Week 11: Season 4 Episodes 5-8: Winning Game Plan?

Carrie hallucinates

The middle four episodes of Season 4 seemed to almost entirely forget about Carrie’s reluctance to motherhood and the fallout from leaving Franny with Maggie, but instead redirected the action and excitement to Pakistan.  Carrie is still trying to rid the world of terrorists, and in this block of episodes we meet the next high profile terrorist, Haissam Haggani, a Taliban leader who Carrie and her crew targeted in the blotched wedding drone strike.  This series of episodes contained enough excitement and suspense that Homeland’s viewers come to expect, however it appears our protagonists are on a major losing streak.

At the start of Season 4, we meet Aayan who is Haggani’s nephew and survived the drone strike that killed the rest of his family at the blotched wedding.  Viewers got the impression that Aayan and Haggani were close – Aayan risked a lot to get life saving medication for Haggani and also relayed tales of Haggani’s endearing mannerisms, like how he drank his tea.  After a period of time, Aayan revealed that Haggani is alive. Carrie concocted a ruse to get Aayan to seek refuge with his uncle, Haqqani, by initially having a couple members of her team break into the safehouse and try to capture Aayan.  Of course Aayan is able to escape, but unbeknownst to him, Max hid a tracker in his passport. Aayan is located by a drone which relays a visual of his whereabouts to the operations room where Carrie, Quinn, and Redmond observe.  Score one for Carrie and her crew.

Aayan

However After calling Haqqani, Aayan goes to a secluded location where he is met by a convoy of vehicles containing heavily armed men.   Haqqani tells Aayan that his “friend” (Saul) has led them into a trap and that there is a drone waiting above to kill them. Haqqani thanks Aayan for the medicines and kisses him, then shoots him in the head, killing him instantly.  So much for family loyalty!  Furious over Haqqani murdering Aayan, Carrie ordered the drone shooter to take the shot to assassinate Haqqani despite a kidnapped Saul being right in the vicinity.  It took Quinn to talk down Carrie from ordering the hit on Haqqani, which surely would kill Saul.  This is a major loss for Carrie’s team as it was decided that when Haqqani was in sight, the drone shooter would take him out for good.  So not only is Haqqani still alive and a viable threat to the United States, they lost an important asset in the process.  Poor Aayan – he was such a sweet but naïve kid.  RIP Aayan!

Of course one of the biggest losses for Carrie and co. happened when Saul got himself kidnapped.  En route to the United States, Saul sees Farhad Ghazi at Benazir Bhutto International Airport. Following Ghazi into a bathroom, Saul is attacked by two other men and given an injection which renders him unconscious. Saul is taken out of the airport in a wheelchair.  To make matters worse, a guard at a checkpoint discovers Saul bound and gagged in the trunk of Haqqani’s car, but takes no action and just waves them through.saul

In the episode titled “Redux”, CIA director Andrew Lockhart arrives in Pakistan.  Lockhart, Ambassador Martha Boyd, Carrie, and other representatives from the U.S. Embassy meet with a delegation of Pakistani intelligence officials. These officials disclosed a prisoner release plan for Saul, but instead of one prisoner, they wanted to exchange Saul for several high profile terrorists. Lockhart accuses the ISI of being complicit with Haqqani, and declares that the U.S. will suspend their federal aid to Pakistan if Saul is not returned safely.  The Pakistani intelligence officials got offended at Lockhart’s harsh rhetoric and and left the meeting.  Another loss for the CIA.

In the episode “Halfway to a Donut”, Saul managed to get a hold of a nail that he used to free himself from his shackles with a nail.  After killing the guard and stealing his cellphone, he contacted Carrie.  An elated Carrie directed him to walk 20 miles or so to the town where an asset is located.  Finally a win (and a big one at that) for Saul and the CIA!

Unfortunately this was a short-lived win.  At the next meeting between the Americans and Pakistanis, Carrie notices how confident the Pakistani officials are.  Initially confused by their attitudes in the meeting, she quickly realizes the Pakistani military can detect the drone over where Saul is and give Haqqani those coordinates. As she rushes to the operations room, the Taliban surround the town. To her dismay, they open fire on a van carrying the team sent to rescue Saul.  Unfortunately the van is outnumbered and forced to turn back.  While Carrie was able to talk Saul out of committing suicide, she directs Saul out of a building and into a group of Taliban, where he is recaptured.  Lockhart, watching all of this unfold, declares that the United States is accepting Haqqani’s terms for the prisoner exchange instead of telling them to fuck off.  Another big, rather huge loss for our protagonists.

