet note from his motel manager squeeze… and Aayan is sternly confronted in his dorm room by men who warn him to do no more interviews, no more videos — or else.

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52 Comments
  1. Mary says:

    What I don’t get is if the whole reason she didn’t go to Islamabad was because she COULD take her kid, how does her now going to Islamabad allow her to ditch the kid this time around?

  2. Rachel says:

    Someone get that poor baby away from the psycho

  3. Tran says:

    I give it an A. Really hope Season Four is going to be much better than last season’s disappointment. Proud of Alex Gansa and his writing staff for the great efforts they’re giving them and each other.

    • I agree! It was a well written premiere. It showed promise of a strong season while not letting Brody slip away into oblivion all together (that baby was freakishly Brody-ish!)

      I am also happy that they didn’t portray Pakistan as some sort of medieval state.. but showed a realistic perspective – just wished they had used Pakistani actors (yes, not every brown person can play Pakistani… the accent was too Indian) or consulted Pakistani Urdu speaker while writing the dialogues in Urdu (while subtitles delivered the appropriate message for the scene, the Urdu in the background during Pakistani scenes seemed like copied from Google Translate – very non literal)

      • Winter says:

        I get the argument about Pakistani and Indian actors not being the same, I really do. But how is it any different than using British and Canadian actors to play Americans? They often have terrible accents particularly when trying to do southern accents and no one seems to care.

        • I see mostly Pakistani characters being played by Indians in UK as well as American movies and shows.. only exception so far was Angelina Jolie starrer “The Mighty Heart” where they actually utilized Pakistani actors. I know it’s no big deal but yes I do WISH they would cast a Pakistani actor/actress to play a Pakistani character. Being said that, i do like the acting done so far by the guy from Life of Pi!

      • behzadbyhimself says:

        Agreed Farjad. But Homeland generally gets these things wrong. Beirut is a vibrant metropolis, but it was shown as an oppressive warzone where women have to veil themselves while walking on the streets. Also, I think the writers think Pakistan is in the Middle East, because you see traces of Arabic culture more than South Asian ones.

        • I agree with your comment regarding Pakistan being shown a little too “middle eastern”… Since now Carrie is being appointed in Islamabad, the real deal remains to be seen that how they portray the city. Th western regions of Pakistan may have that middle eastern look (mainly because being next to Afghan and Persian territory) but Islamabad , Karachi and Lahore are almost like any metropolis with pretty modern lifestyle.

          • Gman says:

            Hollywood does this to American cities as well, so don’t take things personally. I remember seeing a suburb of DC on tv once, Oxon Hill. It’s an impoverished black area but the show showed it as a white collar area with sky rises and designer shops. The shows are trying to show their world, vision and story, no matter how wrong.

      • D. says:

        Don’t take it personally, they also do it when they speak italian or latin

  4. Bwhit says:

    I think this season has a lot of potential. Carrie’s sister may be mad but the last thing Frannie needs is Carrie after that disturbing scene. Whoever found that adorable baby for casting deserves a medal, I was wondering if Damian Lewis recently had a child and let Homeland use her. Rupert Friend was finally utilized fully and I loved it.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      That was freaky, wasn’t it? How much that baby looked like Damian Lewis. I’m surprised I’m not seeing more people commenting about that, because she was an adorable little clone of him.

      • BetsyBoo says:

        ^^^This! My text to a friend said “Damian Lewis must still be on contract as he had to have fathered a child for the sole purpose of a child actor.”

  5. Eliza says:

    I really enjoyed the first two episodes. Excited to see where this season goes.

    Also, what a very pleasant surprise to see Bradley James on my TV (even if for a brief moment)! Loved him on Merlin.

  6. Brian says:

    Call me a wimp but I turned the TV off after the bathtub scene. That was too real and horrifying to watch and considering taking the show off the DVR entirely.

    • LSJ says:

      After that scene, I am done with this show. It’s not wimpy. Homeland crossed a line, end of story.

      • Britta Unfiltered says:

        How did they cross a line? I found that scene to be very real and believable and true to character. It was visceral, yes, but they weren’t coming out of nowhere with it. I have a mother who is very crazy and bipolar like Carrie. She will go long periods without sleep because she gets really maniac and starts all these projects. And then she will sleep on the couch for long periods of time and not be able to get herself showered and dressed because she gets so depressed when she crashes. And when I was a baby, she had–let’s call it a “moment”, where she was giving me a bath and my dad walked in on her and he had to stop her from doing something she was going to regret for the rest of her life. Just like that scene with Carrie. I can forgive my mom for it because I know she wasn’t in her right mind. Bipolarity and post partum are two things that do NOT mix well together. And because of that experience, I can really appreciate what the writers were trying to do with that scene, and I can forgive them for writing such a terrible action for Carrie, because I know how accurate of a scene it was for some people who experience that disease.

      • MissGugu says:

        Crossed a line?! Post partum depression is very real and happens to a lot more mothers than we’d like to believe.

    • Para says:

      but it is true to the character no?

    • Jenny says:

      It’s not a wimp. It’s being affected by something so scary so raw so unbelievable and shocking that you wonder why Carrie or anyone would do that to their own child? Thankfully this is fiction and it fits Carries character and journey. So personally, I’m surprised and not surprised by this action. That said you may be overreacting, I don’t think it’s a reason to stop watching entirely….

