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.
6. Wrong Crime, Right Guy — Meanwhile, the civilian investigation into the death of Javadi’s ex-wife and daughter-in-law quickly turns its focus to Quinn, who had been pictured in a home surveillance video outside of the ex-wife’s home (though, for some reason, neither Carrie nor Javadi were captured). Knowing the CIA was involved, the cops still insisted on questioning Quinn before they put the case to bed. Quinn agrees in order to delay the the investigation until Javadi can get out of the country, and Quinn eventually falsely confesses. While the detective lets it go, he has a few choice words for Quinn and his ilk. “You f**king people. Have you ever done anything except make things worse?” The cops stand down, despite Quinn’s confession. In either respect, confessing makes Quinn feel much better. He’s losing faith in the CIA himself. “I don’t think anything justifies the damage we do,” he tells Carrie.
7. That’s Classified — During a conversation with the police at the investigation scene, Carrie experiences some morning sickness, a reminder that the pregnancy is still in play. The identity of the father, however, remains a mystery. (It’s definitely Brody, right?)
8. Brody Watch — Neither Nicholas Brody (nor Dana Brody, for that matter) appeared in this week’s episode, but Nicholas was a major topic of conversation. Javadi told Saul that Brody was not, in fact, the guy who moved the SUV responsible for the bombing of Langley, saying it was one of Abu Nazir’s men. He reiterated that again to Carrie, but didn’t completely exonerate Brody. “Who do you think gave Abu Nazir’s man the keys?” Only one man knows the truth: Javadi’s oily lawyer, Bennett, who apparently put all the parties together to make the bombing happen. I knew we’d be seeing Martin Donovan again.
9. Senator Lockhart Is NOT a F*ck Monkey — Dar Adal was initially furious that he and Lockhart had been kept out of the loop on the Javadi plan. “He’s the head of the Senate Intelligence Commmittee,” Javadi says. “Not some f*ck monkey.” Eventually, Saul reveals his entire plan to Lockhart, and Lockhart’s response was not exactly heartening. “This is the kind of human intelligence nonsense that led to disaster right here in this building four months ago believing our sworn enemies would magically switch sides.”
“This is a once in a lifetime operation that can change everything,” Saul retorts. “You sound like you’re f**king high,” says Senator Lockhart. Lockhart threatens to call the President and prevent Javadi from escaping. In maybe the funniest moment of the series this year, Saul responds by locking Lockhart in a conference room, and when Lockhart yells at Saul to let him out, Saul says, “Make me!” Now that he’s not playing for the CIA director position, Saul gives no f*cks.
Check out Dar’s expression:
Dar’s allegiances quickly shift, because Dar’s allegiances align with whomever is winning. “You don’t have to explain yourself Saul. You were the goddamn director of the CIA. For ten more days.”
10. I had a good day. Actually, a really good day — After Saul feels some pangs of nostalgia for his days in Tehran with his wife (provoked by his conversation about the old days with Javadi), Saul called up Mira who initially isn’t feeling as nostalgic because she was SLEEPING WITH THE DUDE FROM MUMBAI. By the end of the episode, Saul is asking for forgiveness, and Mira is giving it.