Homeland Recap: 308, Personal Time

 Posted by on November 19, 2013 at 8:00 am  Homeland
Nov 192013

Episode 308This week on Homeland, everybody needs a few days off, no one wants to say why, and we’re all running out of time. Which brings up something I notice even at my boring job: the more aware we become of time draining away from us, the more liberties we try to take with it. Why do you make us do this, Carrie Mathison?! 

For once, Carrie’s not alone in pushing it. Everybody pushes: Saul, Fara, Creepy Lawyer Guy, even Mira. The only people who doesn’t try to force their (or anyone else’s) hands this week are the long-suffering Quinn, and Brody.

Saul wants to go away with his wife. He has meetings, and there’s this thing he has to do in Venezuela, but then for sure he wants a romantic vacation. But first! Gotta go sell the Chief of Staff on his pie-in-the-sky plan for Iranian “regime change” (he’s still acting director for nine days, dammit!), then call in his most precious offshore asset for one last operation.

Mira needs the logistics of Saul’s meetings and upcoming field trips — when? For how long? — because she has to dump her boyfriend. She schedules that errand like it’s a haircut, and in a way it is.

Fara doesn’t even ask for time off: she just gets as far as the parking lot and finds she can’t make herself get out of the car. After two days out, the bureau finally comes looking for her at home, where she’s taken over caring for her ailing but still mentally sharp Dad.

If you work at the bank, why are we not rich? – Papa Sherazi

Creepy Lawyer Guy Bennett — the one guy in this equation who probably is rich, and has more resources than responsibilities in any case — wants information, and a little time to figure out his CYA play.

He needs to know what part of the firm is under investigation, and what he can do to protect himself. – Stalking Horse Franklin

It seems Dar Adal knows Bennett from some past darknet business; the former tells the latter that his firm is under investigation. It falls to Franklin (our intermediary between the dirty money and the white shoes) to reach out to Carrie for some background information. He likes to have these conversations in churches, which means either that he has no taste for the outdoors or he doesn’t know how much nuns love to eavesdrop.

Carrie, of course, needs all the time you have. She’s officially in her second trimester now, and not at all excited to be there:

I haven’t been painting a nursery. Let’s put it that way. – Carrie

What she needs from her requested “personal time,” we gather, is to deal with “a father situation.” I’m trying not to hope we see Hot Ginger from the supermarket again, because the math tells me the father is Brody. Whoever it is, he’ll have to wait: Carrie has an investigation to impede. There’s so much going on, you see. She has to find a way to mess up as many plans as she can before the baby comes.

Because the other thing Carrie needs — still! — is to prove that Nicholas Brody is not the 12-12 bomber. She can only do this by finding and capturing The Real Bomber, a mythical creature holed up in room 220 of some motel in Lynchburg. Never mind that the rest of the CIA needs the operation to continue.

Which brings us to Quinn. Quinn’s needs are simple: he needs to know what the operation demands of him and he needs it to be successful, so he can quit the CIA and spend his life making fruitcakes in a monastery somewhere. Most of all, he needs Carrie Mathison to stay the hell out of trouble. For once. Just for one week, one stinking day, for the love of God!

Listen to the man, Carrie. … Carrie, I will take the shot! – Quinn

What else can he do? And what can he say to Carrie, when he’s binding up the wound that he gave her and she yells, “something’s going on, none of this makes sense”? Remind her of what happens to people who routinely ignore direct orders? Agree that it’s strange that Saul isn’t there?

Because it is strange. Stranger still: Saul is meeting the wrecked Nick Brody, in that godforsaken Tower of David. And he’s got plans for him.

This week’s Closing Thoughts:

You people have NO IDEA how hard it was to find a key photo of Quinn that didn’t depict him all square-jawed and intense, staring into the middle distance with his shirt unbuttoned. Clean it up, Homeland! The man’s your sniper, not your pool boy.

There’s trouble in Carrie-and-Saul land. Carrie’s got questions for her boss about Javadi (“Why would he tell us two different stories?”), and he’s in no particular hurry to answer them. This pisses Carrie off.

You seem entirely indifferent to catching the actual bomber. – Carrie to Saul

Saul’s still high on his own certainty: so pleased with his Javadi plan that he seems not to need to check on the guy he turned. “I know the man,” he assures the Chief of Staff. “He knows the game.” Spoken more like an executive than a spy, Saul! Where’s that famous caution?

