Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 11 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "Big Man in Tehran." After last week's episode, the central question in "Homeland" was whether Brody, in his shaky post-heroin addiction and vulnerable mental state, could be trusted to deliver for CIA while in Tehran. Last night, the answer proved to be yes, but not without several serious moments of "no he isn't!" and shouting at the television from our side. Say what you want about Alex Gansa and the direction of Season 3; the producers still know how to mindf*ck with us every couple episodes. Several weeks have passed since Brody successfully made it to the Iran-Iraq border claiming to seek asylum as the Langley bomber. Carrie, welcome or not, has arrived in Tehran under some silly French pseudonym in order to manually orchestrate Brody's extraction from Iran once he follows through with Saul's wacky mission to kill the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Akbari. And with Javadi working secretly in tandem with him, Brody blossoms into a micro-celebrity in Iran, spouting off anti-American rants on government television and greeting locals on the street as they take cellphone photos of him. Saul and Dar Adal and company begin to wonder whether Brody is enjoying his newfound celebrity a bit too much. "Bottom line, he's gone from an asset to a liability!" Senator Lockhart exclaims. The three quickly decide Brody is too high-risk and plot Brody's assassination in order to at least retain Javadi, who has so far been behaving, as an asset. This is a pattern that Brody has witnessed before. Brainwashed and tortured as a prisoner in Iraq, Brody was given a war hero's welcome upon returning to the States. Likewise, Brody was held captive in Caracas only to be rescued so that he could play a local hero in Iran. But in each case, Brody is playing a part, a marionette for the greater forces controlling him. The Abu Nazir and Saul Berenson comparisons are apt. No wonder the poor guy is so confused. Speaking of Saul, he spends most of his time growling and pacing up and down the hallways at Langley in this episode. We see him demanding help from Alain, the ex-boyfriend of Mira/Israeli counterintelligence officer, for help on the ground in Tehran. "That's the only reason why I'm talking to the greaseball who fucked my wife," Saul snaps at him, finally releasing some of the anger he's had pent up this entire season. Saul also loses it on Carrie, who repeatedly ignores his commands to leave Iran. As he talks to her from his giant satellite phone, you can almost hear Saul's voiceover from the series' opening credits running in the background: "You're the smartest and the dumbest fuck I know." After Brody loses his opportunity to kill off Akbari, he is set up with a personal meeting with Abu Nazir's widow, who has been staking out in Tehran since his death. "Nicholas," she says warmly as he stares at her open-mouthed. They proceed to have a semi-forced spiritual conversation about the purpose and life and death, though we know Nazir's widow is actually just trying to discern whether Brody is telling the truth. "When I completed the plan that Allah had set out for me, it was too much for [Dana.] She tried to kill herself. She had faith in her father that he wouldn't betray her like this," Brody confesses to her, which feels like the most honest thing he's said so far this season. With such an aggressive focus on Dana at the beginning of the season, and with Carrie's growing pregnancy, we wonder if Brody's "redemption" in Tehran is actually more about redeeming himself as a father. Will Carrie -- quite obviously further along in her pregnancy -- give Brody the opportunity to be the kind of father his daughter can have faith in? What on earth has happened to Brody and his son, by the way? It's like Brody forgot he had another child altogether after leaving him to load the dishwasher for the 500th time. Carrie continues to be an impediment to Saul almost the entire operation. She tips Brody off about the CIA's plan to back out of the operation, and she walks around like a crazy person in Tehran with two cell phones trying to hunt down Brody. She so successfully injects herself in every situation of Brody's that he no longer believes that Carrie isn't meant to be his constant lifeline. So when Brody stands alone in Akbari's office, blood on his hands and armed guards just seconds away from entering the door, Brody does what he's always done: He calls Carrie, and leaves it to her to find a solution. His work is done; Carrie's is just beginning. What did you think of the "Homeland"'s penultimate episode? Who can't wait to see how Season 3 will end? We're skipping the questions this week, but please sound off about how you think the season finale will play out next week in the comments below."Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 3, Episode 10 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "Good Night." According to showrunner Alex Gansa, "Good Night" was meant to serve as a transition to the true action that will appear in the last two episodes of "Homeland." But the episode was already one of the series' most action-driven scripts yet. We've moved on from safe houses and corporate chatter at Langley to seeing the play unfold, live, on the ground in the Middle East. The operation to bring Brody to the Iran-Iraq border so that he can gun down the head of the revolutionary guard, with the help of turned Iranian intelligence thug Javadi, looked like what "Zero Dark Thirty" might have been, if Kathryn Bigelow had a smaller budget and worse night-vision goggles. But more importantly, the operation is what jolts Brody back into action. Brody's innate instinct for survival is incredible, and watching him tap into that reserve is gratifying. For the first time this season, Brody is really, truly back. In one scene in particular, where he applied a tourniquet to the severed leg of his driving companion after their car hit a landmine, Brody exhibited qualities of solidarity and determination on a level we haven't really witnessed from him before -- qualities, maybe, that only the white-knuckle terror of an intelligence operation gone wrong can procure. "I shit myself every time they send me back here," Brody's driving buddy tells him at one point. Taking in the sweep of this episode, from the confrontation with the Kurdish border police to the shoot-out with the Iraqi military, it's not hard to see why. The episode begins with Peter Quinn confronting Carrie over her pregnancy, much to her chagrin. As he whispers to her, "Carrie, you're 15 weeks pregnant," you can almost hear Carrie mouthing to herself, "No shit, Sherlock." But are we to believe Carrie when she tells Quinn that the baby is not Brody's? After all, just two weeks ago she told her OB-GYN that "what I am doing" -- meaning, her work at the CIA -- "has to do with the baby's father." Either Carrie is truly confused about the identity of the baby's father, or she is lying to Peter Quinn to stay in the game. And why is Carrie still so emotionally invested? Last week she appeared surprisingly detached from Brody, able to parlay her excitement at seeing him again for the first time since the Langley bombing into something more cold-blooded, careerist and strategic as she convinced him to take on Saul's crazy assassination assignment. But last night, that detachment had disappeared and we were back where we started: the prickliness, the eyes darting with anger and obsession and concern all at once, unable to stop moving even as they remained confined within the tunnel of their Brody vision. Others will disagree (it's the internet; that's what we do here) but to us, the switch back and forth from the instrumentalism of last week to the emotional identification of last night seemed a little forced. Or maybe it's just that last week she'd been drugged out after the shoulder operation. Who knows. But what was most revealing about last night's episode was the complex interplay between the CIA, the military and the White House as the operation got under way. The contrast between the situation room, with everyone on their feet and pacing, headsets on, before the satellite feed as the operation goes haywire, and the White House chief of staff's office, Dara Adal, tea cup in hand, plopped onto a plush, floral print settee and offering waspish plums of battle wisdom ("Now is the time to remain patient") over the peak of his black turtle neck like some Northern Virginia reincarnation of Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess, provided a telling insight into the dynamics of power at the highest level. And how quickly that power can shift: One moment we are placed into the middle of an intelligence operation, the next we are watching a military rescue mission. And all the while, the shady, thuggish figure of Senator Lockhart circles in the background, offering words of false sympathy to Saul as the operation comes unstuck, his head bobbing about like a malevolent Thunderbird. "You must be one hell of a salesman to get Brody to do this," Lockhart tells Carrie at one point. "Here at the agency, we call that recruiting," she replies. Ouch. Saul, for his part, watches the theater unfold by chewing a lucky pack of gum and squeezing his eyes really hard as his baby operation goes sideways. But his morality remains intact even as White House Chief of Staff Higgins interferes (via a rather hilarious video conference) with a call to cover their tracks and avoid a diplomatic incident by killing off Brody and his injured military friend. "I will NOT order a strike against my own men. Hang it up," Saul says, head down, knowing this means his tenure at the CIA is also kaput. But Saul's loyalty wins out in the end, of course: Brody does make it over the border, and Saul is still in the game. You never got the sense that the show's creators were going to let the crossing into Iran drag out much beyond this episode, and so it proved, with Brody and his likeable chum stumbling into the unaffectionate arms of an Iranian military unit and making it over the border almost by accident. The twist at the end of the episode, with Brody and his mate huddled in their cell before the ominously slight figure of Javadi appears, pale blue suit alive with the cheap sheen of bad polyester and evil intentions, tells Brody to get ready for his big trip to Tehran, then turns to Brody's companion and blows his brains out, set things up nicely (if nice is the right word to use for such a callous display of murderousness) for next week. The real question is: How will the dangerous dance between Brody and Javadi play out? At any point in the show where he has not been confined in a CIA safehouse, Javadi has shown himself to be a genuinely psychotic liability, unpredictable in everything other than his casual readiness to kill. He is deceptively calm and peaceful even when exhibiting extreme viciousness. As an asset, he is exceptionally tough to control. Once released into the comparative freedom of mainstream Iran and able to play his role as an asylum seeker unfettered, will Brody prove the same? Questions we have that were answered:
- Can Brody pull of the mission to get to the Iran-Iraq border? Yes, but not without some complications.
