..She’s a full-blown contagion” – Dar Adal
Free from the shackles of the institution, Carrie locks a deal to meet with the Langley Mastermind before revealing the good news to Saul: “It worked” – they’ve been in it together the whole time. Meanwhile, out on the open road, Dana and Leo make an escape of their own.
- The Big Twist. Nevermind The Big Lie, much of the episode’s goodness hinges on The Big Twist (TBT). While the revelation that Carrie and Saul have been working together this whole time comes with certain drawbacks and a touch of smugness, the twist was well concealed and, importantly, furthers the plot in dramatic fashion. It also allows us to reexamine previous episodes this season and look at certain moments in new light – Carrie’s signed, sealed and delivered F-bomb, for example, still makes sense within the new context that we now have in front of us. Encouragingly the twist retains the majority of the established stakes – Carrie still bears the scars of the Big Lie Bus; her experiences in the institution are still real to an extent given that Saul left her in the deep-end to get results, while the rest of the Agency are very much out of the loop. Their betrayal stands.
- For Thrills. I enjoyed seeing Carrie out of the institution and using all the tricks in the book to escape the all-seeing eye (even though the best part, I imagine, happened off-screen). It gave the show back that spy thriller vibe that served it well in the past.
- How far Saul will go? TBT did little to let Saul off the morality hook. While he’s not broken quite as bad as it looked, I found it interesting to see just how far down the hole he dumped Carrie to drive results. She was a willing participant and may have been the brains behind the idea in the first place after the Langley attack, but his obsession has outweighed his care for a friend and colleague. Ultimately her reaction says it all: “you shouldn’t have left me in there”. This is an interesting thread that has been unseamed from Saul’s once immaculate cloak of morality.
- Emergence of Big Bad. We’re finally getting somewhere with the season’s apparent overarching antagonist, Javadi. Now that Carrie (and Saul) have started to lure him out, things should get really interesting.
- The Missed Trick. As encouraging as TBT seems to be, the idea of Carrie working with the Langley Mastermind, or at least threatening to, was beginning to grow on me. I’m interested by the questions it could have raised and the way that could have ignited the plot. While I wouldn’t say the less interesting path was taken, I was really curious by where, exactly, Carrie’s moral line resides. In that sense, I’m not sure she’s truly been tested in the same way that Brody has, for example. Yet.
- Dana/Leo Plot. It has never felt more detached from the central story as it does in this episode. For the most part, Dana’s only interesting because of her father, so without him it’s a bit like spinning wheels on the highway to nowhere. My serial DNA is patient, willing to see how this plays out and how it ties back into Brody, as it surely must. The worry is that the ‘emotional intersection‘ wont be satisfying enough to warrant the amount of screen time she’s had. If it works then great, but it would be nice if the journey there was also engaging. Granted, the revelation that Leo was implicated in his brother’s suicide makes things a little more ‘edgy’, but we’ve already been through death with Dana and I just don’t care enough about her or Leo to be too invested in their fate. It’s not a terrible story in and of itself, but it’s very blah.
CARRIE’S NEURAL OPTIMIZER
- Carrie’s terrified of the ‘mirror’ she sees in the other female patient being treated in the institution. Of course this further illustrates the reality of Carrie’s fear, not to mention how vulnerable she was while ‘taking one for the team’.
- Still, she agreed to the plan and brought it upon herself. Or did Saul do this to her? Can she ever forgive him for leaving her that deep in the crazy pit? Should he have called time? Depends on how we look at it.
- The Langley Mastermind wants to pick Carrie’s brains for something (an interesting phrase given how illuminating her mind can be when on) – is another attack imminent? What’s his end game?
- Fara’s pursuit of the money trail continued to arbitrarily tick over in this episode. Nothing too interesting in itself, but I like the idea that Javadi is a master of disguise. Ultimately his arrogance left a breadcrumb, will that also be his ultimate undoing? Or is he more savvy than it would seem? Surely he’d consider the possibility of Carrie going Triple Agent?
- Fara doesn’t seem to have too much time for Dar Adal. Hmm.
- Saul has history with Javadi. Hmm.
- Carrie the semi-silent F-bomb factory. Love it!
- Pleased that Virgil didn’t sell Carrie out completely. Looks like she still has a good few folks on her side after all.
- It’s interesting to consider whether this storyline would have played better had we been in the loop from the start. Up to now the season has been good but lacked a certain bite. We could in part attribute this to the narrative subterfuge. The narrator not only concealed the full picture, she intentionally locked us out. Interesting in itself, but it also implies what a good manipulator Carrie is. But like all ‘good’ lies, turns out The Big Lie is part based on truths.
- Perhaps the most intriguing line of the episode, for me, comes from Mr. Bennett when he suggests that perhaps Carrie and his client can find some common ground, “put the world right, save us all”. How much stock are the writers placing in this idea, if any? Should be interesting to find out.
An episode that meandered, but was untimely boosted by Carrie’s freedom and a revelation that should progress things nicely heading into the latter half of the season. Could become more valuable with time.
8/10 Seriable Stars
Standout Performer: Claire Danes as Carrie “F-Bomb” Mathison