The best thing about last night’s episode of Homeland, besides the fact that Saul pulled of another audacious plot and put Senator Lockhart in his place? No Dana Brody. This is what Homeland looks like without unnecessary distractions: An intense, engrossing espionage chess match, with morally gray people playing off each other in ways that often don’t feel as though they justify the ends. We’re done with Crazy Carrie. The Nicholas romance has been put on the backburner, and the Brody family is nowhere in sight. This was pure Homeland.
1. Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season: Homeland’s episode title, “Gerontion,” appropriately refers to a T.S. Eliot poem that relates to the opinions and impressions of an elderly man through a dramatic monologue, which is appropriate for an episode in which two old men, Saul and Javadi, hash things out. “It is the curse of old men to realize that in the end, we control nothing,” Saul tells Javadi at one point during the episode. “So we lash out.”
(image via Reddit)
Not for nothing, but T.S. Eliot considered using “Gerontion” as the preface to “The Waste Land,” if you’re looking for foreshadowing.
2. Everybody Must Get Stoned: Speaking of Javadi, there was a very simple explanation for why he killed his ex-wife. “She was unfaithful.” In the eyes of God, they were still married. “I should’ve stoned her to death, but you didn’t give me enough time,” Javadi says.
3. “We hit us, we hit you. It’s always the same.” — The real turn in the episode comes when we realize what Saul’s plan for Javadi was all along. He’s tired of the tit-for-tat, bombing for a bombing. Saul is more interested in a long-term solution. He doesn’t care about a few state secrets in exchange for immunity for Javadi, or even to string him up publicly for quick political points. Saul is too smart for that. He wants more than intelligence. He uses his leverage with Javadi, and makes a deal to use him as the CIA’s inside man into the Iranian Intelligence Agency. Saul will be his case officer.
It’s old-school spy games: Espionage and double agents. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy stuff.
4. “What makes you sure I just won’t vanish?” — Why won’t Javadi simply disappear? Because Javadi and Saul go way back. They started something together, and Saul knows that Javadi will want to be around to see it end. Also, because it will somehow put Javadi back into a position of power. Saul puts an awful lot of trust into his instincts here. Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire, because then Senator Lockhart really would have his head. It’s a huge gamble.
5. What’s your point, Saul? That I’ve been brought down by a girl? Fara Sherazi is absolutely livid that this was Saul’s plan all along. Like Senator Lockhart, we learn later, she wanted to put Javadi on trial and have him prosecuted. Maybe also remove his testicles from his person. There was a moment, in fact, where it looked like Fara might have killed him with a pair of scissors. She’s definitely a wild card at this point, and a risk to flip sides, not with the Iranians, with with the similarly short-sighted Senator Lockhart.