Episode 5 of “Homeland” season 3 opens with a guy we’re to presume is Jah Booty entering the U.S. at the Canadian border. Yes, I know that’s not how you really spell the name of the chief Iranian contact in the CIA’s latest sting, but I called him that last week before I knew how to spell his name, and it’s too late to back down now. Instead of treating him as a terrorist we’ll treat him as if he’s a loverman-type dancehall reggae singer.
The customs officials identify Jah Booty as “Mr. Zerrin,” which betrays the intelligence that he relies on using the alias of Nasser Hajezzi wherever he goes. He meets a contact somewhere along his trip to exchange cars. Jah Booty is all business and he tells him that he doesn’t want any guns. But we get the impression that Jah Booty is going to do whatever he’s going to do in a speedy manner. He’s got no time for talk.
Quinn shows up at Saul’s house. Saul is going hunting with a bunch of politicos and he’s under the impression that he’s going to be appointed the director of the CIA. He lets Quinn in on the sting plan that was revealed last week.
Dana and Leo continue on their crazy getaway. Leo almost crashes the traded Camry head-on into another car. He says he was distracted by Dana’s beauty, but we’re led to believe that Leo might be a psychopath and might want to kill the both of them in a suicide pact that only one of them agreed to.
The first time we see Claire Danes’ triumphant-from-last-week Carrie, she’s looking in the mirror. She then throws away all her meds. Come on, Carrie! What are you doing? The next time we see her, Jessica Brody is at her door, asking her to pull a few strings with the FBI to try to track down her daughter. Carrie reluctantly agrees to do so.
She calls Max, the less smart brother of Virgil, the surveillance maestro. She calls him from a phone she hides in a cabinet and instructs him that they’re going to do “the yoga play.”
Max reluctantly agrees. People reluctantly agreeing to do things seems to be a theme of this episode.
Basically, the titular “yoga play” is where she calls Max again from a different phone and says, “Hey, are we still on for yoga?” so that anybody tapping that other phone will hear it as a yoga class invitation and follow her to the yoga studio to make sure it really is legit.
She does in fact go into a yoga studio, and then goes right out the back door to meet Virgil and Max, who take her to meet up with an FBI guy to persuade him to get the word out to find Dana Brody.
While Jah Booty’s peeps are checking up on Carrie outside of the yoga studio, Quinn is checking up Jah Booty’s peeps. One goon is about to check that Carrie is actually still in the yoga studio, but Quinn cuts him off, blocking him in his car while pretending to be some dude who needs to mail something. It’s kind of funny, actually.
Saul goes to meet a bunch of high-powered folks for the hunting excursion, thinking he’s going to be the most high-powered of all soon. But then old Senator Lockhart walks in like he owns the room. He demands a shot of slivovitz. Lockhart wants to partner up with Saul in order for them to talk in private. Saul, in keeping with the aforementioned theme of this episode, reluctantly agrees.
While they’re talking, Lockhart confides in him that he’s actually the one being nominated as director of the CIA.
“This really isn’t about tempering your views, it’s about changing them,” he tells Saul, “if that is, you want a job in my CIA.”
What a dick! Saul is so pissed, but he’s professional enough to remain composed. Hey, but there’s a new story arc to keep our interest, where the Leo-is-gonna-kill-Dana story arc ended.
So about that: Dana is paying for gas and she sees herself on the news. The news reporter breaks it to her that Leo was institutionalized after a “failed suicide pact” with his brother.
She’s livid! And she confronts him and asks him to retell what happened. Leo changes his story from what he had said before. Leo is like “just get in the car.”
But Dana isn’t having any of it. Soon the cops come and she runs to them. There’s one story arc that really could have played out longer wrapped up relatively neatly!
She goes home, says she’s OK and then bursts into tears. It’s moment No. 493 in realizing what an awesome actress Morgan Saylor is.
We see Jah Booty eating a sandwich outside somebody’s house and he spills on his shirt. It’s a weird detail that doesn’t really pay off per the Chekhov’s gun theory we mentioned last week. Then we see him meet up at what we assume is a residence like the one where Carrie met up with Leland Bennett the week before.
Saul calls Carrie from the rustic but presumably very expensive cabin where all the high-powered politicos are pow-wowing for the hunt. He doesn’t mention the Lockhart situation but he tells Carrie she blew the operation and that nobody’s following her anymore.
That evening Saul makes his opinion on the Lockhart appointment quite clear to all the big wigs at the hunting excursion.
“Being a spy isn’t the same as sitting in a hive waiting for the enemy to come in front of your guns,” he says.
Yeah, Saul! But then poor Saul walks in on Mira and some dude she worked with in Mumbai having dinner together. It’s not certain whether or not there’s any sort of affair going on, but Saul just found out he didn’t get the job he was meant to do, so he has no time for any of this nonsense.
Carrie and Quinn have a sweet conversation; he doesn’t know if her cover has been blown or not, but it’s clear from where he’s sitting (outside of Carrie’s place) that the people who had her under surveillance aren’t watching her anymore.
But then! They ARE watching her! Two of them are there to pick her up! They strip her down to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire of any sort. She (VERY) reluctantly agrees. They break her cell phone, but it’s just the one that she used to set up the fake yoga appointment, not the hidden one. They put a bag over her head and she’s off to see Jah “Stain on his Shirt” Booty.
Quinn goes into Carrie’s apartment to check on her and finds her gone. He calls Saul, obviously distraught about the fact that she’s been taken.
“She’s on her own, Saul,” says Quinn.
“She’s always been on her own,” he replies a little too excitedly about a beloved co-worker who is in going right into the dragon’s lair.
Meanwhile, she is de-bagged and placed in front of Jah Booty.
“Carrie Mathison, you’re in good shape,” he says. “Must be all that yoga.”
It’s a pretty strong cliff-hanger. Because we don’t know if A) he thinks he knows what’s up and is like “I’m gonna show her that I know she’s been doing yoga” or B) that he really DOES know what’s up and he’s like “I’m gonna show her that I know she tried to trick me with that ‘Yoga Play’ that gave this episode its title, and maybe I’ll make some small-talk about how these annoying American sandwiches make me spill condiments on my nice shirt.”
All in all, this is a pretty good episode, but not nearly as climactic as last week.