- Is a potential Peter Quinn and Carrie romance in the works? Sadly, judging from their terse "fuck you" conversation about her baby, we're guessing it's a long shot.
- Will Senator Lockhart still try to be a raging dick to Saul and his operation? Despite some concessions last night, the general assessment is yes.
Questions we still have:
- Is Brody still on ibogaine?
- Who is the father of Carrie's baby, really?
- Is that military dude Brody makes small talk with Gerard Butler's younger brother?
- What play does Carrie have to extract Brody out of Iran? And who else thinks it's totally unbelievable that Fara, after witnessing Javadi kill his own family, would agree to convince her uncle in Tehran to organize a safe house for Brody?
- In the previews for the next episode, Brody has hair. How much time has transpired since his arrival?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.What did you think of "Homeland" season 3, episode 10? Share your thoughts and predictions below.
Young as they might be, some of your favorite actors and singers have actually been in the biz for a very, very long time. Check out how old these 12 well-known stars were when they first broke big in Hollywood.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 9 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "One Last Time." For much of the first two seasons of "Homeland," it was reasonably clear that the whole show was guiding to us towards the answer to one central question: is Nicholas Brody a terrorist? Now that that question has been answered, attention has shifted to -- what, exactly? The search for the Langley bombers? The perilous future of the CIA as it prepares to be taken under the cynical, realpoliticking wing of Senator Lockhart? Dana? God, is the whole show now about Dana? Or is there now a shorter-term focus on Saul's plan to shuttle his plant to the top of the Iranian political structure? It's never been entirely clear, and that lack of clarity has been part of what has made Season 3 unsatisfying. But it's also, importantly, what gives the show enduring promise: if the writers can tie all these disparate threads together in a way that seems plausible and not overly contrived, they will have the makings of a cracking conclusion to the season on their hands. Last night gave us the clearest indication yet that the focus for the remainder of the season will remain squarely on Saul's multi-phase "Iranian project," with the show's switch from nuanced character study of the ambiguities and moral lacunae of the "war on terror" to full-throttle geopolitical thriller gathering pace. But what, really, is the Iranian project all about? We've been dropped hints of where it might all be heading over the past few weeks, but last night gave us the clearest indication yet of how Saul plans to tie Javadi, Brody and U.S.-Iranian relations together. Visiting an angry-looking Carrie in hospital, where she's still recovering from her gunshot wound, Saul convinces her to persuade Brody, who's being weaned off his substance addiction in a special ops safehouse in Virginia via a scary combination of ibogaine and tough love, to accept the mission of traveling into Tehran and knocking off the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Let's take a moment to reflect on the simple ludicrousness of this plan: Saul is attempting, with a mandate that grows thinner by the day, to play Brody back into Iran, convinced that his status as "the Langley bomber" will be enough to found a plea for asylum and guarantee an audience with the head of the revolutionary guard, who Brody will then kill, leaving the political space vacant for the CIA's new asset Javadi to ascend to the head of the country's intelligence agency. And then what? It's always a bad sign when a show reaches for the creepy music to lend extra gravitas to its characters' words, and sure enough, the creepy music came out last night as Saul attempted to explain what the installation of Javadi at the head of the revolutionary guard would mean for U.S.-Iranian relations. It was, he said, to a backdrop of scary violins, "something to change the facts on the ground, so that two countries who haven't been able to communicate with each other for over thirty years might be able to" -- and that was the point at which we looked away, because we were sure men in white lab coats were about to appear to cart crazy Mr Berenson off to the asylum. So, to recap: Brody will knock off Iran's head spy, Javadi will inherit the job, and then... then the U.S. and Iran will just be able to "talk" to each other, man -- like, really communicate? To paraphrase Senator Lockhart from two episodes ago, Saul sounds like he's fucking high. Throughout "Homeland" Saul has often figured as the gruff, pragmatic voice of earthly wisdom; even his harsher moments have been driven by a fundamental empathy. But this latest plan sounds more like the renegade operation of a man gone mad by his impending departure from the organization where he's spent his whole career (and for which he has sacrificed much in his own personal life). Nor were we convinced by the suggestion that Carrie would be so unquestioningly ready to get on board with Saul's plan. After all, she'd risked her life just the previous week to ensure the integrity of her own personal quest to prove Brody's innocence, and now all of a sudden her she is, ready to send Brody on, essentially, a suicide quest into Iran. From the crazy eyes of undying love as Brody crossed the border out of the U.S. at the end of Season 2 to this: That must be some very tasty Kool-Aid Saul's feeding her. As for Brody... they say it takes three months to kick a drug habit; in "Homeland," rehab only takes three weeks. Brody gets whipped back into shape after seeing Dana [cue hoarse whisper: "DAY-NAH"] working as a janitor in a motel. He wills himself out of an energy-less slump and undergoes an intense training regimen of identifying jack of spades cards, jogging, staring at pornographic images and jogging some more. Sixteen magical TV days later and BOOM: Suddenly Marine Brody is back, shooting the shit about wives and babies with his fellow military brothers and asking sharp questions about his escape plan from Tehran during the boys' briefing on Operation Iran. Brody's speedy recovery, though undoubtedly unrealistic, is in line with his character. As a character, Brody was never particularly intelligent, sly, skilled or even very likeable, both in his home life as a father and as a marine. Instead, as Saul quipped, what Brody does have is an amazing knack for getting himself into particularly sticky situations and somehow getting out of them alive -- like a cockroach, as the shady Caracas doctor once called him, a theme we're seeing resurface constantly throughout this season. What Brody succeeds at is having a will to survive, even if he occasionally loses it, like sinking down to the floor of the sea like a stone. He just needs to be occasionally reminded of a reason to live. We'd like to end with a little PSA about Carrie's new habit of smoking cigarettes -- while 13 weeks pregnant, natch. So far her unborn child has been something that Carrie has ignored or sighed at, like it's a terribly distracting fly in her ear while she takes care of more important things, like clearing Brody's name. But the idea that Carrie would actually risk her baby's health by picking up smoking just seems so out of character to us. We get what the writers are implying: Carrie probably hopes the smoking will lead to miscarriage so that she can terminate it and not have it weigh on her conscious. Her inaction has led to action. But we don't buy that Carrie, a sometimes smart and definitely educated girl with ample access to pharmaceuticals and doctors, would rely on cigarettes for the off-chance of a miscarriage. Or at least, we don't want to buy it, because we thought so much more of Carrie than that. Seriously, you for real, girl?Questions we have that were answered:
- Will Carrie's baby be safe after the gunshot incident? Yes, the baby is fine. Not that Carrie displays much interest in its well-being.
