Homeland Recap: 8×09 “In Full Flight”

Previously on Homeland: Max was shot right before Carrie’s eyes, and Saul convinced her to come in, but Mike thought she was a defector because of the whole running-off-with-a-Russian-agent thing; Jalal Haqqani claimed to have killed the President and President Hayes vowed to invade Pakistan if they didn’t turn him over; Carrie got a lead on the black box, and demanded that no one question her loyalty; when the soldiers who were with Saul tried to handcuff her, she ran off with Yevgeny again and told him she knew where the black box was.

Spoiler alert: I am a BIG FAN of this episode. If you have been reading my previous recaps you’ll probably guess why!

Mike and Jenna are watching a feed of Carrie and Yevgeny’s getaway car, planning how to “grab” her. Saul pops up behind them like the world’s most bizarre game of Whack-a-Mole and actually tells Mike to stand down. He blames Mike for not telling him that the plan was to take her into custody. You have to admire Saul. At some point, when your mentee keeps running off with a Russian agent, wouldn’t almost anyone else at least allow for the possibility that you don’t know them as well as you think?

But Saul is so loyal that he’s actually mad at Mike. Still. After Carrie pulled a gun on US soldiers and ran off with Yevgeny. His explanation? “Oh, she’s not running. You know it. We all know it.” I mean… do they? Saul argues that she’s in search of the flight recorder. Mike still wins the argument: Saul’s been called back to Washington. Saul swaggers away like an angry badger.

In the Getaway Car of Eloquent Silences, Carrie stares out the window while Yevgeny drives and watches her out of the corner of his eye. When he sees a car coming, he warns her with a single word—”car”—and she wraps her head. I like that: their professional chemistry is really good, too.

Speaking of someone who has no professional chemistry with anyone: Jenna, watching a video feed of Carrie and Yevgeny, alerts a coworker, Alan, that they’ve arrived in Kohat, which is where they’re looking for the video recorder. On the ground, we can see the two driving through narrow streets, and under a tent, enabling them to lose the surveillance. (Jenna doesn’t even seem to know that this is a problem, though; it falls on Alan to sigh and say, “I was afraid of that.”)

When Carrie and Yevgeny arrive at the safe house they’re staying at, they pass a TV where the news anchor is announcing that Pakistan will treat violation of their borders as violation of their sovereignty. Just to drive home to you that the stakes for Carrie are preventing a war with a nuclear power.

Yevgeny shows Carrie to her room–yes, it’s a separate room–and tells her to get some rest. He even offers her some Ambien, which is kind of adorable–but of course, Carrie’s packing her own pharmaceuticals. They stand way too close together and Carrie says it was a mistake for her not to tell him about the black box, and that she’d been too focused on personal stuff. She’s staring him deep in the eyes, but you know she’s lying because never in her life–especially not for Max–has Carrie been so focused on personal stuff that she forgot professional stuff. She’s telling Yevgeny that to keep him on board with her secret plan, in a somewhat risky maneuver because she obviously knows that he probably has a secret plan for her. Anyway, he decides to push for information: he asks if she thinks Jalal did it, and if not, then who. Carrie suggests maybe it was no one, just a pilot error or mechanical failure. She even mentions the evidence of maintenance issues with the Black Hawk fleet. So you can see that she’s telling him a lot of the truth, more than is perhaps wise: a risky play but possibly the only one that could make him trust her at this point. Whether or not he does trust her is what she, and we, don’t really know. It’s all so layered and characteristic of how Carrie operates.

Before leaving, Yevgeny says if she needs anything, he’ll be in the next room and to bang on the wall. Giggling ensues on both sides. Good Lord, I would say “get a room” except they already did!

So someone important and military named Aziz has come to Tasneem’s dad’s military cantonment in Pakistan to complain about Tasneem ignoring him. Aziz complains that Tasneem has lost control of the situation. Tasneem’s dad says the US won’t really invade Pakistan just for not producing someone if they say they can’t find him. I mean… we invaded another country over literally made-up nuclear weapons, so I wouldn’t be too sure.

