Homeland recap: Yevgeny-gate
The big question I'm asking myself today is: What won't Max do for Carrie? Or, rather, what won't anyone on this show do for Carrie? For a long time, I believed (and Homeland wanted me to believe) that Max is simply the perfect storm of dedicated, reckless, and patriotic, but I'm pretty sure he's been making most of his decisions based on the fact that what he believes in most isn't his work for the CIA, but Carrie. She hasn't let him down often, but sending him back into the helicopter to retrieve the black (orange) box was a lot more sacrificial than I'm currently prepared to stomach.
We learn he was taken by a lone captor, who seems to want to trade him for money. Max is desperate — he's the lone survivor from the reconnaissance mission after all — and his desperation gets him shot. He's taken to an unnamed village, handcuffed to a highly rudimentary hospital bed, and dosed up on morphine while his captor sets off to sell the black (orange) box to a pawn shop. He wakes up to discover his backpack (and the black/orange box) missing, which causes him far more distress than the gaping wound on his back. We, the audience, then see the box atop a donkey pack somewhere in the mountains, slowly traveling further and further out of reach.
Saul & Haqqani
Last week Saul warned his friend (we're just calling them friends now, pretending anything otherwise is silly) that it was time to get out of dodge, and Haqqani has been hiding out ever since, trying to stay away from G'ulom's men (who are hunting him quite meticulously). He's also rounding up Taliban members — or anyone who might be Taliban — all across the city and tossing them into the soccer stadium.
G'ulom calls Saul and General Ryan in to find out his whereabouts because the Afghanis want to, basically, burn Haqqani at the stake. Saul refuses to give him up because he just wouldn't do that to a friend — also, the CIA see this whole situation as a lose-lose without the peace deal. Either this rival Taliban faction comes to power, or G'ulom continues with his enforcement of martial law, slowly eroding what few freedoms his citizens have. As a result of the meeting (and Saul's suggestion that G'ulom might have shot down the helicopters himself to gain more power), the government ups the ante: They put a $1 million bounty on Haqqani's head and give him 24 hours to turn himself in or they'll kill all the men in the soccer stadium.
In case the situation wasn't unstable enough, if G'ulom goes through with the killings, the remaining Taliban will revolt and, as Saul and David lay out to Bumbler-in-Chief Hayes, the country will descend into chaos and the embassy and bases will go up in proverbial flames. The new POTUS needs to call G'ulom himself to threaten aid money and this conference call gave all of these men at least three new forehead wrinkles each. David Wellington likely broke some blood vessels when he had to coach Hayes on how to pronounce G'ulom. ("What, like it's hard?")
What's even worse is that Hayes was totally strong-armed by G'ulom and the Americans lost all their ground — although, was that even strong-armed? It was really more that G'ulom realized he could talk Hayes into doing anything he wants and simply played him like a confused little fiddle. Haqqani, meanwhile, hatches his own plan: To turn himself in and trust the Americans to demand a full trial on his behalf.
What's the new, politically correct term for a whore's bath? "Two Minutes" opens as Carrie takes whatever we're calling those these days as news of President Warner's death is spread through the American news. Her current mission, above all else, is to find Max, but Kabul station's priority is the fact that there are a lot of potential targets from this potential Taliban threat that may or may not have taken down the helicopters. Meanwhile, Jenna is still sniffing around Carrie and Yevgeny's relationship and I'm guessing it's not going to look good for Carrie — neither is the FBI team here to find out who knew the President was in the air (and who could have told the Taliban where to stand with the RPG).
Naturally, Carrie takes off. What else? This show would be too simple if she looked innocent. She runs right to
her Russian handler Yevgeny to ask for a favor — and tells him that he shouldn't consider this a step toward any sort of arrangement. She tosses it out as an aside, but that to me signals pretty plainly that any double agenting she's doing for the Russians would be without her knowledge. Brainwashing? Perhaps. She wants him to help her find Max by placing a call to the Korengal; he wants her to disable the CIA's monitoring system first. It's kind of cute how Carrie pretends like maybe she won't do it for a second.
Back at Kabul station, Carrie is sent straight into an interview with the FBI investigator who said "safe to say this won't be the last time I talk with you" and sent chills down my spine. But Carrie should be more scared of Mike Dunne: Jenna plays him the cleaned-up audio of the fountain-side meeting with Yevgeny and he realizes that she completely fabricated the contact report. While he decides what to do, he puts Jenna back on Carrie-stalking duty which, if you'll all recall, is my least favorite season 8 plot point.
Luckily for my annoyance levels, Jenna is really bad at this game and Carrie loses her tail quickly. There's a whole bit wherein she distracts the guy monitoring the CIA's information feeds by pretending not to know how to work the printer — Lonny is not pleased — and pulls off her sneaky little plan without a hitch.
But wait, there is a hitch! Mike tattles to Saul about Carrie and Yevgeny, Saul confronts Carrie about the meeting recording, and catches Carrie in The Big Lie. He has no choice but to send her packing back to whence she came (the hospital in Germany) because he's convinced that Yevgeny is recruiting Carrie. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where it gets interesting.
Jenna escorts Carrie back to the airport (the regular-people airport this time, not Bagram Airfield), where she can mysteriously go with her right to the gate like it's 1995. Carrie implores Jenna to help find Max in her absence before she bids her farewell, scans her ticket to Dubai, heads down the jet bridge, and then [alarm Emoji] ducks down a stairwell at the last second, sprinting down a set of stairs, onto the tarmac, and into the waiting arms of Yevgeny [alarm Emoji]. I should descend into analysis right now, but all I'm going to say is that I really hope Carrie broke free in order to find Max herself, vigilante-style.