“Homeland” is really boring”
That quote comes from a highly respected television critic; my lovely wife. Not two seconds after last night episode of “Homeland”, titled “Gerontion”, she expressed what many fans of the show are feeling. The show has moved so far from the original dynamic of Carrie and Brody that it is beginning to feel like a completely different show. It would be like if halfway through “CSI” the show started to focus on jaywalking and parking violations.
“Gerontion” drew its title from a T.S. Elliot poem. Here’s the background of the poem from Wikipedia.
The work relates the opinions and impressions of a gerontic, or elderly man, through a dramatic monologue which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th Century.
Saul’s experience last night with the Iranian spy Javadi, and the new incoming CIA director’s reaction to the plan seem to mirror the questions brought up in the poem about the march of technology. Before we delve any deeper into that let’s take a look at the episode, which appears to set up the rest of the season’s drama.
We kicked off the night with Saul putting the finishing touches on turning Javadi into a CIA asset. Javadi attempted to stop the bleeding caused by Saul’s right hand last week while hearing his fate. Instead of staying in the US to face charges for bombing Langley, Saul has decided to send him back to Iran as an asset. Javadi tries to protest, but Saul won’t change his mind. Javadi is going to be his man inside the Iranian regime.
Of course if Javadi isn’t going to jail for the bombing then there isn’t real justice for the victims. Fara, the head scarf analyst, is particularly upset about the idea of Javadi going free, but her complaints reach deaf ears. Saul has made his decision, and no one is going to get in the way of Javadi’s return to Iran. To insure his plan Carrie is put in charge of making sure he reaches his plane home.
While Javadi is being wrapped up by Saul there are problems stemming from the killing of the Iranian spy’s ex-wife and daughter-in law. The police are all over the scene, and they even have a picture from a nearby surveillance camera of Quinn standing on the house’s front porch. Quinn is confronted by Dar Adal, played by the awesome F. Murray Abraham, with questions about where he has been. Saul has kept the operation close to the vest, and not told Adal or Senator Lockhart the incoming CIA chief. Quinn denies knowing anything about the operation, but Adal shuts him up by presenting the photo the police have of him at the house.
Quinn heads to the CIA safe house where Saul is wrapping up Javadi. Saul knows that Adal is poking around the current operation, and that he needs to come clean with him as soon as possible. In order to keep the police investigation quiet Quinn will meet with the local detectives to take responsibility for the crimes. However without evidence beyond the picture he isn’t in danger of prosecution, and cloaks his reveal under the guise of National Security. The important thing for Quinn is that no one knows Javadi was apart of the murder. If his name is attached then the entire plan of Saul is lost. The detectives listen to Quinn’s story, but before letting him go slam his actions and the CIA for never really solving the problems on their plate.
Quinn quiets the police, and Saul returns to Langley to face Dar Adal and Senator Lockhart. Adal quickly confronts Saul when he enters the building, and Saul decides to come clean with both men right away. The three CIA power brokers meet in a giant conference room, and Saul lays out the truth. They now have a highly placed agent in the Iranian government. Saul didn’t tell them, but couldn’t due to the threat of leaks sinking the plan. Saul revels that Javadi is about to fly back to Iran when Senator Lockhart demands his plane grounded.
The Senator, much like Fara earlier, thinks Javadi should stand trial on US soil for the crimes he committed. Senator Lockhart sees another of Saul’s “Cold War” techniques at work. When Saul refuses to call back the plane the Senator decides to take matters into his own hands. The problem is the phones don’t seem to be working. He turns back to see Saul and Adal exiting the conference room, and locking him inside. This led to one of the best moments of the episode when Senator Lockhart started threatening the two men through the clear glass walls of the conference room. Saul quiets his cries by pushing a button and turning all the glass into opaque black sheets. The conference room is now a makeshift prison for the Senator until the plane carrying Javadi leaves US airspace.
Back at the airstrip Carrie is this close to completing her mission when she stops Javadi from getting on the plane. She wants one final question about the Langley bombing. Was it really Brody, as the CIA claims, who drove the car bomb to Langley? Javadi tells her that the man who made and drove the bomb is still at large in the United States. If Brody wasn’t involved then Carrie could prove his innocence. With her possibly being pregnant with Brody’s baby she has numerous reasons to work on clearing his name. Javadi tells her that the lawyer he used to contact her at the hospital knows the name of the bomber.
The episode ends with Carrie revealing her plan to clear Brody’s name to Quinn. Quinn, after having his life’s work stopped on by the homicide detectives, is ready himself to uncover some of the CIA’s secrets. Saul meanwhile has a maintenance worker free the Senator from the conference room once Javadi is safely away. Saul and Adal celebrate the turning of Javadi in his office with drinks knowing that they’ve started a war within the agency. Saul might only be acting CIA Director for twelve more days, but he’s not going to go quietly away.
The second half of season three is now set up for Carrie and Quinn to work on clearing Brody’s name, while Saul and Adal fight to keep their CIA working and viable. The good news is that we are probably less than three episodes away from the face to face between Carrie and Brody that we are all waiting for. They’re electricity together has been sorely missing from this season of “Homeland”. Sadly, without those two characters intertwined the show begins to feel like just another terrorism related drama clogging up our TVs.
Also honorable mention for zero Dana drama this week. Every week without Dana’s bratty whining is a win for “Homeland” fans.