Why call the episode "About a Boy"? Yes, I know it is actually about a boy, but shouldn’t that title have been retired years ago after the third or fourth appropriation of Kurt Cobain’s “About a Girl” song title?
Anyway, the episode begins with the “previously on Homeland”intro, and we see that “anything for you, Carrie" exchange between Carrie and Quinn, so we know that we’re going to see that romance in full bloom this epsiode , right?
The actual show opens up with another romance in full bloom, or another adolescent in full bloom into manhood. We watch Aay an trying to get a peek at Carrie’s boobs after she stole his virginity the night before. Hey, it was all in the name of establishing or cementing him as an asset. Getting’ some asset, right? Hehheh .
The moment is cute , but it’s still hard to like Carrie for being so cold and calculating. It’s also weird to see what she is pretending is love in her eyes, but especially when we know it’s all an act. That’s quite a feat for an actress to pretend to be pretending to feel something. You're good at meta-acting, Claire Danes!
Then we see Fara and Quinn watching their native guys barter with a local for a boarding room. The guy says sure, but “No sex,” which is another comic moment. They’re renting the room right across the street from where Fara saw Haqqani . Once inside, Quinn pulls out a gun and Fara is concerned, a sking , “What’s that for?”
Well, umm ... duh!
“In case Haqqani does show,” Quinn answers, logically.
“I thought this was a stake out," says Fara , like a nervous high schooler who invited his pothead friend to a party and the pothead friend pulls out a bunch of acid or something. I don’t know if that’s what it’s like, but it’s basically that she is knew they were going to do something of questionable moral character, but not that bad!
“Fara, what’s the problem?” Quinn asks.
“Carrie said I’d just have to sit in an office, play a journalist.”
“And you went the extra mile,” says Quinn, reminding her, “You tailed Aayan and you spotted Haqqani.”
She still looks concerned.
“You’re in it now,” he says, “And guess what? You’re good at it.”
Then Saul and Carrie are bidding each other goodbye. Saul is looking at photos of Haqqani on an ipad . She’s explaining that they have only three days to get Aayan to give up the ghost and let Carrie know the details about Haqqani .
“Three days,” says Saul, “that’s a tall f— ing order.”
With these two scenes next to each other, it’s interesting to compare the shades of knowingness . Fara is getting her feet wet for the first time and Quinn, the on-the-brink-of-quitting-it-all assassin sees how he used to be in her. Saul, similarly, is a few degrees more experienced than where Carrie is now as far as seen-it-allness .
When we see Aayan again, he’s furiously packing, saying he has to leave.
“You walk out that door and you will be grabbed up,” Carrie yells at him, “disappeared, do you understand?”
He explains that the sex they had the night before his against his faith.
“I want to be devout,” he explains.
Then we see professor Dennis Boyd, nervously getting dressed.
“Listen, I know you’re mad,” he says to his wife, “but I have some good news: I changed my mind.”
She doesn’t seem happy.
“Do you really think I believe you had a job offer,” she asks. “I have friends at GW too. You don’t recover from plagiarism, Dennis.”
Then we’re watching Fara and Quinn kill time. She asks how long Quinn and Carrie have known each other. When he tells her it’s been about two years, she says, “Really? I would have thought you guys went way back.”
Awww. That’s basically her saying, “You guys would TOTALLY make such a cute couple!”
“It feels that way sometimes,” he says.
Fara says she's coming to terms with becoming a professional liar.
“You’re learning from the best,” says Quinn, as a dig against Carrie. “Manipulating people, exploiting their weakness, it can get ugly sometimes.”
Fara gets nervous and excited when she spots a guy across the street from the guy who was with Haqqani .
Then we’re in ISI headquarters, where wesee Nasneem again. She’s in a conference room with Aasar Khan, the dude that Saul met with. They’re talking about Saul, of course, and they learn that he has changed his flight plan. They have good surveillance on the CIA, these ISI people. Khan knows that Saul and Carrie met at a hotel before Saul's meeting with General Latif. In a goof about his whereabouts they allege that as they speak, Saul is in the hotel room, practicing his Finnish to a Rosetta Stone lesson plan. This is strategic product placement, right?
