Fifty nine days have passed since the bombing of the CIA headquarters, which resulted in the death of 219 people. A clean, simple, well written and well executed third season premiere of Homeland picks up there, and establishes the season’s major battlegrounds: The CIA vs. Congress, Saul vs. Carrie, and Dana vs. the that F*#$#@ asshole from Dexter. If Alex Gansa can keep the series in check, slow down the pacing, and take his time chewing through plot, it very well could be a return to season one form.
Let’s take a look at where we stand.
Carrie Mathison — “If you’re asking if he outsmarted me, yes he did. If you’re asking if I will ever forgive myself, no I won’t.” That’s where Carrie Mathison begins the episode, sitting in front of Congress, and answering questions from Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts), who is determined to bury both Carrie Mathison and the CIA. Over the course of the episode, Lockhart — who is being leaked information from someone — presents the CIA immunity agreement with Brody, and later blows up Carrie’s alibi for the 14 hours following the bombing. She claims she was knocked unconcious in the ladies restroom, while he suggests that witnesses saw her leaving with Brody following the bombing.
Mathison suggests that Brody had been set up, and that he had no idea the bomb had been placed in his car. Lockhart suggests she is smoking something, while Mathison’s own attorney tells her that nobody wants to hear that Brody is innocent and the argument is undermining her credibility. Mathison eventually asserts her 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. THE WITCH HUNT IS ON.
Meanwhile, Mathison admits to her Dad that she’s off her meds, and it’s apparent after she takes home and bangs a rando she met at the liquor store. After the media reports that an unidentified case officer may have been sleeping with Brody, Mathison tracks down Saul in a restaurant and goes ballistic, blaming Saul and his lapdog, black ops leader Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) for the leak.
Dana Brody — With Brody on the run, it’s not clear why there even needs to be a focus on the Brody clan, but Morena Baccarin’s Jessica Brody is a popular character on the show, and I suppose the writers need a B-plot to slow things down, although the Dana plot was the weakest part of last season. We learn that Dana attempted suicide after Brody was implicated in the bombing. At the beginning of the episode, she is leaving a 12-step program, where she met a guy, Leo Carras (Sam Underwood, who played Zack on f#$%@^$ Dexter , who is nothing but bad news. Naturally, the two are already exchanging topless texts.
Meanwhile, Jessica’s Mom is helping out, since Jessica had to take an office job. Jessica’s Mom is awful. She thinks Jessica should bring a lawsuit agains the government, and she also thinks that Dan’s suicide attempt was a cry for attention. Dana overhears her say, “If she had really tried to kill herself, she’d be dead.” You know what? Grandma can go screw.
Saul — Saul, who has been named the acting director of the CIA since everyone else in Langley is dead, is taking all the heat for the bombing. His marriage is still on shaky ground (he and his wife are talking, but sleeping in separate beds), and he’s trying to save the CIA from dissolution, which appears to be the endgame for Senator Lockhart. Saul has no idea where Brody is; he’s identified their top target as the Iranian, Javadi, who is the ringleader behind the CIA bombing, and has no idea where he is, either. In the meantime, knowing that another f**k-up would be fatal, Saul needs a win. Along with Dar Adal, he executes the assassination of six civilians behind the terrorist bombing, which is flawless save for one problem: Quinn accidentally kills a kid.
Not for nothing, too, but Quinn’s mission felt a little too 24 for my tastes.
Senator Andrew Lockhart continues to be a pain in the ass, anyway, minimizing the mission as a “convenient” assassination of civilians, and when Lockhart brings up allegations about the case officer who slept with Brody, Saul completely throws her under the bus, the backs over her again. He says that it was outside the agency, that Carrie is”unstable, bipolar, concealed her condition,” and that Carrie concealed from him the fact that she was sleeping with Brody.
Carrie, watching on television from home, is furious and, because she is Carrie, she is also crying.
Brody Watch — On the lam. Whereabouts unknown.
Body Count: Seven, including six civilian terrorists and a kid. We are unfortunately not given a lot of detail on those targets, which made it seem more like a plot contrivance than an organic result of the Langley bombing.
Carrie’s Mental Breakdown Watch: Two mental lapses, the first when she bangs a rando, and the second when she explodes on Saul. There was a third more subdued breakdown when Saul slipped her under the bus tires.
— Who is the leak? Is it Dar Adal? Could it somehow be Quinn?
— Can Saul repair his relationship with Carrie after this? Will he even want to? Can Carrie even operate as a case officer at this point? Or was throwing Carrie under the bus calculated in some way to help Carrie? Did Saul do it in order to either nullify the leak, or to help draw the leak out?
— Why did they have to cast Zach from Dexter, and how could Dana’s relationship with him possibly weave into the main storyline?
— Where’s Mike? I know that he’s on The Blacklist now and not expected to be on Homeland this year, but are they even going to address his absence?
— Not a bad joke, Dana. You may not be worthless this season, after all.