Homeland Recap: Carrie Takes a Personal Day

Brody's back – but that was the least interesting twist in this episode

Claire Danes plays Carrie Mathison in "Homeland."
By + More

I guess we to have start with the ending of Sunday's episode of "Homeland," titled "a red wheelbarrow." Brody's back, which won't come to a shock to anyone who's been stalking his IMDB page, though that it was Saul and not Carrie who chased him down is somewhat surprising.

But I'd rather talk about the events leading up to Saul's trip to Caracas – a nail-biting, heart-racing 40 minutes of spy games that also gave some insight into the motives of the "Homeland" characters.

Carrie got to be super spy Carrie again, crafting and pulling off an impressive plan to hunt down the actual Langley bomber. She also took a personal day to visit her OB/GYN, which cleared up some of the mysteries surrounding her pregnancy. The Mathison-Brody love spawn is about the size of a pea pod, guys! She also knew she was pregnant when she was drinking up a Tequila Sunrise storm and popping Lithium like the mental breakdown patient. "I haven't been painting a nursery – let's put it that way," she tells her OB/GYN.

[Read all of the U.S. News "Homeland" Recaps]

But once she got out of the psych ward and got to play spy-and-not-a-crazy-one again, something changed, presumably explaining why she started to flush her pills down the toilet. (It was refreshing to see her refusal to take her meds was not just Crazy Carrie being Crazy Carrie, but Crazy Carrie being a responsible mother). Around the time she successfully carried out Saul's daring and emotionally draining mission to bait the Iranians – maybe that moment she got her big Berenson papa bear hug – she decided to keep the kid after all. OK — as long as he or she doesn't grow up into another Dana.

But back to her mission at hand: tricking Bennett into smoking out the Langley bomber. Turns out Dar Adal and Leland Bennett go way back. "We've golfed Congressional together," Dar Adal explains. For a top clandestine CIA agent and a lawyer representing Iranian terrorists, it doesn't get any more #ThisTown than that.

It was up to Carrie to pull it all off. And pull it off she did – texting code words like "a red wheelbarrow," playing coy while lighting candles in an Eastern Orthodox Church, and acting a convincing combination of cooperative and ticked off when Bennett's lap dog Franklin asks her for more help. When she realized she fooled Bennett and Partners, she didn't give the triumphant grin from Season 2's "The Smile" but she certainly smiled with her eyes. Girl, Tyra would be proud!

Of course the victory lap doesn't last long. In a cruel turn of events for Carrie-Quinn shippers, Quinn has to shoot her when she's about to blow the next leg of the mission, worried that if Franklin kills the Langley bomber, she will never be able to clear Brody's name. Carrie's streak of responsible spywork is no match for her primal loyalty to her baby daddy. But even while bleeding from a shot to the shoulder she still has the brilliance to see the big picture. "Something's going on," Carrie pleads to Quinn, who responds, "You've been shot."

[REVIEW: 'Alpha House' Is Partisan Humor]

"No sh-t. You shot me!"

Props to Carrie for getting that zinger in while in physical agony.

Carrie's less crazy, less talented protege Fara got fleshed out a bit, She has been taking some personal days of her own, feeling ill at ease about helping Saul send Jiavadi back to Iran.

"I'm an American," she says and her decision to join the CIA was out of patriotic duty ,she explains to her Iranian father, who is worried it could put the Sherazis still left in the home country in danger. Her courage makes Dar Adal's and Saul anti-Muslim sentiments about Fara all the more upsetting.

We also got to see a bit more of Mira, who is doing "The Good Wife" thing and standing by her man, or at least letting him stand by her – since he had no idea she was cheating on him. In a genuinely surprising twist (but the surprise may have to do with the fact that it didn't come at the 40 minute mark, where there's almost always a twist), her hunky Machiatto-drinking gentleman caller is spying on her. It feels kind of heartless – with Saul acting like kind of a jerk this season, Mira, usually a saint, deserved to have her own down and dirty fun. I guess I am supposed to feel bad seeing Brody – who we now know really didn't plant the Langley bomb – all strung out on heroin in a decrepit Venzuelan hovel. But it's Mira I really pity – at the beginning episode, things were really looking up for her and Saul, breakfasts in bed and everything.