Homeland: Iron in the Fire
October 20, 2014 3:13 AM - Season 4, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Carrie gets a tip from Redmond regarding Quinn’s lead. Saul calls in a favor with an old friend in the Pakistani military. Fara uncovers a deep-rooted conspiracy.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (7 comments total)
Overall, I thought this episode was good. But I absolutely hated the final scene. I cringed. I came very close to FFing past it when I realized what was going to happen.

One thing I'm having a bit of trouble with, suspension of disbelief-wise, is that there's multiple YouTube videos of an American CIA station-chief being attacked and killed by a mob showing a guy with an earpiece and holding his finger to his ear (you know, the way that spies and Secret Service agents conveniently do so that everyone knows they're listening/talking on an earpiece -- oh, you say that they don't do that in real life?) and not only has the CIA itself not scoured those videos for clues to what happened, but neither has anyone in the media or any of the other six million people who've watched the videos. Just, you know, Quinn.

Yeah, I know. Complaining about problems suspending disbelief with this show is silly. It's not like there aren't a bazillion other things that are unbelievable. But this isn't about spycraft or diplomacy or how Washington works or anything that requires some technical knowledge to recognize, it's just common sense. The whole point was that it was on YouTube and people around the world saw the video. The whole point was that this was a high-profile, tragic event where everyone knew the guy killed was a CIA spy. It is utterly unbelievable that no one would have noticed the guy standing right there with the earpiece, except Quinn.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:31 AM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Carrie putting the moves on Aayan made me feel icky as well. He's a kid, Carrie! He might be legally an adult, but he lacks maturity. Manipulating him like that is not a nice thing to do.

"the CIA itself not scoured those videos for clues"
I have a different take on that, Quinn is the CIA. It's his and Carrie's job to find out what happened. I think it would be odd if suddenly some kind of internal investigation back at the HQ would take center stage. The show is mainly about the work in the field.
Generally though, I agree with your assessment that there are quite a few inconsistencies and aspects that don't really make sense.
posted by travelwithcats at 11:04 AM on October 20, 2014

Is Carrie manipulating him or is he manipulating her? The suspense is building.
posted by mlis at 2:43 PM on October 20, 2014

this isn't about spycraft

Just riffing on that word spycraft: I don't know if anyone else here has watched the show Spooks (MI-5 in the US). More than anything else, the best thing that show did was show off technical aspects of spycraft. They'd occasionally throw in a long sequences showing all the complicated counter-surveillance/tail loosing methods the characters were using, or the details of figuring out when someone would be out, getting into their house, and planting bugs. It wasn't every episode, certainly, but when it came time to do so the show practically reveled in that stuff, and it was a lot of fun to watch.

It's an interesting contrast to this show, where we get a little bit of that, but not too much. We see Max and Fara tailing Aayan. We saw Carrie losing her tails last episode, but this episode we're told, not shown, about Carrie losing her CIA tail so expertly that the CIA tail never realized he'd been made. We see Quinn breaking into the guy's apartment this episode, but it's nothing special, and we don't see how they got all those cameras in his apartment in the first place, an apartment he apparently doesn't leave often.

It's not really a knock against this show, because it uses that time for other purposes, but it's an interesting comparison.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2014

I saw seasons 1-5 of Spooks and I agree with the points vibratory made about the depiction of tradecraft. I had been thinking of Spooks b/c it was a pleasant surprise to see Raza Jaffrey last night.
posted by mlis at 4:51 PM on October 20, 2014

Such a delicious episode. This show has become something totally different from previous seasons, something so much better. Particularly strong that it's all set in Pakistan, even if a poorly realized version of same. That scene with Saul cozying up to the Pakistani military at The Club, followed up by the breakfast with the anonymous ISI middle manager. So tense, so awkward.

And god that scene with Carrie seducing Aayan. She's so fucking awful now, so bankrupt, and only Quinn to remind her of her humanity. Quinn, the most broken death robot of the whole show. Will he be able to redeem her humanity? Apparently even being a mother can't redeem her, so it seems unlikely.

The previous episodes motivated me to raid my precious horde of unread le Carré novels, the few I've been saving because they're so good and my lifetime for reading them is longer than his for writing them. Reading Smiley's People right now and it's terrific. What a debt Homeland owes to his books, particularly this season. Specifically the way the show, the writing, gets inside everyone's head. Their secret motivations, their petty miseries, the dehumanization of the New Great Game.
posted by Nelson at 8:31 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was really hoping that last scene wasn't going where I suspected it might from the moment Fara told Carrie there'd be no way to use Aayan as a stalking horse and Carrie said "Leave that to me."

That said -- I think the scene was quite well-acted.
posted by shivohum at 5:29 PM on October 22, 2014

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