After the hot mess that was last week's episode, Saul is still being held tight in the Taliban's (re: Haqqani's) grasp and the embassy is going through with Haqqani's trade. Five imprisoned members of Haqqani's guard are being given over in exchange for Saul and everyone is less than enthused. Aggravated by it all, Lockhart is fuming at Carrie when she keeps mentioning an alternate plan that she has yet to flesh out. In addition, Lockhart highly doubts the veracity of Aasar Khan's claims that Dennis Boyd is the embassy leak. All I know is that someone needs to wring Dennis' neck soon because that guy is awful -- in every facet of his life.
In the first attempt to get Dennis to admit his treason, Redmond gets him into the office under the guise of asking him a personal question. Redmond quickly jumps into talking about Sandy, illegal transfers of information, and how the information has been sourced back to Martha's, the ambassador, computer. He gives Dennis ample opportunity to come clean and presses him ever so gently to come out with it, but Dennis refuses to take the bait. As Carrie says after the meeting, he knows their evidence is weak so he's stonewalling them. Carrie is determined, as she always is, and I'm just hoping she doesn't crash and burn on this effort like she did in trying to save Saul last week.
Speaking of Saul, he's recovering from a pretty bad beating after his escape attempt. An unknown amount of days after his recapture, Haqqani's men have a young woman clean Saul up and they throw him in the back of a van. They drag Saul to a room equipped with bright lights and a camera, the latter of which they put him in front of while he is bound and gagged. Haqqani's men film Haqqani next to Saul as he discusses what he plans to do when he's reunited with his once-imprisoned comrades. He talks about "taking back" Kabul and his men all cheer as he speaks. Saul starts crying amidst the chatter and I just want to hug the poor man. He doesn't deserve this.
Carrie's second attempt to crack Dennis goes straight up interrogation-style. She throws all the incriminating information she knows about Dennis at him and he looks at her stoically and incredulously. Dennis gives no indication that he's going to relent and doesn't even show moderate emotion when Carrie says she could have died from the drug swap he enacted. At this point, yeah, I'm thoroughly frustrated with Dennis, but I'm also frustrated with the CIA and how they're handling this. In all actuality, do they really think someone who is working with ISI and double-crossing the U.S. is going to come clean without any assurance that he'll be provided safe house? I'm just saying, they're not really giving Dennis much incentive to break free of his clutches because he knows he's screwed regardless. You've got to give the guy an inch to get a mile, Carrie, even if he is a sociopathic scumbag. Anyway, Dennis releases no intel and Carrie locks him in the interrogation room overnight. #SorryCarriesNotSorry
After leaving Dennis, Carrie gets a call from Saul's wife, Mira. Her character has become much more likable in later seasons because she's so incredibly human. In this call with Carrie, Mira reminds her that Saul is not just a part in this large puzzle that the CIA is trying to solve. That he is a man, with a family and a home and a life all his own outside the CIA walls. Mira knows Carrie's erratic behavior and ability to constantly look at the larger picture. It's a tender moment and you know that both of these women care about Saul very deeply. I'm glad Mira made the call, but I don't know if it was immediately necessary. As much as Carrie can be rather irrational with her snap judgments, I think that when it comes down to it she wouldn't let Saul die. Or, at least, I hope.
Back in the interrogation room, Carrie subjects Dennis to the video of Sandy being beaten, trying to get him to crack. Dennis looks a bit more worn this time around than he did the first time, but he's still sticking with the "I can't say what I don't know" routine. Carrie gets extremely heated and starts threatening Dennis with what she'll throw at him if he doesn't comply with her or tell her what he knows. Just when Carrie says her last word and you think she's done, the door swings open and the ambassador comes sweeping in. Infuriated at Carrie for doing this without consulting her (I mean ... rightfully so. It wouldn't have gone so well, Martha, if Carrie had gone in to your office and said "I'm interrogating your husband because we think he's treasonous, okay, bye!"). The ambassador grabs Dennis and leaves the room, but not before forcefully telling Carrie that she's "done here."