- What does Saul exactly have planned for Brody now that he's been returned to U.S. soil? A lot, actually. Saul plans on using Brody as a pawn to gun down the Head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard in order to install Javadi in his place as heir apparent. The mission outlined like basically like a scene from "Zero Dark 30."
- When will Carrie and Brody finally be reunited? Now. Carrie and Brody unceremoniously reunite as she visits him in rehab and asks him what he needs to redeem himself. Posing to be on his side, she actually gets him to commit to Saul's operation.
- Who is Mira's French boyfriend, really? Surprise! He's an Israeli intelligence officer who has been feeding notes of his girlfriend's husband's whereabouts to his arch nemesis. Ouch.
- Will Saul lose his position as acting director at the CIA in ten days? Not quite yet. In yet another schadenfreude-filled scene, Saul confronts a redfaced Senator Lockhart with photos of him and the Israeli intelligence officer, Alain. Knowing he's screwed, Lockhart agrees to give Saul more time until his confirmation hearing as the new CIA director.
- Where has Dana Brody gone? She is living and working in a motel as a janitor. And she apparently is very, very freaked out about seeing her father again.
Questions we still have:
- In that scene where Saul visits Carrie in the hospital, why is he walking so incredibly slowly?
- What wild and crazy nights has Dar Adal had with the CIA in the 1960s? The sudden mention of the "Nigerian drug, Ibogaine," with Dar's hands waving back and forth, was something straight out of Project MKUltra.
- Can someone do a mashup video of all the times Damien Lewis has muttered the word "Day-naaah" throughout the seasons STAT?
- And are we going to love or hate next week's episode? Judging from next week's previews, it looks like "Homeland" is going places we've never gone before.
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.What did you think of "Homeland" season 3, episode 8? Share your thoughts and predictions below.
Just because every year we make the same terrible mistake, you don't have to. Behold, the worst offenders behind extremely annoying cocktail conversations, or who to avoid at your next holiday party.1. The Anecdostage-Taker When someone holds you hostage with an extremely long and boring anecdote. Examples: That crazy Saturday night when they took "molly" with a bunch of NYU kids at a Bushwick loft party; any Burning Man story. 2. The Geographer "Where are you from?" "What's that close to?" "Do you know so-and-so?" Look, we have all come to live in our current locations by way of someplace else. Let's just avoid mapping out family trees within the first five minutes of getting to know each other.3. The Person Who Asks A Question Only So They Can Answer The Question These people slyly feign interest in someone else before using it as a gateway to start talking about themselves again. How to spot it: "Oh, you just got back from India?" "Yes!" "No, I know, that's amazing. I was just in Nepal last year and [proceeds to talk about unrelated Himalayas hike]..."4. The Close Talker This person doesn't know how to give personal space. Nor do they realize that the chips and salsa they keep stuffing their face with smell foul up close. Most shudderingly, for every step back you take, they take one step forward. Leave immediately. 5. The Deep Thinker The person who ropes you in by asking needlessly philosophical questions. Unless you're at a church summit or 13 years-old, do not begin conversations with "do you believe in life after death" or "is there such a thing as true happiness," no matter how much you may want to. 6. The Shade-Thrower Traditionally known for their few words but bold stares, this breed usually appears in the form of ex-boyfriend's girlfriends.7. Touchy-Feely Talker A cousin of the Close Talker, the Touchy-Feely Talker slaps you on your arm, shoulder, back or even butt. No.8. Shifty Eyes This person grazes the room with their eyes as they're talking to you, as if there is someone better to talk to. News alert: There is. Cut the conversation short and move on.9. The Echo The person who makes the same point you made five seconds ago, but then acts like they independently came up with the idea themselves. 10. Bitchface The person in the room who doesn't do much other than scowl at everyone that walks past him/her. To quote Karl Lagerfeld, they are dangerous and probably want to hurt you.11. The Know-It-All There's always an insufferable know-it-all at a party, leading you to secretly Google-verify their claims in the bathroom. But do you confront them in public when they're wrong? Or do you let others continue living in oblivion? Which makes you a bigger asshole?12. The Lawn Sprinkler When someone has had too much champagne and starts dancing around with glass in hand, the liquid they spray into the air is similar to that of the Home Depot staple. And if they're drinking red wine, these are the worst offenders.13. The Mirror Princess Oh, is that a mirror on the wall behind you? Then forget about having a normal conversation with the Mirror Princess, who will spend the duration of your conversation admiring their reflection and over-pronouncing their words in this weird, theatrical kind of way, like you're at a party with dramaturges. 14. The Contrarian The person who interrupts your story to contradict everything you say. Leave them by the eggnog with Shifty Eyes.15. The Barney This person repeatedly says "I love you!" and "omg you're so funny!" upon first meeting them. When you bump into them on the street a week later, they will completely ignore you.
