What if your memories turned up counterfeit? If facts you’d been clutching to your chest, your heart, washed up on shore as fiction? Carrie Mathison fell headfirst into this nightmare on Homeland’s Season 8 Premiere. A personal journey into why eyewitness testimony can be unreliable… Even your own.
This article contains spoilers for Showtime’s Homeland Season 8 Episode 1 (“Deception Indicated”).
Does a polygraph test know more truth about you than you consciously do? That’s the merciless image that will haunt Carrie Mathison’s every waking moment after discovering her Afghan contact Roshan terminated on tonight’s Homeland. Not by accident or as a casualty of war but her very voice. Her lips may have spelled an untimely murder, the irreplaceable loss of someone’s father, someone’s husband. Roshan’s wife Sheena made it clear in no uncertain terms that her husband, who’d been utilized as a secret intelligence asset for Carrie had made no mistakes. He was not working with anyone else, no other American agent was involved. Rather, his identity was presumably given away by Carrie herself, a memory she cannot recollect or account for.
Carrie pleaded with Sheena and Roshan’s son Sarwar that it wasn’t her with genuine sorrow in her eyes. To no avail, every word, every syllable meant nothing. Each sentence of denial seemingly more empty than the last. When Carrie made it back to safer ground, the certainty it wasn’t her evaporated. A new realization dawned… That her memory has the neatly penned outlines but not the blushing colors. An entire perception of who she was as a person vaporized. If there’s doubt… There is no doubt.
How can one convince others of their innocence as a foreign asset, when you cannot even convince yourself? Carrie may have just witnessed her biggest betrayal of all… Her own mind turned against her. Lying with a polished, grinning smile back at Carrie. The seeds were sown to full mental collapse when she asked Mike Dunne [Cliff Chamberlin] about the possibility of Russians giving away their intelligence to the leading faction on the ground in Afghanistan.
However, it was seeing Yevgeny exiting a government meeting and winking at her that completed the domino effect. No longer can Carrie Mathison put commitment to her recollections of what happened while captured. What is a person without faith in their words as the reliable, unquestionable truth? Compromised…
Need streaming info for tonight’s Homeland Season 8 Premiere and future episodes? No worries, The Natural Aristocrat has you covered! Check out Homeland Season 8 Premiere live stream: Watch Showtime online for detailed information and options.
Be sure to check out The Natural Aristocrat’s recent interview with Dar Adal himself, F. Murray Abraham, on his new series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.
Perception to the masses being everything is the main takeaway from tonight’s Homeland. One person believing you is not enough, and it never will be. All it takes is “Two Minutes” to alter everything you ever worked for.
This article contains spoilers for Homeland Season 8 Episode 6 (“Two Minutes”).
If you say the truth and only one person is around to believe it, did it really happen? Reputation takes precedence and governs our every perception in daily life, from the people we trust to the brands we buy. It’s inescapable. Hassaim Haqqani’s collective reputation as the leader of the Taliban on Homeland makes him a believable public enemy number #1. Despite, having nothing to do with President Warner and President Daoud’s helicopter incident, his reputation precedes him. Haqqani’s words pleading innocence mean nothing if only Saul Berenson backs them up, just like Carrie Mathison’s. In Saul’s own words an episode prior, “Nobody’s listening to me.”
When Carrie Mathison is subtly accused of downing the helicopter by order of her ‘Russian Handler’ Yevgeny Gromov, she’s left without a voice. Her brand’s reputation has already taken a hit, Carrie’s internal detractors outnumber her supporters. Saul warned Carrie on tonight’s Homeland that, “If you don’t go back to Germany, an investigation will follow that will define the rest of your life.”
In essence, even if Carrie were found to not have carried out acts against President Warner’s helicopter, the public perception would always be that she did. Just as Hassaim Haqqani’s loyal follower believed Haqqani was indeed responsible, offering himself as ‘a weapon’ now that he was “no longer for peace.” The power of a believable story or even conspiracy to the masses will always outweigh the truth… If the truth is unconvincing. Which is something to be considered about the public’s faith in any system across the world to begin with.
President Benjamin Hayes is influenced by another new President…Mohammed Barki as G’ulom in HOMELAND, “Chalk Two Down”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
President Benjamin Hayes was furious on last week’s Homeland for having to answer the fallout on his predecessor’s ‘missteps’. His request to David Wellington, “Tell me what to do,” when faced with a critical decision spoke volumes about his readiness to take the job. There’s not much doubt left that Hayes can be swayed easily after he was practically convinced by new Afghanistan President G’ulom about aggression toward the enemy. President G’ulom spoke about people in this region only understanding strength by a show of power and retribution, and Hayes lost his train of thought.
