Homeland Recap: Tricks of the Trade

Homeland Season 4 Recap

You’d think the fact that this week’s Homeland is titled “There’s Something Else Going On” — a direct quote from Carrie Mathison that underscored her increasing unease about the impending prisoner swap — would’ve prepared me for the episode-ending humdinger.

But noooooo. I foolishly let my guard down after the child-bomber threat passed and Saul was safely back in U.S. hands, and I regretted doing so the second those missiles rained down on the CIA’s caravan. (What do you call it when you gasp and scream at the same time? ‘Cause that’s what I did.) It was a spectacular twist that capped an extraordinarily tense hour. But enough about the ending. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

THEM’S THE STAKES | In the episode’s opening scene, we watched as the five prisoners the CIA agreed to hand over to Haqqani in exchange for Saul took their first step toward freedom. As Quinn prepared to sign off on their impending release, he was reminded of their collective crimes against humanity. Basically, Saul’s return was coming at a heavy price, and no one knew that more than Saul himself. Freshly back in captivity, a defeated and deflated Saul finds himself reluctantly co-starring in one of Haqqani’s propaganda videos, before being forced to bunk with a mysterious boy. When said boy starts tossing and turning in the middle of the night from an apparent nightmare, Saul comforts him by cooing some kind of Islamic lullaby. (Update: As reader Anya points out, he was actually saying, “Everything’s going to be all right” in Urdu/Hindi.) The following morning, the kid returns the favor by offering Saul a glass of Pakistan’s finest diet Snapple. Their fast friendship quickly unravels when Saul discovers that the youngster is tagging along with him to the prisoner exchange while wearing a bomb vest. And why is this particular kid “volunteering” for such a mission? Turns out, one year ago — when Saul was the director of the CIA — his family was wiped out by a drone strike. Saul can barely contain his horror.

DESPERATE HOUSEHUSBAND | Meanwhile, back at the U.S. Embassy, newly-outed mole Paul Young Dennis Boyd is in full-tilt denial mode. He swears (first to John and then to Carrie) that he had nothing to do with stealing the secret documents from his wife Martha’s computer, nor did he tamper with Carrie’s meds. “You are a traitor, and I am the f—king CIA,” Carrie bellows after he demands to speak to an attorney. “You poisoned me. I could’ve died out there. You think I’m going to let you talk to a lawyer? Sit the f—k down.” (Carrie Mathison, will you marry me?) Dennis’ prayers are (seemingly) answered when Martha busts in and orders Carrie to back away from her man. She escorts Dennis back home, where she proceeds to lightly grill him about his possible role in Embassygate. But he once again maintains his innocence. We later learn that her little interrogation intervention was just a ruse. Yep, much to my relief, Martha is working with Carrie. She knows there’s a good chance her hubby is guilty as sin, and her suspicions are confirmed when she catches the creep trying to make a run for it. She responds by banishing him to something called “the guard room.” (Side note: Laila Robins is da bomb, people.)

IT’S SHOWTIME! | At the scene of POW swap, Carrie and John meet with ISI villainess Tasneem and Karen Cartwright’s boyfriend from Smash at an undisclosed airport hangar to go over the day’s festivities. Carrie slips away to call Karen Cartwright’s boyfriend from Smash and voice her concerns that Something Else is Going On. He informs his American crush that he was shut of most of the planning, which does nothing to calm her fears.

The action shifts to the airport’s tarmac, with Carrie & Co. (the five prisoners included) set up at one end of the runway and Tasneem & Co. set up at the other. The van carrying Saul comes to a stop at the midpoint between the two camps, and Saul — hell-bent on sabotaging the trade-off — has to be forcibly removed from the vehicle. The van then pulls away, leaving Saul and Bomber Boy standing practically side-by-side. “What’s the boy doing there?” an alarmed Carrie asks Tasneem via walkie-talkie, unaware that said boy is wearing a vest from Forever 21 and Fanatical’s new winter collection. When his jacket’s killer lining comes into view, Carrie flips the frak out. Tasneem feigns ignorance,  speculating that the kid is likely Haqqani’s version of an insurance policy. Despite the curveball, Carrie agrees to begin the exchange… that is until Saul — who just locked eyes with the prisoners he’s responsible for setting free — sits his ass down and refuses to participate. (My heart can’t take it!)

