Homeland: "13 Hours in Islamabad"
December 7, 2014 8:53 PM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The security breach at the Embassy has far reaching consequences.
posted by travelwithcats (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was really liking the episode until... SPOILER ALERT




Why does Lockhart open the door? Why do the rest let him? I mean, if I were in that room, I would have bonked him over the head with the nearest ashtray. His move is most flagrant use of the idiot ball ever. I mean, it's not just that he was a hardliner before becoming director of the CIA, but doesn't he even watch TV? Doesn't he know what's going to happen next?

But it seems that I was wrong, because everybody is a gentleman in the Homeland universe. Why do the terrorists not kill him and everyone else inside the lockdown room the moment the door opens? You can get the fucking DIRECTOR of the CIA and the ambassador and everyone else, and you are happy with just knifing some girl? Because he complied with a request for documentation?

These things kill me. I don't ask for total realism, I mean, it's entertainment. But can people please act in a consistent manner with what we're told about them and with how they have acted up to 30 seconds earlier? Please?
posted by kandinski at 5:25 AM on December 8, 2014

The same thing made me pause, usually one would implement the greater good theory aka utilitarianism in situations like those. Sacrifice a few to save many (and the mission). I wonder if this is the point where Lockhart stumbles, possibly to make room for Carrie as the new director of the CIA in season 5?
posted by travelwithcats at 12:10 PM on December 8, 2014

And if he had to open the door why did he give them the real list? Could he not have found a random hard drive or such lying around the vault? I suppose it gives Quinn and Carrie a macguffin to chase for the next couple of episodes.

I think you're right that opening the door is a means to get Lockhart out of the way travelwithcats but perhaps to have Saul rather than Carrie back in charge of the CIA next season.

Apart from that it was a great episode. Some great action for everyone. Except Fara. That was sad. The rest of the action left it set up nicely for a dramatic couple of weeks with Quinn and Carrie operating out in the cold though and was well put together.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:30 PM on December 8, 2014

Yeah, Lockhart was the designated scumbag last season, and for awhile this season it seemed like they were cleaning him up somewhat, but I guess that was to make this episode more dramatic.
posted by homunculus at 2:55 PM on December 8, 2014

Saul struck me as very tired lately, doubt he would find it in him to be director of the CIA again. I see Carrie or perhaps some other young, yet unknown antagonist rise to the top of the organization.

I don't know if I like Quinn being on the loose - did you notice the torture devices?
posted by travelwithcats at 4:03 PM on December 8, 2014

It's funny how plot points in Homeland never seem to make sense after a bit of reflection, but somehow I manage to get swept along in the momentum of the story and I never question them at the time. Like, of course a real-life director of the CIA would not open the door. Of course he would not hand over the information. (Much less would a real director of the CIA have ever been allowed to be in this situation, as someone pointed out re Saul's capture a few weeks ago, he'd never have been in Pakistan to begin with.) Of course a real-life serious terrorist would have either killed everyone in that room or at least kidnapped the high value targets like Lockhart and Boyd as soon as that door was open. (To be fair, maybe he was about to when Quinn started shooting.)

tl;dr: Homeland has some serious fridge-logic issues, but it's a hell of a ride in the moment at least.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 6:24 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

It feels very much like early 24? I enjoy the more action-oriented parts but there is definitely a bunch of people who apparently signed up for the CIA who fail to understand or recall that they're IN THE CIA. Last I checked, being in the CIA on assignment under cover at an embassy was still a kind of dangerous sort of thing you could reasonably expect to die for in a circumstance like this? The only person who seems to understand his role is Quinn - at least until he goes completely off the deep end.
posted by marylynn at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2014

Yeah the whole super-important-list is on one particular easily identifiable hard drive with no offsite backup and lacking the most sophisticated encryption in the known universe is just... ludicrous.

But if you can ignore the horrendous plot holes, it was a gripping episode for sure.
posted by shivohum at 10:27 PM on December 8, 2014

did you notice the torture devices?