In the ambassador's office, Martha and Dennis discuss what happened. Martha is fuming at Carrie and asks Dennis what could've prompted this and Dennis, yet again, denies knowing anything. She leaves him to go to a briefing about Saul's release and tells him to stay put. Then, in perhaps one of the greatest twists-you-probably-didn't-see-coming, she enters a room with Carrie and Lockhart and just when you think she's going to rip Carrie's head off, she instead sits down and very calmly tells them that Dennis didn't say anything. She'd been working with them the whole time and the whole explosion in the interrogation room was a ruse. It's finally nice to see that Martha isn't dealing with her husband's antics anymore. Well played, Martha, you're a total badass.
Quinn attempts to convince Carrie that he should go with her to the exchange for Saul, but Carrie pushes back and says no. She insists she needs Saul watching on standby because she has the feeling that "there's something else going on." Clearly, they're not going to give Haqqani his men back and Carrie's concerned that they may kill Saul. Her sixth sense is tingling.
Carrie and Redmond meet with the ISI to discuss the exchange with Saul, with an unsurprising icy reception from Tasneem. Mid-briefing, Carrie feigns a call from Lockhart and calls Aasar Khan from across the room. She knows that the whole exchange process feels weird and wants to know why it feels off. Carrie asks Aasar Khan what's going to happen during the exchange and we don't hear his answer. To add further alarm to the already worrying situation, the next scene is a young boy gearing up with a bomb vest and getting into a van with Saul. The van heads to the exchange.
Equipped with a bag of clothes, money and his passport, Dennis attempts to leave his house under the guise of going to his office to grade papers. He's stopped by the guards around the house who insist it's no safe for him to leave. As he argues with one guard, Martha arrives and it all comes out: she knows he's a massive liar and she's not letting him get away with it. Unrelenting, Dennis acts like he doesn't understand where this is coming from. Upset and aggravated, Martha has the guard take Dennis to a cell so he cannot leave.
The exchange begins with more tension than can possibly be measured. Redmond and Carrie run everything on the embassy's side of things and have a team controlling the prisoners. In the ISI corner, Tasneem has taken the reigns and is communicating all movements with Carrie via walkie-talkie. The prisoners have been shown to ISI, who is communicating with Haqqani, and Saul has been forcefully removed from the van to be shown to Carrie and Redmond. Carrie insists that the van leave before they start walking the prisoners toward the ISI members. The van drives away but leaves the boy with Saul. Carrie flips out when she sees the vest and refuses to let the prisoners go until the boy is out of Saul's reach. Saul, exasperated and exhausted, sits down and refuses to move, putting his head in his hands. He wants to die so that the Taliban doesn't reclaim the five prisoners. It's a noble cause, there's no disputing that, but Saul is too much like Carrie in the sense that he sometimes lets the bigger picture cloud his judgment. They wouldn't just let him die and he needs to grasp that. Anyway, Tasneem is infuriated by Saul's behavior and allows Carrie, alone, to go over and talk with him so that the exchange can come to fruition. Carrie and Saul share an emotional moment and eventually, Saul relents and they walk off together. The prisoners are released to ISI and the exchange is complete. Ugh.
The ambassador goes to the cell Dennis has been kept in during the exchange to get Saul back. She tells him how it went, much like most couples discuss how their days went, and then calmly asks him how they got here. Their marriage has fully deteriorated at this point and even now, when everything is past the point of being up in flames, Dennis can still not take responsibility for his actions.
Post-exchange, Redmond, Carrie and Saul sit silent in a car back to the embassy. Redmond's phone rings and it's Mira. It takes a few moments for Saul to regain composure, but in the second that he does and he grabs the phone, there's a massive explosion. The convoy has been hit. Several seconds later, there is another explosion. There are flames and no sign of Carrie, Redmond or Saul. To quote Lockhart after he hears the news of this: "WHAT THE F--KING F--K?!" News of the convoy hit travels fast, as the explosion happened mere blocks from the embassy. Lockhart deploys all the Marines to the explosion site. One Marine goes down to the cell Dennis and Martha are in to tell Martha what has happened and as she goes to leave, Dennis asks if all the Marines have been deployed and, FINALLY, out it comes: Tasneem is his ISI connection. He tells Martha that he's also told her about the hidden passageway under the embassy.
In the last, and most chilling scene, Haqqani and his fully armed men break into the passageway underneath the embassy. Under flickering basement lights, we see the menacing face of Haqqani as his full-fledged attack on the embassy is about to begin.
Did anyone else find themselves nearly out of breath after this episode or was that just me?
Keep up with "Homeland" recaps here every week. "Homeland" airs on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET on Showtime.