For a man who touts high art and stops by Harvard's Graduate School of Design, Kanye West sure dropped a dud on us with the music video debut of "Bound 2" Tuesday (Nov. 19). The pulpy, embarrassingly earnest video features reality star (and West's fiancée) Kim Kardashian topless and gyrating atop a motorcycle, her blank visage superimposed against a green screen of Dalí-esque desert and galloping horses. The whole thing is reminiscent of an Ed Hardy T-shirt. But it makes us wonder what's happened to West's once-eclectic taste. After all, this is the man who chose Takashi Murakami for the cover of 2009's "Graduation" album and, the next year, George Condo for "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." This is the man who compares himself to Steve Jobs and tells crowds, in all seriousness, that "I want everything I do to be presented in an art context." So how can the art in the "Bound 2" music video be so bad? Our only answer: This is the 36-year-old's "Gigli" moment. What Jennifer Lopez was to Ben Affleck, Kim Kardashian is to Kanye West. Kimye is Bennifer, one decade later. We point out the similarities below. 1. Kim Kardashian's sexy selfie (2013) and Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in the music video for "Jenny from the Block" (2002). Apparently they all love the same swimsuit:2. Both couples enjoy touchy-feely embraces atop high-flying vehicles:3. Both men like their women well-furred: 4. Both Kim and J.Lo got their men to dress in ways we never thought we'd see. (Bonus: Ben Affleck IS Batman in the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" movie!)5. Both Kimye and Bennifer got engaged within a year of dating:6. Finally, what Kanye has to look forward to, as excerpted from Ben Affleck's interview with "Details" in 2012: "In our culture, we get very much into shorthanding people. And I got shorthanded as That Guy: Jennifer Lopez, movies bombed, therefore he must be a sort of thoughtless dilettante, solipsistic consumer blahblahblah. It's hard to shake those sort of narratives. If you were looking at that one-liner on me in 2003, which was definitely the annus horribilis [laughs] of my life ... People bring up 2003, and I get it. Jennifer Lopez, and Gigli, and all this shit just kind of blew up."
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 8 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "A Red Wheelbarrow." What's one way to keep a CIA agent from potentially blowing months of an elaborate sting to stage a governmental coup in Iran and locate the man responsible for America's Second 911? Shoot her. That was the unfortunate outcome from tonight's "Homeland" episode, which saw Carrie getting shot in the arm by -- poor thing -- Peter Quinn after she attempts to thwart Evil Lawyer Guy No. 2 from killing the actual man behind the Langley bombing. We don't need to guess what her motivations are because Carrie, exasperatingly as ever, declares them to Dar Adal and team mid-operation: "Keeping him alive is the only way to prove Brody's innocent!" she yells, before sabotaging the whole operation by running out of the truck and almost blowing her cover. Carrie's determination to clear her former lover's name is not only due to the fact that she is crazy in love with him, of course. Carrie is 13 weeks pregnant with Brody's child, and she hasn't been handling the news very well. "What I'm doing has to do with the baby's father," she tells her OB-GYN, after she is encouraged to de-stress from the job (HAHAHA -> sorry, involuntary response). We also learn that Carrie hit the bottle hard in the weeks after discovering the news, and that she took Lithium for about a month while in the psych ward. "I wasn't painting a nursery," Carrie says with perfect deadpan humor. But dread and reluctance aside, nothing about the scene suggested that Carrie intends on terminating her pregnancy. On the contrary: If Carrie is going to bring a child into this world, then she is going to try her damn best to relinquish the baby from having America's Most Wanted Terrorist as his or her father. Meanwhile, Saul makes some progress with Mira, bringing her breakfast in bed at what seems from the conversation that follows to be an ungodly early hour. He insinuates that when "this is all over," they'll go island hopping in exotic locales that both are nostalgic about, like the Philippines, where they picked up handcrafted mugs. The scenes where they kiss have an autumnal sweetness to them, although at certain moments it's hard not to feel that Saul's lover face looks a lot like his interrogation face; if you were to turn the volume down when he brings his face up to hers and tells her how much she means to him, his steely gaze and earnestness of purpose could almost convince you that he's grilling Mira on the subject of the Iranian revolutionary guard's nuclear program. Mira seems disengaged and ambivalent, but afterwards we see her break up with her French boyfriend, who makes no effort to disguise his dismay and pleads with her that he loves her. There's something sinister about Alain, though, and a later scene has him installing listening and surveillance devices in the Berenson household then slipping out after Mira comes home. There was an almost parodic quality to this scene, we felt, with the perfidious but good-looking Frenchman soft-shoeing out the front door but stopping off at pretty much every trespass scene acting cliche -- the darting eyes, the body held flush to the wall, the quick pirouettes and light-footed sprints -- along the way. Alain seems destined to become more central to the plot in subsequent episodes, so we can all look forward to more slimy Frenchman vaudeville along the way. Eh oui. There were a couple back-and-forth scenes between Carrie and Franklin (Big Evil Lawyer Guy No. 2) that were alsi difficult to keep track of. There are many double agent plays in this season that it's sometimes easy to forget that the law firm still believes that Carrie is a compromised CIA agent who works for them -- and not the other way around. We feel bad for anyone who's entered the season midway through. There are so many shifting allegiances and "this person isn't who you think they are" ploys that make us feel a little bit crazy inside, too. The most entertaining part of last night's episode was also the most unbelievable. Saul arranges a meeting with Higgins, the White House Chief of Staff and, lo and behold, Senator Dickhart Lockhart is there as well, still fuming from the conference room debacle and Javadi's return to Iran. Neither man is convinced that Javadi has been turned, but Saul, that stubborn bull of a man, is. "I know him," he tells the two men, before joyously getting Senator Lockhart kicked out of the room as he briefs Higgins on "phase two" of the Javadi operation, which involves some crazy scheme to usher in a new regime in Iran with Javadi embedded as a high-ranking military insider who will be moved "up the chain of command." What does Saul have planned up his sleeve, exactly? And how does returning Brody to U.S. soil factor in his grand scheme to engineer a regime change in Iran? The show's writers don't give us more details, but it was hard in that moment not to recall the senator's best line from last week's episode: "You sound like you're fucking high." (On a side note, this photo of Mandy Patinkin and Tracy Letts out of character is everything). The episode ends with Saul entering the seedy slum in Caracas, the Tower of David, to pick up Brody from his hellish prison cell in exchange for $10 million cash to the slumlord. While we still don't understand what El Niño's connection to Carrie Mathison is -- and we doubt that we'll ever figure that out now -- obviously the interest in keeping Brody alive was purely monetary. How long has Saul known about Brody's whereabouts? And did Saul need Javadi's confirmation of Brody's non-involvement in the Langely bombing to finally "rescue" him? We get a glimpse of what those answers might be in the scenes from next week's episode. We have to admit, we're starting to feel a little bad for Brody. All people seem to want from Brody is to imprison him, yell at him, then force him to kill people he doesn't really want to kill, then do it all over again. And what Saul will ask of Brody appears to be not all that different from what Abu Nazir had planned for him. In each scenario, Brody plays the same role; it's only which side plays on that distinguishes him from a "hero" to a "terrorist." Questions we have that were answered:
- Is Alain to be trusted? Absolutely not. After Mira breaks up with him, our French hottie breaks into the Berenson household and wires the house and computer.
- Is Brody the father of Carrie's baby? Yes, or so Carrie believes.
- Will Carrie keep the baby? Yep.
- When will Brody return to the show? It looks like the answer is NOW.
Questions we still have:
- Is this the end of Fara on "Homeland"?
- What does Saul have in store for Brody that makes his return to U.S. soil so important?
- Will Carrie tell Brody she's pregnant?
- How long has Brody been in the cell in Caracas? And what is his mental state?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.What did you think of "Homeland" season 3, episode 8? Share your thoughts and predictions below.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 8 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "A Red Wheelbarrow."More...
