The bloodbath left by Javadi (Shaun Toub) was dealt with in this week's episode of Homeland, Gerontion, as Saul's (Mandy Patinkin) plans were unveiled, Carrie's (Claire Danes) pregnancy storyline continued and Quinn (Rupert Friend) became the epicentre of a stark look at CIA policy.
The episode starts with Saul and Javadi sitting opposite one another in one of those darkly lit interrogation rooms that have become a stalwart of the show. But whereas before we have seen Carrie use her empathy and analysis to turn Brody in season two's Q&A, here instead we have the two spy veterans reminisce about their past before the CIA agent announces his grand plan.
Javadi and Saul
Rather than hack off the head of the Iranian hydra by punishing Javadi, Saul instead wants him to work undercover in Iran for the US, breaking the lid on what Saul terms the black box in the Middle East. This idea doesn't go down too well with Senator Lockhart (Tracy Letts), who lambasts Saul and threatens to kill the plan in its tracks. The senator has taken the place of Vice President Walden as this year's bureaucratic brute, an easily dislikeable figure that makes it all to easy for us viewers to rally behind Saul's plans.
The recollections between Saul and Javadi isn't particularly interesting, but Saul's reasoning that the bomb attack on the CIA was a blessing in disguise as it put him in charge was positively Machiavellian. For now Saul sees, in the 10 days he has left in the job, the chance to break through the cycle of retaliatory strikes between the US and Iran and use Javadi's thirst for power as a means of working out a relationship with Iran.
This kind of examination of US intelligence policy, whilst still superficial, is much more welcome in Homeland than last year's fcous on omnipotent al-Qaeda leader Abu Nazir. Clark Johnson, an occasional director on the show, steps in front of the camera as the detective quizzing Quinn on the bloodbath at the house of Javadi's ex-wife. Maybe it's just because I remember him fondly as hard-nosed journalist Gus Haynes in The Wire, but his presence provided the show this week with a much greater cognisance.
Quinn barely mumbles a few lines as he sucks up a confession to the murders after being caught on camera, but from his accidental killing of a child in this season's first episode, we know he is a man wavering in his commitment to the CIA cause. When the reputation of the intelligence agency in real life is at an all time low due to drone strikes and the Prism revelations, Quinn's line to Carrie is particularly pertinent: "I don't think that anything justifies the damage we do".
We need to see much more of this in Homeland, rather than the laziness of Carrie's pregnancy storyline. Her discussion with the detectives was interrupted by an acute bout of morning sickness, and it appears it's only a matter of time before Saul and Quinn find out. Equally bad was Fara's (Nazanin Boniadi) outrage about the lack of punishment for Javadi. Serving as more of an apology to previous Islamophobic plotlines than a fleshed-out character, even Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) dismissively refers to her only as "headscarf".
I really thought her scissor-grab was going to be the 'pacemaker moment' of season 3, as she would ridiculously ruin Saul's plans by stabbing Javadi to death. Thankfully it was only a red herring, but it says a lot about the show that I could see such an event as even happening.
We're left instead with the cuckold Saul scoring a big victory at work, Quinn questioning his allegiance to the CIA, and Carrie given a crucial tip by Javadi that could help her in clearing Brody's name. With the former marine still only appearing once this year, it's funny how the character should have died at the end of season one, was shoehorned in to season two, and now has been almost forgotten in season three. How much longer will he be absent from the show, holed up on heroin in that Venezuelan skyscraper?