Homeland: “There’s Something Else Going On” Season 4 Episode 9 Review

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Game of Thrones has “The Rains of Castamere” (aka The Red Wedding). Breaking Bad has “Ozymandius.” Now Homeland has this.

Now that my heart palpitations have subsided, I’m ready to dive into this week’s (literally) explosive episode. Homeland has pulled a lot of big punches before, but this took things to an entirely new playing field. The true mark of this episode’s greatness, though, was not in the major events, but in the moments before and after. No other show in the current TV season has so successfully riddled me with suspense and then lulled me into a false sense of security, only to be pulled back into the drama once again. It’s no secret that this series has been on an uphill climb since the fourth season premiere, but it’s now clear that we’re revving up for something huge. The momentum might be going a little fast for the show’s level of authenticity, but the ride is a pure adrenaline rush.

So, just to get this out of the way, I have to state that there’s no way Carrie was killed in the bombing of the convoy. Saul’s fate, on the other hand, is very up in the air. Mira’s heartbreaking phone call to Carrie before the exchange gives off a sense of foreboding. Nothing is ever easy on Homeland, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an “out of the frying pan, into the fire” sort of situation.

The exchange itself is masterfully shot, with episode director Seith Mann working with enough tension to literally control your heartbeat. Every detail in the sequence—from Carrie and The Snake talking on their walkies, to the slight, nervous shifts in everyone’s eyes—is eerily drawn out to create a horrifying sense of uncertainty. There are several pieces in play, from the boy with the bomb vest, to Saul’s refusal to walk, to Carrie meeting him out on the tarmac unarmed, to whatever Haqqani’s offsite plans might be. We’re unsure of how anything is going to occur until it actually does, meaning our eyes are glued to the screen.

Then there’s Saul and Carrie’s conversation, which is just so beautifully written and wonderfully delivered by Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin. It effectively works to showcase two of the season’s overall themes: the bond that Carrie and Saul share, and the blurred line between right and wrong when dealing with matters of national security.

The fact that Carrie walked over to him in the first place speaks volumes about how much she cares for him. Still, this didn’t make her pleading for him to get up any less gut-wrenching. What I really liked, however, was her adversity to his dismissal of the boy with the bomb. “You know who you sound like? Them. This is not who you are,” she states with conviction. The truth is, both sides have used some questionable tactics in order to achieve their goals, but in a season where Carrie’s constantly second-guessing herself, it’s great to see her take a firm stance on this sort of issue.

This was yet another episode this season that ended up merging its subplot with its central one. As Carrie, Ambassador Boyd, and Lockhart work together to wring a confession out of Dennis, it becomes clear how ingrained he’s become with the other side. Mark Moses plays him with a despicable malice this week. His look of smug pride when he first believes his wife has come to rescue him is beyond obnoxious. Still, I’m amazed at how long he maintained the fact that he wasn’t the leak.

Then came the explosion, which happened so quickly and unexpectedly that I almost thought it was a dream sequence. The best and worst part about it is that it comes in the calming moments after the exchange. Everything seems fine, but the truth is that no one is safe. As I said before, I highly doubt Carrie’s down for the count, but there’s a good chance Saul might be.

In the end, the explosion becomes Dennis’ undoing. He admits that The Snake wanted to know how Carrie was getting in and out of the embassy so secretly, and told her about the underground tunnel they use. Here’s where the plausibility gets a little dicey. As Haqqani and his men stormed in through the tunnel, I kept wondering why there were no guards at the entrance point. It seems super negligent for them to just leave that space available for anyone to break into it.

Still, it’s something I’m willing to overlook because the final shot of these terrorists marching into the embassy was both terrifying and exciting. It’s frustrating that Homeland is taking the week off next Sunday, because I really don’t think I can wait two weeks to find out what happens next. Grade: A

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