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State of Affairs recap: 'The War at Home'

President Payton has a plan to get everyone off of her back, Nick is being hunted in the jungle, and Kurt tries to adjust to life on the outside.

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Brandon Hickman/NBC

State of Affairs

TV Show
Current Status:
On Hiatus

State of Affairs did a really good job of following up last week’s peak episode. While it wasn’t going to match the emotional highs (revealing the mole!) or lows (Green and Navarro in danger!) of “Cry Havoc,” the show managed to take another path entirely: comic relief. Some of the most endearing moments on this show have been when the characters—and particularly Heigl, since humor is arguably her strength—show that they actually have a sense of humor. Thankfully, “The War at Home” brought more than their usual quota of laughs, and owe much of them to one particular guest star…

Following last week’s suicide bombing outside of a CIA safe house, which killed Senator Kyle Green, President Payton is under attack. The media have some pretty choice words concerning their current situation: “She’s using the CIA as her own personal army”; “Seven American citizens are being held without due process—it’s Guantanamo in Washington”; and, most damning of all, “she must be impeached.” POTUS fires back with a rousing speech, extolling on how an attack by Ar Rissalah “does not warrant an assault on our Constitution.” We will hunt you down, she tells any cell members listening—but numerous dissenters in the crowd begin screaming. A glass bottle is thrown on stage, and the president is rushed out of the building.

On the drive back to the White House, Chief of Staff David Patrick scolds Payton a bit. “They think you use the CIA as your personal Royal Guard.” He urges her to assign an independent investigation—let them look into any improprieties, and if the CIA is dirty, “let them burn.” Payton decides this isn’t a terrible idea, but of course, as with any investigation, it needs to be managed. “I owe Senator Burke a big favor.” Ah, yes. The senator who refused to allow Kyle Green to release her full report on Kabul. You do owe him.

Charlie, meanwhile, is off doing dirty CIA work—i.e. questioning the seven Ar Rissalah recruits they nailed at an undisclosed FBI facility. They need information on where the bombs are, but the detainees simply recite the creed that Fatah gave them in his interview that was aired in episode 5: “We are your brothers, your sisters, your fathers, your children…”

It’s been five days, and President Payton needs some results. Charlie has no new news for her. The “Ar Rissalah 7,” as they’re being called, aren’t budging. They aren’t revealing where the bomb-making facilities are, and Charlie’s team is beating their heads against the wall. They’re watching the Ar Rissalah tapes ad nauseam, but not getting anywhere. Flip the script, Charlie suggests! There’s got to be a missing link! They decide that the connection must be in how they first made contact, and Dash, the resident expert at finding intel in the corners of the interwebs, goes in search of it.

Nick and Omar Fatah are now trekking through the jungles of the Philippines when their party is confronted by another group of uniformed men. Once the shooting starts, an unarmed Nick and Fatah rush off with only one of their guides. They’re surrounded again, but unseen snipers take out all four of their attackers, who turn out to be Filipino marines. Shit. This means they’re being doubly trailed, and Fatah and the guide immediately assume it’s the CIA. Nick protests his innocence, but the guide insists Nick kill whoever is following them before he takes them to the camp to meet Sheikh Hakam.

The president has called a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Burke to fill him in on her internal investigation plan. He’s all for it and manages to one-up her. He convinces her to make it a congressional investigation, complete with subpoena power. He assures her he’s not on a witch-hunt, and that if he wanted her head, he would have let that Kabul report out in full. This man’s a great politician. He’s definitely playing some cards very close to his chest—I think he’s going to Frank Underwood someone by the end of the season.

Dash’s search turned up extremetruth.net, a site popular with anti-establishment types. The good news: all seven known Ar Rissalah members were on this site, and it definitely provides the answers. The bad news: the site has been shut down, and the cache of information is held on a private server owned by one Professor Ahmad Ahmadi. Yup, the man who was cleared after Lucas hit him during questioning. Charlie goes to his office and humbles herself before Ahmadi to ask for help—they need his cooperation on this and have already badly burned that bridge. Ahmadi tells her that he came to the States from Beirut in order to feel safe, and to live in a democracy, but that Charlie’s agency has proved it was all a lie. She looks noticeably uncomfortable begging for help, but in the end, Ahmadi relents.

NEXT: What is Kurt up to these days? And which special guest star is our new favorite character?