Ever since the first hints of the Carrie-Aayan seduction plotline began to percolate on this season of Homeland, so too were the grumblings of its fanbase. Carrie Mathison, sleeping with the enemy? Hasn’t this been done before, and in a much less barf-inducing way, no less? Are the writers really going to subject us to yet another ambiguous, dangerous romance between a lady spy and her lover?
In “From A to B and Back Again,” we got the answer: a big, fat, brutal, “No.”
The episode begins, for the second week in a row, with Carrie Mathison and Aayan Ibrahim in bed together, doing a postcoital review of the details of his new identity. There’s a real coziness to their interactions, and Aayan is sweet and flirtatious despite the rather dire circumstances. When Carrie presents him with money and a passport, his excitement and happiness at the new life he’s about to start is palpable (and heartbreaking, knowing what comes next, so you’d better steel yourself.)
With their departure for England supposedly imminent, Aayan makes one last trip to his medical school in order to retrieve a few belongings, including photos of his family. While there, he encounters Kiran, to whom he spills way too many details about his plans to leave the country. She’s devastated, and seethingly jealous of his obvious affection for Carrie—but she’s the least of his problems. As he leaves the building, he notices: He’s being watched by a tall, bald man who looks like he’s got murder on his mind. He must be an ISI agent! You know, one of the ones that Carrie just conveniently warned him to watch out for.
After a brief chase, Aayan manages to elude the watcher and make his way back to the safe house. But just as he’s assuring Carrie that he gave the guy the slip, CRASH! A window breaks and the same man comes charging into the apartment, followed by a team of terrifying, grabby assassins. There’s an enormous amount of scuffling, but Aayan still manages to escape up the stairs, where he leaps across the rooftops and ultimately takes shelter behind a parked car. A moment later, he sees Carrie: struggling with her captors, being violently shoved into a van.
The entire thing is wildly theatrical, the part where Carrie takes a very legit punch to the face notwithstanding, which makes it not at all surprising when it turns out that the agents in question are all CIA. The break-in was just an elaborate ploy to put Aayan out on the street, where he will presumably flee toward the only family he has left, his terrorist uncle Haissam Haqqani. And thanks to the tracker implanted in his passport, Carrie and her team will be able to follow by drone wherever he goes.
NEXT: The pot calls the kettle morally bankrupt.