Mira sure hasn’t got it. Mira’s boyfriend claims he loves her, but what he’s really after is whatever he can find on the computer she shares with her husband. Yikes.

“Bennett’s clean. He works through a cut out.” Thanks to this episode, I now know that an espionage cut out is “a mutually trusted intermediary, method or channel of communication, facilitating the exchange of information between agents.” Thank you, Wikipedia and Homeland!

Do we miss Dana? A lot of you will be all, Hell no, every week I can get away from that kid is a blessed thing, but I do kind of wonder how the New Dana Brody Lazaro is faring with Angela. I also wonder if anyone’s bothered to notice that Mike the Marine is again missing (doubtless digging up more dirt, on Angela this time).

Great use of the title poem. It’s not William Carlos Williams’s coolest (that would be “This Is Just To Say,” the loveliest confession anyone ever made). Still, it’s excellent in this context: implying that Carrie herself is The Red Wheelbarrow, the one element that ties this picture together.

The poem is also a cryptic text message. When Carrie sees it on her Secret Spy Phone — “So much depends on …”, she dutifully types in the next line: “A red wheel barrow.” We don’t know who’s sent her the text; we don’t know why. I find the not-knowing pretty cool.


  28 Responses to “Homeland Recap: 308, Personal Time”

  1. I’ve never read either of those poems, and they’re both beautiful, thank you.


    Thought one: I was so PLEASED to see Carrie get shot. Stop disobeying orders, Carrie! It really is time someone stopped her.

    That wasn’t computer data being stolen, that was a bomb being planted. Boyfriend switched the mouse for an identical one, then sat outside with a phone. At first I was like, angry lover blowing up girlfriend? But no, he’s an agent seducteur. Now, who would send someone to seduce Saul’s wife? I’m thinking Javadi. I’m thinking the purpose of dropping the information on Brody was to send Saul looking for Brody so that he could get this bomb planted.

    The head of the CIA doesn’t have security in his residence? Alarms? Cameras? LOCKS FERFUXAKE?

    Lithium: http://www.drugs.com/pregnancy/lithium.html
    “Lithium has been assigned to pregnancy category D by the FDA. Use of lithium in the first trimester has been associated with congenital defects, particularly cardiac defects such as Ebstein’s anomaly, although recent studies (including a prospective study of 148 women on lithium) have concluded that lithium is not a major human teratogen. Lithium toxicity (such as cyanosis, hypotonia, atrial flutter and bradycardia) has been reported in neonates whose mothers took lithium during pregnancy. ”

    Carry and Acid Throwing Franklin were communicating via text in code. Why then did NO ONE guess that “out of the country” might also be code?


      Quinn warned Carrie, personally. Twice: calling her by name both times. Still she got out of the multipurpose VirgilVan; still she went right for room 220. Girl’s either pathologically accustomed to the indulgence of others, or she believes she is literally bulletproof.

      You blew my mind with your idea of Javadi engineering Mira’s affair. If this is true, it’s the longest con we’ve seen yet: Mira met “Alan Bernard” (so obviously not his real name!) in India, while she and Saul were separated, before Brody was elected to Congress. We already know that Saul and Javadi go way back — but if we really need to understand that there’s no love lost between them, this would make it crystal clear.

      OF COURSE Saul doesn’t have any kind of home security. This is Homeland Washington, the doggie door to the First World.

      I don’t know enough about lithium to voice an opinion on its use in pregnancy. My doctor talks a lot about how it’s more important to stabilize the mother than worry about the long-term effects on the developing fetus (a suicidal person may not make it to term). Still, he’s speaking of antidepressants, not antipsychotics — and the people he’s talking about are engaged in their pregnancies. I see Carrie as ambivalent about hers, particularly when her doctor reminds her that she’s not the only tenant of her body anymore.

      In that moment, Carrie looks annoyed — then she dismisses the thought. She seems to regard her fetus as something she’s carrying for someone else: she’ll drop it at some point, one way or another, and continue on her jagged solo trajectory. Loose cannons gotta fire.

      Finally, I knew what CLG meant when he told Franklin to “get [The Real Bomber] out”. If I knew that meant “shoot him in the head,” why didn’t the CIA?!

      • Doggie door to the First World! AAAhaahahahahahah!

