Homeland season premiere recap: The Woman Behind the Curtain

Carrie returns with the CIA under investigation, while Saul struggles to run the agency
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 29, 2013

WHEN IN CARACAS... Peter Quinn once dubbed himself the "guy who kills bad guys," but his op in Venezuela goes awry. Though he only had a few lines this episode, I have a feeling the writers have more in store for him.

Kent Smith/Showtime

We open with Carrie being viciously questioned by a committee investigating the CIA’s ability to run as an agency. It’s been 58 days since the attack on Langley, and she’s swearing she’ll tell the committee the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help her God.

But things are never that easy for Carrie. She deflects the early questions from the committee chairman, Sen. Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts), who insists the CIA is “in tatters,” but begins to falter when he bluntly asks, “How can the CIA be expected to protect this country when it can’t even protect itself?”

Carrie doesn’t have an answer -- strike one. He presses further, asking what her job was as the point person for Abu Nazir’s task force -- was she there to anticipate an attack from the terrorist mastermind?

And again, Carrie can only gape at him before turning the blame on herself. “If you’re asking, did he outsmart me? Yes, he did,” she admits. “If you’re asking, will I ever forgive myself? No, I won’t.”

Strike two. The committee then twists the knife some more, producing a Defense Department memo that shows the CIA granted Brody immunity, catching Carrie off guard. She lies, saying she has never seen the document before, and as the committee continues to question her about it, she breaks, her mask collapsing, blurting out that she believes Brody is innocent.

Strike three.

The committee is silent for a moment, before Lockhart leans in and peers at Carrie. “What’s she going to say next, that we never landed on the moon?” he asks. “What is it you’re smoking, Ms. Mathison?”

Instead of answering, Carrie calls and confronts Saul about the memo, which clearly indicates a leak in the agency. (But who would want to do that to Carrie? Dar Adal? A new villain?) As Carrie catches her breath outside, her lawyer waits and picks up Carrie’s notebook, its pages covered in scribbles trying to cobble together an explanation for the attack.

And those disjointed thoughts span beyond Carrie’s notebook -- her charts and diagrams have reached her Wall of Conspiracy at home. I clapped at the Wall's return, with all the pins and pieces of paper, but Carrie’s dad isn’t a fan of her work. She’s gone off her meds, thinking that she couldn’t see the bombing plot because she had been medicating.

"I let it happen. I wasn’t myself, I was only half there," she pleads. "It was right in front of my eyes, and I never saw it coming."

Carrie can be convincing in front of the committee, but at home, she struggles with survivor’s guilt, feebly telling her father, “It’s all good.” I have a feeling that alternative medicine’s not going to hold for long.

NEXT: Better make a call, Saul...

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