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S04.E06: From A To B And Back Again

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Yea I wasn't sure how to word that. I think I meant less of an issue in that if the #2 is not objecting there should have been less debate as far the guy controlling the drone guy with respect to the orders he should follow.

Oh ok. I read it the other way, sorry. I see what you mean now. Anyway, it feels funny discussing this after what happens in the next episodes. Don't worry - I won't spoil in case you're not caught up. Go watch! The next episodes are great!

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  • 3 years later...
On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 6:14 AM, VioletMarx said:

So she's willing to do anything, sacrifice any operation, to save Brody, even just to clear his name, but she'll let Saul be murdered. She'll even cause his death.

Carrie is irredeemable.


On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 6:28 AM, eleanorofaquitaine said:

She was pretty clearly reacting from just seeing the kid she recruited and was sleeping with murdered by his uncle right before her eyes. IMO, she was acting out of an extreme desire to get revenge on the uncle in the most painful way possible.  In my view, that makes her very redeemable, if still reckless.

I don't believe that Carrie acted on revenge as she herself was perfectly willing to sacrifice Aayan in order to get his uncle. She simply wanted Haqqani dead, no matter of cost.      

On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 6:30 AM, VioletMarx said:

At her level, an extreme desire for personal revenge is not supposed to be an option.

However, it is always an option with Carrie. I was just pointing out that her choice of when to act on her emotion based on who was in jeopardy (her traitor lover or her father figure mentor) was repugnant to me.

If it was Brody standing there after Aayan was murdered, she wouldn't have given the same order.

I agree. Carrie was always willing to sacrifice the operation for Brody. Yet, after she learned that Aayan gave medicine for his uncle, she said to Fara that she wouldn't help him to London because he was helping the jihadist. Which he indeed was, but why would it matter if she made him reveal where Haqqani was? Javadi was forgiven for two private murders and all his operations because he was useful. 

On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 6:54 AM, eleanorofaquitaine said:

Well, she's still a human being, and one who occasionally has a hard time keeping control of her emotions.  It is the fact that she has some capacity to love and be upset that makes her "redeemable."  And the reality is that while Brody may have been her "traitor lover," she loved him and she also thought that their were redeemable things in him.  (Also, we're debating a hypothetical - we actually don't know how Carrie would have reacted in that situation).

I mean, the reality is that all of these people - including Saul - are extremely morally compromised people.  I think that is part of what this episode showed.  Aayan ended up dead both because of the machinations of Carrie and his uncle, and yet they all cling to the idea that they are doing this for some larger, more pure and moral purpose.  But all of them, including Saul, leave a trail of dead bodies in their wake.  Who is to say that Brody was actually that much worse than Saul or Carrie?

I think that there has always been moments when Carrie let her private emotions cloud her professional duty: she put Brody before the operations, conclealed his murder of Vice President and helped him to flee after Langley was bombed. But in this season Carrie is constantly unbalanced: when Brody died, Carrie suffered a deep trauma but she refused to admit it. So she left her baby daughter behind and seached for relief by killing enemies ("drone queen"). And that's why she wanted to kill Haqqani without caring of Saul's fate.    

I agree that all characters are flawed, but it's odd that it's just the the professional assassin, Queen, who now has most often moral qualms.    

On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 8:03 AM, CozyKat said:

I love Mandy Patinkin and Saul, but on a purely logical and ethical level, his death would have been collateral damage in pursuit of a worthy goal that would at least make Aayan's death at the hands of his last remaining relative (and personal hero) less pointless and senseless. Carrie's whole justification for seducing and effectively killing him just went up in smoke. As a knee-jerk reaction in a horrible situation, I can understand Carrie's desperate need to salvage SOMETHING from this debacle by at least doing what they went in to do, especially since there's zero assurance of saving Saul (or at least saving him from likely torture) either way. Brody doesn't really enter into it for me, especially since neither he nor Saul had Aayan's heartbreaking oblivious innocence.

All that goes out the window, of course, when it comes to publicly explaining their decision to kill "a former CIA director" just to avoid a setback, so I think Quinn's reasons for stopping her were sensible and professional, not just ethical or emotional. Interesting how Quinn and Carrie were, in a sense, reliving the scene of Sandy's death (though at a safer distance) and reversing roles while again making impossible split-second decisions. Then it was Carrie saying of their abducted superior, "We just can't leave him" -- this time it was Quinn saying, in effect, "We can't just kill him."



