Homeland recap: Sloppy Seconds

Brody's difficulty handling his double agent life brings him closer to Carrie, while Saul revisits an old friend from season 1
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 11, 2012

DADDY'S LITTLE MANSLAUGHTER-ER Dana (Morgan Saylor) finally confesses her role in Finn's deadly hit-and-run accident, and wouldn't you know it, her terrorist-cum-double-agent father (Damien Lewis) takes the news rather well

Kent Smith/Showtime

The sight of Aileen haggard and curled up on her cell room floor immediately sparked Saul's protective instincts, and he granted her request for their interview to unfold upstairs, in a room with three, big windows, with warm bright sunlight pouring through them. She kept her head turned towards those windows as she told Saul about her failing eyesight, the sadistic warden, and that she knew the mysterious man who'd led the bloody raid in Gettysburg. (Until we learn his name — and probably even after we learn his name — I shall be calling this gentleman "Swarthy Boreanaz." Rolls off the tongue, I know!) But when Saul pressed her further, Aileen was resolute: No actionable information would be spilling from her lips until she could be guaranteed "a cell with a view."

"Can you trust me that I can get that for you, and help me now?" asked Saul.

"I don't trust anyone," Aileen replied. Saul should have realized that people who cannot trust anyone generally cannot themselves be trusted. Instead, he marched over the warden's office to make the request in person, and ran smack into what happens when petty men are given their own domain to control. "In this domain," said the warden to Saul, "a big shot from the big city, with his fine credentials and heaven-may-care grooming, just doesn't have the kind of power he's accustomed to." (Saul blanched at the term "heaven-may-care grooming," though I'm not sure if it was because it was a passive-aggressive anti-Semetic dig, or simply a kooky turn-of-phrase.)

While Saul waited for the Attorney General to smack the warden upside the head, he tried to get Aileen to start helping him out. She wouldn't. "I'm not getting f---ed over on this," she seethed. "You're not," said Saul. "You have my word." He fixed her with a stare filled with as much meaning as he could muster, but she wouldn't soften. "I'm sorry I've become this person," she said. "But I have." So Saul brought her contraband to further win her trust: Bread, cheese, and wine. "To your window," said Saul as they toasted their paper cups, and the warm tone in his voice betrayed how sentimental he'd become about Aileen, how much he genuinely cared for her. I think Aileen picked up on this too, because their interrogation suddenly flipped. Aileen brought up their road trip, and asked Saul about his wife, getting him to reveal she was living in Mumbai. She had him so emotionally stirred up that by the time the Attorney General's order arrived, Saul thought nothing of handing his reading glasses to Aileen for her to look over the document. And then, when she finally revealed that Swarthy Boreanaz was named Mohammad al Ghamdi, Saul was so relieved, he raced out of the room without taking his reading glasses with him.

When Quinn led the team that charged into al Ghamdi's home, however, instead of an international terrorist who could pass for a smoldering vampire with a soul, they found a doofy grad student musician who though of himself as the second coming of Coldplay — "Half an idiot," as Quinn put it. He did know Aileen, but because his dad ran her family's security when they lived in Saudi Arabia. Bottom line: Aileen had played Saul. "Why would she do that?" Saul asked, genuinely surprised and hurt. And then it hit him. He raced back into the interrogation room, but it was too late; she'd smashed his glasses, and used the shards to kill herself. "You missed the sunset," she told Saul weakly as he wept over her body. She had weighed the options in front of her, the prospect of a life spent in a tiny concrete hole, and decided that was no life at all. "I just spent the day by the window. Light. Sun. The view. Best last day I could have." And then she was gone.

As narrative, this was a dead-end — they where still, frustratingly nowhere. I think Saul, though, has turned a corner. "I got emotional," he told Quinn back at their HQ. "I wanted to believe her." He stood up and went to the bulletin board. "It was sloppy," he said with self-contempt, moving Aileen's face from the "alive" part of the board to the "dead" part. "I know better." Since Saul had basically sanctioned Carrie to be nothing but emotional when it came to Brody, this was perhaps a long overdue insight. But I also hope that it means Saul's been awakened from the periphery into a more critical role in the coming weeks. I'm liking Peter Quinn the more I see of him — and boy did we see a lot of him this week — but Homeland is at its best when Saul is standing at the front lines.

NEXT: "This thing is on, I'm at the center of it, and I'm in the f---ing dark!"

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