This was rebuilding episode. Nothing major happened—there were no bombs, or attacks, or significant deaths or things learned. And, sadly, “The Faithful” lacked the humor of last week’s “The War at Home.” All of the action that could have happened in its final scenes managed to get shoved into the preview for next week’s episode, which always feels like a ruse. I know it’s not quite sweeps week yet, but I still don’t think the episode’s most exciting moments should be relegated to the 15-second sneak peek for the next installment. That’s not the same as a cliffhanger.
After President Payton’s decree last week that she wanted the Ar Rissalah 7 to be transferred to a transparent location (i.e. not an undisclosed FBI holding site), the prisoners are being loaded onto a bus. During transport, they begin reciting their creed, again. “We are your brothers, your sisters, you blah blah blah we’re everywhere.” While they’re trancing out during this poetry slam, they’re also each breaking their own thumbs so that they can slip out of their cuffs. Somehow the guard, who is pacing up and down the bus aisle and is only required to keep an eye on seven inmates, manages to not notice all the self-mutilation going on. Cuffs off, they attack the guard and driver, and drive the bus off a cliff.
At Charlie’s morning briefing, she informs President Payton that Nick Vera is in route with Omar Fatah in the Philippines. The plan is that once they have the meeting with Sheikh Hakam, go-to good guy Jack Dawkins will move in to kill Hakam. The bad news, however, is that the heavily armed American that Nick killed has been found by Philippine Marines. He’s a contractor, most likely for the Krieg Group (definitely for the Krieg Group). Payton grills Charlie on whether she’s heard from Nick yet, and whether or not he killed this man. She can read on Charlie’s face that she knows he did it, and POTUS makes it clear that she doesn’t trust anything about Nick. “If we don’t hear from him in 24 hours, we go with a contingency plan,” she tells Charlie. Meaning: an airstrike. Nick better find a phone, stat.
Acting CIA Director Banks—who last week provided so many choice one-liners—makes a brief appearance to let the Bellerophon crew know that one of the AR7 managed to escape the bus wreckage. Poor Dash gets steamrolled by Banks, who doesn’t care at all about who briefs whom. Dash just wants to make a good impression, but if brown-nosing is the way to get through to Navarro, it certainly isn’t with Banks.
Chief of Staff David Patrick makes a barbershop visit to his old frenemy Jules, the television network head. Jules knows about the dead guy in the Philippines. “The CIA outsourcing the hunt for terrorists? Sounds like a ratings sweep to me.” Network honchos are sleazy, but he’s not wrong. Jules is willing to trade his well-sourced scoop though, but only for a live, one-hour, no-holds-barred interview with the president. That night. No biggie. He gets to ask her everything about everything, and she gets to not talk about the Philippines (which really just means keeping the Bellerophon mission under wraps). Sounds like a terrible plan, considering all the other skeletons that are crawling out of her closet. David sees this, and tells Jules to kindly eff off.
Despite David’s warnings, Payton seems to think the interview would be NBD. He tries to make her see the bigger picture—appearing on short notice on one station makes her appear to be scrambling, and she needs to stop looking like she’s playing defense because her critics are already running all over her. He wants her next public address to be a victory lap, like, say of her announcing the deaths of Hakam and Fatah. Sounds like a nice plan, but that’s never going to work out. Payton goes ahead and schedules the interview behind his back.
NEXT: How long will it take for Payton to realize this was a terrible plan?