With the prisoner exchange now in serious jeopardy — and Haqqani’s goons threatening to detonate the boy if Saul doesn’t stand back up — Carrie volunteers to go knock some sense into mentor. She wastes no time playing the Mira card. (Earlier in the ep, she promised Mrs. Berenson she’d bring her husband home safe.) Saul, in turn, plays the “You think I can live with this?” card. But Carrie reminds him that not only will his defiant stance result in their deaths, but it will also claim the life of the TNT’d tyke. “They put the vest on him,” he coldly replies, “not us.” And that’s when Carrie plays the “you sound like them” card. “This is not who we are,” she wails. “This is not who you are.” That seems to do the trick, because next thing you know Saul is back on his feet and hobbling back to Camp CIA with Carrie. Phew, crisis averted. Or so we think…

THE GRAND FINALE | En route back to the embassy, Saul is just about to take a call from Mira when their caravan is hit by multiple missiles. (That’s what we in the TV biz call a pants-crapper moment, folks.) The surrounding SUVs appear to fare worse than the vehicle carrying Carrie, Saul and John, but not by much. Lockhart, who overhears the twin explosions back in the CIA opps room, puts it best when he exclaims, “What the f–king f–k?!” In a move that will come back to haunt him, he deploys all of the marines out onto the street to survey the damage and look for survivors, effectively rendering the embassy unguarded. Meanwhile, when word of the tragedy reaches the guard room, where Martha is visiting her lying, scheming, no-good other half, Dennis finally comes clean. Yes, he’s in cahoots with Tanseem. And the final piece of intel he shared with her was the location of a secret tunnel that connected the embassy to the street. A secret tunnel Haqqani and his small army were now using to storm the unmanned embassy. Um… holy wow.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think anyone other than Carrie survived the attack? Do you agree with me that this ranks among Homeland’s best episodes ever? Hit the comments! 

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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126 Comments
  1. 007 says:

    WOW!!!!!! That was incredible. Did NOT see that coming. I, too, made the “half-gasp, half-scream” when that happened LOL! This season is so freaking great. Two weeks until the next episode?! Ugh.

    • Me says:

      I knew something was cOming, but wasn’t sure what. I Had heart palpitations the entire episode.

      TWO FREAKIN WEEKS????????

    • Mary says:

      Ditto on the gasp-scream! Another great episode. Homeland is back on track! But why do we have to wait 2 weeks?!

    • Susan says:

      I never thought they could bring this series back, but here it is!! The prior two episodes began the movement and we are now there at fever pitch!!! Too soon to lose John! Maybe too soon to lose Saul! The previews for the next episode were nothing but flashbacks, not one upcoming event!!! YIKES!

  2. Alichat says:

    For once Lockhart was right…….what the f**king f**k just happened?!?!?! Thank god Quinn stayed behind because it’s now time for him to use some of that black ops training.

  3. Me says:

    Lockhart said it best…..

  4. Jensen says:

    I hope after Carrie and Quinn save the day and go home, they’ll make out or have sex lol.

  5. Tran says:

    This season’s Homeland is like Season One all over again. I’m starting to dislike Dennis “the menace” Boyd for being a traitor and Mark Moses is known for playing dark characters from Desperate Housewives to Mad Men. Homeland is best known for creating suspense much like 24 and I can’t wait what’s going to happen in two weeks as the season winds down with only three episodes left.

  6. julie says:

    How could anyone survive that attack? Is there only one episode left after 9? Is this the end of the series? I can’t wait two weeks to find out the conclusion. Haqqani may have taken our Saul, the interim CIA chief and Carrie. That’s 3 heads of the CIA.

