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

While Saul was stuck brooding in the CIA basement, Carrie was bouncing around the greater D.C. area proving once more just how invaluably crazy she can be. We picked up right where we left off last week, with Carrie stumbling through the abandoned industrial center in a half-mad hunt for Abu Nazir. Among the many complaints about last week's episode, the one about Carrie's decision to go back after Nazir struck me as the least credible. It is completely in character for Carrie to risk her own safety in service of capturing Nazir, and with the man so desperately close, it would be wildly out of character for Carrie to just wait around for the CIA to arrive.

For one brief moment, Carrie caught sight of a figure down a long hallway, but after stumbling to the ground, her pursuit led her only to blinding glare of law enforcement spotlights outside. Peter Quinn was waiting for her — along with Danny Galvez, more on him later — and as he guided Carrie to the medic, he had one natural question for her: "How did you get away?" I thought it really odd last week when the show never once clocked Carrie deciding not to warn anyone of the vice president's impending demise. But I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that her supreme loyalty to Brody is now a given. After Quinn asked her that question, however, and revealed that the vice president had indeed died from a malfunctioning pacemaker (more on this later, too), we finally got to see Carrie take in just what she had done: Choose Brody's life over the vice president's. She did not seem thrilled by her decision.

With a blanket over her shoulder and a cursory tending to by an EMT, Carrie called Brody to try to sort out their story, but he put it off by sharing his sincere relief that she was safe. So all Carrie could do was take advantage of the unbelievably strong cellular signal in the area to watch a streaming video report about Walden's death on her phone. (Quinn's comment on the vice president's paltry bio — "You'd think they'd find something more vivid to say than he played football in college" — felt like the first of several nods to fan commentary about this season, namely that Walden was never much more than a one-dimensional cynic.) In short order, Carrie became alarmed that Quinn's team could find no trace of Nazir inside the factory. She was absolutely certain that she saw Nazir — "I was right on his heels," she told Quinn, even though that's not quite how the show itself depicted her experience. Quinn fixed her with a long stare, trying to ascertain the same thing I was: Was this the über-competent Carrie speaking, or the über-crazy one? Right up until Carrie stood over Nazir's body, I was never entirely sure myself, but Quinn was confident enough in her to at least try for another sweep.

When he came up empty a second time, Carrie took to interrogating one of the tactical teams, a move that offended Quinn's own background as an ex-special ops soldier. So Carrie returned to my own favorite Homeland bug-a-boo, the CIA mole. Carrie pointed out that their operation was off grid because they'd been having leaks all along the way — well, that, and Estes needed to keep Brody's involvement off the vice president's radar — so who from inside their operation had been leading the search in the factory? Me, said Quinn. Carrie asked about anyone else. "Does that mean you trust me?" asked Quinn. Carrie moved on without answering, leading to an embarrassing interlude in which the sudden realization that Galvez could be the mole ended in Galvez on the gravel with Carrie screaming questions about Nazir at him while his popped stitches oozed blood. Whoops! Way to rip into the guy who risked his life to find you, Carrie!

So I guess that means Galvez is not the mole. (Fan service #2: Carrie and Quinn's quick caucus on Galvez's feasibility as the mole played like a transcription from one of hundreds of Homeland message board debates.) We may never get a satisfactory answer to this particular mystery, I'm afraid, though before I move on, I feel obligated to point out that it is quite odd that Quinn never noticed the false wall obscuring Nazir's hiding place, especially since Carrie noticed it almost immediately.

NEXT PAGE: Carrie blows her interrogation of Roya

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