I have to just get this out in the open: I forgive the Homeland producers for the previous three episodes this season. That ending -- that ending -- validates all of the stuff we saw before.
(Though it doesn't make up for the terrible Dana/Leo stuff we've had to endure in past episodes, as well as in this week's.)
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Carrie and Saul's Long Con
At the beginning of the season, I couldn't fathom why Saul would screw Carrie the way he did. Turns out, he didn't.
As we learn in the final scene of this week's episode, Saul had to throw her under the bus, had to get her locked up in a mental institution, had to have her bank accounts destroyed -- all to lure the enemy into trying to recruit her.
After Carrie gives into Leland Bennett -- played in a masterful acting scene by character actor Martin Donovan -- I knew Carrie would go to Saul with a plan for her to infiltrate the enemy and rehabilitate her in the eyes of the CIA. But it turns out, this was their plan all along.
For the evildoers in the Iranian government who blew up Langley -- something Bennett outright admits to Carrie -- to become interested in Carrie to help get her out of the asylum and then recruit it, they truly had to believe Saul and the federal government were done with her. I sure did. And just as we bought it, so does Mr. Bennett and his client.
Bennett's client wants Carrie's help in finding out why he recently lost six business associates -- the men that Saul had killed in the season premiere. Carrie agrees to help out, but only if she gets to meet the client face to face, something Bennett agrees to reluctantly.
Clearly, as Farrah continues to work to help Saul identify how the money is getting laundered, Carrie is going another route. Saul's plan is masterful as he's hitting the enemy from all angles. One question, however, is about how many people are actually in the know. Is Dar Adal? Or Quinn?
And how damaged is Carrie by this plan? She tells Saul, "You should have gotten me out of the hospital ... you shouldn't have left me there." He does to help preserve the cover, but it may have done too much to damage Carrie's psyche.
Something that's clearly not part of the plan...
Meanwhile, In That Completely Boring Storyline
The other main part of the episode deals with the Brody family -- but not Brody himself, even though he was a big part of last week's episode.
Dana helps her boyfriend, Leo, escape from the group near the start of the hour. (In the past, I accidentally called him Liam. Apparently, his name is Leo.)
His parents, along with the authorities, meet with Jessica and Mike (in his first appearance this season) to discuss what happened. Leo's parents try to blame Dana, and Jessica sees through what they're really trying to say. "You should know that my daughter isn't responsible for what her father did."
While this is interesting ground for the producers to cover, having Jessica call attention to the idea that people are foisting their opinions of Brody onto his innocent family is a bit on the nose. This plotline also distracts from the main action of the episode.
The Saul/Carrie story has been completely validated with the latest twist -- is it too much to hope the same will help with Dana's storyline a few episodes from now?