It's official: George Clooney is totally obsessed with Brad Pitt. Whether talking about his looks, talents, girlfriend or children, Clooney just can't seem to stop gushing about his famous BFF. Apropos the "Gravity" star's recent Esquire interview, let's take a look at some of the many, many other times Clooney has name-dropped Pitt to the press in a feature we can only call: "Hollywood Bromances: 10 Signs George Clooney Is Really, Really Into Brad Pitt."
It's official: George Clooney is totally obsessed with Brad Pitt.Whether talking about his looks, talents, girlfriend or children, Clooney just can't seem to stop gushing about his famous BFF. Apropos the "Gravity" star's recent Esquire interview, let's take a look at some of the many, many other times Clooney has name-dropped Pitt to the press in a feature we can only call: "Hollywood Bromances: 10 Signs George Clooney Is Really, Really Into Brad Pitt."More...
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 7 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "Gerontion." Make no mistake -- the second-half of this season's "Homeland" means business. After meandering aimlessly for a few too many episodes at the beginning of the season through Dana's teen runaway subplot and Carrie's "beautiful mind," the show's writers have returned to the white-knuckle tumble of interrogations and cat-and-mouse games that we've been waiting for all along. In other words, we're back to the fun stuff. "Gerontion" (cheers to the T.S. Eliot reference) begins with Saul revealing the hand he has in store for captured Iranian terrorist Javadi. Keep in mind, this is the exact play that Saul has been spinning for at least the past two months. Javadi, still covered in his ex-wife's blood, smugly outlines his conditions for trading intelligence: "There's a deal to be made, or I'd be in prison by now. If I talk, if I do that, I need protection. I need a secure compound in Miami, and I need my money, all of it." Javadi -- like when he turned against Saul in the fall of the Shah back on his homeland -- is a survivor, loyalties be damned. He is the Iranian Brody: a one-time hero of the United States turned against his own country. They're both cockroaches. But Saul has something even better planned for his one-time friend: He tells Javadi that he will be returning to Iran as an asset for the CIA; if he doesn't, Saul will out Javadi for stealing $50 million dollars from the Iranian government. "You killed 219 Americans. Do you think I care you also ripped off the Revolutionary Guard?" Saul asks. "Make no mistake of it, you'll be returning back to Iran, either as a traitor or as an asset ... I'm your case officer now," Saul says, knowing that he has Javadi fully backed up in a corner. Javadi initially resists, then accepts his doomed fate in the only way he can: by copious amounts of sighing. He sighs as he changes into fresh clothes in the bathroom. He sighs as he talks to Carrie. He sighs as he boards a ridiculously luxurious plane. There's so much sighing and so much saudade to the man, Javadi is one minor key melody and a couple of soulful lyrics away from being a moderately convincing Portuguese folk song. After he sighs pre-embarkation, he mumbles something threatening to Carrie that is meant to play with her already crazy emotions. But more on that later. In between interrogations, our transactions specialist hottie Fara Sherazi is growing agitated. First, she yells at Javadi in Persian, forcing Saul to eject her from the room. The she pleads with Carrie for Javadi to be tried in the U.S., not Iran, because justice needs to be served for the 219 American lives he's taken. "He manipulates people, that's what he does," Carrie warns Farah. But is there something greater going on here? Is Fara -- who Saul once berated for wearing head scarf at Langley, because it was a "fuck you" to the people who worked there -- a double agent? Or does she have another, more secretive incentive to keep Javadi in the U.S., but far away enough from her that she'll grip a knife in his mere presence? IMDB says that Farrah (Nazanin Boniadi) will only be on the show for one more episode, so whatever's going to happen to her can't be too good. His asset secured, Saul prepares to drive back to Langley but pauses before getting into his car. He calls Mira and regales her with tales of their time in Tehran, a quaint little nostalgia jaunt for which her level of enthusiasm appears to be slightly inferior to his. But then -- shock! -- just as her night gown draws apart suggestively and she starts to engage more with Saul's silly old fogie reminiscences ("You were so young," he says, as if addressing his grandchild), the camera pans back and we see Mira's French sociologist lover, Alain, draped shirtless through the bedsheets with a kind of pining, bareback loucheness. Naughty, naughty Mira -- and naughty Alain! For a show that strains to draw even its straightforwardly evil Muslim characters in such a subtle and balanced manner, it must be comforting for the writers to be able to take a breather from all the nuance by falling back on that handiest of character cliches: the dirty dog Frenchie, charismatic and generous of breast hair, worming his way into the taken American woman's bed with little more than a shrug of the shoulders, some middling field research in academic sociology, and a Gallic pout. We're excited to see what will happen to this character over the weeks ahead; could Alain Bernard be "Homeland"'s new Dana? Let's hope not. Thank god we were relieved of the sure-to-cumbersome backstory regarding Carrie's pregnancy. While we're sure we'll be getting a juicy plot line in the future, so far Carrie's impending motherhood has only served to throw her off her game while visiting the double murder crime scene of Javadi's ex-wife and daughter-in-law. She vomits, then says to the police, "I'm sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me." Punchline of the show? Back at Langley, Saul attempts to rush back to his office unnoticed, in that slightly harassed and constipated gait of his, but is intercepted by Dar Adal, who had apparently been maintaining a diligent, continuous vigil over the elevator bank for the week or so that Saul, Carrie, Quinn and the others were AWOL. He demands an explanation for Saul's absence. "I need details," he snarls, an irascible marsupial in too-big pants. What are we to make of this funny little man? Is Dar a snake doing Senator Lockhart's bidding, or a dedicated CIA man looking out for the integrity of the agency? We get an answer -- a provisional answer, at least -- almost immediately, with Saul leading Dar back to his office, where Lockhart is also waiting, and explaining the whole story to them, from the set-up with Carrie's detainment in the psych ward to the recruitment of Javadi as an asset. Lockhart is predictably furious that Saul has lured Javadi into the country and allowed him to escape again without trial, deriding the notion of recruiting Javadi as "Cold War, human intelligence crap." It's not clear exactly what Lockhart wants to replace human intelligence with once he assumes the helm of the CIA (algorithms? Vending machines?), but his point on bringing Javadi to trial in the U.S. seems like a strong one. Saul counters that it would be "short-sighted" to seek justice through the regular civilian channels at this point, since it will do nothing to prevent future attacks on America and will effectively waste the capture of an asset on the pursuit of a minimally valuable legal end. