Homeland Review: “A Red Wheelbarrow” (Season 3, Episode 8)

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At the end of last week, Javadi was sent on a plane to Iran, and Senator Lockheart was left locked in an Agency conference room after threatening to head straight to the president with Saul’s plan. We didn’t see Javadi this week but we did get a glimpse of the official response to Saul’s plan, which you could basically sum up as “Wow, that’s cool.” As much as I love Lockheart, seeing him get his ass handed to him in such an offhand way by both Saul and White House Chief of Staff Mike Higgins was brilliant. Whoever could have predicted that he was going to try and attempt a regime change in Iran? Isn’t that every CIA director’s dream? Nobody could ever accuse Saul of a lack of ambition, you can say that for him. But has he become crazed with power? Emboldened by his now-on again relationship with Mira? Possibly. Who else would agree to take a hold-all full of money into deepest Venezuela and think it was a good idea?

I’ll talk more about that later but first, what about Mira’s boyfriend Alain? Not for one minute did I suspect that he might be involved in Saul’s business. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the power of William Abadie’s performance, but I did not see that coming at all. In hindsight, it’s so obvious – suspicious non-specific Asian background, slimy demeanour, low moral standing – but I did not see that coming at all. I wonder what the fall out to that bug in the PC will be, given Saul’s trip to Venezuela? Let’s just hope for the sake of the nation that Saul finally upgrades to a laptop. If Alain is aligned with the Iranians, that’s surprising, but what else could his motives be?

That’s all besides the point for now. Just prior to meeting Franklin in the Greek Orthodox church, Carrie sent a text message to a Restricted number. It might have been to Saul, and he just didn’t receive it because he was out of the country, but we don’t know for definite. I have a feeling that, even though the show didn’t really focus on it, it will turn out to be pretty important. The episode is named after it, after all.

Saul and Carrie’s playing of Franklin and Bennett against each other, using Dar Adal, was a stroke of genius. Establishing the location of the bomber without having any information – aside from the word of a murderous terrorist that he was in the country – was impressive. It reminded me of that Sherlock Holmes scene, when Holmes sets fire to a room to allow the occupant to reveal the location of some incriminating letters – probably not a deliberate reference, but a nice scene nonetheless. Dar Adal was particularly seedy when chatting with Bennett, wasn’t he? At his snakelike best. I’d have pegged him as a secret villain before Alain, if I’m honest. I suppose he still could be. A link between Alain and Dar Adal would be exciting, actually.