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

Meanwhile, Saul and Dar Adal gravely confer about CIA’s future in a scene that would work perfectly for the Saul/Dar Adal spinoff we wish could happen but would probably be impossible (The Saul and Dar Adal ShowThe Dar Ad-Saul ShowTwo Probably-Not-Broke Badasses? Ahem, moving on...). Saul seems to believe the government remains on the agency’s side, but Dar Adal disagrees, pointing out how the headquarters still looks like a crater almost two months after the attack. “So we’re being punished,” Saul says, before heading to a briefing on an op about to take place in multiple locations, including a hit in Caracas, Venezuela.

So that's where Peter Quinn is -- we caught a glimpse of him there earlier, assembling an apparatus of some sort and readying his weapons. It turns out he's one piece of Saul's plan to hit six targets at the same time around the world within a 20-minute time frame.

But none of those targets is Brody, complains a government representative at the briefing, and getting Brody would mean “closure.” Too bad, government rep: Brody’s nowhere to be found, and Saul says their new target is an Iranian named Javadi, who reportedly disappeared in 1994, was behind a bombing that killed 85 people, and works for someone under the alias of “The Magician.” Could it be… a new Big Bad?

The government rep couldn't care less about the six targets in Javadi’s network and just wants the mission to move forward. “Do I get a green light? Do I get to sign off? Have we decided?” he asks, one “Are we there yet?” away from acting like an overeager child.

“We’re still deciding,” Saul says, glancing at Dar Adal, who sighs at his partner’s indecisiveness. Saul has always liked to think things through, to plan as carefully as possible before ordering a hit, but sitting at the top of the agency and having to make heavy choices isn’t suiting him.

At home, things aren’t much better for Saul. Before, he’s been able to separate his life at work, dealing with Carrie and Estes, from his life at home. But this hour’s Saul can barely keep the two apart -- his wife Mira’s back, and she can tell how stuck he feels. “I never asked for this job,” Saul tells her.

“You do everything you can to avoid making a decision,” she replies. “It’s paralyzing you.”

The scene starts off tense, with the shaky camera lingering by the doorway and showing us the iciness between the couple as Saul holds his head in his hands. But it ends with Saul and Mira having an almost intimate moment before she says good night, turns, and leaves for her room.

It’s heartbreaking to see Saul so exposed, an unwitting leader afraid of the position he’s in and knowing that the easiest route for the agency would be to have a successful op and to cast the blame of the bombing somewhere else. But where? We’ll get to that.

NEXT: "What did the optimist say as he was jumping off the building?"

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