  7. JAKE says:

    Great episode! I am so anxious to see if anybody died in the bombings. It seems that the important people in the embassy (Quinn, Martha, Lockhart) are going to be in trouble. Are they there to take Dennis Away?

  8. Time for Jack Bauer to arrive and clean house with Quinn!

  9. Carter says:

    I too scrasped* a lot during this hour. Amazing episode.

    *what I call a half scream, half gasp.

  10. Sparky says:

    I was more on Lockharts level with variations of the f word. Did not see that ending coming at all?? And the fact that they didn’t give us even a hint of what is in store in the next episode was super annoying!!!

    • VC says:

      Not super annoying – was so glad they didn’t show any upcoming details – perfect way to keep you wondering… don’t need instant gratification – so many gripe about not knowing what’s coming next in shows…that they keep things too mysterious… and, that is exactly what makes a show good… :-)

  11. Georgette Lossinsky says:

    Oh, this is so stressful waiting until December to see if Saul survives the explosion, but I am not so sure that he will. Was the phone Saul used to talk to Mira the means of detonation ? So many questions to be answered. Homeland has out done itself, what more can I say? This episode is the most suspenseful of all !

  12. john clifford says:

    Was Saul and Carrie’s convoy hit by missles? It had something to do with Saul’s glasses that the burqa woman removed. Right? The explosion happened at the moment Saul spoke into his cell phone supposedly to his wife. Great episode but Saul and Carrie or one of them have to be dead or show loses credability. Now it looks like new CIA director Lockhark is going to be taken hostage. Crafty bad guys are winning and way ahead.

    • Derek117 says:

      The explosions were not detonated by Saul’s glasses–if so, how did the other two cars in the caravan get hit? All three cars were hit by RPGs, which is what Lockhart was told and why he sent the Marines. At most, Saul’s glasses were used as a targeting device–to make sure they had Saul in the car when the RPGs were fired, probably from atop a nearby building.

      And, like so many others have said: sending all of the Marines, and leaving the Embassy defenseless is NOT something the head of the CIA would have done–or the Marines would have obeyed. At an American Embassy, the Marines report to the Ambassador–and their job is strictly to maintain the safety of the Embassy, which like all embassies of all countries, is considered sovereign land of that country. And, that’s why it’s so important for the Terrorist to “occupy” the American Embassy: it’s symbolically their way of “conquering” the U.S.

  13. Rich Ormsby says:

    Saul’s glasses that Carrie picked up when she retrieved him either had a honing device or a detonator in them in it that was activated when Saul opened the glasses and put them on.

    Hopefully, the Marines can be recalled, and the bad guys can be stopped from taking over the embassy.

    Or, they were one step ahead of the bad guys and they are running into a trap. But, probably not with three episodes left. There should be some kind of fight.

    • Sharon in KY says:

      I forgot about that. You may be right.

    • Brian says:

      unrealistically the embassy was left unguarded while explosions are rocking the city only four blocks away, come on writers, even the prisoner is left standing there with the cell door wide open. While this is hard to believe it is even more difficult to swallow the fact that there is a “secret” tunnel which leads into the embassy and it isn’t locked down with more than iron gate and padlock. The inner door to the embassy should and would be heavily armored/blast proof/barricaded, but it most likely would not be any type of a secret, if the ISI hadn’t reconnoitered any and all possible exits from the embassy by now then they clearly are incompetent, I remember thinking yeah right when Carrie was told previously how it was so easy to just walk out into the square without being noticed. SOrry, for bashing though cause this show is intense and one of my favorites at the moment, Saul kicks ass too and I kinda thought he was gonna detonate the vest himself and why did him sitting down affect the exchange at all?? who cares if he wasn’t standing up?? lol.