Instead of Hayes establishing a proposed red line for President G’ulom, who’s holding 300 Taliban members in a soccer stadium for potential execution… Hayes saw things objectively in G’ulom’s favor.
Carrie’s “Two Minutes”Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
Carrie turned to Yevgeny for help and was asked to turn off surveillance for two minutes in the former hot zone of President Warner’s helicopter site. It was the only way Yevgeny could reach out to his source without a “hell fire missile” dropping within minutes. Carrie would annoy the surveillance employee in charge by jamming his laser printer as a distraction. Thus, allowing a chance to disconnect the zone for the two minute window.
No going back now. Should Carrie’s trust in Yevgeny be found to be misplaced, it will inevitably lead to her own end. Carrie is singularly focused on locating Max and the helicopter’s black (orange) box, perhaps, clouding her judgement. She is correct however about Max being out there, as Piotrowski is still alive, though shot in the back this episode. His kidnapper was not aware in the slightest to the importance of Max’s bag, selling President Warner’s helicopter black box at a local electronic pawn shop. A black box that is the difference between war and peace is now in the possession of a random merchant.
Mike Dunne exposes uncensored Yevgeny Gromov Meeting(L-R): Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson and Cliff Chamberlain as Mike Dunne in HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
On tonight’s Homeland, Jenna Bragg played the cleaned up audio of Yevgeny Gromov and Carrie Mathison’s meeting (previously distorted by a water fountain) to her boss Mike Dunne. The conversation startled Dunne, as it revealed Carrie’s entire debriefing of the encounter was a fake, both in writing and verbally. Dunne went to Saul Berenson with the recording, who was shocked to learn some of the intimate details shared with Gromov. Including a tale he had never heard before about Carrie Mathison considering to drown her own daughter… Saul gently confronted Carrie, who attempted to play him for a fool by again reiterating the recruitment angle. No sale this time around.(L-R): Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson and Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
Saul made it clear he’d heard the recording and was aware Carrie is lying to his face. Carrie had no choice but to partially confess and as such, received two choices with the same consequence. Her exit out of Afghanistan and return to Germany’s rehab facility either ‘freely’ or in hand cuffs. Carrie Mathison agreed to leave peacefully.
Hassaim Haqqani turns himself in to the AmericansNuman Acar as Hassaim Haqqani in HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
Hassaim Haqqani believes the Americans will give him a chance to tell the world he had nothing to do with President Warner’s helicopter, while President G’ulom will simply execute him. Haqqani also feels running away will be seen as an ‘admittance’ that he did give orders to act during the ceasefire. The question is, will President Benjamin Hayes listen to Haqqani’s case or just turn him in? Hayes already wanted to give Haqqani earlier in the episode when they didn’t have him. Does anything change?
Carrie Mathison escorted by Jenna Bragg(L-R): Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Andrea Deck as Jenna Bragg in HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
Jenna Bragg ‘escorted’ Carrie Mathison at the airport to make sure she got on her flight. Carrie would attempt to throw Jenna off-track by mentioning the 1000 pages printed by surveillance back on her desk. Jenna would watch as Carrie walked to her plane until she was almost out of sight.Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Two Minutes”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
It was then Carrie diverted her route, went outside via airstairs and was picked up by Yevegeny Gromov! Carrie Mathison and Hassaim Haqqani are now one and the same in the eyes of the state, both will stand accused of taking down and subverting President Ralph Warner, President Daoud, and the peace process. Will Carrie’s massive gamble pay off and usher clarity and closure? Or lead to multiple counts of treason?
Be sure to read Homeland Season 8 Episode 4 Review: Must See TV, Groundbreaking and more Season 8 coverage in the Homeland category section on The Natural Aristocrat.
Just how often are politicians frozen with indecision, pleading “Tell me what to do” to their Chief of Staff like the chilling moment on this week’s Homeland? Sleeping wide awake, while everyone else is forced to dream everything’s okay.
This article contains spoilers for Homeland Season 8 Episode 5 (“Chalk Two Down”).