Speaking of the actual devil, here’s Tasneem getting out of a car. She’s expecting to see Jalal, but Barach is there instead. She yells at him for letting Jalal get control, so we know that Tasneem and Barach have secretly been in cahoots. But Barach is under Jalal’s thumb now; he says he’s going to take her to Jalal–alone, with a hood over her head. Tasneem goes for it, which just reminds you that nothing scares Tasneem.

Carrie and Yevgeny are wandering through a bazaar, but haven’t found the flight recorder. Then a little boy tells them he knows what they’re looking for, and leads them to a small shop. They both look nervous, and the shopkeeper who greets them (who paid off the little boy) is so friendly that they look even more nervous. Then he leads them into a back room with the requisite flickering light so that you know it’s kind of sketchy.

He has four flight recorders, which he brings out proudly, until Carrie says she’s looking for something, uh, more recent. He gets nervous and says any official requests have to be reported to the ISI. Uh-oh. Then when Yevgeny speaks and he realizes that one of them is Russian and one is American, he gets even more nervous and flatly says he’s heard nothing. But I’m guessing the ISI is gonna get an earful about this.

Saul arrives at the Oval Office and is greeted by Hayes and Wellington and Zabel. Saul outright says that he finds it strange that Zabel is giving advice when he’s never set foot in Afghanistan. Zabel asserts that there’s a simple truth Saul’s experience is obscuring. (Classic Tea-Party/Trumpian shit: “I don’t understand the nuances, so you must be wrong that there are nuances!”) Saul says he understands people want justice, but he objects to misrepresenting intelligence. Hayes doesn’t get it until Zabel explains that Saul’s about to question the Jalal video. Saul explains that it’s raw intelligence and hasn’t been confirmed, and that Jalal might have his own reasons for claiming to shoot down the helicopter. Hayes looks distressed, having obviously never thought of the idea that you can’t believe everything you see on the internet. 

Saul almost carries his point, but clever Zabel swoops in to play off Hayes’ fear of being humiliated. He says sneeringly that of course the President already considered all of this. Hayes, after hesitating a moment, grabs at this lifeline and agrees. Gee, if only the President had known anything about governing before stepping into office! But at the time this episode aired (yes, I’m VERY behind) that wasn’t a thing in the US.

Hayes then says that he wants Pakistan to face the consequences for harboring Jalal. Saul cautions that the Pakistanis are a “proud people” (meaning, don’t idly threaten them to show off to your voters) but Hayes doesn’t care. And as Saul recognizes he’s not getting anywhere, he shoots a look at Wellington, who hasn’t said a WORD the entire time. Once they’re out of the meeting, Wellington just says there was no point, since the President has already announced his course. And he reveals that he didn’t even know Saul was in town till that meeting, so Saul realizes that Wellington is so marginalized he’s useless at this point. That is, more useless than he was before just from being himself.

Yevgeny and Carrie are still canvassing shops when Yevgeny gets a call from Saad, and sends Carrie ahead. She enters another dimly lit shop filled with guns and military detritus. Then she sees it: Max’s backpack, adorably labeled with Sharpie right across the front. She picks it up and brings it up front. When the man behind the counter says it’s a thousand rupees, which is clearly expensive for a backpack, but he insists it was empty when it arrived.

Just then Yevgeny bursts in and, at gunpoint, insists on both of them being taken into the back. There’s a team searching the market. He tells Carrie that he’ll lead the team in another direction so Carrie can meet Saad at the top of the street. What a hero! As soon as he’s gone, Carrie demands of the storekeeper where the flight recorder really was. He says he already sold it to a broker. She says that if he finds the broker she’ll pay ten times what he paid, and give the storekeeper a finder’s fee. Being a mere mortal who can’t stand up to Carrie’s intense psychological onslaught, he agrees and she says she’ll be back at midnight. Then she runs and meets Saad. I was all gearing up for an exciting chase here, but nope. Nothing.

Tasneem, last seen getting into a car with Barach, has arrived at Jalal’s hiding place. She’s not pleased to be hooded, and she’s pissed that he provoked the Americans. Apparently the whole thing, except for the Americans finding out, was actually part of a plan the two of them cooked up together. But now it turns out Jalal is thinking of going rogue and taking full credit for killing the Presidents. Tasneem claims to be the one who “chose” Jalal to take Haqqani’s place, and she will not let him provoke war with the Americans, or she’ll hunt him down and replace him. But Jalal, drunk on his newfound adulation, refuses.