  14. Jay says:

    Saul doesn’t chant “Islamic lullaby”. When you want to be a credible reviewer atleast get your facts right. It was a Hindi equivalent to “everything will be alright” and I am literally translating. For future, when you don’t know another language, instead of pairing it up with a religion, try a simple Google translate. I expect “Sab kuch thik hoga” then. Which is everything will be alright.

  15. Wilbur says:

    I’m really starting to like Lockhart.

  16. Silvia says:

    2 weeks????? No way!!!! I hope Saul and Carrie survive… And Quinn kills all of terrorists!!! And the stupid woman, I don’t recall her name die with a bomb too!

  17. Bob G says:

    I had a feeling that the bad guys put some kind of antenna into Saul’s eyeglasses when they were temporarily removed to clean his facial wounds. Could that have somehow aided the targeting of the CIA caravan ? Great show ! Will we have a new cast next time ? Or will Carrie and Saul be sporting lots of superficial wounds ?

  18. Carla G says:

    Omg!! I, too, gasped and screamed! Was NOT expecting what happened. One of the reasons I love this show!!

  19. Sara says:

    Mandy Patinkin has been beyond stellar this season. He deserves to walk away with numerous awards for his work.

  20. FLmaggie13 says:

    I liked the episode. The ending was a bit unbelievable, but…… My only real quibble is with the director send ALL the Marines to the attack site. Shouldn’t he be smart enough to know not to leave the embassy unprotected? They just did a prisoner exchange where a 12 yo was wearing a suicide vest, the ambassador’s hubs is a traitor and he doesn’t even think this might be a diversion? How did he get to be director? I really thought the missile attack on the embassy cars was a bit cheesy, that the writers couldn’t think of anything except let’s blow up something, since we have already had Saul kidnapped twice and Carrie poisoned once.

    • missmcgrant says:

      FLmaggie13 wrote How did he get to be director? – I think Lockhart’s appointment as Director of CIA is more political as in – he has a strong connection to the White House from his previous position as Senator. It is not clear how much ops experience he has. There is a hint that he did work with all of them at one point as mentioned in a previous episode but he certainly does not have as much experience in theater as Carrie and Saul. Which explains his bad move of sending all the Marines out and not anticipating much or doing any risk assessment…lack of experience ;p It is a hard job though with much flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decision making.

  21. Julia Kuttner says:

    I promise not to frakkin’ curse but I must admit that I haven’t seen the latest heart-stopping, pants-filling episode yet – I checked you out because the episode before was almost unbearably suspenseful and I HAD to know what is going to happen, and I have to tell you that your summary was just about as entertaining as the actual program. What a babe you are. Whoever you are! xx

    • FLmaggie13 says:

      Enjoy it! I just watched it a second time and it was just as good as the first viewing. I knew what was coming but it was still wow-inducing.

  22. sandeep says:

    After I re-wound the last segment.. I noticed only the escort cars were blasted by RPG’s. The one with saul and carrie was not. Them not being killed is sort of what the taliban needs.. the marines need to be involved.

    Also, a stupid question but, do you think the taliban can control the drones for even a few strikes before the ambassador alerts the CIA. Can lockhart be used to launch missle strikes on key american bases in afghanistan ?? Or am I crazy ? Because why would this attack by haqami help him take back afghanistan ?? there has to be US drones tragetting US posts in afghanistan for haqami’s plans to make sense.

    Anyway all of this reminded me of the joker.. haqami is the joker from dark knight… holy @*&6

    • Walter Freeman says:

      Good point about Sal and Carrie being a necessary diversion. Still strains credibilty a wee bit, but your explanation makes it a little more believable. The second half of your comment is crazy though. The conspiracy isn’t that big. Just a good old fashioned embassy attack.

  23. reef says:

    I believe the two missiles hit the first car and last car. Carrie and Saul were in middle car. They survived. That was a complete 24 EPISODE right there.

    • sandeep says:

      I mean.. don’t you think it makes sense.. what I’ve said above ?

      • missmcgrant says:

        Do you think an American tv show would show that much vulnerability? And how would Hakkani know how to control the drones? The drones must not be that easy to program/maneuver for outsiders.

