Carrie plays it cool when we first see her in “Beirut is Back,” however. We see Fatimah at morning prayers and who should pay her an unannounced visit but Carrie. “I remembered you always come to Friday prayers,” Carrie says, which seems like an even more definitive sign that she’s still got her mojo than last week’s knee to the groin of her pursuer. She remembers a tiny detail about a source’s personal routine eight years later? Impressive. (Yes, I know she’s not a real person, but still.)
Fatimah reveals that her husband have an impending meeting with Abu Nazir and that she wants to be relocated from Lebanon to Detroit. (Insert joke about Detroit urban blight here.)
Meanwhile, the Brodies are swanning about at a party of Washington bigwigs, who are no doubt abuzz about Obama’s lousy performance at last week’s debate. Brody has an off-the-books meeting with Vice President Walden about arranging the sale for some “penetrating bunker-busters” to Israel. Meanwhile, Jessica has a chat with Walden’s wife about hosting a fundraiser for injured veterans. When the Brodies meet up on the way out, he points out that the room is filled with defense contractors and says, “You really want to help veterans? Take out everyone in this rom here.”
Back in Beirut, Carrie shows up at Saul’s safe house to the relief of her mentor, who’s been worried sick. Apparently Carrie’s been on the street since the day before. They report to Estes via Skype, but Estes questions the quality of Carrie’s source. What if Fatimah’s trying to set them up to ambush U.S. forces sent in to get Nazir? As Admiral Akbar would say, “It’s a trap!” Actually, the film Estes references is Black Hawk Down. Carrie vouches for her source.
Jessica and Dana pay a visit to stately Walden manor, prompting Dana to exclaim “Fuck me!” on arrival. Walden’s wife introduces Jessica to a claque of power wives as “The Junta who actually runs D.C.” Dana finds a place to study and snoops around the vice president’s White Male Authority office when his son Finn pops in. “What are you doing here?” she asks, which is pretty stupid, because as Finn points out, “I live here.” Check and mate.
While Carrie has a lie-down, Saul and Estes argue about how to proceed with her intel. Saul reiterates that he opposed Carrie’s involvement in the mission, and Estes passes the buck for deciding to proceed to her. Carrie overhears part of this, starts breathing deeply and appears to be having a panic attack. She rushes to the roof and, on the verge of tears, blurts out her feelings: “It fucked me up, being wrong about Brody... I’ve never been so sure and so wrong.” She admits that she doesn’t trust herself any more, but adds, regarding Fatimah, “The Carrie who recruited her? That one I believe.” Danes crushes it in this scene, and even does some of the eyeball thing. She convinces Paul to give the mission a go-ahead.
The crux of the episode shows the build-up to the Abu Nazir rendezvous from multiple vantage points: the concealed strike team (Navy SEALs?) on the ground, Carrie and Saul at the Lebanese safe house and the highest-ranking members of the cabinet at a Washington situation room: the latter very much resembles the famous shot of President Obama and his advisers waiting to learn whether Seal Team Six got Osama bin Laden. And darn the lucky — Brody’s there, too. He was en route to meet with the Secretary of Defense, as per Walden’s instructions from earlier in the episode, when he gets pulled into watch the mission.
It’s splendidly tense when the Hezbollah types arrive on the scene: are they really setting up a meeting with Nazir, or do they plan to ambush the strike team — which, either way, is outnumbered? Nazir eventually shows up — Carrie = vindicated. But Brody knows all of this is going on, so he sends a text to — Nazir himself? A trusted aide? — that reads “May 1,” as in “Mayday.” Nazir figures it out and rushes back into the car as the snipers fire, taking out Nazir’s right-hand man and Fatimah’s husband, but the principal target gets away.
Saul and Carrie go to Fatimah’s flat to pick her up, and Carrie, with hilarious recklessness, rushes up to the apartment to see if she can find any Nazir/Hezbollah intelligence. The CIA car gets quickly surrounded by a band of angry-looking guys. Do they know that the Hezbollah leader was just assassinated by the CIA? (Word travels fast.) Or are they just angry at Westerners as a matter of principle? At any rate, Saul has the car drive off — just around the block, it turns out — temporarily stranding Carrie, who has a good squad chasing her. Carrie clocks one of the assailants with a brick. It’s very much like a Bourne movie chase scene, only less shaky. Finally one of Saul’s helpers catches up to Carrie and gets her in the car.
That night Brody meets with journalist/spy Roya Hammad (Zuleika Robinson) and snaps, not unreasonably, “I can’t be texting secret messages when I’m surrounded by the fucking Joint Chiefs!”
Afterwards he meets some of his old Marine buddies in a bar. Earlier that day his old friend/Jessica old flame Mike had shown up to ask about the investigation of Walker, Brody’s fellow prisoner turned terrorist sniper. Mike and company still have questions about Walker’s mission and mysterious death (at Brody’s hands, but they don’t know that.) They seem particularly wound up about the fact that Walker took three shots and missed the vice president: “He might have lost his mind, but not his aim.” This was true in the reality of the show — the Walker shooting was a diversion so Brody could play suicide bomber — but I don’t get their concern. He was a prisoner of war for years turned crazed sniper. Why wouldn’t he lose his aim?
Carrie returns to her dad’s house and her handler thanks her for her service. She enters the living room and sits, but seems clearly unsatisfied and unready to resume life as a civilian.
Saul sifts through the paperwork Carrie rescued from Fatimah’s apartment, most of which is pointless. He notices, however, that the bag Carrie nabbed to carry the paperwork has an object hidden inside the lining. It turns out to be a jump drive, and when Saul loads it, up pops the confession Brody recorded before his suicide mission! Evidence of Brody’s divided loyalties, and Carrie found it!
Several other recappers have been complaining about the plausibility-straining coincidences this episode requires, from Carrie (inadvertently) finding the jump drive to junior congressman Brody being pulled into the double secret mission room. I didn’t get hung up on any of these, partly because I’m too vested in the characters, and the events seemed consistent with the rules and variables that “Homeland” set up.
Why did Carrie immediately dye her hair back to blonde after meeting Fatimah? What if she had to go back out in disguise?
Dana accuses Finn of “sneaking behind me like 'The Walking Dead.’” I guess it would’ve been too cute if she’d mention “Dexter,” another Showtime show.
I guess Walden’s wife is meant to replace Elizabeth Gaines, the slightly sinister, not-entirely-convincing Washington socialite/power broker from last season.
Am I the only one who remembers that time last season, I think it was in the third episode, when the reporter was trespassing on the Brodies’ property, and Brody punched him in the throat? That always seemed like something that should have consequences, but never had any follow-up.
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