Although last week’s post-show teaser irritatingly gave away the way this week’s Homeland would end, anyone who’s been watching this season had to know that it would eventually come to this, “this” being the final few minutes of this week’s episode. It was a moment foreshadowed so heavily that it’s barely even a spoiler to talk about it (although I won’t… yet.)
And yet, despite all that—and even despite the ominous reminder, right in the title, that there was something else going on—the drama unfolding in the forefront was so intense, and so riveting, that the ending still managed to be a surprise.
After last week’s attempt to extract Saul Berenson ended with his being horrifically recaptured, we open with a lineup: the terrorist prisoners who will be handed over by the U.S. in exchange for Saul’s freedom. The camera pans over these men as an agent reads off their names and their crimes, just in case anyone needed a reminder that these are bad, bad dudes. It’s no wonder that everyone involved in this transaction, from Quinn to Carrie to the soldiers standing guard, look like they’re sucking on lemons.
Although Carrie is the woman in charge of exchanging Haqqani’s men for Saul, she also has another concern: Haqqani faked his own death back in this season’s very first episode, for reasons they still haven’t been able to uncover. There must be a plan, something Haqqani set in motion long before Saul even set foot in Pakistan. What is it?
Carrie doesn’t know, but Dennis Boyd might. After all, he’s the guy who got into bed with the ISI after Sandy Bachman’s death, and the one Aasar Kahn deftly outed as the embassy’s mole last week. Unfortunately, their attempts to make Boyd talk aren’t working, although they are deeply satisfying to watch. Carrie traps him in an interrogation room and confronts him with the evidence of his crimes—as some of us had guessed, the pills he left in her apartment were laced with a potent hallucinogen—and when Boyd tries to use his status as the ambassador’s spouse to escape Carrie’s clutches, she snarls, “You are a traitor, and I am the f–king CIA.” She even threatens to have Boyd disappeared, removed to a black site and interrogated (raise your hand if you were embarrassingly excited at the idea of seeing Dennis Boyd reduced to a quivering, sniveling pile of human gelatin on the floor of a shipping container somewhere), but it’s not to be. Instead, Ambassador Martha Boyd cruises into the room, rescues her husband, and tells Carrie that her career as a government agent is over. Can the ambassador possibly be this oblivious to what a treasonous little rat she’s married to?
Answer: No. No, she cannot. Actually, it’s all a bluff, in the hopes that Boyd will be trapped by wifely concern where he wouldn’t break under CIA pressure. When Martha Boyd goes back downstairs to report that she couldn’t draw him out, either, it’s with the tiniest bit of newly-discovered grudging respect for her husband: “Part of me is impressed he didn’t fall for it,” she says.
But she has him thrown into a cell inside the embassy, anyway.
NEXT: We trade five terrorists for a live Saul.