Homeland: Season 4 Episode 9

While remaining glued to the television watching the fourth series of Homeland, three questions lingered.
Firstly, was Brody really dead, Carrie Mathison had indeed witnessed him hanging from the crane in Iran, but had the CIA switch the body? Secondly, if Brody really is dead, will the series have the same impact sans the fallen hero? Lastly will this tip Carrie over the edge while pregnant? 

The answer to the first was revealed in Episode 8 while Carrie Mathison was under a Dennis Boyd medication-switched induced psychosis-trying to crawl into what she thought was the reincarnated body of Brody, but was that of Pakistani Intelligence Officer, Aasar Khan (Raza Jaffrey), with whom Carrie has developed an uneasy alliance.

Pakistani Intelligence Officer Aasar Khan has alerted Carrie to a leak in the Islamabad Embassy

My skepticism about its success  has been allayed. Homeland simply keeps getting better and better. The writing is superb. The action is tense (while slow burning on occasions), the situations each character portrays is poignant and the physical locations take us to the danger filled streets of terror hotspots.

Each character is so flawed that it allows them to do their unsavoury jobs better than any reasoned person. Mathison is such an asset to the CIA. She is CIA Director Andrew Lockhart’s (Tracy Letts) foil as she balances her mania on a knife’s-edge, which is exactly what the he needs. She barely holds her sanity in check. When it appears she has tipped, her actions serve to ingratiate her among her enemies and allies alike. Most potently, she is prepared to take what seems unnecessary risks. Her bipolar condition gives her a heightened sense of situation. Her pregnancy in her mind was justification for capturing and then liberating Brody from his torment.

Tonight Carrie must deal with the consequences of her betrayal of her mentor and father-figure, Saul Berenson. The preceding CIA Chief is recaptured by insurgents after escaping from the clutches of Haqqani. Carrie convinced Saul not to shoot himself, there was hope-be it false.

Inside the US Embassy, Dennis Boyd has been revealed. The Ambassador, Martha Boyd (Laila Robins)-Dennis’ wife now knows of his duplicitous, secret-sharing exploits. Carrie and Station Second-in-Charge, Redmond attempt to force a confession without result. They even enlist Martha Boyd to cajole Dennis to spill-still without success.

Saul’s insistence that he not be a part of the prisoner exchange for 5 of Haqqani’s men is not on Carrie’s agenda. All at the CIA would dearly love to put bullets through the heads of Haqqani’s men, but this would see Saul being executed. Carrie oversees the exchange. She is sure that Haqqani is planning something much bigger.

As insurance, Haqqani sends a boy wearing a suicide bomber’s vest with Saul. We learn that under his tenure at the CIA he was responsible for the death of the boy’s parents in an air strike. Compounding the anxiety of all present is the involvement of ISI Agent Kureishi (Nimrat Kaur), who is Dennis Boyd’s manipulator. She is apparently in league with Haqqani.

The tension that the prisoner exchange injects into this series is what makes this program simply superb. Carrie offers herself up to escort Saul back to safety. She knows they will not shoot her or Haqqani’s men will be wiped out. It is also her opportunity to show Saul her love and respect for his life.

The exchange is made after an excruciating stand-off with Haqqani’s man literally holding the detonator in his hands. Thankfully, Kureishi does not make a move.

Saul takes a call from his wife en-route back to the Embassy. Haqqani plays his hand with a devastating rocket attack on the convoy. Cars are left in flames. Lockhart is faced with the decimation of his station. He profligates with a famous WTTF!

The Embassy’s Marines are scrambled to secure the area around the attack, leaving a skeleton security presence. This allows Haqqani to penetrate the compound through a grate. Kureishi has supplied this intelligence to Haqqani via Dennis.

In a bold, not-a-season-finale move, Homeland now enlists the viewer into the rescue of Carrie and Saul and the defence of the Embassy.

A classic “who will survive” scenario is now in place. I have my combat gear at the ready!