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'Homeland' recap: A shocking new target is revealed

After the credits (lion mask girl, maze and jazz are still there, but new stuff too!), we open with Carrie arriving at the Lebanon/Syria border with the refugee crisis in full swing.

Carrie, Düring and two security guards enter a camp to be briefed on the situation on the ground.

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The colonel in charge of the U.N. camp is grateful for the aid that Düring is providing, but wary of the journalists and cameras that will be following him. "What can you tell me about the security situation?" Carrie asks.

"You mean, 'is it safe?'" the colonel replies. He outlines that they are safe only in the U.N. camp.

A Hezbollah representative arrives, interrupting the meeting. The colonel is not pleased, but Carrie explains that Düring will need to go outside of the camp and will need to be protected.

The representative marches Carrie across the camp for a meeting with a Hezbollah leader. Carrie gives him a substantial cash payment, but the leader tells her to stay no longer than an hour. The camp is overrun with criminals, the man says.

"I cannot guarantee his safety any longer than that," he says.

"Okay. One hour," Carrie says.

We see the journalist, Laura Sutton, who outed the CIA deal with the German government in the season premiere. She is making a talk show appearance, discussing her story. Allison and Saul are watching the show and discussing Laura.

Allison shows Saul photos of the journalist meeting with Carrie. Allison doesn't think Carrie was involved in the story getting out, "But they do both work for Düring," Allison says.

While Laura talks, German intelligence officers are shown searching her place. They encounter a safe that they can't open and decide to bring her in.

Our hacker friends are also watching the television appearance, and Laura sends a somewhat coded message to them, asking for more of the documents that they downloaded. The bearded hacker wants to hand-deliver documents to her, despite all the attention from German intelligence.

The hacker shows up outside the TV studio and makes eye contact with Laura, who is quickly grabbed and thrown into a van by intelligence officers.

We see Quinn conducting surveillance on a suicide bombing recruiter. The recruiter is meeting with a teenage girl, telling her that she has been chosen. After the meeting, Quinn tails the recruiter.

Ground rules

Back in Lebanon, Carrie is checking into a hotel when Hank, a CIA agent, pulls her aside. He thinks that she is still on his team and that she and Saul cooked up a scheme to get her inside the camp. He guesses that she met with a Hezbollah commander and starts prying for information.

"I'm out," Carrie says. "I can't be perceived as helping the agency in any way."

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"I'm nine months sober tomorrow," Carrie tells Düring, as he tries to tempt her with wine.

They're at a reception at their hotel in Beirut. Carrie isn't pleased that Düring has thrown this lavish party and says that she would have liked to have vetted the guest list first. Düring says that he's come all this way and that he decided to do some business while on his humanitarian mission as well.

Carrie tells Düring that their visit must be limited to an hour due to the warning from Hezbollah. They hear gunfire in the distance, but Carrie is undaunted.

Lebanon was her first foreign post, she tells Düring. She was younger and alone when she was there before, she says. "There wasn't anyone waiting for me back home." That's all changed now, of course. Later, Carrie calls home to check in.

Laura is being interrogated by Quinn's former companion. She demands a lawyer, but her plea falls on deaf ears. The woman wants Laura's source. It's a matter of national security, she says. Laura refuses to give ground.

"She'd let the country burn as long as she won her Pulitzer Prize," Allison tells Saul as they watch the interrogation.

Is there a Pulitzer for TV recaps? I'm asking for a friend.

Saul tells Allison that someone has to pay for the breach, and that someone is Allison. She has one day to leave the country. Laura's lawyer arrives, freeing her form custody.

Quinn continues shadowing his target. He sees the woman exchanging money and driving off with her accomplice, likely carrying an explosive device in a backpack.

Back in Lebanon, Düring is making a speech trumpeting his substantial donation to the relief effort. Carrie scopes out the crowd, trying to ensure Düring's safety. She is trying to keep Düring to the strict one-hour time limit.

Düring steps off the stage after his speech and insists on 10 extra minutes to put on a good show for the cameras. "Otto, it's time to go," Carrie insists. Otto ignores her protest and continues glad-handing.

Allison approaches Saul and begs him to advocate for her to maintain a presence in Europe. She believes that the agency will be completely blind in Eastern Europe without her and the assets that she has recruited, and can continue to recruit there.

"If I were Carrie Mathison, what would you be doing right now?" Allison asks.

Ouch, that stings.

Allison uses some colorful language to exhort Saul to start showing allegiance to people that have supported him, even as he insists that if it were Carrie he'd be doing exactly the same thing that he's doing to her.

The twist

Back at the camp, a shady figure approaches Düring. The man keeps marching towards him, even as Carrie is urging him on. Another member of the security force pulls his weapon and threatens the man, who then grabs a woman as a shield and shows an explosive device under his jacket. Security shoots the man, killing him on Carrie's orders, as she hustles Düring into the waiting van.

As the security convoy pulls out, Carrie notices something amiss. There is no one where there should be a large crowd in the camp. She orders the driver to stop, and he does, just short of an explosive device. The blast sends the driver running and Carrie takes charge of the vehicle.

They drive to a hangar where a private plane is waiting to take them back to Germany. Carrie wants Düring on the plane and fast, but she insists on staying behind. "We know what happened. We stayed too long," Düring says.

"I don't think so. It was carefully planned," Carrie says of the near-miss.

"They were going to hit us on our way out of the camp no matter what. I have to find out who's behind this ... It's not a debate. I'm staying."

With Düring safely on the plane back home, Carrie takes a moment to try and collect herself. She prays for help, fighting back tears as she does.

Quinn continues his mission. He sees three teenagers climbing into a van with a driver. He calls their vehicle in, to whoever it is that is helping him here, and continues to stalk the recruiter. When she exits her office, alone, Quinn approaches and shoots her. He takes a photo of her lifeless body. Proof of death.

"No one's doubting your value, but the Germans want a head on a spike," Dar Adal explains, as Allison calls him. She is lobbying him for her job. "So give them Saul's," Allison says.

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That's a bold move and I like it. Adal contemplates Allison's request.

Carrie returns to her hotel where a Hezbollah man is waiting for her. She pulls her gun, but he says he's only there to give her the money back. "We gave our word to protect you. We failed," the man says. He shows her an interrogation video, showing that one of their own betrayed them, for more money.

"It was the CIA woman. She was the target," the man in the video says. "Whoever paid him, he was more afraid of them than dying," the man explains to Carrie. "Beirut is not safe for you. Someone wants you dead."

But who?

We see Quinn collecting his money and his next target from the post office box. He has to break a code from a newspaper to decipher the target's name.

He begins spelling it out.

M-A-T-H-I-S-O-N.

Final thoughts

Wow! Now we're cooking. The twist was telegraphed in the last minute or two, but having Quinn spell out Carrie's name was powerful stuff.

I've been quite sure for a few years now, and was reminded again in this episode, as Carrie prayed, that Claire Danes is the best actor on television. When this show's writing betrays her, I feel so badly that her talent is being wasted. But when "Homeland" is good, her performances are something to behold.

So far, it appears that the writing this season is living up to the standard of the show's star performer.

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