Then we see professor Boyd again. He has a “welcome gift from the ambassador” to give to Carrie. At least that's what he tells Carrie's neighbor. He is really trying to break into Carrie’s apartment. But he can’t do it! It's just too much for him.
Then we’re at the airport, where Saul sees Farhad Ghazi.He nervously calls Carrie. It's a little bit of overacting on the part of Mandy Patinkin, as he's bumbling like a klutz who has no CIA training whatsoever. Saul tries to push through security so he can see where Ghazi is going. He’s really bumbling all over the place.
Then we’re back at Carrie’s. She’s gotten Aaayan to stay, and she's starting the “interview” with him.
She says she won’t put anything in the “article” that he isn’t comfortable with. And then launches right into, “Let’s start with your uncle, Hassan Haqqani.” Aayan tenses up a little bit.
Aayan speaks of Haqqani in the past tense pretty naturally. “When I was young," he says, "he was around a lot, and then he wasn’t”
Carrie asks: “What kind of a man was he?”
“Two things guided his life: islam and his Taliban bravery,” Aayan explains.
Aayan then loosens up and shares anecdotes of Haqqani as a loving uncle.
“He was a hero to you?” she asks.
“Well, he beat the Soviet Union and then the Soviet Union collapsed.”
She then goes for the gut, “You wanna hear something crazy? There’s a rumor going around that your uncle wasn’t killed.”
Ayan takes offense at this. “That’s not true,” he stammers as he stands up. “I saw him. I saw his body.”
Aayan says the theory is “insulting.”
Then we're back with Saul the bumbling fool at the airport terminal.Ghazi is about to board a plane to Johannesberg.
Then we see the ambassdor stumbling around the embassy, looking for Quinn. She seems distressed.
She tells Redmond that Quinn helps her sometimes with Dennis. What she means is, "when my husband gets drunk and acts like a jerk, Quinn often helps clean up the mess."
Then we see Aayan and Carrie a few hours later and he’s sulky and not giving many ansers.
“It’s hard to talk about some things, “ she says
Then Carrie says, “I’m going to be totally honest with you...”
It’s one of those moments where the viewer is like, “uh oh, she MIGHT actually be totally honest with him!”
Because, seriously, remember all the crazy stuff that she did when she was with Brody?
And she is totally honest with him… She says, “I have a baby.”
He says, “I know … I saw the scar.”
She talks about her baby fondly and tells Aayan that her daughter was named Frances after her dad. Will this be the only acknowledgement of the death of actor James Rebhorn?
Then when Aayan asks about Frances’ father, Carrie explains that he died.
“What happened to him?”
“Ummm,” she says … uh oh, did you not plan to explain what happened to your war hero/terrorist/martyr husband when asked, Carrie?
“He was killed in the line of duty,” she says, which is umm, kinda true.
"Military?” Asks Aayan.
“No, he was a journalist too.”
"On an assignment that … was too dangerous.”
“Where’d he go?”
“It was my fault. I sent him.”
When Aayan says “I’m really sorry about your husband,” Carrie admits “He was never my husband, though I would have liked that.”
They hug, as she cries. Is she actually falling for him? He seems to really want her. They hear chanting outside. She asks “Don’t you want to pray?”
And he says, “Can I touch you again?”
“I felt silly last night. I didn’t know how.”
Then they make out again after Carrie promises she’ll “show” Aayan how to be a better lover.
It’s the most awkward sex scene since … well, since the last episode of “Homeland.”
She starts crying.
“You just made me happy,” she tells him.
Then we're in the bar and professor Dennis Boyd is telling Redmond that Sandy was a great guy.
“He was, but he got me in a lot of trouble,” says Dennis.
Uh oh, is he gonna spill it?
“Can I confide in you? I’ve got a big f—ing cloud over me. I’m talking a world of trouble. “
Dude, you’re confiding in the wrong guy … UNLESS they make an asset out of you like they did with Brody!!!! That actually would be a great idea!
But then ... in walks Nasneem! We learn that Nasneem is acquainted with Redmond already.Her appearance is one that leads us to believe that the professor is under constant survielance, and he shouldn’t blow his secret.And the professor realizes this and settles up at the bar and splits.
