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WashingTelevision: Homeland Recap, Season Three, Episode Eight, “… a Red Wheelbarrow”

Just when you thought Carrie couldn’t get any unhealthier.

Breakfast in bed. Who knew Saul was such a romantic? Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.

Didn’t I tell you Brody and El Niño would be back in episode eight? Why yes, yes I did. And here they are, and one of them has $10 million in a black canvas bag and the other looks like something something Anthony Kiedis coughed up during a particularly bad week in the ’90s. But good news: He’s going to be a father!

Here is the bad news (at least for Carrie’s unborn baby), in no particular order.

1) Its father is currently so jacked up on heroin he looks like he’s had a stroke (presumably the way he curled his lip toward Saul was supposed to be a reference to Carrie’s “uh … oo …. aw” because nothing happens in Homeland unless something similar happens somewhere else to draw attention to it).

2) It might have fetal alcohol syndrome, and its mom just got shot by one of her two friends.

3) Its half-sister is Dana.

So now we know that Brody is definitely Carrie’s babydaddy, and that it was Saul, not Carrie, keeping him locked up in the Tower of David and shelling out many millions of dollars to get him out. Not to quibble, but if I were Saul and I found Brody in that state, so malodorous that I had to hold a handkerchief over my face to get close to him, I might ask for a discount.

Episode eight, titled ” … a Red Wheelbarrow,” brought lots of the excitement of previous seasons of Homeland (remember when the black-clad stormtroopers busted into the tailor’s store in Gettysburg and shot everyone?). It also brought lots of the stupid. For example, Dar Adal is a man whom we’ve been told previously has to move house every two weeks because he has so many enemies. And yet somehow he’s able to golf at Congressional with lawyers and serve on charity foundations? Isn’t he a top-secret spy? Can spies serve on charity boards? Is that why so many donations are listed as coming from “Anonymous”?

Also: Bennett and Franklin, two men who are well aware that they’re being investigated by the CIA, and who presumably read the papers, tell each other lots of very important and incriminating stuff in a phone call? After Carrie went to the trouble of making her cryptic date with Franklin in the church by sending him the second line of a William Carlos Williams poem? I mean, I’m assuming that’s what she was doing, since Brody doesn’t appear to have a cell in his cell and as far as we know has never expressed much of an interest in minimalist poetry.

There’s also the slightly irritating fact that the Langley bomber turned out to be a guy we’d never met who died 15 seconds after we first saw his face. In a show with this many twists and turns, where everyone has their “WTF” moment, it felt like a cop-out. The bomber could have been Quinn. It could have been Dar Adal. It could have been Fara. It could even have been Dana, because at least that would have explained why we’d seen so much of her this season. But instead, it was an American citizen with curly hair who Franklin shot twice in the head and then disposed of with acid in a bathtub, because he’s never seen Breaking Bad.

The bomber could even have been Alain, who it turned out this week is using Mera to get to Saul, or at least Saul’s computer. (Mera’s been married to Saul for 35 years, which means she’s at least 55, so the part of me that felt major joy at the fact she was able to hole up in a suite in the Ritz-Carlton with a dashing French doctor half her age is inordinately disappointed.) Anyway, Saul made Mera breakfast (and also a huge mess, and also Mera), Mera dumped Alain in a very groovy coffee shop, and Alain decided to break into her house instead and use a BatMouse© to extract the very important spy information that Saul keeps on his home desktop.

You’d think by now Homeland would know better than to waste its time with people’s boring families, but it doesn’t. So we also had to sit through some pretty tedious and prolonged scenes between Fara and her father. Fara drove to work but couldn’t go in because of guilt over Javadi’s family, so she turned around and went home. The CIA was worried by this so sent an agent to go and make sure everything was alright, and this of course let her father know that she doesn’t work for a bank and is actually a spy. He was naturally concerned by this because he was worried the secret police in Iran would find out and enact revenge on their families. But Fara told him that she was an American, so therefore doesn’t care about her family in Iran? Maybe not, but it wasn’t a very good retort.

Saul went to the White House, not to meet with the President, who I am rapidly becoming persuaded is Fitz from Scandal, but to meet with “Mike,” and Senator Lockhart, who snitched on Saul and then got kicked out of the meeting because he didn’t have a high enough security clearance. Things are not going well for Lockhart right now. “Mike” was initially angry at Saul’s nonsense but was placated when Saul said things like “regime change” and “highest-level asset in the CIA’s history,” and went to the President to get approval for the Javadi caper.

There was lots of nonsense involving Franklin and Bennett, who’re apparently still under the impression that Carrie had been recruited as their asset, even though Javadi was last seen being escorted onto a place back to Iran BY A CIA AGENT (after driving in from Canada so’s not to arouse suspicion). Carrie, now officially what’s known as a double agent, was tasked with finding out what the CIA knew about Bennett and his involvement in the Langley bombings. Carrie returned with the fake (but not really fake) information that the CIA knew he was involved, and that the bomber was still alive and living in the US, so Franklin immediately called and texted a lot of people because he’s stupid. And then he killed the guy, and Carrie wanted to stop him killing the guy because she wanted to get Brody’s name cleared, but because she was threatening the entire operation and months of work her friend Peter Quinn shot her in the arm.

Carrie also had an ultrasound and told the doctor she’d been drinking heavily and taking lithium, and the doctor told her she needed to take it easy to bring down her blood pressure. Then she got shot, which may not help much. Can Carrie’s baby survive into a third trimester? Odds aren’t great right now.

Some thoughts:

• More poetry. Yawn. If I wanted to have to look things up this much I’d read a book.

• The Occidental Grill had a nice cameo as the location for Bennett’s wooing of his new legal associate. 

• Carrie is terrible, terrible, terrible at her job. To say she has a problem with taking orders is an understatement. To say she lets her personal life cloud her professional judgment is even more of one. How, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, HOW is she still in the employ of the CIA?

• What is Saul going to do with Brody? Take the most-wanted terrorist in the world back to the US on one of his jets? Tell everyone he’s innocent without proof? Check him into rehab in Arizona? The mind boggles. And where, where, where, did Saul get $10 million in cash? I’ve seen the Lamborghini business in Zero Dark Thirty, but I still find it hard to believe the CIA  is quite so generous.