Image credit: Kent Smith/Showtime
CARRIE, GET YOUR GUN Carrie is at the top of her game this episode, but it's too bad the hour's not about her -- it's about Saul and Javadi. And the conflict between the two men escalates all the way to the final minute, with a punch to the face. Despite what Saul believes, this op was never going to be easy.
Following that exhausting scene, Saul's forced to concede the double murder to the police because his team's too late to clean it up. He's also forced to admit that Javadi just succeeded in killing the people he had helped escape Iran all those years ago.
Perhaps to clear his head, Saul walks outside the safehouse and watches as Quinn and Carrie pull up with Javadi, whose shirt and hands are still drenched in blood. Saul peers at his foe until Javadi enters the safehouse and walks past a speechless Fara and Max to reach the interrogation room. Quinn, finished with the job, sits and tells the others, "This is just the f--king beginning."
Carrie knows that too, and shakily heads outside. Quinn hands her a drink and asks if she's okay. "I don't know what I am," Carrie replies.
Saul strides past them and leads them inside, directly to Javadi. Saul, Quinn, and Carrie position themselves around their new asset, calling back to the way the interrogation room was set up in last season's "Q&A." This time, the room is not a well-lit CIA hideout -- it's a dusty enclave in an inconspicuous safehouse. And this time, Saul's the one, not Carrie, who's connected with the man they're about to question.
Javadi looks up at them, and Saul asks Quinn to remove the chains. "Stand up," Saul commands. Javadi stretches out, looks Saul up and down, and grins.
"Saul, you don't look like a man who just landed the biggest asset of his career," he snidely remarks.
Saul, in response, strikes Javadi hard in the face with his palm, relishing the sound and the sight of Javadi crumpling to the ground, nose apparently broken. Remember Mira's wish for Saul to release his anger? It's been granted.
Again, this is bloodier than the average Homeland episode, and I'm still wary about the pace. Even so, my immediate reaction to the episode is positive, largely thanks to the way Toub and Mandy Patinkin are playing their what I'm going to call "Magneto/Professor X dynamic" off each other. Clearly the two characters have a complicated history, and they're revealing just enough for us to appreciate what's going on but hiding enough to keep us intrigued. And I'm enjoying it.
What I'm not enjoying is, like I said, the pace, especially the brusque way in which the climax was carried out. It didn't feel like Homeland at all -- it felt like an afterthought. And perhaps it was an afterthought for Javadi, just to go to his ex-wife and carry out two brutal murders before he has to be taken in by the CIA. The Carrie pregnancy is another scene that felt rushed -- again, where did this come from? And this twist definitely isn't an afterthought. You don't make your protagonist pregnant just for kicks.
But perhaps I'm the lone dissenting voice in that regard. I'll admit that the Javadi scene was thrilling and shocking and had me at the edge of my seat. Besides, it underlined again why Javadi's a criminal. And maybe Carrie's pregnancy will bring Brody back into the fold quicker this way. That's assuming he's the father, and we have no confirmation either way.
That's it for my complaints. Otherwise, the episode has left us in a better position that most of the previous ones this season, because we can look forward to more banter between Saul and Javadi and start putting the pieces in place for the show's next movements.
So, congratulations, Carrie and Saul? For the former, on the pregnancy, and for the latter, on getting what he wanted, though it meant collateral damage to carry the mission out.
This leaves us with several new loose ends: what Carrie's pregnancy will mean for her character, what Saul's past with Iran will mean for his showdown with Javadi, and, to me at least, what Dar Adal's game plan will be. Anyone else think his call to Saul didn't explain everything that happened in his meeting with Lockhart? "He's just trying to get his bearings before the big day" sounds like an excuse you tell your boss instead of an explanation.
So what did you make of this installment? What was most shocking to you -- Carrie's drawer full of positive pregnancy tests or Javadi's unforgiving killings of his ex-wife and sister-in-law? (Or was it Chris Brody's extended appearance? Best part of the episode, obviously.) What's Saul going to say to Javadi next week? Make your predictions in the comments below.