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Homeland “There’s Something Else Going On” Review (4×09)

23 Nov

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“This is not who we are. This is not who you are.”

There’s an inherent contradiction in the War on Terror, a hypocrisy present in the “us vs. them” mentality stressed multiple times by Carrie in “There’s Something Else Going On”. “You think we behave badly?” she asks Dennis Boyd as she’s playing the Sandy video. “Well, this is how the other side behaves.” Later, as she’s pleading with Saul to get up, she spits out a damning “You sound like them!” However, what she doesn’t realize–or chooses not to acknowledge–is the fact that her own government’s actions are oftentimes no better than the actions of the other side. As a result, this is all a never-ending, screwed up mess of a situation, and it is almost impossible to take the moral high ground.

After all, pretty much everyone involved here is in it and can’t get out; the “right thing” that Quinn and Carrie discuss at the beginning of the episode isn’t measured in terms of “good” and “bad” anymore; rather, it’s measured in terms of “bad” and “worse”. Military operations are given casualty estimates, not life estimates. Here, Saul is willing to perpetuate this cycle of violence even though he knows it’s wrong, even though he knows that blowing them all to hell is merely going to exacerbate the situation. In a sad, ironic twist, though, “blowing them all to hell” is exactly the plan carried out by Haqqani later. “They put the vest on him, not us.” “That makes it okay? No more dying.”

I’d be remiss not to, yet again, compliment Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin for their work. The fear and desperation on Carrie’s face juxtaposed with the utter blankness of Saul’s is absolutely chilling, and Patinkin does perhaps his best work not on the tarmac, but rather later in the car. The shame and guilt on Saul’s face is heartbreaking, and the shift to him putting on his glasses and taking the call is yet another Patinkin highlight.

Speaking of the call, it’s nice that the show remembers Mira. I’m not too interested in the personal lives of any of these characters, but in an episode like this, a thread connecting the proceedings in Islamabad to those at home is very effective. It’s easy to get caught up in the spying like the characters do, but sometimes, you’re hit with the sudden realization that yes, other things exist. “Remember a normal life,” Mira pleads with Carrie, “that I love Saul.” At first, Carrie believes that Mira is expressing concern over Lockhart leading the operation, when in fact, the concern is being leveled at Mathison herself. “You’re becoming so professional,” Mira continues, and we see that that’s definitely the case while she’s interrogating Dennis Boyd; it’s riveting to watch a Carrie like that, but it’s also Carrie, government agent.

And in the end, just as Saul’s about to reconnect with the outside world, just as he’s about to talk to his wife, he’s pulled back in yet again. RPGs leave his convoy in ruins, and Haissam Haqqani is on his way to attack the U.S. Embassy.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-So, Haqqani attacking the embassy through the tunnels is reminiscent of 24‘s season 7 White House episodes. It was incredibly stupid, but also the most fun 24 was in a while.

-As I touched on above, it’s so entertaining watching Carrie go at Dennis Boyd like that. It’s also interesting watching her, Lockhart, and Boyd all working together on something.

-If there’s one thing I could watch Homeland do all day, it would be crafting set pieces.

-So, it looks like Carrie’s pills were switched out with phenethylamine, or 25I.

-I hope Saul survived that.

-Two weeks until the next episode. Of course the show waits till now to take a week off.

Photo credit: Homeland, Showtime

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3 Responses to “Homeland “There’s Something Else Going On” Review (4×09)”

  1. JustMeMike November 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    It’s Thanksgiving Weekend and many viewers will be traveling. I don’t like it – the two week break – but at least I understand it.

    A couple of thoughts – Some how I knew – that the Ambassador Martha Boyd wasn’t rescuing Dennis from Mathison – so I wasn’t shocked when she reported back to Mathison and Lockhart.

    I was suspicious of the boy left in Saul’s holding pen. There was no reason for him to have been there, without him having further utility.

    I was surprised at what happened to the convoy after the exchange on the way back to the embassy. And I was shocked that Dennis had leaked the tunnel info to Tasneen. Obviously they kept that from us. So that platoon of Marines sent out to the blast site seemed woefully small. What was it 15 men in 4 jeeps?

    So I bet you get Quinn back in action next time.

  2. #peggyatthemovies November 23, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    The season started off slow & awkward and much of it was meh.. the last few eps. have upped the ante about 100 notches.. 😀 seriously back to being the old, fantastic, edge of your seat Homeland and I for one..LOVE IT! I agree with Mike above.. Quinn is going to be kicking some major ass coming up. I mean he’s got to..he’s kinda the only one left in the building..ha!

  3. sarah9461 November 25, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    The RPG’s hitting the convoy (Saul and Carrie have to be ok!) was a diversion, but Lockhart made the mistake of sending everyone to the hit instead of having some soldiers stay back to protect the Embassy.
    We need more Quinn, whatever the writers want him to do, I want to see more of it. Dennis Boyd is in deep doo-doo, and his wife is going to let him sink in it. I would have liked to see her show more disappointment in his betrayals. Perhaps she is just not surprised at anything he would do at this point.

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