On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 4:10 PM, Raachel2008 said:

Eh, Carrie yelling at Fara would have worked for me if Carrie herself had some moral ground to be all sanctimonious hollier-than-thou when it is about protecting her country - hello, Brody and all the times she fucked up things because of him, effectively putting him before her country. However, I won't feel surprised if Fara turns out to be a double agent, because this show is too obvious sometimes.

The problem with the way Carrie reacted to Aayan's death is that once more she had no emotional control to make a decision of such magnitude. IF it had been a cold decision, it would still be an awful thing to do - kill Saul -, but it would have been a (5 seconds) pondered decision. But it was not. 

I agree with you both. It was the way that Carrie didn't doubt even a second that sucks.

On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 1:57 PM, shelley1234 said:

You think?  I don't.  Quinn is still caring WAY TOO MUCH about Carrie fucking Aayan because he is a love sick puppy dog.  Gross.  Just go kick some ass Quinn and forget about the bat shit crazy that is Carrie, mkay?  


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 3:04 PM, Maximona said:

Oh, I don't think Quinn is a lovesick puppy.

I think Quinn's deeper emotions are aroused when he can position himself as some kind of White Knight.  See the Case of the Ass-Stompin' in the Diner in defense of the apartment manager's honor.

I think Quinn viewed Carrie for a while as a victim, which, of course, triggered all his residual White Knight romantic impulses.

We're watching the scales fall from his eyes.  I don't think he likes her at all now.  

I don't think Quinn acted out of jelousy but because he has had a crisis of conscience since he killed a child in S3. He didn't want to come back after Sandy died and wouldn't if Carrie hadn't persuaded him. Since they met in S2, Queen had put Carrie on the pedestal as an intelligence officer, but as he, if anybody, knows the price of the work, he can't stand Carrie to become a person who has "no limits".

On ‎6‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 12:54 PM, Boundary said:

A pertinent question that needs to be asked more forcefully. Why is Carrie suddenly so emotional that Aayan is dead, could it be because she didn't get to take him out herself? Well, that wouldn't make sense. Her reaction is opposite of what should have been. She should be more emotional that Saul has been captured, that she'd been outplayed somehow. Despite everyone's reactions, especially Fara and Quinn's, her seduction worked and while she won that particular battle, she also lost big time. She needs to connect the dots between Tasleem, Haqqani and the mole Boyd. Unless she does that she'll be on the back foot.


On ‎8‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 9:05 PM, paramitch said:

I'm thoroughly enjoying the season, but I'm really puzzled by the question (more, the implied necessity) that we like Carrie at all.

I enjoy Carrie's real complexity as a character. But I don't think she's ever been painted as particularly "likable" nor do I think she's meant to be, going all the way back to her first moments in episode one, when she stumbled in from a one-nighter, had a quick crotch bath, showed up late at work, and then quickly proceeded to alienate or offput pretty much everyone around her with her tactlessness, arrogance and unbearable tension, and her tendency to barely tolerate even those who treated her with real and palpable affection, like Saul and her family.

But I do love her, even when I don't like her. Because for me, yes, Carrie's frustrating but she's still admirable and brave. Everyone on this show is tainted because the landscape they travel is one in which even the best and most patriotic can be twisted into betrayal or faced with cruel and frequently impossible choices. Carrie is willing to spend herself -- her life, her mental health, her own body, in order to do her job, and under impossible pressures (and too often while being judged by her coworkers in double-standards that would not apply to male operatives).

Carrie came to care about Aayan, but to me her breakdown at the end wasn't about Aayan's death so much as its worthlessness; in her role in maneuvering him to that point on the chessboard (and directly to his own death) all for naught, followed by the bitterly devastating reveal of Saul, who is probably the one person on the planet she truly loves--directly after her plan worked exactly as it should have--but for Fara and Boyd. When it all went to hell and it was all for nothing.

- - -

Within the "Homeland" universe, I think Carrie's a decent/okay manager who's been able to prove stability and competence for at least a year after Brody, and who is further able to make leaps and set the chessboard for brilliant strategic strokes, which is where her real value lies. Carrie's leadership skills, to me, have actually been okay. She's not warm, yet she's fiercely loyal, and is battling horrific odds in an industry that insists that no matter how good she is at her job, a man should be sitting in her chair.

