Things to Do

WashingTelevision: Homeland Recap, Season Three, Episode Two, “Uh … Oh … Ah…”

Yes, that really is the title. Go figure.

Et tu, Saul? Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.

Before we start, some random thoughts. First: Who titles an episode “Uh … Oh … Ah …”? Do they know how awkward that phrase is to accurately punctuate, let alone say out loud? Not to mention that the first thing it made me think of was Carrie’s sex noises, and I never like to think about Carrie’s sex noises. I’d in all honestly probably rather watch Hulk Hogan’s sex tape than sit through another tequila-fueled humpfest on a Dupont Circle staircase, thank you very much.

Second: I happened to noticed Claire Danes’s eyelashes in the opening credits of tonight’s episode, and it reminded me of all those Latisse ads she did between Temple Grandin and Carrie Mathison. Boy, was that ever a weird career move—but on the plus side, her lashes look fantastic.

To the recap. I thought this was a pretty fantastic, season one-esque episode of Homeland. There was the shady cabal of bankers feasting on the tears of poor people and the dreams of underprivileged children in a DC steakhouse not long after refusing to help the CIA investigate the money said bankers had been using to help fund terrorism. There was Peter Quinn threatening to kill people. There was even Carrie being restrained on a hospital gurney and then forcibly treated in a horrible fashion, directly mirroring the end of season one when she remembered something about Isa right before the electricity mangled her frontal lobes.

And then there were the Brodys. Last week, the Carrie-Saul-CIA-Senator Lockhart snoozefest felt considerably more difficult to get invested in than the news that Dana had tried to kill herself, and the Brody family still felt like an integral pattern in the Homeland wallpaper. This week, without being callous, the time spent analyzing why Jessica redid the bathroom (she couldn’t get the blood out of the grouting) and how Dana and her new boyfriend Leo are actually sane while everyone else is crazy (not too far off from the truth, actually) felt overly ponderous. We like the Brodys, and we care about them, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the intrigue is what makes this show interesting, and that without their flame-haired patriarch, the family’s starting to feel like an afterthought.

And yet I’d still rather watch them than Carrie, who since the last episode has descended in terms of sanity from Amanda Bynes muttering at fire alarms from the safety of her hotel suite to Amanda Bynes dousing strangers’ porches (and her own dog) in gasoline. Carrie is, to put it bluntly, bonkers. She marches into Saul’s house and screams at Mera, marches into a newspaper office and screams at a reporter, then tries to tell a doctor how well her new regime of meditation and running is going while she’s handcuffed to a gurney.

The worst part about Carrie being locked in a psych ward against her will is that while her rants about conspiracies might sound like the mutterings of a deranged and delusional wackjob, they’re actually true. “Someone tries to tell the truth, you call them crazy,” Carrie tells her doctor (who seems nice until the frightening end scene when he’s in the gray-toned hospital room from hell, doping her up on meds that leave her basically unable to speak). “I admire the move. It’s elegant, but it isn’t necessary.”

But it is necessary if you’re Saul and Dar Adal, who deduce, quite rationally, that if Carrie’s threatening to spill agency secrets about Brody’s status to a reporter and bring down the CIA in the process, that they should do everything they can to stop her. For Dar Adal this means calling the police to commit her involuntarily with a psychiatric detention order; for Saul, much more cruelly, it means telling Carrie’s family that she’s off her meds and alienating them from her so that she freaks out and physically attacks a hospital orderly in the middle of her assessment by a judge. I do not like Saul in this episode.

Also pretty high on the reasons why we shouldn’t like Saul list is the part where he says horrible, horrible things to a young CIA analyst who’s wearing a headscarf. The plot with Fara, and the protracted scene of having her walk into the CIA while everyone stares at her with barely disguised suspicion, was one of the strongest parts of the episode. Played by Nazanin Boniadi (whom the Vanity Fair readers among you may know because she was almost married to Tom Cruise by Scientology), Fara is a transactions analyst who’s been brought in to examine the little evidence the CIA has managed to procure from their killing spree in “Tin Man Is Down.”

