So the groundwork for a Quinn/Carrie romance has been laid, eh?
More on that later.
We begin episode 403 in Islamabad. Carrie is riding in a car again, which seems to be a theme. She asks her drivers to take them to where Sandy was before he died. She gives her drivers a hard time for not protecting him and going with him when he went to get intel, but the drivers inform her that they only drove Sandy when it was “official business.” We learn that “Mr. Bachman was not an easy guy to work with.”
She gets out and relives the terror that happened there when Sandy was dragged out and beaten to death.
Back at CIA headquarters, Quinn is asking to leave the agency. He has to do an exit interview first.
He’s saying the last time he wanted to quit was different.
“I’d just shot and killed a kid,” he tells his interviewer about last year. This time, “I just want out. I’m done.”
“As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not as simple as that,” says his interviewer, explaining that she wants to make sure he’s not a danger to himself or others, hinting at the diner incident where he stood up for the motel manager and beat up those two guys. (See recap of episode 402)
“I controlled myself for 12 f—ing years,” he says, “I lost it once.”
The interviewer brings up Carrie, saying that she was one of the reasons he initially wanted out of Dar Adal’s group the previous year. We pan back to see Dar Adal, the man himself, peeping in on these proceedings via a video monitor.
The interviewer then asks: “And what about Carrie?”
This exchange is pretty revealing, so let’s just show you the whole transcription.
Quinn: What about her?
Interviewer: You had just said you had a choice to make in that car. You chose her.
Quinn: Is that a question?
Interviewer: Are the two of you romantically involved?
Quinn: [In an “are you serious?!!” whisper] What?!
Interviewer: Answer. Please.
Quinn: [Leaning in, angrily] I don’t see what that has to do with anything.
Interviewer: Let me be the judge of that.
Quinn: You know what? [he leans back, looks around at all the locations where there are what we imagine are supposed to be hidden cameras] F— this. [He gets up from his chair and leaves].
We then see Dar Adal again, watching. He lets a sigh out of his nose, which can only symbolize, “heh, I figured those two were boning.”
But here’s the thing: Quinn and Carrie aren’t boning! At least not yet! But this exchange really sets up that they will be in a few episodes. But why does Quinn not answer? Does he really want Dar Adal thinking that he and Carrie are getting it on?
We’re back on Carrie in Islamabad. She’s having a mild flashback as she approaches the embassy, of where she and Quinn argued after Sandy was killed.
Carrie arrives and sees two of the embassy guys. She’s instantly in “I’m the new boss” mode, asking in disbelief where everybody is and telling them that they have a staff meeting.
“First I’ve heard of it,” says one of the guys whose name we might know in a later episode. This dude then informs Carrie that they’re on lockdown, with nobody going into or going out of the embassy. Now the shoe is on the other foot. This is the first Carrie has heard of this.
[Note: At approximately 13 minutes into the episode, we learn that this guy’s name is Alan Hendsly. I’ve likely spelled his name incorrectly here though.]
Carrie goes into an office where U.S. ambassador Martha Boyd is talking with a dude named Redmond. Whoever he is, Carrie will soon have his job.
“You’re the last person I expected to see here,” he tells Carrie.
She gets all confrontational: “I assume you got my cable … so what happened to my 9:30 staff meeting?”
Redmond is all, “I assumed since there was nothing new to report (read: we’re on lockdown) I figured I’d just catch up on some stuff myself. (read: Metro recaps of “Scandal.”)
Carrie wears a false smile and says, “Well, how about we stick to my plan? I expect everybody downstairs in 15 minutes.”
Yeah, Carrie! Way to assert yourself! [And get transferred a million miles away from your baby so you don’t have to assume any responsibilities of having a kid.]
It’s an awkward moment, for sure. After he leaves, the ambassador informs Carrie that he was feeling blindsided by Carrie’s appointment as station chief.
“I guess we were all surprised to learn you got Sandy’s job,” she tells Carrie.
Carrie asks the ambassador to lift the lockdown, but she ain’t having it.
At the meeting, the workers aren’t exactly warm to her. She asks what they think of Harris’ theory that Sandy was trading secrets for intel. Redmond figuratively stands up for Sandy.
When Carrie suggest that nobody is interested in admitting that Sandy was spying right under everybody’s noses, Redmond literally stands up and tries to take control, condescendingly saying, “young lady, let’s have a chat.”
Carrie does NOT like this. Not like anybody would, but she orders him to sit down.
He doesn’t totally defy her, but he uses his “while I’m up” status to pour himself a fresh cup of coffee.
Carrie tasks her team with reconstructing the incidents right up to Sandy’s death. Then Carrie addresses Redmond and says, “You and I are going to have that little chat, John.”
She tears into him for not making himself useful.
“That doesn’t give you license to breeze in here and take a dump on my station,” he says in what might have been the funniest line of the episode if it were delivered a little differently.
“My station,” she corrects him. “And either you comply or I’ll remove you from the embassy and put you on the next plane home.”
Yowch. Point: Carrie Mathison.
He interrogates Carrie about how she got the job. She says she asked nicely. Then she tells him to clean himself up. “I can smell the booze from here,” she says.
Mathison 2; Redmond 0
Speaking of "smell the booze from here," we’re back poolside with Quinn. He’s avoiding a call from Carrie. He’s not as hammered as the last time we saw him sitting poolside, but he is boozing. He’s sitting with the condo manager, which leads us to believe he is continuing to be “romantically involved” with her. Not in the same way he's "romantically involved" with Carrie, but like actual sexing.
