Previously on Homeland: A brown-haired white man took a picture of JJ Elkins and spread fake news that he was dead; Saul asked Ivan about someone named Yevgeny Gromov in relation to the fake news; he told Keane this might be information warfare; Simone got jumped by Carrie’s team pretending to want an extra hundred grand for killing McClendon; she called and asked to see Wellington and two bugs that Carrie had planted blew, but on the secret cameras she has installed in Wellington’s house Simone doesn’t mention anything to Wellington.
It’s morning at Carrie’s house and Josie is calling impatiently for Franny. Carrie takes care of a few school-day things, repeating a question because she’s too frazzled, demands a hug from Franny, and then runs upstairs. Where she finds Max, watching Wellington’s footage. “Anything?” she asks. “He’s out of yogurt,” Max says. Hee! Have I mentioned lately that Max is the best?
Anyway, Max speculates that they know about the cameras. But they haven’t gone on any walks. “And no long talks in the bathroom with the water running, either,” Carrie says. I honestly can’t tell if that’s a joke? Like is that something people would actually do if they knew they were on camera? Even I can see through that and I’ve never spied on anyone before, just seen a few episodes of Alias!
Just as Carrie’s summing up why none of this makes sense, the doorbell rings at Wellington’s. Simone shows up and tells him she’s been served with a subpoena by the Senate Judiciary Committee for tomorrow morning. Wellington swears to himself and tells her they’ll find a lawyer. Simone says she’s scared, but Wellington tells her it’s just a fishing expedition and kisses her.
Carrie swears. She tries to call Dante to tell him that Paley can’t question her yet because her behavior makes no sense, but Max won’t let her tell Dante about the surveillance because he’s FBI. Carrie protests a little, but then agrees. (I love that she doesn’t just steamroll over Max’s objections like she would do to anyone else. He’s too much of a sweetheart!) She comes up with a new idea: they expected her contact to be Wellington but it might not be. Max looks intrigued.
Saul sneaks into a lecture hall where a strawberry-blonde woman is giving a lecture to disengaged students. Only Saul knows the answer. NERD. The upshot of her story is that everyone was worried about Russia’s nuclear capacity after Sputnik (she drops the fact that she’s ex-CIA), but their calculations were wrong. Russia only had about one operational missile. The bell rings (what kind of college has a bell ring for the end of the period?) and Saul greets the woman as Sandy. She greets him a little dubiously, but he asks to buy her a cup of coffee, and she agrees somewhat grudgingly.
Over coffee he asks about Allison on the day Sandy was fired. Sandy says Allison told her she wasn’t a team player, and Saul agrees that she wanted the whole desk for herself. “She wanted the whole damn division…. You were in love with her, I suppose,” Sandy says wearily. It’s unclear whether she hates Allison for being ambitious or for being Russian, honestly, because she also complains about Allison crawling on her back. Like, yeah, when you’re also a RUSSIAN SPY, sometimes you gotta screw over a couple other women’s careers. I don’t know if that’s really what we should be focusing on. (I immediately liked Sandy, who’s kind of smart and sarcastic and doesn’t have the usual super-put-together TV-sexy look of the women in Saul’s life. But it is super weird to be annoyed that Allison was career-minded when she was also, you know, A TRAITOR.)
Saul apologizes for not protecting Sandy better, which she says is a little late. He tells her he’s looking for Yevgeny Gromov, because if Lucasville. Sandy immediately sees the connection and asks why she should help. “Anybody else would be my second choice,” Saul says. The scene cuts after that, which we all know means that she agrees.
Ivan shows up at a supposed open house, turns its “open” sign to face inwards, and enters a giant empty mension. The foyer alone is probably the same square footage of my Brooklyn apartment. A tweed-suited woman comes in and looks completely terrified when she realizes it’s him. With good reason, since he immediately attacks her and pins her to the wall. She’s pissed that he’s probably blown her cover, but he says he is supposed to be on a backpacking trip in a national park somewhere. (Shouldn’t that just be flat-out against the rules for a foreign spy turned informant?) He tells her has an urgent situation: he needs to speak to Yevgeny. Once he says the Americans know about him, she gives in. He tells her to set up a meeting.
