I suspect that a lot of the problem was Carrie and Aasar’s (Raza Jaffrey) rather naive discoveries of the conventional morality that we know Carrie, at least, has been violating for years.
“I was trying to do the right thing for once. I was trying to keep someone alive instead of steering them to their deaths. … I betrayed Saul. He was counting on me and I betrayed him,” Carrie tells Quinn (Rupert Friend), distraught after steering Saul back to Taliban captivity rather than leaving him to commit suicide. “There are only wrong choices, and I’m only seeing it now. … Only bad things can happen in this f—– up world that we’ve made for ourselves.”
Well, yeah, honey. Did you miss the whole part of your own story where your employer tried to kill a terrorist with a drone strike, killed his kid instead, and inspired the kid’s tutor to become a sleeper agent who would eventually kill the vice president, knock you up and then get himself very publicly executed? What about your recent affair with a sweet kid who got executed by his uncle while you watched the whole shebang via drone?
Watching Carrie do ridiculous, destructive things, be rude to people for no reason and end up being right all the time anyway can be tiresome. But the prospect of seeing her suddenly discover that she is not that great a person would be truly deadly. If Carrie is “only seeing it now,” then it is going to be awfully hard to believe that she is so gosh darn brilliant going forward.
What is fun, though, in a slightly repulsive way, is watching Dennis Boyd (Mark Moses) sneak around the embassy. Dennis may be a minor character, but he is a fascinating one, a swipe “Homeland” is taking (whether it intends to or not) at other prestige dramas.
Like “Breaking Bad’s” anti-hero, Walter White, he is reinvigorated by the idea that he has a secret he can hold over his wife, Ambassador Martha Boyd (Laila Robins). Dennis even becomes a better husband briefly, showing up with donuts and expressing concern for Martha’s well-being.
It probably helps that Tasneem (Nimrat Kaur), the ISI agent who recruited Dennis, is an attractive woman who appears to need him. Even if their relationship began in coercion, Tasneem expresses more faith in Dennis than Martha does. And unlike Martha, who wants Dennis to stop teaching for his own safety, Tasneem insists that Dennis needs to stay in the game. World events depend on it.
But unlike Walt, whose talents as a meth cook and a criminal mastermind almost lived up to his enormous self-regard, Dennis is just not that talented. Carrie figures out quickly that someone switched her medication. By the end of the episode, thanks to Aasar’s crisis of conscience, she knows who that someone is. Dennis seems headed for a terrible fate, one he will not be able to get out with via a jerry-rigged gun in a car trunk and a massive dose of self-satisfaction.