They take a drink and he tells her he’s quitting his job. She asks if he has any marketable skills.
He seems to come to the realization that he doesn’t have any marketable skills. No degree, and he quite likely won’t have a good letter of recommendation coming from the CIA. The phone rings again and Quinn throws it into the pool.
Back in Islamabad, Carrie receives a text from somebody not in her contacts list who tells her that he or she has landed. (For all you hidden-meaning searchers, the number is 03980225303). Then she leaves the embassy to go to a hotel. The same dudes that picked her up reluctantly take her on her mysterious errand. They’re being followed, obviously. Their tail is from the member of an organization that sounds like Eye-sigh, but there’s no way that’s the name of the organization. I.S.I., perhaps? Maybe it’s a “we’re not allowed by copyright to say ISIS” sort of thing? Anyway, Carrie asks to be dropped at the embassy, but is secretive of where she’s really going. She says she’ll never be more than 10 minutes away and she won’t be more than an hour. She jumps into another car, but is still being trailed.
She finally shakes the tail and gets to where she’s going, and we see who the person she wanted to meet with was. It’s Fara Sherazi! Hi Fara! [Studio audience applauds!] Fara's hair is not covered! And she’s got a British accent! And she’s with one of her old buddies, Max, the surveillance guy! What a fun reunion! It turns out Carrie has been grooming Fara to pose as a British journalist to interview Aayan Ibrahim and recruit him as a key asset. Carrie encourages Fara to make physical contact with him to persuade him. When Fara leaves the room to take a call from her dad, Carrie tells Max to be careful because this operation is pretty dang top-secret.
“Langley knows, but if you get in trouble, they can’t help you out,” she tells him.
Back at Quinn's apartment/condo/whatever it is, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Dar Adal.
By the way, this shirtless Quinn moment is brought to you by Miller Genuine Draft.
Quinn delivers what is definitely one of the funniest lines in the episode: “I thought I told you to f— yourself, not come for breakfast.”
So that should clear up any question whether or not Quinn knew who was watching him when he gave his "let me out of this job" deposition.
Does pervy Dar Adal just want to know details about this supposed “romantic involvement” between Quinn and Carrie? We could see him paying Quinn a visit just for that. He probably still has the audio of Carrie and Brody in that motel from Season 2.
Dar Adal actually has a funny retort. “I brought donuts,” he says. And really, he did.
Then he gets into his concern for Quinn before dropping the bomb.
“Of course, we both know the real reason for all of this,” says Dar Adal. “This isn’t about PTSD. It’s about your feelings for Carrie Mathison.”
Quinn looks at him in disbelief for a second before asking, rhetorically, “Are you f—ing kidding me?”
“If she hadn’t been in that car, Sandy Bachman would be alive today,” Dar Adal fires back.
Is that true though? That crowd was pretty intent on ripping Sandy out of that car.
Quinn also disagrees.
“I did all that I could, and you can watch it online for f—’s sake,” he says.
Dar Adal continues to express his disagreement and Quinn puts him in a badass stranglehold.
Quinn gives him the same “I don’t know my own strength!” look that he gave after messing those guys up at the diner, tells Dar Adal to get the f— out and Dar Adal tells him to “have a nice life.”
Quinn’s actual “romantic involvement” then peers out of the bedroom and asks if everything is alright. Instead of telling her, “I almost killed a guy I used to work for” he just tells her that yes, everything’s alright.
Then we see Carrie going for a jog. With her damn jazz in her headphones! Who jogs to jazz? Nobody! That’s who!
What happens from here on out is that Saul arrives in Islamabad and it turns out he’s an old friend of the ambassador. In fact they were engaged once! What? Could that be true? Saul advises Carrie to set up a secret team, and she’s all, “Actually, I’ve already got that covered.”
Fara tries to establish contact with Aayan, but because those dudes from the last episode told him not to talk to anybody else, he’s reluctant to tell her anything. She even tries the physical contact route and he’s all, “ewww, get offa me!”
Meanwhile, Quinn is possibly realizing that he does have feelings for Carrie. Or is this the Agency putting this thought in his head? And because he wants to examine these feelings, he pulls a mother polar bear on her. We can make that a thing, right? Because you know how after two and a half years a mother polar bear will either abandon her young or chase them away? Oh, you didn’t know that? It's true. I searched for a video of it, but couldn't find it. Anyway, Quinn kinda roars at her and she makes herself scarce.
The episode ends with Quinn and Carrie finally talking on the phone. He tells her that he has figured out that Sandy's death was a set up all along, based on a plant he saw in the video.
"There was a guy in the crowd with an earpiece, coordinating the whole thing," he tells her.
She tells him she needs him there in Islamabad.
"This changes everything," she says. "This means I really need you now."
From what we can sense, she doesn’t mean “romantic involvement” per se, but if he goes, Dar Adal and company are totally gonna think that he’s going for the sole purpose of knocking boots.
Since Fara can't get an in with Aayan, Carrie approaches him.
"What are you scared of? Who's threatening you?" she asks him, before promising that she can protect him and get him out of Pakistan.
All in all, this episode is a B. There’s not the excitement of Sandy being ripped from the car and the emotional strain of Carrie leaving her daughter behind is not as present in this episode. But if we know anything from “Homeland” is that after a blah-ish episode, it’s usually just a set up for something big and exciting to happen on the next episode.