        That is a long con–I hadn’t thought it was going on that long. Maybe loverboy was recruited after the fact. But that was a bomb.

    • Great recap, Anne.

      Deborah, I totally agree about the lithium. Yikes, that ultrasound–as I recall, 13 weeks is a bit early to be able to visually identify fetal gender. Also, they usually do internal (transvaginal) ultrasounds at that point, don’t they? Not that one expects Homeland to get that personal!

      And as for the drinking…well, there is drinking a lot, and there is drinking so much, one’s rubbish bin is brimming with empty tequila bottles (Carrie’s dad once observed the quantity). She was buying it in bulk when she met Hot Ginger. OB’s I know would be a lot more concerned than Carrie’s doctor seemed to be, about the lithium *and* all the booze.

      Another of my nitpicks for this episode: Franklin, and for that matter Bennett, are supposed to be under the impression that Carrie was completely discredited by the CIA–in fact, the agency had her committed and for all they know, wanted her to remain in the hospital (Bennett et. al. were the ones who arranged for her to be released). She certainly wouldn’t be expected to have much of a security clearance any more, or be working for/with them still, right?

      Yet Franklin blithely tells her to find out why Bennett is being investigated, details please, so he can protect himself. As if a thoroughly discredited, thrown-under-the-bus ex-agent would be privy to such sensitive information and could report back with it so quickly. The writers could have easily handled this by having Carrie say something to the effect of, “Well, I don’t work there any more, as you know, but I can perhaps lean one of my remaining friends, see if I can get a bit more information without raising any red flags”. But they didn’t. Very sloppy.

      • Thank you! I was thinking about that last night, but you beat me to the post. When did Skummy, Lawyer, and Assoc. find out that Carrie was back in the CIA’s good graces? (Well, at least prior to the employee-discipline-by-high-powered-rifle moment.) Wasn’t the whole point of the ruse that Carrie was on the outs?

    • “The head of the CIA doesn’t have security in his residence?” EXACTLY.
      Homeland completely flying off the rails, again. Again!
      Even Danes’ acting won’t keep me there much longer.
      At least the suffocating Dana-knower-of-all-truth is silenced, for now.
      Creepy lawyer guy looks, is written as some stock John Grisham baddie. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  2. I don’t know how I feel about this baby subplot.
    On the one hand, it’s not the Brody family subplot, so that’s good. I don’t miss Dana in the littlest bit.
    On the other hand, I’m not sure I really want to see Carrie’s parenting skills in action. It’s probably not going to be pretty.

    I get the show’s intention, though. It’s yet another way for the writers to get Carrie off her meds so she can go all certifiable (while still figuring everything out right before being hospitalized).

    If she ends up birthing this new little bundle of crazy, I hope she learns how to run into danger, pushing a stroller. She could use the kid as a sheild so Quinn doesn’t shoot her again.

    • Some might argue that with Dana Scully’s pregnancy on the X-files, the shark-tank was being wheeled in.

  3. Margaret wants a new TV this holiday season ( yeah Thanksgivinkah b*tch!)…so maybe I’ll have the satisfaction of being able to throw stuff at the screen when watching this show.
    Saul is the AD-CIA–there’s no security detail on his house? REALLY?
    Saul is the AD-CIA–would he really use his home computer for work? Would his house not be swept for bugs like every other day? REALLY?
    Saul is the AD-CIA–does he have to be personally on-site for every mission? REALLY?
    Saul is the AD-CIA–does he really have the security leeway to take a secret trip to Venezuela? No one else can go bring back Brody? REALLY?
    I could just go on…if I start thinking about Carrie and her insubordination my head might explode…

    • I agree about the security detail but again, THAT’S NOT A BUG IT’S A BOMB. I swear. Honest. I’m so sure. I’m prepared to eat crow if I’m wrong.

      • If it’s a bomb, the loverboy is likely Lockhart’s. I’m starting to think Lockhart is behind the CIA bombing, too. I still want to know more about “The Northern Foundation” that is the point of connection between Dar Adal and Leland Bennett. This kind of domestic intrigue mirrors the Iran regime change plot nicely.

      • But even if it IS a bomb, my astonishment is still in place…
        Because, obviously, in Doggie Door D.C., no one would ever think that the heads of govt agencies would be targets or anything. ESPECIALLY just a few weeks after his own agency was blown to smithereens…

        • Prepare to eat crow. There’s no way it’s a bomb.
          Besides. Saul is the mole. So, why would his house get bombed?