I did but I was hoping his discovery of the identical phone to the one used by the embassy attacker might provide the needed lead.
posted by roolya_boolya at 5:24 AM on December 9, 2014

Ugh, I don't want to bring up this storyline because it's the worst storyline of the show but the Ambassador and her husband. It really bothered me the whole time that they were acting as though there were no cameras in the jail cell area, which means that in this show, there are no cameras in the jail cell area, which is so unrealistic I really couldn't care about either of them because none of it should be happening.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:26 AM on December 9, 2014

there are no cameras in the jail cell area

The scene takes place only a few hours after the attack, during which 1/3 of the embassy staff was killed (assuming a staff of 140 people as in 1979 when the embassy was burned by protesters - the staff took refuge in the vault, like in the show). Homeland is not the most realistic show (!) but not having working cameras in the cell area is not implausible considering that the people supposed to monitor them may be dead (or have other priorities) and that part of the electronics may be no longer functioning after the shootouts and explosions.
Likewise, Lockhart giving up the files did not seem such far-fetched. The guy was always presented as a politician with no military/intelligence background (like George Tenet for instance). I think that the intent was to show him acting as a normal human being, unlike Carrie, Quinn or even the Ambassador.
posted by elgilito at 8:07 AM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lockhart giving up the files sort of makes sense - or at least is consistent with a character that's always been set up as being constitutionally unprepared for the on-the-ground realities of the CIA. What was perplexing in that scene was all of those embassy staffers standing around letting him do it (save the ambassador). Even if we had a couple of lines of exposition that they were embassy staff and not "embassy staff/CIA cover", so they wouldn't necessarily understand what giving up that asset list would mean, Lockhart opening the door should reasonably have meant - to them - their slaughter. And they just stood there?!

But whatever, I love a good Asset List in the Wild caper!
posted by marylynn at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2014

part of the electronics may be no longer functioning after the shootouts and explosions.

Were there explosions in the building though? From what I could tell, the building itself wasn't damaged at all. And really, all they needed was a line that even her husband could say about the cameras not working.

Its just something that really bothered me the whole time they were talking and really took away from the episode for me.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:02 AM on December 9, 2014

Oh you guys are splitting hairs! So much to like about this show. Being pinned down by snipers. The creepy terrorist lady working inside ISI. Quinn, the avenging death robot of justice. Saul's utter exhaustion. Carrie finally having some clarity. The Black Guy Marine didn't die! The black flag hanging on the embassy. Really a masterful coming together of many things.

The part that was bugging the hell out of me was giving the Plagiarist an easy out, committing suicide in the cell. I was so mad they were giving him some noble exit. Nice how that turned. Also nice that Lockhart fucks it up again. A major theme of this show is how Lockhart isn't the man Saul is, he's just some spineless bureaucrat who's no help in a crisis.

Also appreciated the explicit Ray Davis reference, I like to think the showrunners read my comment about the parallel back in October. OK probably not, but the Davis killings in Islamabad are a crazy real life thing that happened that were clearly inspiration for the show, glad they acknowledged it.

Mostly I'm grateful the embassy siege is already over. I was afraid they were going to finish up the season with that, three episodes, and it would have been awful. I'm hoping all the Americans are gone but Quinn and Carrie, we'll see. Noble ISI Guy and Evil ISI Lady are great characters, they could easily fill up the rest of the season.
posted by Nelson at 8:12 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Ugh, I don't want to bring up this storyline because it's the worst storyline of the show but the Ambassador and her husband.

I work with a guy who is literally the spitting image of the husband and for the first few days of every week when I go into work after watching Homeland on Sunday night I have to endure my brain screaming YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO YOUR COUNTRY and feeling all angry inside whenever I see him.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:32 PM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two unicycles and some duct tape: as someone pointed out re: Saul's capture a few weeks ago

Ivan Fyodorovich
posted by porpoise at 6:41 PM on December 26, 2014

Wow, this episode was the point where I realized this season's "reboot" may be the best thing that's happened to the show. Less melodrama, but still interesting relationships with importance. Not perfectly realistic, but imagine how much less suspense (and quality acting) there would be if this episode had been on 24 or The Blacklist.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:28 AM on April 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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