Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Claire Danes
Claire Danes
Photo: Sifeddine Elamine (Showtime)
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“Two Minutes” serves as a handy reminder that Homeland’s imminent conclusion is not the least bit premature. The character of Carrie Mathison and the way she’s treated by her reluctant colleagues hold no further surprises. No matter how many times she saves the day, she’s always going to be viewed with suspicion and resentment. That’s not to absolve her of any blame, as it’s also clear that her people skills are never going to improve. She treats everyone around her as an obstacle to be overcome on the way to completing her mission, a dynamic that’s front and center this week.

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Carrie’s single-minded mission is to rescue Max, who she put in danger in the first place by insisting he retrieve the flight recorder from the president’s downed helicopter. Max has been captured by a Taliban soldier who drugs him, handcuffs him, and takes his stuff to sell at the market. Yes, that includes the flight recorder, which must have been a tough sell. (How much would you pay for a piece of electronic equipment if you had no clue what is was?) The last we see of the recorder, it’s strapped to a horse on a mountain caravan, so...good luck with that.

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At the Kabul station, an investigation into the crash is underway, with the FBI now on the scene. The working theory is that someone on the inside gave up the president’s location, and as foreshadowed, suspicion falls on Carrie because she’s the one who suggested Warner visit the troops in the first place. Not only that, but the techs have finished cleaning up the recording of her meeting with Yevgeny, revealing to Jenna, Dunne, and eventually Saul the career-destroying detail that Carrie contemplating drowning her own child. It’s the perfect time for Carrie to engage in even more suspicious behavior, such as sneaking out of the building to meet with Yevgeny in hopes of enlisting his help in the search for Max.

Numan Acar
Numan Acar
Photo: Sifeddine Elamine (Showtime)
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Yevgeny agrees on the condition that Carrie shut down American surveillance in the area for the titular two minutes in order to protect his source. In the hour’s most suspenseful sequence, Carrie ditches Jenna (not the stealthiest agent around) and heads down to the communications center, where she stages a copier machine breakdown in order to keep a tech distracted while she unplugs the surveillance. The tech’s reactions to Carrie in this scene pretty much sum up the entire CIA’s working relationship with her: she’s an annoying distraction, constantly disrupting protocol, and probably not to be trusted despite the many times she’s gotten results.

With G’ulom having installed martial law, rounding up all Taliban and holding them in a soccer stadium, it’s a good time for the new U.S. president to practice some tough diplomacy. Hayes is not even remotely up to the task, however; even after strong coaching from David Wellington, Hayes completely caves and finds himself agreeing with every word G’ulom says by the end of the call. It’s still too early to close the door completely on the possibility that Hayes was involved in taking down the president, but it’s certainly looking more likely that he’s just an incompetent boob.

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When Saul learns that Carrie’s account of her meeting with Yevgeny is a fabrication, he decides to send her back to Germany to continue her recovery. Carrie sole focus continues to be Max’s rescue, however, and she’s not inclined to leave that in the hands of her colleagues. Once again, Jenna proves she really doesn’t know who she’s dealing with here when she escorts Carrie to the airport and assumes her job is done once she sees Carrie enter the jetway. Carrie jumps out a service door and meets up with a waiting Yevgeny. Yes, folks, she’s going rogue.

The last thing Carrie sees as she’s leaving the station is Haqqani turning himself in. Out of escape options and unwilling to turn himself over to G’ulom, he decides his best bet is to take his chances with the Americans. As long as Saul is in charge of the situation, that’s probably his best bet. Once the new president gets involved, however, the situation is certain to deteriorate rapidly and it will be time for Carrie Mathison to come to the rescue once again. After that, it would be a good idea for her to find something else to do with her life. Her character has gone about as far in this world as she’s ever going to get.

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Stray observations

  • Wash your hands.
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My debut novel Charlesgate Confidential is now available from Hard Case Crime.

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