Fara tells Saul that she can’t find any evidence leading back to Iran, where terrorist mastermind Majid Javadi is supposedly based, and from where he organized the attacks on the CIA that are now known, catchily, as 12/12. Saul tells her to follow the money before letting her know that “that thing” on her head “is one big f**k you to the people who would have been your coworkers, only they perished in the blast right out there.” Fara starts crying, silently, before telling him that she has a plan, and there are some wire transfers from the Middle East that lead to bankers in New York. Then he leaves the room and she stares at her laptop, stricken.

What happened to you, Saul? You’re supposed to be one of the good guys. I rely on you, in fact, to not channel Lord Acton and let absolute power corrupt you absolutely when you should be acting as the moral core of an agency forced to do lots of immoral things. The only thing he has going for him at this point is that he looks lily-white in comparison to the bankers, whom Saul and Fara confront in an enormously satisfying scene. Fara accuses Head Banker of telling people to delete Iranian names from transactions so that they can’t be accused of violating a cease-and-desist order from the US government. Head Banker says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Fara replies, “How could you not know? You sent the e-mail. The subject line was ‘Do Not Reference Iran.’” Boom. Then she accuses him and his bank of having trafficked “in human misery since the opium wars.” I like her. Compared to old crazy-eyes, she’s both efficient and sassy.

Head Banker has no time for ladies telling him what to do, so he coldly informs her that that’s not how people ask for help in “this country” (total dick move, but actually less dickish than Saul basically branding her a terrorist for wearing a headscarf). Then the bankers get 30 congressmen to call Saul and tell him he’s threatening the International Banking System, which is Very Important and Not Corrupt. So Peter Quinn shows up at the restaurant later, reminds Head Banker that one of his associates and the associate’s nine-year-old child were recently killed, and that he’d hate for the same thing to happen to him.

While we’re cataloguing Peter Quinn’s list of heroic feats in this episode, he also goes to see Carrie, gets yelled at, tries to stand as her character witness when she won’t even look at him (Carrie is super childish and bratty in this episode, as well as crazy), and then tells Saul he’s quitting once all the terrorists have been caught (good luck with that, Peter), because he doesn’t have faith in the agency anymore. So stick that in your beard and suck on it, Saul.

Scared Head Banker gives the records to Fara, who traces lots of financial stuff I don’t know the technical terms for to Iran, including all the way into the Iranian government (this is really awkward timing given the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between Obama and new President Rouhani, b-t-dubbs). Also, Fara’s linked the bank’s transactions to half a dozen associates of Abu Nazir (him again), only she’s noticed something peculiar—one quarter of the 20 percent commission the bank takes for doing illegal things appears to be missing. And it’s about $45 million.

Where could it be? Fara will find it, because Fara is competent. I’m hoping. I can’t take rooting for any more antiheroes who stop taking their meds because it makes them “fuzzy.” Although there is something to be said for the fact that you can’t be too paranoid when you’re investigating terrorism, so maybe Carrie actually is exactly what the CIA needs in an analyst. Now there’s some food for thought.


Dana and Leo did it in a laundry room. They didn’t seem to use protection. You know this is coming back to bite her in the ass, because television isn’t subtle and Sex Has Consequences.

Dana really hates her dad. But she also likes to look through old pictures of him as a floppy-haired Old Etonian in a rockin’ leather jacket. Love is complicated.

Speaking of Brody, he’s back next week, and I’m very worried about it.

Psych hospitals look like grim places to be when you have health insurance. When you don’t, like Dana, you get to go to a lovely rehab facility with marble floors and sunlight streaming in through the windows at all hours. Thanks, Obama!

Peter looked at Fara for a long second, which means there may be history between them. Stay tuned.

What did you think of tonight’s Homeland? Let us know in the comments.