Millions go to sleep at the end of a tedious commute to their wage slaving of ‘choice’ every night believing their votes will keep them safe. Their leaders sweet talking them into another lullaby, while the kitchen wallpaper peels away just a bit more. What if these silver tongued suits don’t have the faintest clue? Petrified of a real decision arriving on their desk with expectations of a signature. That’s the scenario presented on this week’s Homeland, an acting President Benjamin Hayes who tirelessly talked down his predecessor… Only to turn pale and mute after moving into his oval office. Trying to defer responsibility to the military’s discretion. Asking Chief of Staff David Wellington, a man he’d resented, “Tell me what to do” when out of proxies to delegate the blame to.
What about you? Could you live with yourself knowing your choice will have implications on future wars, lives, and history itself? Acting President Benjamin Hayes could barely face the optics of sitting in a private situation room to see his decision out. One that forever robs the populace of knowing if President Ralph Warner and President Daoud’s helicopter went down due to mechanical failure or as an enemy’s act of aggression. While at the same time, rescues President Ralph Warner’s remains and the United States’ dignity from being desecrated for the world to see. Escaping televised humiliation… While losing your one and only chance at ever knowing the truth.
It’s a tough call… But one the new acting President Hayes is expected to make without deferment to his subordinate and advisor. Yet, the Homeland scenario felt as grounded in reality as dirt itself. Something the public shoves aside to the back of their minds to function each day. These undercover bureaucracies must have been vetted throughly. After all, they own the official insignias and rubber stamps.
Everything Counts(L-R): Linus Roache as David Wellington and Sam Trammell as VP Benjamin Hayes in HOMELAND, “Chalk Two Down”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.
You might remember Depeche Mode’s famous lyric, “Everything counts in large amounts” as written by band member Martin Gore. It’s true, no detail comes without consequence. Good or bad. Homeland’s General Owens told President Hayes “I need you to be specific, sir,” after Hayes tried to be vague about his confirmation… Likely to shoulder less responsibility. That’s what it takes to lead, to be exact in no uncertain terms of what you’re asking for. To be thrown into the wild and accept 100% absolute blame for events that you had no direct prior involvement in.
The Walking Dead’s Negan once articulated a core tenant of life, “Not making a decision is a BIG decision!” There is no time to hesitate, just the illusion there ever was any.
Be sure to read The Natural Aristocrat’s Homeland Season 8 Episode 4 Review and a look at Carrie Mathison’s fragmented memory, Homeland Season 8 Premiere: What if your Memory lied to you? Need info on how to watch Homeland online? No problem! Here’s recent Homeland live stream info to guide you for next Sunday’s episode.
Tonight’s Homeland episode “Chalk One Up” was groundbreaking TV. Rarely does a television series so perfectly capture and mirror reality that you’re left feeling like you just watched a live news broadcast.
This review contains spoilers for Homeland Season 8 Episode 4 (“Chalk One Up”).
Peace lost its wings on Homeland tonight when President Ralph Warner’s helicopter disappeared off radar in Afghanistan. It was soon discovered to have crashed in one of television’s most eerily surreal moments ever. There’s no two ways about it, anyone watching was instantly reminded of the recent Kobe Bryant tragedy that took the lives of nine. The fact “Chalk One Up” was written months in advance and features the U.S. announcing a historic peace agreement with the Taliban during the same week of airing was already out of this world. As if Nostradamus was on the writing staff himself.
Warner’s helicopter crash symbolizes how catastrophe can arrive without warning of any kind… And it can happen to anyone, the best and the worst of us, the elite ruling class, the poor and forgotten. Tragedy doesn’t discriminate based on your status. It can’t be lobbied or reasoned with. Netflix’s Ozark once touched upon this concept when Marty Byrde speaks about the inherent hypocrisy of the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” Horrific things happen to good people unjustifiably every day and vice versa.
For years, Presidents have been seen as larger than life, practically mythical figures on television. Superhuman-like defenses, wall to wall body guard protection, a walking, talking human fortress with cannons at his fingertips. Typically there’s some dramatic, gradual build up to their eventual elimination. As with 24’s President Palmer (sniper opening after five seasons) or a bombastic Hollywood-esque opener like on Designated Survivor. But on the latest Homeland, we have no marker getting us ready to process or grieve. Nothing hinting that Warner might be at physical risk. This time around, a show mirrors what would happen in real life.Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME
Saul Berenson is pulled aside and told the President’s helicopter cannot be found in private. The worst is thought immediately but as humans, even the most cynical of us need the certainty of a confirmation. A search helicopter soon locates the remains of President Warner’s helicopter and it appears there are no survivors. Just like that, President Warner is gone. Earlier on “Chalk One Up” he’d mentioned being told not to make the trip in-person but what is a President if not on the front line with his men.