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will transform the Middle East," Saul snarls, overplaying his hand slightly. "You sound like you're fucking high," Lockhart demurs, threatening to escalate the matter to the president unless the plane Javadi is on is grounded and Carrie is brought in for questioning. Saul takes Lockhart to a conference room to call the president; then comes the most deliciously satisfying moment of the episode, with Saul and Dar exiting the room and Saul locking the door behind them via remote control. The thuggishly jowly senator is locked in with no way of working the conference phone. "Dar, get me out of here," he shouts, as Dar and Saul look on from outside. "Dar. Dar." But Dar does not move; the marsupial stands firm. The marsupial is on the side of right. "You're dead," Lockhart says, before Saul clicks the remote control one more time to kill the lights. "What the fuck?" asks the senator. Outstanding stuff. It's worth taking a moment to reflect, once more, on the magnificence of the acting in these scenes, especially from the self-important, pettifogging senator. Last week it was Lockhart's nostrils and upper lip doing all the work; this week his double chin steps manfully forward with its own small masterwork of quivering malevolence. The range of expression in Tracy Letts's skin folds is truly astonishing; if the man doesn't end this season with a swag of honors in recognition of the emotive power of his facial muscles, we'll give up on TV for good. Javadi won't return back to Iran without a fight, of course. Between sighs, he makes some pretty ominous grumblings about the bombing at Langley and proffers to know more information about who was responsible for putting the bomb in the SUV. Javadi tells Carrie something to the effect of, "If you want to talk to someone you can trust, you should know that the man who put the bomb in the SUV did not die in the bombing. As far as I know, he's still in this country," then directs Carrie to the mysterious law firm who had brought him and Carrie together in the first place. What is his motive? Is he simply looking to manipulate Carrie, or is he looking for retribution to the law firm who was responsible for his own ensnarement? Judging from next week's episode preview, it looks like the Big Bad Law Firm owns a much bigger piece of this terrorist pie than we first thought. Meanwhile, the show's producers again gift us with the stunning vision of shirtless Peter Quinn showering, cameras panning leisurely on Rupert Friend's bare chest and back as he pads around the house clothed only in a towel. Our favorite vigilante has been captured at the crime scene by the neighbor's security camera, and he must now confront his moral dilemma with his job head on. After he fake-confesses to murdering Javadi's ex-wife and daughter-in-law, the homicide cop shakes his head in contempt. "Have you ever done anything but made things worse?" Detective Johnson asks Quinn, who appears a little too eager to nod yes. This is therapy for Quinn, who has been attempting to wrangle with a deep guilt and conflict since accidentally shooting a child in Caracas earlier this season. "I don't think there's anything that justifies the damage we do," he tells Carrie, opening up to her about his emotions. For long stretches of last night's episode, especially on those moments where the camera lingered on his blank, disappointed and uncomprehending face, Quinn seemed less like a hardened special ops guy finally being broken by the inhumanity and brutality of his job than a robot struggling to become human, a kind of Bicentennial Man with pecs. "Don't -- understand -- human emotions," you can almost hear Quinn saying to himself; it's as if every scene now promises to end with smoke coming from his ears and the word "MALFUNCTION" flashing on the screen as alarms sound in the background. But there's something else at work too; Quinn is becoming vulnerable, but his vulnerability is almost exclusively a performance for Carrie's benefit. Carrie's one-track mind leads her to crush the potentially romantic moment by banging on and on about Brody, and how she needs his help to go after Bennett, the compromised lawyer that Javadi identifies as the person who "moved" the bomb at Langley. "Sure, Carrie, whatever you want," Quinn says softly, before he drives off mournfully in the dark of the night. If Carrie can't understand him, who will? Quinn is quickly becoming the moral pulse of the show, and his late conversion to ethics is all the more convincing for being so painfully and plainly difficult for him. The episode ends with a sappy, sexy scene between Saul and Mira, who stare at themselves in front of the mirror like a bad, more hirsute scene from "Eyes Wide Shut." Saul apologizes for not telling Mira that she was beautiful more often and basically tells her he can't bear to lose her. Um, does Saul know that Mira just came back from having hot sex with her younger French lover? Does he even care? There's something about "Homeland" and all of its characters that makes sex on the show so intrinsically unsexy -- Carrie and Brody, Carrie and Brody lookalike, Dana and Leo -- so we're glad to have panned out from that scene when we did.Questions we have that were answered:
- What does Saul plan to do with Javadi? Send him back to Iran and make him collect intelligence for the CIA as a spy.
- Will Saul and Mira make it? Mira is pretty happy to welcome groveling Saul back into her life. Let's see how happy she'll be when Saul realizes just how recently she has been sleeping with her French lover.
- Where do Dar Adal's allegiances lie? One of the best characters of the show, Dar pulled through like a champ in the episode and showed he still cheers for Team Saul.
- Is Senator Lockhart the most unlikeable character on television? Yes.
- What's up with the episode's title? "Gerontion" is a title of a T.S. Eliot poem told from the perspective of an older man who has lived through World War I and is questioning his faith. The literary reference is a nod to the CIA's changing hands from our veteran, wise man Saul to Senator Lockhart.
Questions we still have:
- Who is the father of Carrie's baby?
- When will Peter Quinn finally throw in the towel? And will his growing affection for Carrie have anything to do with it?
- Is Javadi to be trusted back Iran? Will he double-play Saul and in turn ruin his entire operation? The man has been turned too many times to count.
- What role does the Big Bad Law Firm have to play with the bombing at the CIA, and who exactly are they connected to?
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.What did you think of "Homeland" season 3, episode 7? Share your thoughts and predictions below.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 7 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "Gerontion."More...
Jennifer Lawrence and Jennifer Aniston may have chopped off their locks this week, but Jennifer Hudson was there with a shorter 'do first. The 32-year-old powerhouse singer continued to stun with her fresh new pixie cut Friday on the red carpet at the BET Soul Train Awards in Los Angeles. Hudson wore a plunging beaded dress with a smokey eyeshadow look that emphasized her edgy hairdo, then switched outfits for her duet with Evelyn "Champagne" King at the awards show ceremony. On shedding a whopping 80 pounds as a celebrity Weight Watchers spokesperson, Hudson admitted to the Huffington Post that she she never anticipated on becoming a role model. "When people say, 'I want to get my J. Hud on' or they want to go to the gym, and I'm the role model for what they want to look like. It's like, really?"
Looks like Jessica Simpson is back hard to work as a celebrity spokesperson for Weight Watchers. The 33-year-old mother of two showed off her slimmed-down figure in a photo she posted on Twitter yesterday, in which she wore skinny jeans, a white button-down and cowboy boots. "Couldn't stop smiling on set for my new @weightwatchers campaign today! #happy," Simpson wrote. In 2012, the "Fashion Star" judge inked a lucrative deal with the popular weight management brand while still pregnant with her first child for a reported $4 million. Simpson then lost a reported 40 pounds before announcing a surprise pregnancy just seven months later -- and abruptly ending her stint with Weight Watchers. In August, Weight Watchers welcomed Simpson back as a brand spokesperson, releasing a statement that said: "We were thrilled to welcome Jessica back on the Weight Watchers program in August. With a toddler on the run and an infant to look after, we know she needs a plan that's simple and fits into her life along with the support that's so important to moms with young children."
-- Jessica Simpson (@JessicaSimpson) November 9, 2013
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- A federal judge in New York has tossed rapper DMX's bankruptcy filing, making him fair game for creditors. The Journal News reports (http://lohud.us/1cKu4J2 ) that a bankruptcy judge in White Plains dismissed the 42-year-old rapper's July 29 Chapter 11 filing on Friday. The hip-hop star's real name is Earl Simmons. The judge's move means he could lose his possessions including his share in a home in suburban Mount Kisko. Simmons' biggest debt is $1.3 million in child support owed to some of the 10 children he has fathered. U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis said Simmons failed to provide trustworthy information in his bankruptcy filing. Simmons' publicist Domenick Nati said he was unaware of the court hearing. Simmons was arrested Monday in South Carolina on charges including driving with a suspended license. ___ Information from: The Journal News, http://www.lohud.com
Anthony Mackie -- who has appeared in numerous big movies including "8 Mile," "Hurt Locker" and "Gangster Squad," was arrested Saturday morning for drunk driving ... TMZ has learned.