The interesting thing is that we've seen that Carrie is actually capable of bringing a pretty considerable level of real charm and likability when she wants, but it's either (1) when she's in a rare situation of trust, as with Saul or near the end with Brody, or (2) when she is working a suspect (the other 90% of the time).

For me, the ghost of 9-11 and the CIA bombing are with Carrie at every moment, along with her frantic desire to avoid future events. The worst part about this episode for me was the sheer vertigo drop in the end, as every coin Carrie had spent was for nothing. She had willingly used herself (right down to her own body), her abilities, her team members, and Aayan in order to get them where they needed to be. And it had all worked! She'd actually managed to get Aayan to literally deliver Haqqani to them. But because of Boyd's treachery, Saul's lapse in judgment, and Fara's monumental carelessness, they lost it all, and in the cruelest way possible.

I unabashedly adore Saul, and I even love those little glints of razor-sharp ruthlessness that gleam out occasionally amidst all the huggable-dad stuff. But he's also shown himself to be every bit as brilliant and cold-blooded as the situation requires, not least when it came to Brody or even Carrie herself in the past. One of my favorite things about this show is that I know Saul loves Carrie and that she loves him, and I was devastated for both of them when his presence was revealed at the rendezvous here. But Saul would have supported Carrie's call for a strike there, and to me, rightly so.

We've seen every major male character on this show shout at a coworker: Saul, Quinn, Lockhart, Dar Adal, Brody, et al. I don't see them lying awake at night hoping their coworkers still like them afterward. Carrie's entire life revolves around trying to keep the next 9-11 from happening. I can forgive a little shouting.

Meanwhile, how is she culpable if Haqqani succeeds with an attack? She's not. Carrie's strategy worked like clockwork and if it hadn't been for Fara and Boyd, the rendezvous would have been a huge intelligence coup. I like Fara but I'm actually hoping her incompetence here comes to light--she managed to disregard, not just one signal that things weren't right at the safe house, but several--the blinking alarm, the broken tape, the tipped bag. It was a great example of how a small error by a single agent can bring down empires. Carrie asked Fara to show that she was capable of simply and securely taking out the trash: She wasn't.

You just defined what is so fascinating yet sad about "Homeland" to me. I think the show has done a really good job overall of depicting the stalemate of Western-Islamic Terrorist conflicts, illustrating the frustration and hopelessness of battling antagonists whose extremism cannot be assuaged. The fact that it's also managed to do so while making those antagonists human and interesting is, for me as a viewer, really special. I loathed Javadi's actions last season but I also found him utterly riveting and believable, and while I grew to care about Aayan here, he was also able to compartmentalize enough in order to directly enable the world's leading terrorist (and the man who had pretty blatantly even killed Aayan's and his own family to stay hidden).

Fara just screwed up the biggest potential intelligence coup in the "Homeland" universe since Nazir. The CIA has plenty of people who can follow other people (which is what Fara did when she lucked out on Haqqani). But I'd argue that this season has actually shown that Fara is simply not cut out for this, culminating in her incompetence at the safe house. (It's also worth pointing out that Carrie herself proved that she could get the info about Haqqani out of Aayan within two days on her own terms--and she did.)

I respect that Fara has a good heart, but Aayan's death is directly due to Fara's actions. I'm now hoping that the outcome either pushes Fara to steel herself to be tougher, or that she simply walks away.

An interesting analysis, but the reason of failure wasn't only Fara's negligence and Boyd's treason but most of all Saul's foolish behavior at the airport and Carrie's failure to read her text messages. Most of all, a station chief can't lead and at the same time act as an agent. 

On ‎9‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 3:26 PM, Milburn Stone said:

It occurs to me to enlarge the statement I made three posts upthread. Carrie's job, the one she's uncommonly dedicated to, is not merely protecting the lives of the people of the United States, as if that weren't enough. It's protecting the existence of the United States itself. Because the threat we face is existential. If the 9/11 plot had been thoroughly carried out instead of thwarted in part, we not only would have lost the World Trade Center, we would have lost the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon. In the chaos that ensued, who knows how much of our government would have survived? To say what's at stake is the survival of the nation we know as the United States is not paranoia, it's reasonable. The destruction of the United States is clearly what our enemies lust after. If a cardinal rule of drama is that there have to be "stakes," this show has them out the wazoo because of the real-llfe threat it dramatizes. Which is why Carrie, the one who goes further than anyone else partly because she's crazy, is the hero we root for no matter what.

