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Keane finally wins a battle, while Carrie assembles a team

March 11, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT

If you can win a battle but lose the war, then the opposite must be true. President Keane’s depending on it.

And she may very well succeed. This week, everyone (yes, everyone including Carrie) takes a massive step forward. After the massacre in Lucasville, Saul now cares only about finding out who took the photo of JJ in the hospital and spread the fake news. His first suspect is Brett, who’s now stashed away inside a federal building in Richmond to await his fate, but Brett denies any involvement with the story. Sure, he fanned the flames and took advantage of the chaos once it blew up, but as he tells Saul, “I had talked to that family. I spent time.” Yes, even Brett O’Keefe has a heart.

So then…who sent Oleg The Americans‘ Costa Ronin to take the photo? Saul has an idea and pitches it while Keane’s national security advisers brief her on the situation. He thinks the story probably originated overseas — “usual suspects,” he remarks, and everyone knows who he’s talking about — because information warfare like this has been happening in Eastern Europe. Could someone thousands of miles away have pulled the strings to sell a lie?

Keane and Wellington don’t want to go there just yet. Because even if someone did manipulate the news, the bottom line remains the fact that the FBI shot a teenager first, and they have to take care to control the situation moving forward. That begins with a memorial service planned that night in Richmond and the rally that’s supposed to follow. Keane wants to keep the crowd in line, and make sure no further violence occurs. As Wellington tells Saul, they need to handle one crisis at a time.

But Saul doesn’t have to — not in his mind, anyway. When he returns to his office, he asks for a plane so he can jet off to Hoback, Wyoming, to meet with Ivan Krupin. Remember him? He was the Russian intelligence agent who worked with Allison Carr in season 5, but turned her in in exchange for his safety (as in, witness protection) in the U.S. As it turns out, that’s meant a comfortable home in Wyoming nested in the woods, with a girlfriend named Kira Korrigan to boot.

Saul and Krupin take a walk, but Krupin doesn’t tell Saul what he wants to hear. Though he acknowledges that a similar situation happened in Ukraine to spark the separatists’ anger — it resulted in an invasion, Saul notes — Krupin says Russia wouldn’t want to carry out something so similar so soon after “we got caught with our hands in your elections.” (Homeland bingo players, please cross “Plotline Blatantly Tied to Current Events” off your board.)

Not one to accept defeat so easily, Saul then asks about a man named Gromov (if anyone caught the right spelling in closed captioning, please let me know?), a “creative thinker” who came up with the Ukrainian ordeal. Saul wonders if perhaps the Kremlin reached out to him and has covered him up somewhere to influence world events like Brexit and, now, the U.S. presidency. But Krupin just scoffs: It’s just one guy. Could one man really destroy entire countries?

The answer is yes, Krupin, have you never read a history textbook, but anyway, he moves on to tell Saul a neat little parable that pretty much defines the paranoia of the season so far: He points to the river they’re walking by and explains that it’s called Snake River because of a miscommunication. When Native Americans tried to introduce American explorers to the river, they used a gesture that meant “fish,” but which the foreigners misinterpreted as “snakes.” And so, Krupin concludes, “Sometimes a domestic crisis is just a domestic crisis.” Perhaps, but when Saul drives away, he asks for a team to monitor Krupin’s (and Kira’s) actions 24/7.

At least Keane doesn’t reach a dead end while dealing with her crisis. When Wellington briefs Keane on their new plan to keep Richmond calm, she requests that the memorial not only honor the 14 Lucasville residents who died, but the additional five FBI agents who perished as well. Wellington bristles at the idea — the memorial was organized by families in Lucasville, and they won’t take kindly to letting the FBI in on their event — but Keane has a plan.

She visits Jackie Goodman, the wife of the special agent who was taken hostage and shot in the head by JJ’s father. Inside the Goodmans’ home, she promises Jackie she’ll present her with a Medal of Valor in her husband’s honor, but first, she needs Jackie — a former FBI agent herself, and a black woman — to take a risk. “I would like you to attend a memorial service tonight,” Keane says tentatively to Jackie, who’s immediately worried about the prospect of heading into the heart of the South to be the face of the perceived enemy. But Keane tells her that she could be the face of restraint, that though she never thought she’d have to ask a woman to contain her rage to make peace, this is the only way to heal. (Next: There’s something about Mary Elkins…)

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