Kathy Griffin and her much-younger boyfriend are still going strong. The 52-year-old comedian stepped out for dinner yesterday (Oct. 30) in Los Angeles with 34-year-old Randy Bick; the couple has been dating since at least June 2012.Griffin recently defended the near 20-year age difference between she and her beau to Larry King on his talk show.More...
Justin Bieber's dad is living in a pretty badass Canadian home ... along with his two kids ... but TMZ has learned, JB is the one who sprung for the place.
Camille Grammer just got a restraining order against her boyfriend, claiming he brutalized and terrorized her in a hotel room, leaving her bruised and battered.
If she was shy before, she sure as hell ain't now -- Tami Erin (who starred in the 1988 Pippi Longstocking movie) has gone full-on Vegas stripper after her sex tape hit the market ... and she's even making out with one of Tiger Woods' ex-mistresses.
Jane Seymour, aka TV's Dr. Quinn, has officially pulled the plug on her marriage to actor/director James Keach, filing for legal separation ... TMZ has learned.
LOS ANGELES -- LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rapper 50 Cent has been sentenced to three years of probation after pleading no contest to vandalism in a case filed after an alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend earlier this year. Los Angeles City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan (mah-tell-JIN') says the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, was ordered on Monday to pay $7,100 in restitution and take year of domestic violence classes. Jackson had previously pleaded not guilty to destroying items in his ex-girlfriend's condo during a June argument. The woman had accused Jackson of breaking down a door and kicking her, but the domestic violence charge was dropped Monday. Mateljan says the rapper must comply with a restraining order. Attorney Scott Leemon said Jackson is pleased the case is resolved and the domestic violence charge was dropped.
NEW YORK -- NEW YORK (AP) -- Patti Smith remembers the first time she saw Lou Reed in person. It was 1970 and Reed and the Velvet Underground were performing at the Manhattan club Max's Kansas City. "I was so taken with their music," she said Monday as she spoke of her friend, inspiration and fellow poet-musician, who died Sunday at 71. "I made it my business to study him. His process completely spoke to me, the process of merging poetry with these surf rhythms, this pulsing loop. You could get into a trance listening to 12 minutes of 'Sister Ray.'" Interviewed by phone, Smith said that Reed brought "the sensibility of art and literature" to rock music, a sensibility she has long shared. When she and Reed would see each other, they often talked about poetry, about Hart Crane or Walt Whitman or Federico Garcia Lorca. "He could speak articulately about any poet," she said. Smith said she was pleased by the global impact of Reed's passing and by the stories of how his songs affected people's lives. She cited "Pale Blue Eyes" as a personal favorite. She said that the fragile, weary ballad reminded her of her late, blue-eyed husband, guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith. "I never fail to think of him and his gaze when I'm singing that or hear that song," she said. "Lou had a gift of taking very simple lines, 'Linger on, your pale blue eyes,' and make it so they magnify on their own. That song has always haunted me." Smith also praised Reed's romantic "Perfect Day." She sings it often in concert and finds herself moved when audiences join in on the chorus. "So many of us have benefited from the work he has done," she said. "We all owe him a debt. Most of us that owe a debt are not very happy to own up to it. Sometimes you like to imagine that you did everything on your own. But I think with Lou that everyone will stand in line to say thank you, in their own way."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A tour bus carrying country star Jason Aldean struck a man walking along a highway in southwest Indiana early Monday and the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. Aldean and his driver were the only ones aboard the performer's bus, which hit the man after he had walked onto U.S. Highway 41 North around 1:28 a.m., said Sheriff Michael P. Morris in Indiana's Knox County. The deceased was identified as Albert Kennedy of Vincennes, Ind. Morris said no charges will be filed, calling the accident "unavoidable." "In all the years I've been touring and all the miles we've driven, nothing prepares you for something like this to happen," Aldean said in a post on his Twitter account. "I'm praying for Albert Kennedy's family and friends today and ask that you do the same." Morris said the man had been known to travel along the roadway on foot or by bicycle at all times of the day. Aldean's publicist said the singer had just finished his "Night Train" tour and was heading to Illinois for a short vacation before his planned appearance at the Country Music Association Awards next week in Nashville, Tenn.
Why are people so weird/funny/awesome? We paired random words with celebrity names to unearth some of the most commonly searched-for phrases on Google. The results speak for themselves.1) Michael Jackson2) Gwyneth Paltrow3.) Hugh Jackman4) Taylor Swift5) Ke$ha6) Kim Kardashian7) Angelina Jolie8) George Clooney9) Jay Z10) Jennifer Lawrence11) Mike Tyson
Country crooner Jason Aldean has found himself in unfortunate circumstances after a tour bus carrying the "Dirt Road Anthem" singer ran over a pedestrian early Monday morning in Knox County, Indiana. Multiple publications report that Albert Kennedy of Vincennes, Ind., was crossing the street at 1:28 a.m., when the tour bus struck and killed him. ABC News confirmed the tragedy with the Knox County Sheriff's Department, and also cited the police report that claimed "the individual deceased from trauma to the head and chest." Aldean, 36, took to his WhoSay account to express his condolences to the victim's family. "With a heavy heart, I'm sad to say that a man passed away last night after stepping out in front of my bus in Indiana. In all the years I've been touring and all the miles we've driven, nothing prepares you for something like this to happen. I'm praying for Albert Kennedy's family and friends today and ask that you do the same," he wrote.
May God strike me dead for giving Farrah Abraham more press, but keeping away from this hot mess is like forcing yourself not to watch a car accident.
An engagement doesn't get more official than this -- Kanye West dedicated his last song to his new fiancee Kim Kardashian during his Vegas concert on Friday ... and it was romantic as hell.