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Meanwhile Carrie had her own troubles to contend with.  Earlier in the season we see Tasneem Qureshi blackmail Dennis Boyd in order to get him to do some unethical things for the ISI.  She was able to get a key to Carrie’s apartment where Dennis was able to use it to enter and snap pictures of her medication, a picture of Franny, and other personal items.  At a pharmacy, Tasneem picks up some pills that have been filled with an unidentified powder. Dennis switched Carrie’s pills with the pills that Tasneem acquired. Carrie eventually takes the tainted pills and soon begins to suffer the effects.  When she goes to the hospital to question Aayan’s girlfriend Kiran, she becomes paranoid and starts hallucinating.  She attacks a security guard at the hospital, while hallucinating that it is Quinn, and thinks she is shooting at police officers.  The police apprehend her and drive her to a stately home.  She sees Brody greeting her and eventually lets down her guard to allow him to comfort her.  Of course Carrie was hallucinating this whole time as in reality it was ISI colonel Aasar Khan who was holding her.

Fortunately the following day, after the effects of the pills wore off, Carrie realized someone must have tampered with her medication.  Carrie confronts Colonel Khan, who denies any involvement.  He eventually discloses to Carrie that it was Dennis who poisoned her with the fake medicine.  A loss for Carrie, but she does have the upper hand now that she knows who tampered with her medication.

So the final score board for Season 4 so far for our protagonists are two short-lived wins although they are overshadowed by several major losses.  I hope Carrie and her crew can turn their luck around, including rescuing Saul from Haqqani’s clutches.  Speaking of Haqqani, let’s hope Carrie can be successful in her mission in ridding the world of this Taliban leader.

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9 thoughts on “Week 11: Season 4 Episodes 5-8: Winning Game Plan?

  1. There is certainly quite a lot that happens in these episodes. I think this is the point in the season where we really start to get “back to business.” The first batch of episodes feel very disconnected, largely, because of Carrie’s being turned off to her usual ways of doing things. I talked a bit in my blog this week about how her psychotic episode and hallucinations allow things to start to get back to normal for both Carrie and the show in general.

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  2. Christine,
    There is a lot of action associated with these episodes in fact I think some this action might explain or even justify why Carrie had to leave Franny with Maggie. It appears there is still some unfinished business Carrie needs to attend to. I also think these episodes are building to something much bigger, that will change the dynamic of the show a bit. I going to watch the rest of the season this weekend, but I a feel a fallout of some sort in the mix of the show.

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  3. I personally believe that our favorite team at the CIA does not take many wins. Mainly because even their wins can lead to the most devastating effects for the winners anyway. So is this really a win or a loss or should we call them breaking even. Worse is that their wins are devastating and their losses are catastrophic which means there is no real safe place for anyone associated with this team of misfits. Every time the CIA comes into play everyone around should just duck for cover and pray to live and at least have most of their limbs.

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  4. You summarize the events pretty well in this post, but what’s your judgment? E.g. is Saul killing someone a new development? Are you comfortable with the explanation of why Frannie is not mentioned in these four? Who do we blame for Aayan’s death? You lead with the picture of Brody’s reappearance as a hallucination, how did that work for you? Etc.

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  5. I think your initial point about the show moving past Carrie’s motherhood subplot is a really important one. One question I asked on one of these blogs a few weeks ago was how the show was planning to handle such a major event (Carrie having a baby) while still maintaining Carrie’s CIA super-agent character. Well, the answer is to have her struggle emotionally about it for a few episodes and then turn up the volume on another terror plot so that Carrie, nor the audience, really has to worry about little Franny for a while. I’m sure we’ll come back to Franny at the end of the season, but in order to keep the pace, Franny really needs to move into the background for a while, and this is something we will see over and over again over the next few seasons. In order for Carrie to be Carrie, she can’t really also be Mom at the same time. There needs to be a distinction between work and life, and when Carrie tries to connect the two, she finds that there is trouble in doing so.

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  6. I get a bad feeling about all of these characters congregating at one embassy in a hostile environment, it sort of foreshadows that something like this could happen with a major character like Saul. With pretty much anyone else, Lockhart et al could have a little less urgency because there wouldn’t be nearly the PR backlash.

    I also wonder why the Pakistani officials aren’t worried about this becoming an international incident per se…until their aid package might go under review. Make you wonder, I’m sure much of that aid goes to humanitarian efforts but how frequently is it utilized merely to apply political pressure and keep developing countries “bending the knee” so-to-speak.

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  7. This season is packed with a lot of twists and turns like past seasons, however, it certainly seems that our protagonists are ending up a lot more on the “losing” side of things this season. I like that you brought up the fact that the plot moved completely away from the “motherhood” plot that was dealt with in the first four episodes. It felt like it was- “she’s not interested in her new role as a mother, so let’s ignore that for now,” so that they could get back to the action of the show. It felt a little disconnected from the first part of the season almost.

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  8. I feel like the CIA team spends a lot of time on the losing side, but hopefully they will end up on the winning side eventually, as they have sort of done so far, at least as far as catching bad guys goes. As far their personal lives, I doubt they will find themselves on the winning side any time soon. Their devotion to their jobs, and the jobs themselves take a huge toll on them. I look forward to the last four episodes of this season to see if the win will come quite yet.

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