Homeland “13 Hours in Islamabad” Review (4×10)

8 Dec


“There comes a point where you’re no longer responsible.”

“I’m not there yet.”

This season of Homeland has seemed intent on exploring the ramifications of spy work, the consequences that can result from drone strikes and failed diplomacy and a rapidly increasing death toll. The effects we’ve seen have been mainly psychological, but in “13 Hours in Islamabad”, Haissam Haqqani and his men bring the physical pain by shooting up a building that’s all about diplomatic relations, taking and killing hostages, and obtaining a list of assets to murder. The CIA usually carries out its missions in secret, behind closed doors, but now, Haqqani is forcing his way in.

So, we once again see the show demonstrate the impossibility of choosing in certain situations, this time with Lockhart and the list of assets. No matter what he chooses, people are going to get hurt; people are going to die, and it’s something that he simply has to accept in this line of work. Lockhart ends up choosing to hand over the list of assets in exchange for the lives of the remaining hostages, but we see that this choice is the worse one of the two. Fara still dies, Haqqani escapes, and if not for Peter Quinn going all Jack Bauer on us, Lockhart would likely be dead as well.

This hostage sequence is all part of a well-constructed, well-directed, and riveting opening twenty minutes that takes us from Quinn in the tunnels to Boyd and Lockhart in the safe room to Saul and Carrie in the wreckage of the convoy. This is far from the show we saw in season one, but because it’s finally embracing that fact, we can simply sit back and enjoy the action.

The second half of the episode–in total, the episode was a mere ~42 minutes, sans opening credits and “previously on”–once again brings up the idea of ramifications, this time doing so through various character dynamics. In the aftermath of the attack, Carrie and Max sit on some steps and talk about Fara, and the latter expresses bitterness over how the former treated her. Carrie most certainly wasn’t responsible for her death, but all these characters are in some way complicit in the events leading up to it, and this season of Homeland continues to be a damning indictment of our foreign intelligence policies. In addition, we get some intriguing scenes between Martha and Dennis Boyd, and Laila Robins is wonderful throughout as she reacts to her husband’s appeal to let him kill himself. At the end of the episode, she looks on in disgust as her husband is driven away, and we see that he was unable to take his own life.

Most importantly, we get a shift in the dynamic between Carrie and Quinn. Whereas earlier in the season, it was Carrie who wanted to keep pounding away at her mission, this time, it’s Quinn. His restrained and brooding nature throughout the first 2/3 of the season has been replaced by a fiery passion, by a desire for justice, and when Carrie tells him that the U.S. is pulling out of Pakistan, he’s not having it. Carrie’s the one who’s tired of it all now, and she says that “for once, they’re right”. Quinn, however, has an entirely different notion of what’s right.



-Well, RIP, John Redmond. I kind of wanted to see more of his character, but I guess that’s not happening.

-It makes sense that Haqqani would want to kill Fara. After all, he sees her as a walking insult to his faith, to their faith.

-There will be quite a few people comparing this to 24. It’s definitely very similar, but I have two points to make: 1) 24 was dumb, but it was a very good show for a long time, and 2) These kinds of embassy attacks are not implausible because they’ve happened very recently. Of course, Quinn and his partner taking out everyone in their shootouts is straining plausibility, but let’s just go for the ride.

-The whole reason there’s a 60 second countdown is to allow people like Lockhart to reevaluate their decisions.


Terrorist: I have a human shield! Go ahead and try to shoot me!

Max: Gladly, asshole.

-Two more episodes left this year. I’m genuinely excited to see what goes down in the final two weeks of the season.

Photo credit: Showtime, Homeland

3 Responses to “Homeland “13 Hours in Islamabad” Review (4×10)”

  1. JustMeMike December 8, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Very fine commentary PB.

    I found a couple of things in the show that seemed a bit nonsensical.

    First, the point is made that Haqqani’s men are issued new burner phones every day. No doubt to not have a revealing history on the phone. So why would two of Haqqani’s men have brought their phones with them to an attack which they may not live through.
    1A – why wouldn’t Quinn have picked more weapons from those that he and the marine killed

    Second – Dennis Boyd would have been placed under a suicide watch. More than a single guard, with video monitoring and audio monitoring. The hope would have been to break him down and learn about the other side (Tasneen).

    Third – the so-called secret tunnel also had no video monitoring and was so flimsily locked. If American agents used that regularly, surely some one would have noticed the traffic.

    Next some guesswork –

    a) Martha Boyd is power hungry, but not smart – she would have been blamed for Dennis’s suicide as no one else would have been logged as visiting him.
    b) Lockhart is the traitor
    c) Tasneen will be killed – not by Quinn, but by Aasar Khan, who for reasons that we still don’t have, agreed to that 10 minute wait before calling in his own men.

  2. sarah9461 December 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    The last 2 episodes have kept me on the edge of my seat, literally forgetting to breathe. I can’t buy the notion of Lockhart turning over the list of assets, he is too smart and too callous to do such a thing. It was clear the CIA employees were going to die anyway. And, I can’t understanad why Khan acquiesed to Tasneen’s desire to wait 10 minutes to call for troops – they work for the same gov’t, but is she his superior? He does not like her brand of diplomacy, it is clear. Carrie and Quinn both seem to be functional at last, but Saul is a damaged soul. Hopefully Mira can pull him through this trauma.

  3. #peggyatthemovies December 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    I LOVED IT!! While I liked the John Redmond character also, and Fara..it was very compelling. I’ve been waiting all season for Rupert/Quinn to start kicking ass & taking names.
    At this point..I’m like ‘Brody who??’ hahahaha and yes, if this is any inkling on the next 2 eps. this might go down as the best season or 2nd best for sure.. 🙂

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