David finds Senator Paley and tells him he’s wasting his time with Simone. “Simone doesn’t know anything because there is nothing to know.” Paley finds this as amusing as I do, like Wellington thinks his word actually means something. Has he ever been to Washington? “Scout’s honor?” Paley asks drily. Wellington protests that this is getting unfairly personal and she’s a civilian. “I don’t think you know her as well as you think you do,” Paley says. Wellington begs a little more, which just earns him a massive eyeroll from both Paley and his ever-loyal assistant Janet:
“One thing I will say for you, David, you’ve always had excellent manners. Even when obstructing justice,” Paley says. Aaaand point to Paley.
That evening, Carrie eats takeout out of containers while watching Wellington and Simone. He asks Simone about various contacts she’s spent time with, trying to figure out who might have thought he had influence over her. She gets offended that he thinks she’s so naive. Carrie calls Janet, who asks all excited and praises her over Dante’s information. But when Carrie asks to be in on the session, Janet gets very evasive. Frustrated, Carrie hangs up and goes back to spying. Wellington and Simone are just arguing about Simone’s work problems. “Who the fuck are you?” she says to Simone’s face on the camera.
Saul and Sandy enter a mysterious building, go up a staircase, through a locked door, and into a bare-bones back office somewhere. It seems deserted, but then a long-haired, stubble-chinned Disaffected Millennial type comes out of the bathroom. Saul introduces him as “Clint,” like, cool, I dislike you already. “He is the best information scientist at DARPA,” Saul adds. He introduces Sandy as a Russia expert. She won’t shake his hand—at first I thought it was because of a microaggression I missed, but then when I rewatched it I realized it was because he had come out of the bathroom without washing his hands. Hee! Now I sympathize even more with that look of withering scorn:
Carrie and Max (with Max in an adorable Incognito Beanie) sit outside on a bench facing opposite directions. Max sympathizes with the fact that Janet is blowing Carrie off, but then as soon as she does text with the location of the meeting, Carrie’s off to the races with barely a thought for poor Max, leaving him on the bench to wait.
When Carrie arrives at the hearing, Janet spreads out some pictures of Simone at various cash places. Dante’s already there, and explains that he got the invite because “I’m Paley’s new best friend.” Simone has a lawyer with her, but as the evidence piles up the lawyer asks to talk about immunity and witness protection. Paley responds by asking to get “a look under the hood.” What a slimeball. Simone tells a halting story about withdrawing money and dropping it off behind a boulder. But she won’t say who told her to do it, only that it’s a senior White House official.
“Something isn’t right,” Carrie says to herself and then grabs Dante to talk to him outside. She tells him Simone is lying and that she’s working with someone other than Wellington. Dante tells her she can’t blow up a proffer session because she has a bad feeling. Carrie argues that if she testifies in open court, the damage is done no matter whether it’s true or not. He asks if she’s slept and tells her to see a real doctor and to let him take her home, basically implying that her mental health issues are causing her “bad feelings.” Despite the fact that she’s had bad feelings while ill and they’ve generally been right, Carrie agrees to go home.
At that moment Saul is in a business meeting, which is interrupted by an urgent request from Carrie. He meets her at yet another bench—unfortunately, not the one where Max is still, presumably, patiently waiting. She makes the “I’m about to Carrie-cry” face, which is almost as terrifyingly real as the actual Carrie-crying face. Pedeconferencing, she tells him the whole story, starting with the fact that she ran into Dante (“an old bureau friend”) awhile ago and that they thought that Keane was abusing her power. She tells all the weirdness about Wellington and Simone. Saul elicits the facts, including the fact that Carrie’s been watching him for a week. (Wow. So this whole season has basically just been about a day per episode. Think of that! So much has happened!) Saul makes his patented face of Fatherly Disapproval when he realizes she did this illegally, but eventually he points out that clearly she’s being paid by someone who wants to pin the murder on the White House. Carrie starts to freak out, and Saul asks a few well-placed questions about Dante: How did she find out about Simone (Dante), when did she bump into Dante (right after she was fired).