Saul is still watching Ghazi clumsily. But was he made? Or is he able to look at him and stare with his mouth open and text people about it? It’s like going to a concert, realizing you're standing next to Sean Lennon and then texting your friends about it. Amirite?!
Ghazi goes into the bathroom. Two dudes seem to rush out, the music swells. Did Ghazi plant a bomb in the bathroom, literally? Saul goes in. It's a trap! Then Saul is injected with something that knocks him out and put in a wheelchair Of course Ghazi knew who he was all along.
Ghazi calls Nasneem and says, “It’s done.”
She says, “Good” and hangs up.
Then we see Quinn, Fara and the other local dudes on the team are staking out still and Fara is having fun learning their language.
Then the old dude across the street is on the move, so they go after him.
Fara calls Carrie. They need the drone to monitor where their mark is going. Carrie is the only one who can authorize it. Quinn is pissed. We suspect that he suspects that Carrie is just spending the day and night boffing this kid.
Then after lots and lots of drinks, we see Redmond delivering the professor back to the ambassador.
The ambassador is thankful to Redmond, and she also confides in him. Something about that dude's face makes him seem worthy of confiding in, I suppose.
"There’s a theory that men secretly fear their wives are crazy and that men women secretly fear their husbands are losers," she says.
She talks to Redmond, while in tears saying how dazzling her husband used to be “but that guy is gone.”
Of course the professor hears this.
He wakes up with the key in his hand that was given to him by Nasneem. It was the key to Carrie’s apartment then, eh?
Fara and Quinn are still following their mark, to an increasingly remote location.
Fara says she’s not interested in getting her sefl killed.
Quinn says, “Believe it or not, I don’t have a deathwish either.”
Awww. He wants to live because he’s in love with Carrie, right?
They reach a roadblock.Quinn gives Fara a tracker to put on the dude’s car. “I’d do it myself if I wasn’t white,” he says.
He calls Carrie again and leaves a message. “It would be really great if you got to your f—ing phone”
Fara is told by the authorities to go back to her car.
The guys conducting the roadblock open up the dude’s car. They see something in the trunk. What is it? Oh, it’s just SAUL! He’s bound and gagged. But the guy checking cars at the roadblock just closes the trunk of the Peugeot.
Then we see the porofessor snooping around Carrie’s aartment.He takes a photo of the photo of Carrie and her baby.He rifles through her drawers. He’s a nervous wreck.He takes photos of her medication. Are they gonna dose Carrie? Make Crazy Carrie into SUPER Crazy Carrie?
Speaking of Crazy Carrie, there she is in the next scene, just checking out the dude that she deflowered and continues to boff as he sleeps.She gets the signal that Quinn is out to meet him.
Quinn is livid: “You crapped the f—ing bed,” he tells her.
He asks her what it is exactly that’s going on in there.
“I’m recruiting someone,” she explains.
“Really?”he begins, “because to me it looks like you’re f—ing a child.”
WOW this as got to be the best tell-off in the history of the show.
"What’s it to you, anyway?" she asks.
"Nothing," says Quinn. Yeah, good on ya, Quinn. That probably would NOT have been the ideal time to tell her you're in love with her.
When Carrie gets back into her apartment, it appears that Aayan has left. But he’s on the roof
When he asks who was at the door, she says,“One of my stringers.” Good journalism jargon, Carrie!
She and Aayan are looking at the sun and Aayan fesses up that his uncle actually is alive.
“I take him medicine," he reveals. "He is very very sick.”
“I had to tell you,” he says. “I didn’t want to lie anymore.”
“I don’t want to lie anymore either,” she says, or she lies, rather.
If Quinn were saying that he didn't want to lie anymore, it might be true, but Carrie clearly does want to lie more, she wants to lie to herself, she wants to lie to others and she wants to lie with Aayan for two more nights.
“He’s the only family I have,” he explains about his uncle.
Then they embrace. And we roll credits.
This is another B+ episode. Lots going on, but it's not an A because Carrie is still just a horrible person.