Saul begins piecing clues together, while Carrie finds a new target
This season could use a lot more Mandy Patinkin. Out of everyone, Saul’s the only one making level-headed, rational, believable choices.
Yes, Homeland‘s always required some suspension of disbelief, but this episode pushed it to the extreme. David Wellington, a high-level White House official who’s been concerned-to-the-point-of-obsessive over the reputation of Keane’s administration, gets duped easily into causing a commotion in public — really? Keane didn’t know of her own chief of staff’s girlfriend after confronting him just a few episodes ago about launching an airstrike without her permission — really? Krupin, an old-fashioned veteran spy, leaves his comfortable life of presumed defection to talk to Gromov on his own with zero protection — reaaaaally? And Dante, who’s supposed to be this double-crossing mastermind, falls for Carrie’s tricks, while Carrie accepts the idea of him as the enemy instantaneously — seriously?
I guess you could give an explanation for each of these circumstances if you do some mental gymnastics. Maybe Wellington has been blinded by love of Simone. Maybe Keane was too focused on Lucasville to worry about Wellington. Maybe Krupin had more faith in his countrymen than he should have. And maybe Dante really is innocent, which means Carrie is once again on a wild goose chase taking her away from the main plot.
Or maybe I’m like Carrie, unwilling to accept the story unfolding before my eyes. Carrie’s become more intense than ever now that she knows something’s up with Simone, and yet she can’t make a single move without implicating herself and Max for putting up cameras inside Wellington’s home. And so, the only thing she can do is, well, ignore her duties as a mother in favor of staring at the feeds and wondering who Simone really is. She’s also eager to call Dante about what’s going on, but Max holds her off, reminding her that telling an FBI agent about their illegal surveillance really isn’t the smartest move. (Max, you may join Saul in the Rational Corner.)
But Carrie just can’t help herself. When Simone receives a subpoena for Senator Paley’s committee, she puts on a show for Wellington about how worried she is about it, and Carrie realizes that perhaps Simone wasn’t reporting to Wellington after all, but to someone else — which means Wellington’s an innocent victim. Well, not completely innocent. Is Wellington — a man who undermined the president and tries to stop Paley from questioning Simone out of blind faith in his girlfriend — really someone you’d want sitting so close to the top?
Either way, at least Wellington’s smart enough to realize that Paley wouldn’t be going after Simone if he didn’t have something concrete backing his suspicions. And so at home — with Carrie watching — he asks Simone about her contacts and whether she’s been peddling her proximity to him as a way to get ahead. Simone immediately plays defense, and Wellington believes her, but Carrie can’t stop pacing around in her bedroom. She decides to call Janet from Paley’s office and asks to be allowed into Simone’s session.
The next day, Carrie sits in the back and spots Dante, who says he was allowed in immediately because he’s now Paley’s “best friend” for bringing in the evidence that would implicate Simone. Janet and Paley question Simone, but Simone stays silent, letting her lawyer speak for her. When asked to explain her road trip and cash pick-ups, she finally speaks — but says what she really wants is immunity in exchange for her intel. She tells them of a mission to drop off all the money she picked up behind a boulder off an exit into Hazelton, and that if they want to know the name of the senior White House official who directed her to do this, they’ll have to grant her immunity.
Paley, of course, already thinks that anonymous official must be Wellington, but Simone doesn’t budge. (She does, however, let slip that her contact is a man.) Instead, Carrie in the audience grows frustrated at how this win seems far too easy considering everything she knows, so she grabs Dante and leaves the room to talk it over with him. She tells him she knows Simone is lying but can’t say why — she just has a bad feeling about it all. Dante, though, just scoffs at her trying to backtrack everything they’ve done because of a “bad feeling,” and then patronizes her, instructing her to see a doctor and to eat and sleep, because those black market meds have probably addled her brain. Carrie backs down after that — but only so much.
With no one left to turn to, Carrie (finally!) calls Saul. She catches him up on everything that’s happened so far, and Saul immediately notices the patterns. He asks her to retrace her steps and suggests the possibility that all of her actions and suspicions have been set up from the very beginning, maybe by someone she thought was an ally. And in that moment, Carrie realizes how Dante may be the culprit, having brought the parking ticket that sent her down this path, and how he’s the one who knew how much she wanted to pin something on this administration. She was in a vulnerable place — and now she’s more vulnerable than ever.
But Saul advises her to take a breath. After all, the whole Dante question is only a theory; there could be other explanations, other reasons why things have spun out of control. Seeing how distraught she is, Saul tells her of what he’s working on — more on that in a bit — and suggests that everything could be a part of that. The main problem for now is that Carrie has gotten too close and is doing something completely against the law. The best thing she can do, he says, is to lay low and keep her head down until she hears from him again. She agrees…sort of. (NEXT: Unhappy hour…)