Spoiler Alert: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 5 of Showtime's "Homeland," titled "The Yoga Play". "Homeland" fans, let's all breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, our beloved Showtime series has delivered an outstanding episode resembling what hooked us all in the first season: taut and suspenseful and offering us an amazing reward for having slogged through the difficult first four episodes of Season 3. Bonus: There's still Dana, but she's not nearly as annoying. There's a lot to talk about, but let's begin with the opening scene of the show: A mysterious man drives over the Canadian border into the U.S., skinny, polite, saying he'll only be in town for three days. He then quickly changes cars into a more sleek vehicle and is offered a gun. "No guns," he says, but we know this guy means business. This is the Javadi we have been hearing about for this entire season, and Javadi has come to town to greet our very own Carrie Mathison, who told the Big Bad Law Firm Company that she'd only meet with a known terrorist face-to-face, and alone. Of course, that's been the plan all along. After last week's bombshell revelation that Carrie and Saul had conspired to dangle her as a vulnerable CIA agent in front of Iranian terrorists -- a plan that was hatched in the days following the Langley bombing, according to showrunner Alex Gansa -- our faith in our shaky, potentially mentally unstable CIA operative is firmly back in place. Saul informs a stunned Peter Quinn that Carrie was a "mine" and that theirs was an ongoing operation to outsmart both the CIA and the terrorists, to which Peter says, "Fuck me." (We're sure those words were thrilling for the many shirtless Quinn fans out there, but let's move along). In the meantime, Carrie is under surveillance by not one, but by two groups: by the Iranians, who are watching their potential informant closely, and by Peter, who is watching the Iranians watching Carrie. The situation is complicated by the fact that Carrie again decides to stop taking her lithium, which presents a painful question for the viewer: If Saul cares about his protege Carrie, would there not be a discussion about her very real mental illness? Would he not institute some sort of rule about her mental health, or is he completely hands-off about that situation? We fear that Carrie's decision to stop taking her medication will land her back in psychiatric ward, where popsicle-stick house dreams are created, then shattered. Carrie is approached by a distraught Jessica Brody, who pleads with her to help her find Dana, who has now been missing for three days with her potentially murderous and crazy older boyfriend, Leo. Their "joyride" has actually been under surveillance by the CIA, but Carrie -- who can't seem to ever say "no" when it comes to anything Nicholas Brody-related -- still undertakes a risky "yoga play" that essentially allows her to drive to Bethesda, MD. unnoticed and confront FBI Agent Hall, who has been monitoring the Brody house. Carrie's most vulnerable when she feels that she is needed, especially when it comes to Brody, with whom she feels she has a preternatural understanding. Her biggest weakness is Brody, not her mental health. Unsurprisingly, Agent Hall is not happy to see Carrie. Carrie is a bad, bad person and he wants nothing to do with her, and her persistence in finding Dana all affirms her reputation of obsession and Brody-stalking (not entirely untrue). We want to think there will be a moment where Carrie's sacrifice -- both emotionally and reputation-wise -- will see a reward at the end of the series, a moment where she is crowned and awarded with the company's top honors, but this isn't high school. It's the CIA, and the CIA is soon to be under a new management that is both unaware of Carrie's secret mission and likely to be unsympathetic to it. We learn the latter after Saul reluctantly takes part in a snobby geese-hunting trip with D.C. politicians under the impression that he will be promoted to permanent director of the CIA. It's there that Senator Lockhart makes ominous statements to Saul about geese-hunting and it being the last opportunity "to get the big boys" before the season changes, a metaphor of what's about to come. While hunting, Lockhart informs Saul that his strategy of using human spies has been unreliable and tired, and outlines a mission that involves, vaguely, drones and military personnel. Saul stares into the distance and grumbles something to the contrary. Lockhart then informs him that he will be nominated by the President of the U.S. as the new CIA director and threatens him to boot: "This isn't really about tempering your views. It's about changing them if, that is, you want a job, in my CIA." We witness Saul's humiliation in front of his peers as Lockhart's nomination is announced with cheer. But Saul refuses to let him have the last word, delivering a terrifically awkward and wise speech: "A spy isn't sitting in a hide, waiting for the enemy to come onto your guns. They're in the jungle, usually in the dark, with bad information and 'unreliable' partners." He grimly congratulates Lockhart and makes it clear who's still in charge, at least for the time being: "I have two weeks left. Excuse me." [Exits party. Boom.] The heartbreak doesn't stop for Saul, however, who comes home depressed, only to find his sort-of not-really wife Mira dining with a French hottie at their dinner table. "Saul," Mira says softly, while holding a glass of sexy wine. "I wasn't expecting you home tonight." Can we just give Saul and Mira the award for being the Couple That Speaks The Most Softly To Each Other? When are we ever going to see Saul and Mira have a fight on the level of Carrie and Brody? Are Saul and Mira the saddest couple on television? Who wants to watch a spin-off series on the couple, "Saul and Mira: The Beginning Years"? Meanwhile, Carrie is back at home, wondering whether she blew her cover as a turned CIA agent. The Iranians have not been putting her under surveillance since her trusty yoga play, a sign that they're onto her. Peter Quinn is watching her house from afar. And then: Carrie is ruthlessly frisked, terrorized and stripped naked by two men, who pull a bag over her head and bring her to a dark basement where she greets Javadi face-to-face. The whole scenario was downright scary and not unlike Brody's abduction by Abu Nazir last season. "This is not what we agreed to!" Carrie yells, which is just about how we felt when we realized that Carrie would be having no back up in this scenario. Javadi stares at Carrie, then compliments her on her yoga activities. What does this mean? Is he being sarcastic or sinister? Peter calls Saul (still staring at things after the Mira betrayal) and tells him that Carrie has been abducted. "We lost her ... She's on her own," Peter tells Saul, to which Saul says, not without a hint of pride: "She's always been on her own." If one person can hold her own while confronting a dangerous and wanted terrorist face-to-face, it's our girl Carrie. We get a similar sense of strong female independence, at long last, from 16-year-old Dana. We won't devote too much time talking about television's most-hated character, but Dana and Leo's joyride into the country is aborted after she overhears a news anchor talking about Leo's "suicide pact" with his younger brother while in a gas station. Suddenly her vision of him, and what she's doing, is muddled. "I told you over and over again: The one thing I can't have in my life is lies, and you lied to me!" Dana screams at a distraught Leo in front of a highway, who tells her he only didn't tell her because he wanted to her to like him. She returns home, skinny jeans and ballet flats still on, and proceeds to completely ignore her helpless little brother and hurting mom, and then does this amazing thing with her face where her chin and eyebrows crinkle and her face turns into a huge crumpled ball. Shoot down Dana all you want for being a miserable, self-indulgent teenager, but a bad actress Morgan Saylor is not.Questions we have that were answered:
- Will Peter Quinn be informed of Carrie and Saul's scheme? Yes. And he is blown away by it. "What you put yourself through? That was fucking incredible," he tells Carrie in the parking lot.
- Is Saul's time at the CIA jeopardized? Yes. Politicians and the government are not thrilled with the way Saul has been handling his duties as acting director of the CIA; Senator Lockhart will be nominated as the new director.
- How long ago was Carrie and Saul's plan to outsmart the terrorists hatched? A very long time ago -- some two months, to be exact, in the days following the Langley bombing.
- Will Dana come to her senses and realize that running away with Leo will never work? (At least, they'll run out of gas money soon enough). Yes. She realizes he's not just potentially dangerous, but worse, a liar.
Questions we still have:
- Are Saul and Mira going to make it?
- When will we see Brody re-connect with Dana -- surely a missing puzzle in this scenario, otherwise we wouldn't be spending so much time with her -- and Carrie? What has happened to the El Nino character?
- What information does Javadi want from Carrie, exactly, and will he attempt to outsmart her in her own game?
- And will next week's episode be as thrilling as last nights? (We hope so.)
"Homeland" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.What did you think of "Homeland" Season 4, Episode 5? Share your thoughts and predictions below.