Homeland recap: season three, episode four – Game On

A tense and claustrophobic episode with a whiff of David Lynch-style weirdness was an improvement on last week's antics

SPOILER ALERT: This blog is for people watching the third series of Homeland at UK broadcast pace. Don't read on if you haven't seen episode four – and if you've seen later episodes, please do not leave spoilers.

Catch up with Rebecca Nicholson's previous episode blogposts

'It worked, Saul'

Finally! After last week's divisive episode – judging by the spirited comments, half of you thought I was moaning, and half of you agreed that it was dreary – we've got flashes of Old Homeland back. I genuinely didn't see the twist coming, though I hadn't been convinced that Carrie would give up her country quite so easily. In fact, I didn't even notice that Brody was absent until it occurred to me at the very end of the hour. There were elements that dragged, but all in all, it showed promise.

Carrie's storyline was particularly strong. Dar Adal prevents her release from the psychiatric hospital, despite glowing reports from her doctors. The dodgy lawyers who were trying to turn her somehow overruled the CIA and she was released, only to find that her car had gone and her bank accounts had been frozen. There was a nice sense of claustrophobia and panic running through all this. I don't know whether I was overthinking it, but the lawyer who first contacted her, her neighbour and the less friendly nurse all had a touch of the David Lynch character to them. Something in their manner seemed ever so slightly hyperreal and off. (Also, the main lawyer is called Leland, and I haven't heard that name since Twin Peaks.)

But after meeting Leland Bennett, and agreeing to supply state secrets to Iran, the twist came: Carrie is no traitor. She's working as a double agent. There are a few things to piece together here. Has Saul gone rogue? Is Dar Adal oblivious to this? At what stage did the plan begin? Was everything – the senate hearing, having Carrie committed – part of it? Saul is playing a risky game with Carrie's mental health, that's for sure. But we've seen a far more trigger-happy Saul this season and perhaps this is part of it.

Elsewhere, Saul is helping Fara to chase the money, still, and they've worked out that it all comes back to Javadi, who has embezzled money via a cleaning operation in Venezuela that runs the dirty cash through a football club. And we all know who's in Venezuela. Fara wants to tell the Revolutionary Guards about it, knowing that Iran will line him up and shoot him. But Saul wants to wait: Javadi is responsible for the Langley bombing, and he needs some good ol' American interrogation and justice.

I got a little confused about the Langley bombing here. Bennett tells Carrie that it was an Iranian action carried out in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes against Iran's nuclear (or, as he pronounced it, nuke-ular) facilities. Does this mean it was nothing to do with Abu Nazir and Brody, or am I missing a key part of this narrative?

Oh and Dana's on the run with her killer boyfriend. Of course she is.

Notes and observations

• Now the lithium is working, Claire Danes is able to tone it down a bit, and I think she really is excellent and precise in even throwaway moments. When she tells the panel, "I'm forever grateful", there's a cloud of conflicting emotion in there, and it's all conveyed in a split second.

• All this talk of Iran's nuclear capabilities has got me a little worried that we're heading for a 24-style denouement this season.

• Captain Mike is back on the scene and in the kitchen. I think he made sandwiches rather than eggs, though.

• It was also nice to see Virgil – I thought he'd sold Carrie down the river until his "Say hi to your mom" gave it away.

• Leland Bennett is played by Martin Donovan, who I recognised as Peter in Weeds.

• Saul takes Carrie inside for a nice cup of tea. I hope it's Yorkshire Gold.

• Homeland was renewed for a fourth season this week.

Line of the week

"The agency's still weak, Saul. It could die of a common cold. And she's a full-blown contagion" – it's germ warfare for Dar Adal


Rebecca Nicholson

The GuardianTramp

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