Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 8 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "A Red Wheelbarrow."
What's one way to keep a CIA agent from potentially blowing months of an elaborate sting to stage a governmental coup in Iran and locate the man responsible for America's Second 911?
That was the unfortunate outcome from tonight's "Homeland" episode, which saw Carrie getting shot in the arm by -- poor thing -- Peter Quinn after she attempts to thwart Evil Lawyer Guy No. 2 from killing the actual man behind the Langley bombing. We don't need to guess what her motivations are because Carrie, exasperatingly as ever, declares them to Dar Adal and team mid-operation: "Keeping him alive is the only way to prove Brody's innocent!" she yells, before sabotaging the whole operation by running out of the truck and almost blowing her cover.
Carrie's determination to clear her former lover's name is not only due to the fact that she is crazy in love with him, of course. Carrie is 13 weeks pregnant with Brody's child, and she hasn't been handling the news very well. "What I'm doing has to do with the baby's father," she tells her OB-GYN, after she is encouraged to de-stress from the job (HAHAHA → sorry, involuntary response). We also learn that Carrie hit the bottle hard in the weeks after discovering the news, and that she took Lithium for about a month while in the psych ward. "I wasn't painting a nursery," Carrie says with perfect deadpan humor. But dread and reluctance aside, nothing about the scene suggested that Carrie intends on terminating her pregnancy. On the contrary: If Carrie is going to bring a child into this world, then she is going to try her damn best to relinquish the baby from having America's Most Wanted Terrorist as his or her father.
Meanwhile, Saul makes some progress with Mira, bringing her breakfast in bed at what seems from the conversation that follows to be an ungodly early hour. He insinuates that when "this is all over," they'll go island hopping in exotic locales that both are nostalgic about, like the Philippines, where they picked up handcrafted mugs. The scenes where they kiss have an autumnal sweetness to them, although at certain moments it's hard not to feel that Saul's lover face looks a lot like his interrogation face; if you were to turn the volume down when he brings his face up to hers and tells her how much she means to him, his steely gaze and earnestness of purpose could almost convince you that he's grilling Mira on the subject of the Iranian revolutionary guard's nuclear program.
Mira seems disengaged and ambivalent, but afterwards we see her break up with her French boyfriend, who makes no effort to disguise his dismay and pleads with her that he loves her. There's something sinister about Alain, though, and a later scene has him installing listening and surveillance devices in the Berenson household then slipping out after Mira comes home. There was an almost parodic quality to this scene, we felt, with the perfidious but good-looking Frenchman soft-shoeing out the front door but stopping off at pretty much every trespass scene acting cliche -- the darting eyes, the body held flush to the wall, the quick pirouettes and light-footed sprints -- along the way. Alain seems destined to become more central to the plot in subsequent episodes, so we can all look forward to more slimy Frenchman vaudeville along the way. Eh oui.
There were a couple back-and-forth scenes between Carrie and Franklin (Big Evil Lawyer Guy No. 2) that were also difficult to keep track of. There are so many double agent plays in this season that it's sometimes easy to forget that the law firm still believes that Carrie is a compromised CIA agent who works for them -- and not the other way around. We feel bad for anyone who's entered the season midway through. The multiple levels of "this person isn't who you think they are" ploys are beginning to feel dizzying.
The most entertaining part of last night's episode was also the most unbelievable. Saul arranges a meeting with Higgins, the White House Chief of Staff and, lo and behold, Senator Lockhart is there as well, still fuming from the conference room debacle and Javadi's return to Iran. Neither man is convinced that Javadi has been turned, but Saul, that stubborn bull of a man, is. "I know him," he tells the two men, before joyously getting Senator Lockhart kicked out of the room as he briefs Higgins on "phase two" of the Javadi operation, which involves some crazy scheme to usher in a new regime in Iran with Javadi embedded as a high-ranking military insider who will be moved "up the chain of command." What does Saul have planned up his sleeve, exactly? And how does returning Brody to U.S. soil factor in his grand scheme to engineer a regime change in Iran? The show's writers don't give us more details, but it was hard in that moment not to recall the senator's best line from last week's episode: "You sound like you're fucking high." (On a side note, this photo of Mandy Patinkin and Tracy Letts out of character is everything).
The episode ends with Saul entering the seedy slum in Caracas, the Tower of David, to pick up Brody from his hellish prison cell in exchange for $10 million cash to the slumlord. While we still don't understand what El Niño's connection to Carrie Mathison is -- and we doubt that we'll ever figure that out now -- obviously the interest in keeping Brody alive was purely monetary. How long has Saul known about Brody's whereabouts? And did Saul need Javadi's confirmation of Brody's non-involvement in the Langley bombing to finally "rescue" him?
We get a glimpse of what those answers might be in the scenes from next week's episode. We have to admit, we're starting to feel a little bad for Brody. All people seem to want from Brody is to imprison him, yell at him, then force him to kill people he doesn't really want to kill, then do it all over again. And what Saul will ask of Brody appears to be not all that different from what Abu Nazir had planned for him. In each scenario, Brody plays the same role; it's only which side plays on that distinguishes him from a "hero" to a "terrorist."
Questions we have that were answered:
- Is Alain to be trusted? Absolutely not. After Mira breaks up with him, our French hottie breaks into the Berenson household and wires the house and computer.
- Is Brody the father of Carrie's baby? Yes, or so Carrie believes.
- Will Carrie keep the baby? Yep.
- When will Brody return to the show? It looks like the answer is NOW.
Questions we still have:
- Is this the end of Fara on "Homeland"?
- What does Saul have in store for Brody that makes his return to U.S. soil so important?
- Will Carrie tell Brody she's pregnant?
- How long has Brody been in the cell in Caracas? And what is his mental state?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
What did you think of "Homeland" season 3, episode 8? Share your thoughts and predictions below.