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Cheers To You, Saul: ‘Homeland’ Recap, Season 3, Episode 7: Mission Accomplished

Cheers To You, Saul: 'Homeland' Recap, Season 3, Episode 7: Mission Accomplished

Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 7 of Showtime’s “Homeland,” titled “Gerontion.”

Make no mistake — the second-half of this season’s “Homeland” means business. After meandering aimlessly for a few too many episodes at the beginning of the season through Dana’s teen runaway subplot and Carrie’s “beautiful mind,” the show’s writers have returned to the white-knuckle tumble of interrogations and cat-and-mouse games that we’ve been waiting for all along. In other words, we’re back to the fun stuff.

“Gerontion” (cheers to the T.S. Eliot reference) begins with Saul revealing the hand he has in store for captured Iranian terrorist Javadi. Keep in mind, this is the exact play that Saul has been spinning for at least the past two months. Javadi, still covered in his ex-wife’s blood, smugly outlines his conditions for trading intelligence: “There’s a deal to be made, or I’d be in prison by now. If I talk, if I do that, I need protection. I need a secure compound in Miami, and I need my money, all of it.” Javadi — like when he turned against Saul in the fall of the Shah back on his homeland — is a survivor, loyalties be damned. He is the Iranian Brody: a one-time hero of the United States turned against his own country. They’re both cockroaches.

But Saul has something even better planned for his one-time friend: He tells Javadi that he will be returning to Iran as an asset for the CIA; if he doesn’t, Saul will out Javadi for stealing $50 million dollars from the Iranian government. “You killed 219 Americans. Do you think I care you also ripped off the Revolutionary Guard?” Saul asks. “Make no mistake of it, you’ll be returning back to Iran, either as a traitor or as an asset … I’m your case officer now,” Saul says, knowing that he has Javadi fully backed up in a corner. Javadi initially resists, then accepts his doomed fate in the only way he can: by copious amounts of sighing. He sighs as he changes into fresh clothes in the bathroom. He sighs as he talks to Carrie. He sighs as he boards a ridiculously luxurious plane. There’s so much sighing and so much saudade to the man, Javadi is one minor key melody and a couple of soulful lyrics away from being a moderately convincing Portuguese folk song. After he sighs pre-embarkation, he mumbles something threatening to Carrie that is meant to play with her already crazy emotions. But more on that later.

In between interrogations, our transactions specialist hottie Fara Sherazi is growing agitated. First, she yells at Javadi in Persian, forcing Saul to eject her from the room. The she pleads with Carrie for Javadi to be tried in the U.S., not Iran, because justice needs to be served for the 219 American lives he’s taken. “He manipulates people, that’s what he does,” Carrie warns Farah. But is there something greater going on here? Is Fara — who Saul once berated for wearing head scarf at Langley, because it was a “fuck you” to the people who worked there — a double agent? Or does she have another, more secretive incentive to keep Javadi in the U.S., but far away enough from her that she’ll grip a knife in his mere presence? IMDB says that Farrah (Nazanin Boniadi) will only be on the show for one more episode, so whatever’s going to happen to her can’t be too good.

His asset secured, Saul prepares to drive back to Langley but pauses before getting into his car. He calls Mira and regales her with tales of their time in Tehran, a quaint little nostalgia jaunt for which her level of enthusiasm appears to be slightly inferior to his. But then — shock! — just as her night gown draws apart suggestively and she starts to engage more with Saul’s silly old fogie reminiscences (“You were so young,” he says, as if addressing his grandchild), the camera pans back and we see Mira’s French sociologist lover, Alain, draped shirtless through the bedsheets with a kind of pining, bareback loucheness. Naughty, naughty Mira — and naughty Alain! For a show that strains to draw even its straightforwardly evil Muslim characters in such a subtle and balanced manner, it must be comforting for the writers to be able to take a breather from all the nuance by falling back on that handiest of character cliches: the dirty dog Frenchie, charismatic and generous of breast hair, worming his way into the taken American woman’s bed with little more than a shrug of the shoulders, some middling field research in academic sociology, and a Gallic pout. We’re excited to see what will happen to this character over the weeks ahead; could Alain Bernard be “Homeland”‘s new Dana? Let’s hope not.

Thank god we were relieved of the sure-to-cumbersome backstory regarding Carrie’s pregnancy. While we’re sure we’ll be getting a juicy plot line in the future, so far Carrie’s impending motherhood has only served to throw her off her game while visiting the double murder crime scene of Javadi’s ex-wife and daughter-in-law. She vomits, then says to the police, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Punchline of the show?

Back at Langley, Saul attempts to rush back to his office unnoticed, in that slightly harassed and constipated gait of his, but is intercepted by Dar Adal, who had apparently been maintaining a diligent, continuous vigil over the elevator bank for the week or so that Saul, Carrie, Quinn and the others were AWOL. He demands an explanation for Saul’s absence. “I need details,” he snarls, an irascible marsupial in too-big pants. What are we to make of this funny little man? Is Dar a snake doing Senator Lockhart’s bidding, or a dedicated CIA man looking out for the integrity of the agency? We get an answer — a provisional answer, at least — almost immediately, with Saul leading Dar back to his office, where Lockhart is also waiting, and explaining the whole story to them, from the set-up with Carrie’s detainment in the psych ward to the recruitment of Javadi as an asset. Lockhart is predictably furious that Saul has lured Javadi into the country and allowed him to escape again without trial, deriding the notion of recruiting Javadi as “Cold War, human intelligence crap.”

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