    • Michael says:

      That is the only reasonable explanation if they were to survive the epispde. So yes, they were lucky.

  24. big dog says:

    holy f$%# f$&$

  25. Go Hawks says:

    My jaw is still on the floor… that’s an Emmy and Golden Globe worthy episode.Bummed about no promo!

  26. Scott says:

    Saul and Carrie can’t be dead. The tension between the two that will exist because Carrie didn’t kill him like she promised would just be to good too not include in future episodes. Quinn will kick some ass, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they kill him off before the end of the season. Another death that would be Carries fault. He didn’t want to be there. I think the ambassador is a dead woman, this at the hands of her husband. I can see them killing off Lockhart, maybe taking him hostage. Tanseem showed an interest in Lockharts where abouts. I think the convoy was destroyed by an RPG or by the ISI/Pakistani military. I also think the mastermind of the whole operation was probably the General who Saul met with initially. All that said, it’s Homeland and I’ve never been right about this show, that’s why I love it!!

  27. Hector Rodriguez says:

    Yes indeed, the series went Super Freaking Nova !!! Sadly enough, Carrie and Saul are out. Lockhart and Martha are in. Evolution, even on a TV series, can be a sad thing, but Evolution, is a necessity for the survival of the show. Hey Carrie, Yo Saul, we are going to miss the heck out of you !

    • Michael says:

      Super Nova Indeed, but no. I don’t believe they’ll be written out just yet for the show to evolve. There still to key to the upcoming plot. They survived the attack for the next season. The show is proving to be one of the best and unique cable drama’s of it’s time

    • missmcgrant says:

      If Carrie is dead who is the main character then for the rest of the season – HECTOR RODRIGUEZ?

  28. lietmotiv says:

    Saul and Carrie’s SUV wasn’t hit. I watched it twice and in show motion. The first and the third SUV got hit. I think they are going to live. If they did die it would be an amazing ending.

  29. Nemme says:

    Ridiculously lame that this is the only episode recap on google that gives it away. Why can’t you find some other twist to get people to click your link. But I guess it’s not for the writing since people generally like to read analysis not a boring play by play. Guess you won. I just made you .04 cents by clicking the link though it was only to complain about spoiling me. Never again, tvline.

    • annie says:

      Good GOD what the fray did you expect from a RECAP?!

      • Cathy says:

        Well some of us googled ‘revenge recap’ and the first hit was this recap but the title was ‘did Carrie and Saul die in car explosion?’ I usually don’t get mad at getting spoiled bc I don’t go out of my way to avoid them but I specifically did not go on tvline directly for that reason and got spoiled by an alternate title on google? Not cool tvline, not cool.

  30. alittleanarchy says:

    Saul wasn’t comforting him by singing him SOME ISLAMIC LULLABY FOOL. He said to him “everything will be fine” in either urdu or hindi, I’m not 100% sure. How idiotic is this writer?!

  31. Richard Wall says:

    I think both Carrie and Saul survive and this is definitely one of the better episodes

  32. Vee says:

    The most riviting and shocking of series. just hope Sauls wife Mira, didn’t have a hand in this, she was hanging out with some strange guy previously and looked like more than an affair. Weird timing, cell phone and missiles strike. Hope Carrie is not dead, Saul either.

  33. Ronnie Anglin says:

    The best episode next to the one where the terrorists blew up the CIA headquarter. The agency is 0 and 2 or protecting their self. Can not wait in 2 week to see who live or die.

  34. NightsWatch says:

    The best episode Homeland has produced so far… I am just wondering how the hell they (whoever they are.. definitely much more than Haqqnis) managed to launch a missile on CIA convoy in the middle of the city.

  35. I figured Saul would coo some kind of Hebrew, not islamic, lullaby. Don’t you think?

  36. kahn to the embassy rescue? car attack happened so fast, but i thought the explosion was from the rocket hitting the other car(s). need to see it again.

