‘Homeland’ Season 8 Episode 2 Recap: Things Take A Tricky Turn In Pakistan

THE UPSHOT
Carrie exploits a chink in the Afghan vice-president G’ulom’s armour and gets him to back down. Saul embarks on a risky mission to Pakistan, where things don’t go as planned.

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Writers: Gideon Raff (original Israeli series Prisoners Of War), Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Patrick Harbinson, Chip Johannessen
Cast: Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Maury Sterling, Nimrat Kaur
Streaming on: Hotstar Premium
Season: 8
Episode: 2 – Catch and Release

Spoilers ahead!

Carrie breaks G’ulom

In the last episode of Homeland, Saul sent Carrie (Claire Danes) to Afghanistan to talk to the Afghan vice-president Abdul Qadir G’ulom (Mohammad Bakri) after he publicly refused the release of Talibani prisoners, putting peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in jeopardy. Carrie’s meeting with G’ulom yields nothing as he is in no mood to negotiate. Carrie must get some leverage over G’ulom at any cost.

On returning to the CIA headquarters, Carrie finds an anonymous envelope on her desk. All it contains is a name, Samira Noori. Carrie has no clue about who could have sent this letter but decides to pursue this lead anyway. After some digging, she learns that a woman named Samira Noori (Sitara Attaie) was part of an anti-corruption probe against the government. When the probe pointed fingers at G’ulom, it was mysteriously shut down. Samira, however, refused to be silenced and called G’ulom out. As a result, she lost her husband to a car bomb which was clearly meant for her.

Carrie feels Samira may be holding information that can be used against G’ulom and wants to search her apartment. An operation is put in motion wherein Jenna (Andrea Deck) invites Samira for a phony job interview. In that time, Carrie breaks into her apartment. We’ve seen in the previous seasons that Carrie has a penchant for breaking into people’s houses. This exercise proves fruitful as Carrie finds a hidden pen-drive, which contains personnel files for a battalion of the Afghan National Army.

Jenna slips up at the fake interview and Samira smells a rat. She immediately tries to leave but is prevented from doing so and held captive. Jenna has been shown as diffident and a bit of a slow starter so far, which hints that she may pull off something big in the episodes to come. Carrie arrives and decides to speak to Samira, coaxing her to tell her more about the information contained in the pen-drive. Samira relents and reveals that G’ulom has created a fictitious army battalion that has cost the Americans 30 million dollars. Carrie finally has some dirt on G’ulom that she can use to her advantage. As expected, G’ulom folds and adheres to the Americans’ demands. But the question of who led Carrie to Samira Noori in the first place still remains.

Saul sneaks into Pakistan

Max (Maury Sterling) picks up a conversation between Taliban chief Haissam Haqqani (Numan Acar) and his son, and sends transcripts of the chat to Saul (Mandy Patinkin). The conversation indicates that Haqqani is in favour of peace. This gets Saul hopeful, and he decides to personally approach Haqqani, who’s in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Tasneem Qureishi (Nimrat Kaur), the ISI agent, has realised that the Americans are up to something. She tells her father, a retired army man, that she believes Saul is in Pakistan and may approach Haqqani. Her father encourages her to jeopardise their meeting, making you wonder whether they’ve been trying to sabotage the peace talks all along?

Max alerts Saul that he has traced a lot of phone calls from ISI numbers around Peshawar. This may mean that the ISI knows Saul is there. Saul realises his life may be in danger, but is willing to risk it for a meeting with Haqqani. Just as Haqqani’s convoy arrives to meet Saul, an unidentified man blows up Haqqani’s vehicle with a missile. The ISI weren’t after Saul, they were looking to eliminate Haqqani. In all this chaos, Saul is attacked from behind and abducted. He is taken to what appears to be a warehouse, where he comes face to face with Haqqani. It turns out Haqqani was never in the vehicle that blew up. The convoy was a ruse to see if the Americans had set a trap to get Haqqani. This is not good news for Saul, because Haqqani now believes exactly that.

Yevgeny makes an appearance again

In the previous episode, Carrie saw Yevgeny Gromov (Costa Ronin) outside G’ulom’s office. She tells Saul that she wants to go after him, but Saul tells her that Yevgeny is off-limits. This is the agreement that Saul made with the Russians to get Carrie out of the gulag.

She’s cornered by Yevgeny while celebrating her success against G’ulom at a bar with colleagues. This is not good for Carrie’s PTSD. Yevgeny reveals that it was he who tipped Carrie off about Samira Noori. This baffles Carrie and she asks him why he helped her, to which Yevgeny’s response is,”Come on. Don’t play dumb.”

Thanks to her impaired memory, Carrie is clueless about whether she made a pact with the Russians when she was in the gulag, as the polygraph test suggested. The first season of Homeland revolved around a turned prisoner-of-war, Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis). At the moment, the final season looks like it’s heading in a similar direction.

Episode 3 of season 8 of Homeland will be out on Monday, February 24.

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Neel Gudka: