Homeland recap: The Beginning of The End

Carrie's hunt for Abu Nazir hits a series of dead-ends, and Jessica and Brody's marriage reaches a milestone
Ep. 11 | Aired Dec 9, 2012

BAD HAIR DAY IS NO BIG THING One thing to keep in mind watching Claire Danes run, crouch, cry, and scream in this week's episode: She's doing it while several months pregnant.

Kent Smith/SHOWTIME

The hunt for Abu Nazir, the mission that has consumed Carrie Mathison and hung over Homeland for two seasons, is over. Ding dong, the terrorist mastermind is dead. And so is the Brody marriage, as the very last thread binding Jessica and Nicholas Brody together — the prospect of a Walden/Brody presidential ticket and a life in the political spotlight — perished with Walden's death in Brody's arms.

From the looks of it, Brody may be joining Walden shortly, if Estes' determination to end his life by Peter Quinn's hand is successful next week. We'll have to wait until then to unpack whether killing Brody off is a good idea just as his love story with Carrie has finally been allowed to flower. (Y'all know where I stand on the subject.) But to start this week's recap, I'd like instead to explore the possible exit of a character I would not have predicted would be on the chopping block come the end of season 2: Saul Berenson.

I don't mean that literally; I don't think Saul's gonna die. But I am still haunted by our introduction last week to the formidable Dar Adal, and his parting insult to Saul: "I'm amazed you lasted this long." And now, at the end of this week's episode, Saul's very existence within the CIA is hanging by just the wiry threads of his most awesome beard.

It started inside an anonymous meeting/interrogation room, when nerdy CIA polygraph administrator Larry (the fabulous James Urbaniak) wheeled in his device and deflected every sour grumble out of Saul with a practiced chipper professionalism. "Saul, we all agree to this," he said. "Section 17.3 of your employment contract." (Somewhere in the pop-culutre multiverse,  Sheldon Cooper just swooned.) Eventually, Saul wanted to cut to the chase: What b.s. line of inquiry was Larry going to be using to keep Saul from seeing through his mission to kill or capture Abu Nazir? Oh, no, I'm just here to set up the equipment, said Larry. And in walked a nameless jock-y CIA agent, holding a folder full of questions and looking like the crypto-bureaucratic version of a hired goon.

From the start, Saul was fantastically hostile. "Is your name Saul Berenson?" asked the goon as a control question. "Yes," Saul answered. "Are you sometimes called 'The Bear'?" the goon asked. "F---in' hope not," Saul answered. (It's warm fuzzy moments like these that endear Saul to my heart.) Soon enough, though, the goon got down to business, asking about Aileen Morgan, the terrorist who killed herself while being questioned by Saul after Saul foolishly left his reading glasses alone in the room with her. Or, as the goon put it to Saul, "Did you provide the weapon that Aileen used to kill herself?"

NEXT PAGE: Estes draws a line in the sand, and all but pushes Saul across it

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