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'Homeland' Recap 3.4: A Brilliant Twist!

Paul Levinson Paul Levinson
October 21st, 2013 9:11am EDT

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Well, Homeland 3.4 checked in with its best episode of the season so far, and a brilliant twist that was at once unforeseen yet in introspect felt instantly plausible and confirming of all that we knew in our hearts all along.

Fans have been chafing under Saul's cruel behavior to Carrie - I couldn't quite believe that he'd desert Carrie like that, and have her institutionalized, but Dar Adal made it just about believable.  We even see Adal at the peripheries of Carrie's release hearing - Carrie does too - and her release being denied thus makes infuriating sense.

We can thus pretty much believe it when Carrie agrees to talk to the people who say they want to help her - she seems to have no other choice - and can almost believe her agreeing to do this, though helping the Iranians did seem like a bit of a stretch.  In fact, I didn't believe she would actually help them - I thought she would come up with some way of playing both ends against the middle, somehow steering a course between Saul and the Iranians - but I didn't see at all, as the show was moving along, what would happen next.

A brilliant twist that shows we were right to doubt that Saul would be so cruel, and explains why Carrie, even though desperate, would be willing to help the people who bombed CIA headquarters - she was implementing a plan that she and Saul were behind all along, and that Saul apparently came up with.   The third season is now on a completely new, much more reliable, footing.

But there's still a discordant element in this jolting rapprochement.  Carrie has been through real pain in her institutionalization, and she chides Saul, not jokingly, for taking so long to get her out of there.   And that's a large part of what makes this series so powerful:  Carrie suffers for her successes, every step of the way.  And given what she's fighting for - the safety of the United States - that's as appropriate as it is painful.

Photo Credits: CBS Broadcasting Inc.