Homeland Season 4 Review “Iron in the Fire”

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On the latest episode of “Homeland,” it was recruitment time, and Carrie was determined to do what she could to keep an “Iron in the Fire” when it came to Aayan, no matter what the cost- or how underhanded she had to be to pull it off. After finding out the meds he’d stashed at friend Kiran’s were discovered and destroyed by her father, who also called and reported him to his college, effectively getting him expelled in the process, it was not as if the poor guy had much choice, anyway, so off to meet Carrie he went.

Meanwhile, Carrie had discovered that the man who seemed to have been the mastermind behind Sandy Bachman’s death was Farhad Ghazi, a man ISI sent out to do their off-book dirty work, according to Redmond, who actually did Carrie a solid for once- not that she’d actually done anything to deserve it, really, as she continued to freeze out her actual assigned team in favor of sneaking around with her covert one.

Of course, there was a leak afoot, so it made sense for her to be apprehensive about the team at the Embassy, but as we later discovered, it really was unwarranted, as it turned out not to be an employee of the Embassy at all, but instead the husband of the Ambassador, Professor Dennis Boyd (Mark Moses, “Mad Men”). He’d been using his access to sneak out government secrets in exchange for info he told Bachman about the locations of certain terrorists. However, it’s now clear that the sources of the information knew exactly where those secrets were coming from, and it was time to pay the piper.

Approaching him in class, a mysterious woman who went by the name Tasneem (Nimrat Kaur, “The Lunchbox”) made accusations that sent him reeling and immediately making arrangements to leave town before it hit the fan. His wife was none too thrilled, but he didn’t give her much choice in the matter. However, before he could actually clear out, Tasneem approached him again at his office, this time making him an offer he couldn’t refuse: stay in town and help her or she’d provide the government with evidence that proved what he’d done and would effectively end his wife’s career and get him arrested for treason. We don’t know just what that is yet, but I’m guessing that Boyd will be doing whatever she asks, given his reaction.

Also between a rock and a hard place was Aayan, who approached Carrie and managed to finagle a substantial amount of money from her and the promise of a passport and safe passage to London and enrollment in a college in London. She in turn warned him that the man who broke into his dorm room was Ghazi and that he was no one to mess with, so the sooner Aayan left town, the better. She gave him a short amount of time to get whatever he needed taken care of done and get his stuff, and then it would be time to get out of dodge. Naturally, she sent Fara and Max to tail him to find out what he was up to after he left.

That tail paid off big time when Aayan went to a local teaching hospital and met with a woman and gave her the money in exchange for more meds, which he then took into town and met with an armed group of people to give it to them. The person he met with was none other than the supposedly late Haqqani (Numan Acar, “Rosewater”), who’d clearly faked his own death and was very much alive. Given that the info that led to the bombing was planted on purpose in such a way that it couldn’t be double-checked, it’s also clear that the whole situation with Sandy was a long con.

Basically, it looks like he was given reliable info that paid off time and again, so as to better make the info about Haqqani look that much more reliable than it was and fast-track it before it could be properly vetted. In other words, Haqqani basically arranged for his own family and others to be killed so as to cause an international incident, and make it look like he was dead in one fell swoop, and it worked like a charm…until now.

Of course, until Carrie can prove all this, it remains a theory as far as the government is concerned, but she at least had video proving Haqqani is alive, so there’s that. Now she just needs an in to get the rest of the evidence she needs, and that’s where Aayan comes in. She has Fara wait to meet with him and take him to a safe house after he’s done with all his running around, then wastes no time in putting him at ease- not to mention seducing him in short order!

And he’s a virgin, no less, so he should be relatively easy to manipulate, as far as Carrie’s concerned, though he probably won’t be thrilled when he finds out that the deal she offered was rendered effectively void after she found out about his meet with Haqqani. Fara certainly wasn’t, though she should know by now how cold-blooded Carrie can be at times.

Meanwhile, after Carrie caught him as he was about to leave town, Saul met with old connection General Latif, aka “Bunny” (Art Malik, “Borgia”)- which has to be the least intimidating general’s name ever- and called in a favor to meet with a member of ISI. Bunny is hesitant, but arranges it nonetheless, and Saul meets with Aasar Khan (Raza Jaffrey, “Smash”), who flatly denies knowing anything about ISI’s involvement in the Bachman murder. But he’s clearly rattled, and that seems to have been the point- to rattle the ISI’s cage just enough in hope of their making a mistake.

It works, as Ghazi- who by now Carrie’s private team has eyes and ears on, thanks to a tense scene with Quinn breaking into his apartment in order to clone Ghazi’s phone so that they could listen in to his conversations- immediately gets a call telling him to leave ASAP. Carrie wants to have him followed at first, understandably, but then the thing with Aayan happens and she abandons that. But why would ISI help Haqqani fake his death?

Obviously, Carrie hopes to find that out by recruiting Aayan and having him help them to nab Haqqani, but there’s a good chance that might go sideways, especially if he finds out the deal with Carrie is null and void. Might a taken aback Fara have second thoughts about Carrie’s methods and madness and tell him herself? Definitely possible. Also possible, he could figure it out himself, what with Carrie stalling for time on his safe passage out of town. Either way, the clock is definitely ticking.

All in all, another intense episode with some great moments throughout, including the interaction with Carrie and Redmond, who’s finally starting to help her out a bit, including informing her about a hidden tunnel that’s used to get out of the Embassy without being as obvious as her normal passage out the front door in plain sight of everyone. Not sure if he’s really going to honor her request to back off of her in the tailing department, but he did give her some much-needed info on the mystery man that turned out to be Ghazi.

The scene in the restaurant with Saul and the ISI rep was suitably anxiety-inducing and electrically charged, as was the scene with Aayan meeting with Haqqani and the one where Quinn snuck into Ghazi’s. I’m definitely interested to see how all this plays out as it goes on, but so far, I’m already liking this season better than the last one. The pacing is way better, as is the plotting, and it’s great seeing Carrie what Carrie does best: being sneaky and more than a little crazy in her approach. Keep it up, “Homeland.”

What did you think about “Homeland” this week? Do you approve of Carrie’s methods, or are you with Fara? What do you think ISI’s next move will be? How long before Aayan finds out the truth? What’s the deal with the meds Aayan secured? Why did Haqqani fake his death? Why was Bachman’s cover blown? Why did Bachman’s source give up the locations of several terrorists, and are those people actually dead? Will Redmond and Carrie ever truly learn to work together? What does Tasneem want Boyd to do? Sound off below with your predictions, and see you next week!