          • It does seem to be more of a surveillance device — a transmitter for a camera with audio in the kitchen + probably at least a keystroke and click tracker on the desktop computer.

        • oops… meant to reply to Deborah… 😮

      • I’m seeing a delicious Christmas TurCrowDen in your future.


    • Quinn took a page from Hawaii Five-Oh (sixties version with Jack Lord, of course: “Wing ‘im Danno”) when he shot Carrie in the bicep (everyone would have been pissed if she had kept going).

      I suppose a security detail would prevent an A-Saul-ination…

      …. but there’s no risk to the nation’s secrets. Let ’em bug the joint and hack Mira’s PC (the “mouse” is *not* a bomb) – Saul would not bring work home, even if he wanted to.

      Of course it’s dumb that Saul personally took a trip to fetch Brody.

      Do Ob-Gyn’s (or was she a only an imaging technician?) always lay that kind of a guilt trip on their pregnant clients?

      Shouldn’t the Senate Committee on Intelligence be told that the Director nominee was ready to sabotage Operation Javadi? That one seems almost treasonous.

      What was in those jugs – poured into the tub with the now-dead bomber? Oh, something like the stuff Walt White used to disappear his dead enemies (good thing we had Breaking Bad).

      • …Something like the stuff….
        This goes back to The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian blackmails Adrian Singleton into making the body of Basil Hallward disappear. Better living through chemistry.

      • …wing ’em Danno….
        Also, The Living Daylights with Bond, James Bond. (Both original and Movie.) Also, the X-Files, where Scully shot Mulder to keep him from killing Alex Krychek, who had murdered his father.

      • The stuff Jesse poured into the tub ate through it and even through the floor, much to the chagrin of Walter White. So I don’t know what the stuff was in Homeland.

        • The program The Myth Busters tested that and found that the same acid did not eat through a porcelain bathtub, I believe. Someone on the internet states that it would eat through a fiberglass tub, taking several days.

  4. First, thanks from all of us old English/Comp Lit majors for the Great American Poets references. T.S. Eliot, then William Carlos Williams. Nice.

    I’m more convinced than ever that the writers have been inspired by LeCarre’s George Smiley in creating Saul’s storyline. Now (spoiler alert for those who have neither read “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” nor seen the movie) they are using his wife’s infidelity against him. Where the mole in TTSS hid in plain sight, letting Smiley think his secret was that he was cuckolding Smiley, Mira’s lover is … well, I’m not quite sure what his plan was/is. I don’t think he was planting a bomb (sorry Deb). And if he was planning to use access to the Berenson home to plant electronic devices, he was able to get in anyway (agreed on the ridiculous lack of security) after Mira gave him the kiss-off, so what was the point of the affair? And what could he possibly find on Saul’s home computer anyway?

    Still, I think all of this will be answered, since they finally gave us a great payoff on Why Is Brody Being Held In Caracas. It was Saul who arranged it! He does play a great long game. Can’t wait to see how all of this will lead to regime change in Iran I will continue to think of him as a genius of espionage, at least until it all falls through. My next question: Did Carrie know that Saul ws hiding Brody? And did Saul know that Carrie helped him escape?

  5. I just read an interview with one of the showrunners that said this season has been carefully planned out, more so than any other. That just boggles my mind.

    Can anyone tell me how Saul knew where Brody was? Was I in the kitchen when that information was given? Because I thought *Carrie* was the one who would have tried to keep track of Brody, and I was really surprised when it was Saul who showed up at the Tower of David with the money. I truly guess that I was not paying enough attention.

    • Can anyone tell me how Saul knew where Brody was? Was I in the kitchen when that information was given? Because I thought *Carrie* was the one who would have tried to keep track of Brody, and I was really surprised when it was Saul who showed up at the Tower of David with the money. I truly guess that I was not paying enough attention.

      The surprise was intentional, they didn’t give an inkling that Saul knew (though that was something I wondered about when the Tower of David Boss, Spiderneck Tattoo, wouldn’t let him leave). The question it raises now is: Did Carrie tell Saul right from the start that she helped Brody get away? How else would he know where Brody was, what path he had taken that ended in Caracas?

  6. Would anyone support my theory that Chris Brody is actually a ghost? It would explain a lot.

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