Where Homeland‘s third season memorably, gratefully ended with a gasp and a whimper—when Carrie Mathison watching helplessly as her beloved Brody reached the end of a rope that had been around his neck since 2010—then this season seems determined to go out in completely the opposite way: With a series of great, big, unpredictable bangs, designed to excite and titillate even its most jaded viewers.
When we last saw Carrie and Saul Berenson, they were in a convoy back to the embassy that had just been blown up by rocket launchers, leading to questions about whether Homeland had just made the extraordinary choice to kill off its two most central characters. Gutsy as that would have been, it turns out that Carrie and Saul are still alive. Not so lucky, however, is John Redmond, who took a glass shard to the neck, making him the first of this episode’s many casualties. (If you’re planning on pouring one out for everyone who died this week, consider yourself warned: You’re going to need a bigger bottle.)
With Dennis Boyd, traitor mole, having finally come clean about the terrorist moles currently burrowing their way into the embassy, Ambassador Martha Boyd alerts Quinn in the hopes of recalling some of their Marines. But the Marines are going to have some trouble getting back, as hidden snipers started taking them out the moment they arrived to rescue the convoy. With bullets flying through the air and soldiers dropping like flies, Carrie puts in a frantic phone call to Asar Khan.
But when Khan makes to call for support, Tasneem brazenly suggests that he should wait 10 minutes to call—10 minutes during which the Americans will be taught a lesson that’ll send them fleeing from Pakistan with their tails between their legs. Khan looks aghast, but he’s apparently not aghast enough to a) send immediate help to the people being murdered by terrorists on the streets of his city, or b) punch Tasneem the Terrorist Sympathizer right in her smug mouth. A shame; he seemed so cool last week.
Meanwhile, at the embassy, the CIA is doing what the CIA does when bad guys are about to break down their doors: shredding, burning, and otherwise destroying all documents that could compromise them. But of course, there’s a MacGuffin: A big, fancy list of all their assets, including ones in tribal areas, that’s basically irreplaceable. Lockhart is holding that list at the moment when Haqqani’s men breach the ops room, and it is not a polite entrance. Lockhart flees toward the embassy’s vault amid a hail of machine gun fire. He’s the only one to escape. Everyone else in the room is either killed (goodbye, Hensley) or taken hostage (hello, Max and Fara.)
NEXT: Just a few words, is all, because she was really doing okay.