Without belittling 9/11, other people have suffered much worse without reacting with similar paranoia, perhaps because they know and accept that the part of human beings is tragic.

I don't think that, the as members of the great power, the Americans have ever faced, nor can face, an existential threat. Such can happen only for small people who can be destroyed either physically or spiritually by carrying away their leading groups and refusing them use their own language and culture. 

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On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 7:31 AM, VioletMarx said:

Also, Fara is clearing info from the safe house (alone, because that's plausible), she comes downstairs and sees that (a) the alarm has been tripped, (b) the bag of compromising items has been tipped over, and © the cardboard she taped over the broken window has been pushed away, and she...does nothing? It doesn't even occur to her that perhaps someone was there??

Seriously, show?


On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 2:51 PM, Haleth said:

Speaking of screw ups, Fara, if alarm bells are going off and the window is open, it might be a good idea to tell someone.  Sheesh.  It's because she was so stupid as to let the ambassador's husband (I really need to pay attention to names) snoop around, Aayan was killed.  I really want the husband to get his comeuppance under US law, but he'll probably be shot by the woman he's passing information to.


On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 3:35 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I felt a little bad for Fara when Carrie ripped into her earlier and asked if she could handle a hefty bag in the name of serving America, but after she went to the safe house and just retaped the cardboard after someone had clearly broken in, I was like ehhhhh, maybe she deserved to be yelled at. Is it possible that being dressed down by Carrie made her think ehhhh, if someone broke in then this will just come back on Carrie so I'm not going to do anything about it or tell anyone?


On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 4:10 PM, Raachel2008 said:

Eh, Carrie yelling at Fara would have worked for me if Carrie herself had some moral ground to be all sanctimonious hollier-than-thou when it is about protecting her country - hello, Brody and all the times she fucked up things because of him, effectively putting him before her country. 


On ‎3‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 8:57 PM, shelley1234 said:

I also have NO USE FOR FARA.  I know Carrie was all mean and pouty to her, but when they showed us that she can't handle a basic task...then maybe Carrie had the right idea.  I like Fara, but I don't think she's meant for field work.  She doesn't have the stomach for it.  She also is just mind numbingly stupid at times.  She didn't even call in that the alarm went off and the garbage bags were messed with?  She's sometimes too stupid to live....or more on the nose, she's too stupid for Aayan to live.  


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 12:05 AM, EyesGlazed said:

I like Fara (and I will be totally pissed if the show makes her a traitor, as some have suggested, because we need patriotic Americans of Arab descent to help with national defense!! ok, off soapbox now) but that safehouse cleanup fail was cringe-worthy.  My recollection is that the alarm wasn't ringing, she was simply resetting the alarm, thus showing that it had been turned off (and so Dennis could enter undetected).  But the photos on the floor by the bag where she had stuffed them, and the fact that the cardboard barrier had clearly been messed with, should have alerted her to trouble.  Even beginner spooks are taught basic tradecraft, I assume.


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 2:14 AM, Boundary said:

After the way Carrie talked to her? No way is she not going to double check first, preferably with that camera of hers. Fara isn't stupid, she cracked the money laundering scheme last year when no else could. And what she told Carrie is true, there wouldn't be a mission without her. But after that thankless treatment from Carrie, and considering who it is she'll be accusing, she would be wise to double check. Besides, no one can connect the dots to Aayan. In fact, I highly doubt that the ISI know that Tasleem is in cahoots with the Taliban. Also, Fara knew that when they first arrived in Pakistan Carrie kept them under the radar for a reason, there's no one to trust.

ETA: do you why Fara would be ideal to catch Boyd spying? He was careless and left evidence of his presence, so he's not good at spy craft. And Tasleem didn't know about Carrie's off book operation, meaning she doesn't know of Fara. Fara could've simply stood there taking pictures unnoticed. 


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 2:40 AM, LotusFlower said:

But that's not how spies work. Esp. in this situation, when Aayan was on the loose, and leading them to his uncle, #1 on their kill list. Everything moves fast, and you don't "sit" on information in order to double-check it, or because your boss degraded you. You pass on or share information immediately, as evidenced by Quinn chewing out the guy who didn't tell him about Saul as soon as he learned of it. I'm not sure if more is going to come out of the safe house mishap, but regardless, the fact that the ambassador's husband got in there, found what he found, and passed it on to the ISI contact means that Fara has already failed.


