Anxious, Keane and Wellington watch the broadcast of the memorial. It doesn’t look good for Keane: The anchor onscreen reports of “palpable tension” at the gathering, and there’s no sign of Jackie, who’s also stopped answering her phone. But just when it seems like Keane will have to brace herself for things to escalate beyond her control, Jackie arrives at the back of the church, along with several other wives of fallen FBI agents.
Attendees sitting in the pews begin shaking their heads and shouting at the women to leave, but then JJ’s mother, Mary Elkins, gets up from the front row and approaches the women. She asks Jackie if she’s Mrs. Goodman, Jackie responds in the affirmative, and Mary invites her and the other wives to sit next to her. Keane breathes a sigh of relief as Mary holds Jackie’s hand, and the memorial proceeds in peace.
Still, there’s more work to be done. Keane tells Wellington to quietly set up a meeting with Mary in a few weeks, and then decides to deliver a speech to the nation. She tells America that she was “moved beyond words” to see the women mourning together. “We cannot allow what divides us as individuals to continue to undermine what unites us as people,” she continues, “what brings us together as Americans.”
It’s a good speech, short and sweet and perhaps just enough to put out some of the flames Brett O’Keefe fanned. But something worse is brewing around D.C. — and that takes us to Carrie this week. Yes, her story still feels like the B plot of the episode, but we’re finally getting close to connecting her thread to everyone else’s.
Plus, it’s just nice to see Carrie back in control, even for just one night. Having decided to move forward with a risky mission to connect Simone to Wellington and the death of McClendon, Carrie begins by putting together a team. She reaches out to former allies in the spy game, including a man named Anson (James D’Arcy, sporting an American accent and tons of arrogance), a former special ops agent who once had an affair with Carrie, and who now, in unemployment and divorce, is living alone in a ramshackle trailer park.
But hey, at least he can still function in Carrie’s operation, and after gathering six men (including him and Dante) to help her out, Carrie explains the situation. They have to go to Simone directly and shake her down, and the team decides that, given Simone’s stacked schedule the rest of the week, they should simply go to her office that night and corner her after her late meeting. Dante says it’s far too fast — they need more time to figure out such a big operation — but Carrie says they’ll be fine. All they need to do is clear out the building of other employees and not get too violent, a reminder she pointedly says to Anson.
As with most missions for Carrie, things start out smoothly enough. Dante and Carrie keep track of each of the employees leaving the building by staking it out from across the street, and even have some time to reminisce about the old days, with Dante admitting he misses ops like this, when it felt like “real work.” Dante also has to keep track of Carrie’s meds, and Carrie’s impressed by how well he’s been at observing her intake.
A few hours later, Simone finally exits the building, and the mission’s in motion. Anson and another agent had disabled her ignition, so she’s forced to call roadside assistance — though in this case, her call simply gets redirected to Max, who plays the part brilliantly, advising her to stay put. So she does — though of course it takes the team a little longer to make sure everyone’s gone and for them to cut the power to the building. Once they do, Anson and two more men rush in to interrogate Simone, with Anson knocking the wind out of her.
Simone, tied up and distraught, admits to being paid to carry out McClendon’s murder. While another man slips a bug into her bag, Anson tells Simone that she has to get him another hundred grand by Thursday morning. He explains that he’s been watching and will continue watching, and she seems convinced after he reveals details of her home that Carrie must have told him thanks to her earlier break-in. After the bug goes live in the bag, the men cut Simone free and leave.
After all, they don’t really need the money; all they needed was to intimidate her enough so she would go scurrying to whomever she works for, and to have enough time to plant a bug on her so they can listen in. Unfortunately for Carrie, though, that bug stops functioning immediately. When Simone stumbles outside to head to a bar around the corner and collect herself, Carrie has another one of her men to track her down, but that plan is thwarted as soon as Simone heads inside the bar bathroom. “This is why we needed a woman on the team,” Carrie exasperatedly tells Anson, before heading inside the bar herself to plant a new bug.
She does it quickly and efficiently, acting drunk in the bathroom and spilling the contents of her purse all over the floor. Simone doesn’t notice, and finally, outside the bathroom, makes a call to her contact: Wellington, whom she asks to see as soon as possible. That means roughly 45 minutes, as Wellington has to wait for Keane to wrap up her speech.
Pleased, Carrie and Dante praise each other for their good work. They tail Simone as she takes an Uber to Wellington’s, but when she steps up to go inside, they realize they can’t hear her conversation. As it turns out, Simone’s left her bag inside the Uber, which means they no longer have ears on anything, and what’s worse, there’s no way they can get her her bag back without raising flags. Dante stops Carrie from making a brash call to chase down the Uber and somehow get the bag inside, reminding her that she had told him to pull her back if she wasn’t thinking clearly.
Carrie’s convinced, in the end, and orders her team to fall back. The mission’s over, and though they failed, Dante tells her not to beat herself up. He drops her off at her home, but Carrie’s rattled. How could two bugs crap out on one mission? That never happens to her, she says, but Dante explains that they might be able to bring Simone in front of Senator Paley. After all, they know she was in Hazelton, they know of her connection to Wellington…maybe it’ll be enough.
Maybe, but when Carrie heads up her driveway, she heads inside Max’s van instead of inside her house. Max, being Max, had understood that he should wait for Carrie so they can go over the video surveillance they planted inside Wellington’s home, but sadly for Carrie, Max only has bad news to report. After everything they had done to Simone, she doesn’t end up telling Wellington anything at all — not the money she has to get to Anson, not the interrogation, not the bruise she now has on her abdomen. None of it is shared, and the conversation they’ve recorded means nothing at all. Instead, Simone and Wellington have sex, and, well, “It goes on like this for a while,” Max reports. To which Carrie responds: “What the f—?!”
What the f— indeed. Who’s Simone really working for? And could Saul’s suspicions about Krupin be correct after all? “Active Measures” activated several new mysteries to pursue, and this latest twist leaves me intrigued to see more — of what exactly is going on and of Carrie’s team. I wish we spent a little more time meeting the rest of her allies (Anson wasn’t exactly the most pleasant of the bunch), but this was a taut one-episode mission that got us closer to where we need to be for the rest of the season. Now turn off the feed, Max; we don’t need to see that much of the chief of staff.