Well, here we are in a post-Max world. Everything is horrible inside the TV and everything is horrible in real life. I’m just taking comfort that Max didn’t have to see society like this. Also, before I get into the full episode recap, I would just like to say that yes, I do feel vindicated in thinking that Yevgeny might be hot.
Berenson is back at Kabul HQ and giving Mike Dunne the dressing-down he deserves. Dunne’s team is putting together a plan to arrest (capture?) Carrie, but Saul wants them all to know that it was their last hair-brained plot that got them all into this mess in the first place. Mike, whose hatred for Carrie can barely be disguised, is responsible for ruining Saul’s relationship with her and is getting less and less sympathetic by the second. I think he actually snarled when he told Saul, “You’ve been recalled.”
Once recalled, Saul is back in the Oval Office to meet Evil Hot Hugh Dancy and he can read him like a book — a book titled I’m Hugh Dancy and I’m Hot and Evil. Saul de-legitimizes Jalal’s claims of shooting down the helicopter and it’s clear that the President didn’t consider for even a second that Jalal could have had ulterior motives for making his little RGP video. As Saul tells David Wellington, “It’s madness.”
Later that night (this is truly the longest night of all time, even for Homeland), as Saul waits for word on whether he and Carrie’s black box extraction plan worked, he gets called to the Sit Room where a highly nuclear situation is developing. Literally: they’ve discovered that Pakistan is moving their nuclear weapons as a response to the Americans’ troop surge on the border. President Hayes is stressed, because he, like, totally thought Pakistan was going to back down.
Carrie & Yevgeny
Bonnie and Clyde 2.0 are off in search of the flight recorder under the watchful eye of CIA drones — their first stop is…a hotel? Of course they need to sleep somewhere, but we rarely see these reminders that Homeland’s characters are real people (if the show’s portrayal is to be believed, they can go weeks without eating).
The TV in the hotel lobby is playing the news that Pakistan has threatened to interpret the Americans’ involvement in Jalal Haqqani’s potential capture as an act of war. For her part, Carrie is highly skeptical that Jalal shot down the President’s helicopter — she confesses to Yevgeny that she believes it could have been an engine malfunction.
The next morning, Bonnie & Clyde peruse the village’s pawn shops looking for the flight recorder. Carrie finds Max’s military backpack inside of one particularly poorly-lit store but before she can get answers the team that’s been following them arrives. As she runs out, the shop owner admits that he sold the black box mere hours ago, and they develop a plan to purchase it from that buyer for even more money.
Yevgeny wants to leave town — the CIA sent eight men into the town to capture her — but Carrie has a plan that involves absolutely screwing over Jenna. But, tbh, she deserves it? She’s been driving me crazy all season long and also she was dumb enough to believe Carrie and give her the location of the safe house in town. Carrie convinces her that she’s going to turn herself in to the safe house once she finds the flight recorder, but in reality she rats the exfiltration team out to Pakistan to get them off her tail for the night. Sing it with me: cold-blooded!
Carrie escapes the hotel and heads off to the black box exchange, with a huge chunk of change courtesy of Saul and some sort of secretive Government bank account they use for deals just like this. They keep Yevgeny out of the deal, because as Saul puts it, “there’s no telling what could happen if he gets his hands on” the flight recorder. The broker shows up to the pawn shop looking every bit an arms dealer (slicked-back-ponytail: check), but he has the goods. She pays the guy $1 million — a figure that was shockingly easy to come by in under five minutes —and promptly kicks him out at gunpoint so that she can listen to the recording.
The final moments of the helicopter’s communications are kind of scrambled and full of flight jargon that I can’t quite hear — she’s also interrupted by Yevgeny, who insists on listening in — but it’s pretty clear to any helicopter novice that the engine starts to fail and they crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing.
Carrie asks the question we’ve all been wondering: What happens now? She proposes that they bring the black box to the American embassy and then continue to work together, secretly — not as double agents, but as two well-meaning spies collaborating for the greater good of both Russia and the States. What actually happens now is that they start to hook up (pause for reaction) and he promptly sticks a needle in her neck, rendering her unconscious and stealing the black box.
I guess Yevgeny is a Russian spy with a heart, because he doesn’t actually want to harm Carrie — he carries her back to her hotel room, places her gingerly onto the bed, and tucks her in with a kiss. And Carrie is going to wake up with a bad hangover and some very stern questions from Saul.
Her storyline is short this episode, but provides some context to the issues that are stressing out President Hayes. In the wake of Jalal’s viral video, she took off for the mountains to talk to her former partner-in-crime. Emphasis on crime. It appears that she’s trying to walk back Jalal’s power now that she realizes what a disaster his management style is.
Tasneem gives Jalal a full-on dressing down, reminding him that just a few weeks ago she was picking him up from a roadside ditch after he was kicked out of his father’s house. She offers him the chance to go to ground (read: hide) in exchange for the ISI sparing his life but Jalal turns her down because he’s an egomaniac on a power trip. An egomaniac who happens to have rallied a terrifying amount of troops for his cause. Tasneem is…spooked, rightfully so. She goes straight to her father to explain how dire the situation is, and now they’re going to have to protect Jalal to protect themselves. I’m assuming that those nuclear weapons also factor into their plans.
My burning questions for the rest of this season are pretty obvious: Whether Carrie will see Yevgeny’s move as a personal betrayal or a necessary evil, and whether Saul’s going to be able to lure Hayes away from the sit room, perhaps with a piece of candy or something shiny, long enough for the real adults to make some better decisions about Pakistan.
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