Homeland Season 8 Premiere Recap: Carrie Dives Back Into the Fray
[SPOILERS FOR ‘HOMELAND’ SEASON 8 EPISODE 1 AND PREVIOUS SEASONS TO FOLLOW]
You can’t have Homeland without Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in the spy game on some level. No matter where she’s ended up over the years, she’s always returned to the fight before each season’s conclusion.
As the show opens its eighth season on Showtime, that’s still the case. After her seven-month stay in Russian custody, Carrie returned to freedom in a disturbed state. Her recovery in a military facility in Germany didn’t make everything right.
But that doesn’t stop Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) from wanting her back in the field immediately. Despite Carrie’s failed polygraph (the source of the episode title, “Deception Indicated”) and the objections of some in the CIA, Saul returns his most accomplished agent to the fold right away.
Carrie heads straight to Afghanistan for her new mission
While a CIA agent could fail a polygraph test for a number of reasons, the gaps in Carrie’s memory prompted real concerns about her compromising sources (i.e., informants) in the field. But Saul decided to take his chances without confirmation either way.
After a quick look at peace talks Saul is attending in Qatar, you quickly realize why the situation is so desperate. Nearly 19 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the Warner (Beau Bridges) administration wants to get out of the country with as little damage as possible.
However, that requires the cooperation of Taliban leaders and Pakistani leaders Saul and Carrie clashed with in the past (most notably in the embassy massacre of Season Four). Though Saul tries to stay positive, a statement by the Afghani vice president nearly blows up the talks.
Running out of options, Saul brings in Carrie to talk sense into the Veep. Once in Kabul, Carrie realizes multiple forces are working against her. (The base’s station chief puts her under surveillance.) But she has a mission from Saul and heads out into the night anyway.
Carrie confronts the possibility she left her contacts for dead
Though Carrie meets up with a loyal contact willing to help her, she runs into a wall at her first stop on the treacherous road. There, the wife of a man who assisted her in the past acts rudely to her. Then she finds out the man was killed for his work with the CIA.
That bit of information prompts a flashback from Homeland’s main character. What if the CIA figure in Germany was right? What if she’d compromised her source and got him killed? You watch Carrie grapple with the possibility — and struggle with the horror of knowing it could be true.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Max (Maury Sterling) faces his own peril in order to set up surveillance on the Pakistan-Afghan border. It’s unclear why he had to be the one going overseas to do this, but Max has some quality screen-time here.
Finally, after making it past the various landmines en route to her meeting with senior Afghan officials, Carrie gets a shock in the episode’s final seconds. Just as she’s about to enter the room, Yevgeny (Costa Ronin) exits and gives her a sinister wink.
Once again, Carrie feels horrified she may have revealed secrets during her interrogation in Russia. Then, in the sneak-peek after the episode, we see Carrie pull a gun on U.S. troops in a future episode. Whatever happens, Homeland clearly won’t be checking out quietly in 2020.