He steps outside and bids her listen to what’s going on outside: a giant crowd of soldiers. He reminds her that his men have killed a thousand of her soldiers before, and have doubled by now. When he raises his arms, they cheer… and he tells Tasneem he’ll never run. Uh-oh. Tasneem is obviously evil incarnate, but between her and a guy whose only achievement is something he lied to take credit for, you have to root for Tasneem, right? She looks worried, though.

Yevgeny shows up at Carrie’s room after a few hours because it took awhile to lose the people who were chasing them. He wants to leave that moment, but she refuses, claiming that they need to finish the search. When Yevgeny insists, Carrie stalls for a minute, then finally comes up with a plan where she doesn’t have to tell Yevgeny about her midnight rendezvous. Except Yevgeny is, you know, a spy and probably is gonna pick up on the fact that her story is threadbare as hell.

Next thing you know, Jenna is picking up an unknown number on her iPhone. It’s Carrie. She says she has a lead on the flight recorder and convinces Jenna not to tell Mike she’s calling. “You played me,” Jenna complains, while obeying her. Oh, Jenna. Carrie argues that Yevgeny found Max, so Carrie is right about everything, and also, Jenna should tell her where the team that was trying to hunt her down is safe-housed, because she needs a way to get the flight recorder to Islamabad. Jenna actually starts to give in, and Carrie swears to her that she’s telling the truth. Oh, well, if you swear, then sure! Jenna hangs up, saying she’ll call back. With the address of the safe house, to give to a rogue agent who’s on the lam with a Russian spy. Good call, Jenna. Good call.

Back in the room, Yevgeny, who’s been listening to Carrie the whole time, tells her she did a good job. Once they get the address of the safe house, they’ve got a plan to have Saad’s “guy” at the precinct hold the team for 24 hours. Of course, Carrie is trusting Yevgeny’s word on this, so… should we really be making fun of Jenna? At least the person Jenna stupidly trusts is nominally on her side and not an actual Russian agent.

Then Yevgeny tells Carrie that he likes how she trusts her instincts.”Why, how do you do it?” Carrie says. Yevgeny says, “I’m more of a planner.” What I love about this is how Yevgeny clearly does admire Carrie professionally. But by saying he’s a planner, he basically tells Carrie outright that she shouldn’t trust him–but she clearly does trust him a little, because he’s already reeled her in. She takes the opportunity to ask what she’s clearly been burning to know: when they ran into each other outside G’ulom’s office, did Yevgeny arrange for them to run into each other? He doesn’t answer, but… we know the answer.

Carrie’s phone buzzes, and Carrie answers, with Yevgeny’s ear pressed to the phone too. It’s Jenna, giving her the safe house address. Yevgeny dashes off to tell his buddy Saad to hold the men for the alleged twenty-four hours.

Back at Tasneem’s dad’s house, Tasneem complains that Jalal has consolidated power faster than she expected. Her dad doesn’t like the idea of being bossed by “a child in a cave.” Gotta agree with him there. Tasneem, however, has decided that the best way to protect themselves is to protect Jalal–which also means meeting America’s threats with threats of their own.

Over at the station, Mike is on comms with the men at the safe house, who are under attack. Jenna walks in and realizes that she’s fucked up BIG TIME. Mike tells them to stand down, so they surrender to the police, while Jenna blinks furiously and wonders why she trusted someone who she had literally no reason to trust.

It’s nighttime by now. Carrie listens at her door, hears men talking, and finally sneaks out her window with a headscarf on.

Back in the US, Saul watches gravely while the news outlines how hostilities are escalating. He gets a call from Carrie, asking for bank account passwords. Wow. She assures him Yevgeny is out of the picture for the moment–and asks for a million dollars, or a dollar less to avoid needing additional approvals. Saul goes for it, despite everything.