As soon as he starts Carrie is right there with him, making her patented Carrie-chin-trembling face. It’s heart-wrenching. She swears to herself, and finally realizes the truth: Dante has played her.
Saul is a little sympathetic, saying he’s “CEO of that club.” Mixed metaphors aside, he’s got a point. He tells her to stand down so that she doesn’t interfere with another situation he has going. Carrie does not take kindly to his refusal to tell her, so he finally tells her that it’s a Russian maneuver of “active measures” (title of episode spoken in next episode!) against the president. When Carrie realizes what he’s saying she says in disbelief, “You think I might be a part of that?” Saul asks her to just keep her head down till she hears from him. Carrie agrees. Despite having known her for a long time, Saul somehow believes her.
In what seems like a very TV-Russian-expat move, Ivan is smoking against a tree when Charlotte, his realtor friend, fetches him for a meeting with Yevgeny. He stubs the cigarette out on the tree, just to kill any last sympathy for him, and comes in to find the Fake News spreader himself. Ivan rebuked Yevgeny for being careless in Lucasville by plagiarizing himself and for causing American deaths. “He that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him,” says Ivan. As with most silly sayings, it sounds a lot smarter in a foreign language. Ivan drops a few Timely References to Syria and Ukraine, warning Yevgeny that the president might strike back if she finds out what they’ve done. He orders Yevgeny to stand down, but Yevgeny just laughs in his face because they don’t report to the same people. He tells Ivan he’s stuck in a time capsule. “The old rules kept the world from destroying itself,” says Ivan, like, ooookay. But Yevgeny doesn’t buy it. His parents lost everything, his brother died in “a Yeltsin hospital,” and he thinks the new Russia belongs to him. In response, Ivan, according to the closed captions, “inhales and exhales deeply.”
Keane, in the Oval Office, makes some remarks on how the protests didn’t turn violent and she wants to turn her attention to “neglected” communities like Lucasville. It’s a classic neo-liberal response to the election: obviously, if we didn’t win, it’s not because people SUCK but because we didn’t spend enough time listening to middle-class white men! Like, yeah, that’s the real problem with the world. The fact that white men don’t get heard. Anyway, blah blah bond program. The reporters want to know about Paley’s investigation. Keane essentially does a more grammatical version of Trump’s strategy, which is to accuse the Senate Committee of being politically motivated and having nothing to investigate. But both she and Wellington freeze when a reporter asks them about Simone being granted immunity. Wellington simply assumes that there’s no validity, but when he realizes it’s true, his face turns to stone.
At a quiet, white-tablecloth restaurant, Wellington finds Simone at dinner with her lawyer. The lawyer tells him it’s not a good time, but Simone allows herself to be pulled to the side. He demands to know what her immunity is for, but suddenly she raises her voice and tells him to stop threatening her. He’s so confused he tries to grab her arm, so she claims he’s hurting her and runs away. Meanwhile, someone is filming it from the bar. Kids these days and their phones!
At home on the treadmill in her garage, Carrie is running super fast and working up a sweat until she finally stops the treadmill and smiles, as if she’s figured something out. She walks right into the house, where Josie is taking care of Franny. Franny asks if she wants to play Go Fish, Josie says hi, but Carrie ignores them both and takes her phone upstairs. It’s Anson, who is in his trailer sniffing old food in his fridge. Heh. She suggests getting everyone together to celebrate the mission. Oh, NO. I do not think this was what Saul meant by standing down.
Over at Saul’s makeshift office, he and Clint are watching the video of Wellington and Simone. Saul asks how this made it to national news in an hour, and Clint explains the “species jump.” (Title of episode spoken in episode!) He identifies the original tweet with the caption as “the meme,” and then shows Saul a magic animation of “nodes” representing people who retweeted. Green ones are real people who are replicating the meme at a certain rate (the replication rate) and it spreads over the country. He overlays the Lucasville animation, which is much denser with green nodes because it’s a better story. But, the red accounts are the same. “Is that unusual?” Saul says. “Not if the memes are being pushed by the same network,” says Clint. He says if Yevgeny was involved in the Lucasville situation, he was involved in this one too.
just then, Saul gets a beep on his phone from Langley that someone’s trying to reach him, codenamed John Bishop. He asks who’s John Bishop, and Sandy remembers it—it’s Ivan. His code was “Bishop” because of the Orthodox cross he wore around his neck. Seems unrealistic for Sandy to remember this better than Saul since she’s been out of the game for so long, but let’s just say we’ll find out later why we needed all this exposition.
