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'Homeland' recap, 'Game On'

Plot twist! Did anyone see that coming?

Episode four rewarded patient viewers with a major reveal that almost makes me want to go back and re-watch the first three episodes for clues. I had no idea.

The episode opens on Carrie in the county hospital, listening to another patient screaming at orderlies in the middle of the night. As she sees the young woman receive a forced injection, Carrie almost looks like she’s having an out-of-body experience. This was the first of several doppelganger moments in the episode.

But Carrie’s not the one screaming on the gurney; instead, she’s ready for discharge. At her hearing the next morning, the clinical staff testifies that Carrie is ready to go home. Even though her father and sister are missing in action, the hearing appears to go well. While Carrie awaits the verdict, however, she glimpses Dar Adal walking through the hospital corridor. It could be a paranoid hallucination, but it’s not: the judge explains that the Department of Justice has ordered her retention within the hospital until further notice.

The following day, Carrie’s nurse explains that the decision to keep her there has been mysteriously overruled by a superior court in Maryland. Carrie arrives home to find the sketchy lawyer from last week’s episode sitting in her living room. He explains that his well-connected firm has used its influence to negotiate her release, but her good fortune comes with considerable strings attached. Reluctantly, she agrees to meet with the lawyer’s boss to find out what they want from her (presumably, inside CIA information that will be useful to international enemies).

Not safe in her home, Carrie makes a run for it, but she doesn’t seem to have much of a plan. As soon as she’s out the door with her medications and passport (did anyone else think of the famous “leave the gun, take the cannoli” line from "The Godfather" here?), she discovers her car has been repossessed and bank accounts are frozen.

She finds refuge for the night with her Brody-lookalike friend from the neighborhood liquor store, but in the morning, she quietly agrees to follow through on her planned meeting with the shady law firm partner.

Carrie is taken to a bucolic estate where she meets with a senior partner, Leland Bennett. Bennett convinces her that she is such a liability for the CIA that even if she is out of the hospital, she’ll probably be dead by the end of the year. Unless, of course, she is willing to exchange information for protection.

Specifically, Bennett’s client, a high-ranking officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, wants to know how the CIA carried out the six assassinations of alleged terrorists in Caracas. Carrie agrees to meet this high-profile client in person, and tell him what he needs to know. Just like Brody before her, Carrie seems to have been turned.

Meanwhile, Dana. Poor, dumb Dana. She abets her paramour’s escape from the psych unit, steals her mom’s car and trades it in for a clunky old Camry, then goes on the lam with her no-good boyfriend.

They drink, smoke, hold hands and recite Coleridge: first love can’t get any better than this. Leo confesses to Dana that he feels guilty about his younger (almost twin) brother’s suicide. Dana opens up to him about her father’s many betrayals.

Jessica is understandably upset about this latest evidence that she’s maybe not the greatest mom. She won’t report the car stolen, but agrees to let Mike (welcome back, Mike!) start his own investigation.

Mike somehow discovers that Leo was admitted to the treatment facility after fatally shooting his younger brother. Leo claimed it was a suicide pact, agreed to mental health treatment and avoided charges of homicide. All of which leads to the conclusion that Dana could probably find less creepy boyfriends on Craigslist.

At Langley, Saul and Fara are building a case against the Iranians, in particular a man named Javadi, who appears to be skimming off the top of the Revolutionary Guard funds and laundering cash through a soccer stadium in Caracas. Saul is sure it’s an air-tight case, but I literally have no idea what they are talking about. The CIA’s other concern is Carrie’s unexpected release from the hospital: who got her out, and what might she do next?

Then, of course, the twist. Carrie shows up at Saul’s house. In tears, she tells him that she met with Bennett … and that all is going according to plan! So this was Saul’s idea all along. One, embroil Carrie in controversy. Two, tar her reputation by leaking details about her mental illness and affair with Brody. Three, imprison her in a psychiatric hospital until she seems utterly helpless. Four, wait for the enemy to come calling. It’s a triple-cross!

I’ll tune in next week for developments on many open plot threads. How long will Carrie be able to manage this masochistic assignment? Whom will she meet with in episode five? Is Saul truly telling her everything she needs to know? What were those kids smoking in Jessica’s car? Why can’t Dana meet a nice boy? Is it possible to love soccer and America? What is the line of scripture framed on Saul’s desk? Would Mike ever make me a sandwich? And of course, how is Brody holding up in the Caracas tenement?

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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