  7. Gerald says:

    Epic waste of Corey Stoll. They seemed to be billing him as a lead for the season. So much for that! Seriously, what was the point of his casting?

    • Ali says:

      I personally loved that about it. I was so sure he’d be okay because of how much I’ve heard about him, so him being killed out there was not only hard to watch, but completely and utterly shocking. The first time Homeland has truly shocked me in a really long time.

      • Colleen says:

        really? I thought it was rather obvious, I saw his death coming from a mile away… while I’m not familiar with the actor’s previous works, we’re in agreement re: his talent—a shame the character was so short-lived.

    • James says:

      Well, The Strain which he is currently starring as a lead just had its finale aired against Homeland which he was in only for the premiere.

      You may not recognize him on The Strain because he had questionably-styled hair there.

    • HAP says:

      Stoll seems to be the “go to” guy when it comes to playing characters who get killed off. Think House of Cards.

  8. Julia says:

    That can’t be the end of Corey Stoll…no way. He is way too talented to waste on one episode.

    Am I the only one that thought that senator Russo can’t catch a break?! Haha

  9. Jenna says:

    I thought it was a great start to the new season.
    Boy, that kid looks a lot like Damien Lewis!
    As disturbing as the tub scene was, Carrie is mentally unstable, so it wasn’t as shocking for me as we’ve seen her behave irrationally many times. She often scares me. I think it was there to show the viewer that the baby really is better off with Maggie, at least for now. Sad, but realistic, IMO.
    Tbh, I was more unnerved by the scene where Sandy was pulled from the car by the mob. Mob behavior is always disturbing to watch.

  10. Suraj says:

    Where is the Boardwalk Empire recap? Every single Sunday show is here but Boardwalk is always ignored.

    • Stratus says:

      I dont think they put one up for Boredwalk empire. Hbo shows are not really liked or talked about on this site. You could go to tv.com for a recap.

      • lauren says:

        Actually I’ve read recaps for True Blood and True Detective, even The Left Overs here. I think they do Girls too?

  11. Ali says:

    What a great return. My love for the show has been waning a bit, but these episodes completely restored all of my hope and love for Homeland. Carrie is as interesting and flawed as ever and we’re at last delving into Quinn’s character the way Rupert Friend deserves. Can’t wait for more of Saul, he’s always so great to watch.

  12. Jenny says:

    The scene with Frannie in the car in front of Brody’s house broke my heart. Loved it.

    Great return for Homeland, they brought it and the story is rather intriguing.

  13. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Life of Pi! That’s where I’ve seen him before. It was bugging me that I couldn’t figure it out. He is great on this show. He’s going to be a good character. I was hoping we would get more of Corey Stoll, I was kind of bummed they killed him off so fast. Speaking of getting killed off…what will they do about the late great James Rebhorn? I wonder if they will kill off his character. I bet that would be an interesting storyline for Carrie to lose her dad. It’s really sad he died. I liked him a lot as an actor, and his absence is felt on the show for sure. I wonder if they had to do any story rewrites due to his loss.
    .
    Well….I gave it an A. I miss Brody tremendously, but this was a fantastic start to season four. It was scary, terrifying, and horrific. A friend of mine said she felt “cautiously optimistic” about season four now that she had seen the premiere, and I think that’s a pretty good way to describe it. It feels like the old Homeland is back. I hope they don’t screw it up.

  14. Lynn sanders says:

    Loved the show! But please someone tell me who baby Frannie is, looks so much like Btody it’s haunting?!

  15. Max says:

    The premiere was good, no doubt. There are some loose ends that need clarification and I get the distinct impression they may continue to be ignored. Who was the mole from season 1 and 2, and how did the Langley bomber get the keys to move the SUV? To just move on without addressing these issues is beginning to annoy me.

    • MissGugu says:

      But isn’t that the reality of what they do, CIA/cops/etc, that you never really find out the entire story of whodunnit?

  16. Eh, dunno if I’m feeling it. The first two seasons were pretty good but the last one sucked and dunno how strong this one is turning out to be. Finding it hard to give a damn.

  17. asm says:

    Bad directing! Bad acting! It feels like they just use one take! Seriously, this show has becoming last season’s dexter. Can’t they just learn from the great directing from the knick? That show is amazing.

  18. lo' says:

    really not missing brody at all

  19. BrianR says:

    Why isn’t Carrie carrying a weapon when she gets to Pakistan. Or why doesn’t Quinn give her one immediately.

  20. Sabrina says:

    Great start to the season. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.

  21. D. says:

    Excellent premiere, i loved it. And i didn’t miss Nick, not even a bit. I just wish Carry didn’t try to kill her baby, really disturbing.

  22. Jeff says:

    Attention to detail in casting is greatly admired.
    If in fact Brody was/is the father of Carrie ‘ s baby the casting is superb.
    All of that red hair!
    Love the show.

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  24. vee says:

    I can’t believe the writers are turning Carrie into a someone I can hardly tolerate. Her recent encounter close to rape of the innocent-virgin Pakistani boy, hard to watch, turn away time.