Ivan’s waiting in some kind of like deserted lot under a bridge, surrounded by a high fence and barbed wire. He pushes a yellow thumbtack into a post as a signal, then walks up to a small dock to have a smoke. The music is hilariously ominous, like, they might as well be singing the words “BE WORRIED. HE WILL DIE.”
Meanwhile, who I’m really worried about is Carrie, who’s at the bar with the guys while they take shots and she drinks seltzer. Dante joins just as they toast and do the shot, and they give him a shot. He makes his way over to Carrie, who smiles at him in this sort of flirtatious way that he really ought to see through, given that Carrie is just not flirtatious by nature and usually only wants to sleep with men if doing so would be a complete disaster. Anyway, she says she’s embarrassed about before and that she’s going to the doctor, and basically plays the part of a woman who’s embarrassed about having been wrong and gone too far. Dante faux-casually asks where Carrie got the idea of Simone working with someone else, but Carrie just passes it off as something “crazy” popping up in her head, and tearily thanks him for saving her. Somehow he still falls for this. Then Carrie pretends to drop that she “likes” him—as a friend. Or maybe not. They share a knowing little smile, take another round (Shirley Temple for Carrie, a shot for Dante).
Max kind of watches from afar as Carrie flirts with Dante, which led to a spirited conversation between me and Keets: does Max like Carrie that way? My theory is no, he’s just kind of scared of her. Keets thinks he might.
Saul arrives at the same abandoned waterside lot as Ivan, walking alone. He stands on the dock: no sign of Ivan. But there is a cigarette smoldering on the wood, so he starts investigating and finds a bloody buoy with Ivan’s bishop necklace on it. See, told you that exposition was important!
Cut to a boat far out on the water. A still-alive Ivan is being zipped into a body bag by some compatriots, including Yevgeny. A gloating Yevgeny quotes Ivan’s little speech about “he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” Then they zip poor Ivan up and throw him into the water.
Dante and Carrie, meanwhile, have settled their flirtation enough that Carrie has come to Dante’s place with him. It’s a very modern-yuppie style, with dark wood and new appliances and bare walls. They start making out. “[coats thud],” the closed captions helpfully inform me, followed by “[both moaning]”. Suddenly Dante pulls back and says he’s had too much to drink. He gets a second wind, then falls onto the couch. Carrie cradles his head a second, then says, “You’re okay.” Oh my God, she drugged him! I did not see that coming, actually.
Nor did I see what’s next: she gets up, turns on the lamp, and THE ENTIRE REST OF THEIR TEAM COMES IN and starts like swabbing his place down for DNA samples and file downloads. It’s a full-on mission! Wow. This is SUCH a bad idea. Especially the part where she had no way of knowing others weren’t in on it. But I bet Max is glad he didn’t let Carrie tell Dante about their secret cameras in Wellington’s house!
Well, this episode was pretty good. I love when Carrie’s back in action, especially now that Dante is her enemy instead of her weirdly patronizing spy friend. And I didn’t much like Dante–especially not as a romantic pairing for Carrie. But also, she was being strangely deferential to him, which was unpleasant to watch. Of course, now I feel that makes more sense; she was being played by him, so obviously he was going to attempt to keep his asset docile and unsettled. He did a pretty good job, in fact. You want to think your TV heroes are too smart to get played like this, but it makes sense that Carrie would be unmoored, especially without a job and without Quinn, and vulnerable to thinking that the woman who fired her was at the center of a vast traitorous conspiracy. So while it’s sad that it took Saul to see it all, it also makes sense.
So, I was very happy with this episode, but the following one is by far my favorite of the season so far, and I’m excited to recap it later this week. Stay tuned!