  37. Nicole says:

    Absolutely hands down the best television Iv watched in a long time

  38. Fan says:

    It is impossible to believe that that tunnel is not surveilled and alarmed. And not ALL the marines would have gone out to the convoy blast site. (Although I was shocked earlier this season that Carrie’s apt at the Embassy did not have its own security system.)

  39. Omar says:

    All I have to say about Homeland Season 4 is that it’s the WORST researched show I have seen in my ENTIRE LIFE! Simple things like what the people look like, or how the language is spoken (for frick’s sake, don’t use Google Translate – hire a script consultant!), it’s all laughably bad. As a Pakistani, I can only find it insanely amusing.

    It’s like making a show based in Britain where everyone speaks grammatically incorrect Shakespearean English, and looks like they’re from Africa (people from the North of Pakistan tend to actually fair skinned and often blonde and blue eyed). Hilllarious!!

  40. David says:

    What Saul said to the boy wasn’t an Islamic prayer … it was ‘sab kuch theek ho jayega’ which stands for ‘everything is gonna be all right”. Cheers !

  41. Sonny says:

    I guess that Martha and Lockhart and other people of the embassy leave the embassy before Haqqani and his men reach the embassy’s offices. That’s the only wise decision to take since they know Haqqani coming in a few minutes.
    Concerning the attacked convoy, Carrie, John and Saul are safe because they can’t kill these three in one episode.
    Great episode so far. reminds me of season 2’s finale with the bombing of the CIA, when we have no reason to expect something dramatic happen!

  42. sandy hsro says:

    I hope Carrie is alive

  43. Derek StJohn says:

    Totally enthralled with Homeland, again. Every episode knocks the ball out of the park. And, it’s amazing how they produce so much tension in each episode. Storytelling-wise, the show manages to duplicate Real Life in the Middle East: the characters are in constant reactive mode, never knowing “what” new horror awaits them, who their friends or enemies are, and living in an environment where no place is safe.

    Lastly, got to give a shout-out to the writers for Carrie’s Journey: from a heartless mother who almost drown her own infant child & was the “drone queen”, to the “soul” of the show; who, like Quinn in the beginning episodes, is questioning the price we must pay to “win” in the Middle East. It’s now Carrie, not Saul, who is less fanatical. It’s truly thought-provoking.

  44. TL says:

    THAT was a stunning episode! And, with numerous scenes in it to credit…you can give Claire Danes another EMMY.

  45. Mel says:

    I can’t remember the last time any show pulled so much emotion out of me! Holy frak! This was brilliant. And Clair Danes and Many Patinkin are amazing.

  46. Zenobia Jackson says:

    I think it’s safe to say “Homeland is Back” After all of the Brody family drama and Carrie’s ill conceived affair with the med student…the show is on track. This was a phenomenal episode. Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes both deserve Emmys for this season.

  47. agent86 says:

    The Homeland folks have definitely stepped up their game. But sending the entire Marine detachment is hard to believe.

  48. John Moshier says:

    blew me away who will live mandy I don’t know he usually doesn’t stay on a show long so he might be gone but there not gonna kill carrie

  49. Sabrina says:

    Great episode. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • jaycag says:

      The last few episodes especially have featured stellar writing coupled with brilliant performances. Difficult to figure out what direction to take. the Brody ending was unexpected and groundbreaking do anything goes. Both frustrating and thrilling – which is why it’s such an amazing show!

      okay my 2 cents…I think Saul survived and Carrie is in a coma or at least incompacitated in some way. This wil probably send Quinn into attack mode. Also a good chance that Lockhart is killed or taken prisoner during the raid on the embassy, which would leave Saul in charge (As a backstory resulting in additional friction with his wife)

      or… could have all been another pill induced dream by Carrie lol

  50. gg says:

    Karen’s boyfriend from Smash is on Elementary didnt think they were the same guy I also let my guard down you weren’t alone lol