After watching “Shalwar Kameez,” I’m convinced that the producers of Homeland have perhaps been doing some spying of their own in the off-season: tapping our phones, monitoring our browser histories, listening through tiny fiber-optic microphones as we ran screaming from the room rather than watch one single second more of Dana Brody’s rehab romance. It’s like they know that we’ve had it with that sort of nonsense—which might be why, having neatly established Carrie Mathison as the Most Unfit Mother On Television by the end of its first episode, Homeland happily left behind all things baby and family and got back down to state business.
Newly arrived in Pakistan, Carrie immediately runs into problems in her new position as station chief. For one, the entire embassy is locked down, making it impossible for her to dig in earnest for clues about Sandy Bachman’s death. For another, a petulant weenie man named John Redmond (Michael O’Keefe) is beyond peeved that Carrie has taken the job that was earmarked for him: first trying to undermine her plans to call a staff meeting, and then interrupting her during said meeting to scold her. He actually calls her “young lady.” Big mistake, dude: Carrie Mathison is not here for your paternalistic resentment party, or your greasy beer sweat. Also, big ups to this scene for including the best baldfaced lie Carrie has told to date:
“You really want to know how I did it?” she says to the befuddled Redmond. “I asked nicely.”
Oh, Mathison. You glorious snake.
And speaking of snaky business: Carrie has been in Islamabad for, like, three minutes before she’s back out the door with a security team, spycrafting her way to a secret meeting with a mysterious contact. After evading both her own security and the ISI guys tailing her, she goes to an apartment and finds… Fara! And Max! So glad these two are back. And hopefully we’ll be seeing lots of them, because Carrie wants Fara to pretend to be a British journalist, and to set up a meeting with Aayan, a.k.a. the famous survivor of the wedding bombing in “The Drone Queen.” This is the mission beneath the mission: Officially, Carrie is here to untie the knots left by Sandy Bachman’s death. But really, she’s out to recruit Aayan as an asset to the U.S. government.
Meanwhile, back stateside, Quinn is really seriously for real this time going to leave the CIA. His pre-exit interview doesn’t go well, though: He’s hostile to begin with, but when the interviewer asks if he and Carrie are romantically involved, he gets up, says some very bad words, and walks out. All of this is witnessed by Dar Adal, who’s watching the whole thing remotely, and you can practically see the little light bulb go *ding!* over his head when it happens… although personally, I am not sold on the idea of Quinn secretly pining for Carrie. We’ll see.
NEXT: Dar Adal and Chekhov’s doughnuts