Typically in cinema, this Patriotic-styled bravado is always rewarded. The worst fears are proven to be just that, and the character of the President rises above as a leader. The bald eagle. A testament to George Washington himself… Not this time. Homeland surprises viewers by proving the advisors right, it was too dangerous to make the trip after all.
Dissidents to the peace agreement are seen holding a rocket launcher close to the crash site of President Warner’s helicopter. All during a ceasefire no less. It appears they shot down the helicopter, burying years of negotiation into the next century. The scene leaves viewers feeling strange, like they’re watching the actual 11 o’clock news. Brutally realistic. It shows the ultimate vulnerability of every individual person in the face of chaos. Akin, to what happened to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s peace process in some ways.Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME
Everything agreed to, gone, just like that. Before the ink even dries. No rhyme or reason. A day of celebration turns to national mourning.
Carrie Mathison’s incredible rescue of Samira Noori(L-R): Sitara Attaie as Samira and Omar Farahamad as Bilal Khan in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME
Showtime’s Homeland was multi-layered tonight, not a one-trick pony overly dependent on the gravitas of the episode’s conclusion. It featured an unforgettable plot line about Samira Noori’s brother-in-law arriving for a sudden unexpected visit at her door. At first, everything appeared innocent enough, Samira’s brother-in-law Bilal Khan was just checking up on the status of his deceased brother’s widow. Presenting Samira with his mother’s baked bread as part of the exchanged pleasantries.
The ambience soon changed dark when Bilal started being more forthcoming about why he was really there. Prior, Bilal hinted at how Samira had been away from their home village for long enough grieving, that she was family and missed.
Bilal attempted to grab Samira’s hand and proposed he would take care of her like his brother did back home. When Samira told Bilal “Thanks for the bread” explicitly indicating the end of the conversation through unspoken body language, Bilal accepted and left… Only to return and knock on the door, pleading forgiveness for offending her. That he’d made a mistake being so forward. The words got to Samira and she opened the door ajar slowly… Only to be greeted with Bilal and two other Taliban members demanding she pack her things and come with them. Literally, opening the door to her own capture.Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME
Samira panicked and called Carrie in a final act of desperation under massive duress. In turn, Carrie convinced the driver of their fake motorcade to break protocol to save Samira’s life. In a 24, Jack Bauer styled moment, Carrie placed a gun to Bilal’s head as he tried to get his car running, “Don’t f****** move!” Carrie’s driver got out to provide backup as the Samira was moved over to Carrie’s government vehicle in a rescue for the ages. Every running minute of the plot line had a sense of immediacy, you can’t buy that kind of tension.
The visual alone of Carrie pointing the gun as Samira walks to freedom says everything. Thin line between tradition and oppression. Just look at that photo above, and the lead photo of this article. It tells a million stories in a one second capture.
President Ralph Warner thanks Carrie privately(L-R): Beau Bridges as President Warner and Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Warrick Page/SHOWTIME
A pivotal plot point occurred early on during Homeland tonight, President Ralph Warner chose to meet Carrie Mathison in-person to thank her for everything… Privately. Warner went above and beyond, thanking Carrie not only for her help in making the peace process happen but his very Presidency. More importantly, Warner acknowledged the pain of Carrie being essentially a P.O.W product of espionage in Moscow for the last year. Carrie was finally treated like a valued agent instead of a potentially compromised traitor since her release. She was thanked for her service instead of spied on.
However, since Carrie is still an active agent out on the field and has vulnerable sources, Warner didn’t want to make the ‘salute’ public. Will this come to haunt Carrie should Warner indeed be deceased following tonight’s Homeland episode? One is only as strong as an asset as her allies, and there are those like the current Vice President who might not feel Saul Berenson’s ways appealing…Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in HOMELAND, “Chalk One Up”. Photo Credit: Warrick Page/SHOWTIME
It’s why the moments that genuinely make us smile should be savored by the millisecond. Falling into unexpected treasure is rare.
Be sure to check out how to watch Homeland’s live stream online every week.
The Natural Aristocrat recently interviewed Dar Adal himself, F. Murray Abraham, on his new series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet!