Pretty much everyone who writes about Homeland has said that Carrie is a metaphor for U.S. Homeland Security. Bipolar, ruthless, passionate, irrational, smart, and accepted when she should clearly be fired, she is our tangled security policy embodied. Watching From A to B and Back Again, it seemed to me that in the Carrie/Aayan affair, we see America’s crazy relationship with Pakistan; “I love you” during a covert drone operation. And as Aayan is “handled” by his uncle, we see everything the U.S. does and doesn’t understand about Pakistan, and how nuts the whole thing is.
Rest in peace, Aayan. For a medical student, you were remarkably stupid. For the beloved nephew of a terrorist, you were preternaturally naive.
Speaking of naive, Fara, what the hell is wrong with you? YOUR WINDOW WAS OPEN AND YOUR GARBAGE WAS GONE THROUGH, you dope.
From A to B and Back Again was a great episode, full of surprises. Nothing played out the way I expected it to. I never anticipated Duck Philips would be smart enough to follow Fara, or would take his treasonous espionage as far as he did. I didn’t anticipate the reveal on Saul to come the way it did, or as soon as it did. I certainly didn’t foresee the bullet to Aayan’s brain! When the episode ended, I was surprised; the hour had just flown by, and I had been at the edge of my seat the whole time.
At this moment, I don’t know where the spying and counter-spying is taking us. Yes, we could easily see that the break-in was Carrie’s operation, and anticipate that the passport had a tracker. Yes, we could, at some point in the confrontation with Uncle Nepoticide realize that Saul was in the car (but only a few moments before the reveal, to be fair). But now what? Duck Philips is feeding everything to the ISI, who is giving it all to Nepoticide, who probably gave Sandy the information on the family wedding in order to fake his own death. Forget shooting his nephew in the head, this guy arranged for the deaths of half his family in order to bring Sandy down. Is that very different, though, from Carrie saying “take the shot” with Saul visible on camera? Love doesn’t matter when there’s an enemy to kill.
At this point, it’ll be hard to keep Saul alive without being very shark-jumpy, but even though both Saul and Fara have been implausibly stupid, this may be the smartest season of Homeland yet, in terms of its willingness to twist and turn, and stay ahead of the viewer, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I’m genuinely watching because I’m engaged, not because I committed to recapping (although I take the commitment seriously, so you Basketcases should darn well appreciate it).
The hour was so taut, frankly, that I’m running dry of things to say. There’s the fake-out of Aayan, some inter-embassy office politics, the discovery of Saul’s whereabouts, following Aayan, Duck’s break-in, and Quinn being self-righteously angry. Bada-bing, bada-boom, that’s the whole episode.
My thoughts keep going back to Duck Philips. Until tonight, his character was mildly interesting at best, but tonight I was staggered by the size and importance of the secrets he’s betraying. Any number of people could die because of him and his mood has suddenly shifted. He’s no longer pathetic, scared, browbeaten: He’s enjoying himself. He’s getting a kind of academic pleasure in being successful, forgetting on whose behalf he has succeeded. He just likes being smart. In one episode, he went from “loser” to “villain.”
What did you think?