Alison’s steps towards independence from Noah draw her back to Montauk and Cole, while Noah himself feels the sting of being cheated on and lied to in an entertaining finish to the season.
“I’m a spy. I know shit.”
That line, spoken by John Redmond, is funny in the moment, but begins to feel ironic by the end of the episode. Practically everyone is off their game this week, with an abundance of questionable decisions leading to Saul getting kidnapped. By this point, we’ve spent plenty of time with Carrie, Saul, Quinn, even Fara. We know what they can do, we know how good they are at their jobs…except when the writers need them to be stupid. It all feels overly telegraphed, to the point where these uncharacteristic decisions not only frustrate on a plot level, but a character one too. It’s reminiscent of how a show like Family Guy treats its characters and its continuity, which is an unfortunate comparison to make with a high profile prestige drama.
There are several reminders in this episode about how good Carrie is at her job, as if the writers are making sure we have the right perspective on her character heading into the episode’s final scene. Fara tells Quinn when he arrives, “I don’t know how she finds time to sleep.” Later, the guy John Redmond had tailing Carrie last episode (and failing) tells John, simply, “She’s good.” Considering the fact that we’ve seen Carrie often at her worst, it is valuable to remember what a good agent she is. Which brings us to that final scene.
Is Homeland a show about romance? Put another way, is romance central to what it is trying to say about war, intelligence, bureaucracy? After the Carrie/Brody romance was present through three seasons of the show, there were undoubtedly many that hoped the show would get back to basics with Brody gone. They looked forward to Carrie moving to Pakistan, letting her baby and its father fade into the past, taking control of her new station and hunting down bad guys. That stuff is happening, but we also seem as if we may be heading towards a Carrie/Quinn romance, and it’s unclear if that’s a good thing.
The opening minutes of Homeland’s fourth season, designed to disorient and excite, throws us into Carrie’s new world as the CIA station chief in Kabul. This double feature premiere hits the ground running as we watch how Carrie and her team make a decision that looks as if it will have reverberations throughout the rest of the season. Welcome back, Homeland is saying, and let us get “back to basics”.