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 2:59 AM, Boundary said:

But it's Carrie who failed Fara, motivating her subordinates, who did brilliant work, should be her job. And Fara didn't fail if she kept herself alive and gained an extra lead to investigate. Calling up superiors would not have stopped Boyd doing his deeds; without proof the ambassador's husband walks, and Fara loses her job. And with it Carrie loses the one thing wanted to find out: what happened to her predecessor. Quinn and that guy's situation was different, he was not about to accuse the spouse of a senior official of treason.


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 3:39 AM, LotusFlower said:

I think we're talking about different things here. I was more interested in plot developments, thinking maybe I missed something, and you might be talking more about speculation or character motivations. Take Boyd, for example. I'm not saying Fara should have immediately contacted Carrie and presented her case - the ambassador's husband is feeding Intel to the enemy, and here's my proof! What she should have done was tell Carrie that the hefty bag containing vital information about Aayan was compromised. Or at least her suspicions. Spy work is tedious; details are important. Who knows what they could have done if they knew Aayan's itinerary was missing, or that Saul was missing hours earlier?

Is it Carrie's job to motivate her subordinates? Well, yea, I suppose, but I would say it's not exactly priority #1 on this day, in the middle of a mission.


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 4:01 AM, Maximona said:

I dunno.  One of the things that made Saul such a great op was that he always managed to motivate his subordinates and manipulate the canaries around him at the same time.  


On ‎4‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 4:41 AM, LotusFlower said:

Maybe, but I think he always managed to keep his eye on the prize while in the middle of a mission. Spy work isn't for the needy. If you need validation or hand-holding, maybe find a different line of work? Look at Carrie and Quinn, and even Saul - dogged determination, a calling to serving their country, constant reprimands, and they keep at it, without needing a pep talk or a pat on the back.

I think that the writers did sloppy work with Fara's mistake. There simply isn't possible that any normal person wouldn't have doubted, seeing a litterbag that you have closen to be open, that somebody has been here.

Of course Fara had to make some mistake cleaning the safe house because Haqqani had to get a proof that Aayan had been there and was perhaps betrayd him to the CIA. But Aayan should have put his photographs in such a place that Fara who couldn't find whereas the ambassador's husband could.

I think that as a boss, Carrie made a basic mistake by becoming angry at Fara who reprimanded her for using Aayan and therefore sending Fara as a punishment to clean the safe house although she had no training for the job, unlike Max.

Also, Carrie's answer to Fara that she had to deal with Aayan because Fara had been unable to do showed that she isn't a good boss. What on earth made Carrie to believe that Fara who is am economical analyst without any training as an agent and a Moslem women to whom it was unnatural to touch strange men could manage the mission with Aayan?

Also, it was Carrie who made only Max and Fara follow Aayan. If Carrie had arranged enough resources, Haqqani would have trapped once Aayan brought him medicine.        

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On ‎12‎.‎11‎.‎2014 at 12:35 AM, stillshimpy said:

His Uncle didn't even have to kill him, that was the most brutal part of that.  I can't imagine how easy it would have been to turn Aayan into someone who hated the West in that moment, he'd literally been fucked over and used as a means to an end.  I know his Uncle killed him because Aayan had revealed that he was still alive, but I also wondered if it wasn't partially a mercy killing.  He knew the US wouldn't drop a drone on him with his human shield Saul in place.  He knew his nephew had been duped into betraying him  

So why did he kill Aayan in that moment?  I think that's what got to Carrie as much as anything.  There was no reason to kill Aayan other than to flip Carrie the bird.  Or to spare him more pain, because that's all that revelation about Carrie would bring him. 

I think that Haqqani, being the person he is, had the strongest motives to kill Aayan. First, to revenge Aayan's betrayal for as far as Haqqani knew, Aayan had gone to the CIA and then guided his enemies to him, and even if Haqqani had known that Aayan had been duped, it wouldn't matter to him. That he was family, made Aayan's betrayal even a more heavier sin, although killing without warning was also in a way merciful.

Second, Haqqani wanted to show that he would not hesitate punish them if they betrayed him.   

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