Note: Don't read this unless you have seen "Uh... Oh... Ah...," the Oct. 6 episode of "Homeland."
Carrie Mathison's relationship with Nicholas Brody is obviously a key part of what makes "Homeland" tick, but you could argue that the relationship between Carrie (Claire Danes) and her CIA mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), is even more vital.
Carrie's mental illness has made her life difficult and unpredictable, but Saul has been her rock. At times, he's supported her career when it was not easy for him to do so, and even though they've had epic disagreements, they've been able to stay friends. Until now. As viewers saw at the end of last night's episode of the Showtime drama, Carrie and Saul are further apart than they've ever been.
Out of true concern for her mental state -- but also out of a desire to protect the CIA from damaging revelations at a particularly challenging time -- Saul didn't prevent any of the ugly things that happened to Carrie (and to some degree, he may have helped bring about those events). Even if Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) was the one to discredit Carrie (and that's not yet clear), her involuntary committal to a mental institution was an extremely painful experience. From her muttered phrase to Saul at the end of the hour -- a drug-garbled version of "F*** you, Saul" -- it's clear that she views her present situation as largely Saul's fault.
In an interview with HuffPost TV before Season 3 got underway, executive producer Alex Gansa talked about the fraying of the Carrie-Saul bond. The following portion of the interview was too spoiler-y to include in the article that ran before the season began, but now that the second episode has aired, we can share this bit of intel.
Saul really turns on Carrie. He really turns on her in a way he knows will damage her greatly. And is it basically, in his mind, it's the [CIA] or Carrie -- "I have to pick the agency because it's the greater good?"
You know, the short answer to that is yes, but it's a lot more complicated than that. And it has to do with a number of things that are happening in Saul's life. I think the most important one is that a man who is comfortable on the sidelines criticizing, second-guessing, now finds himself in a position where he's the one who's making that decision. He's the acting director of the CIA.
He's in the big chair.
He's in the big chair. And he very well may be the last director of the CIA. That is, the institution to which he has given his life is now on the ropes. And he has to make some decisions now about whether the existential threat to the agency is worth sacrificing his protégé. It gets to the point where he doesn't really have a choice. And not only that, but Carrie is a loose cannon rolling around on deck, a little bit. I think it's extremely painful to him, but it's a way of taking the pressure off. You know, it's a way of ensuring that the agency continues, even for the next month or two, in the face of this onslaught.
What do you think, "Homeland" viewers? Can Saul and Carrie repair their relationship? How are you feeling about the focus on Dana and her new boyfriend? Do you miss Brody? Sound off in the comments below.