Carrie knocks at the shop door where she was before, and is let in. The storekeeper brings her into a room, where she’s eventually joined by the broker she’s looking for. He says he can only accept diamonds or gold pieces. Carrie refuses: she’ll only do a dark web wire transfer, and it has to be now. You can see her bending everyone to her will, just like she did with Jenna; the broker eventually acquiesces, and sends the other men out of the room.

Carrie does some computer magic to verify the black box; the broker asks for $2 million, but she reminds him that this is dangerous, and will only give him a million. Once again, Carrie’s intelligence and rhetorical skills (and sheer force of personality) win out. She calls Saul, gets the password she needs, and initiates a transfer. Once the broker confirms it worked, Carrie pulls a gun on him so he’ll leave. Once he’s gone, her guard down, she puts the headphones in and begins to listen to the recording.

It’s obviously harrowing to watch a character stay in dangerous territory with headphones in, and the suspense pays off with Yevgeny sneaking up on her. “Easy now,” he croons, and takes one of her earbuds. They listen to the flight recorder sharing the headphones, like they’re SpyJim and SpyPam; and the recording makes it clear that the crash was just a malfunction.

“Fucking helicopters,” Yevgeny says. He’s leaning over her, then pulls away a little reluctantly. You can see Carrie, now that he’s caught her, marshalling her resources to try to make Yevgeny do what she wants just like she did to Jenna. She asks him to help her get the flight recorder to Islamabad–and that she’ll owe him. Yevgeny, not shockingly, doesn’t buy this. Carrie hints that she’d betray her country in a gray-area kind of way, but he doesn’t buy this either.

Then she suggests a “mutually beneficial arrangement.” Ooh, pulling out the big guns! She comes right up to him, her face inches from his, and suggests that they form a private alliance despite their countries’ rivalry. Yevgeny smiles: just like before, he’s clearly admiring her ability to follow her instincts, even when in this case she’s using her improvisational skills to try to manipulate him.

Carrie presses on: she points out that he lied to her just as much as she lied to him. They obviously weren’t just friends at the asylum. Oof, dark. Then she goes into Carrie the Seductress mode: “You said you wanted to pick up where we left off.” She’s still following her instincts, this time into a quite dangerous situation–and Yevgeny takes her up on her implied offer, kissing her until they’re literally groin-to-groin with Carrie on the shop counter. Jeez. 

Then Carrie, too secure in her triumph, pulls away and says, “Not here. Islamabad first.” It’s a gutsy move–she’s basically outright saying that he doesn’t get sex till he helps her, completely abandoning the illusion that she might have feelings for him (though of course, as is typical for her, she actually does have feelings for him that she refuses to indulge unless it jives with her plan). Yevgeny pretends to accept this, then jabs her in the neck with something that puts her to sleep. “Sorry, baby,” he whispers–and then he calls a bunch of reinforcements that he apparently had waiting outside this whole time.

So just to review, Yevgeny was hoping to have shop-counter sex with Carrie while he had men waiting outside for him to get the flight recorder from her. Did I say Carrie was gutsy? Because THAT is a gutsy move.

Anyway, Carrie’s now unconscious, and Yevgeny’s men pack up the red box while he fireman-carries her out of the room.

Back in the US, Saul is standing by the window literally chewing on his fist waiting to hear from Carrie. But instead he gets a call from David, telling him to go to the Situation Room, because there’s been activity in one of Pakistan’s nuclear sites. There, the President looks extremely worried while Zabel confidently says that no one thinks Pakistan will use them. Hayes whines to Zabel, “You said Pakistan will back down.” Zabel says they will–but the military men argue that they need to get planes in the air just in case, and it certainly looks like Hayes is starting to realize that Zabel was full of shit.

Back at the hotel, Yevgeny places the unconscious Carrie in bed and kisses her forehead before leaving her there in the dark.

So yeah. Great episode! Obviously I love all the Carrie/Yevgeny stuff. And the other theme being hit hard in this episode is Saul’s unshakeable loyalty and faith in Carrie, no matter what reasons she gives him to doubt her. I never could have predicted where the rest of the season would take this theme–but it’s really good. Just three episodes left to recap! And only about a year late!

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