The episode opens as Carrie takes a we-should-really-retire-this-phrase-but “whore’s bath” in what has to be the most poorly lit bathroom in the history of the universe. For some unknown reason she’s watching the news, which is definitely a thing one should do in a crisis to relieve stress. Side note but throughout the show’s entire run they’ve had a fake cable news station called CNB and I appreciate that it’s stuck it out in this imaginary universe for as long as we have.
Somewhere in the Korengal, Max is very sweaty and very tired and—surprise!—still carrying around that flight recorder in his backpack like a hero. The Taliban soldier stops their mountainside trek for a bit to pee. Max sees a plane (or drone?) flying overhead and begins shouting and runs off. A scuffle ensues, Max kicks him flat on his back. We are surprised Max has it in him but, again, hero. All this comes to a gasp-inducing end when the Taliban shoulder shoots Max from behind in the shoulder, the place where everyone on this show ends up getting shot (literally, left shoulder, what is it with this??). He falls to the ground with a thud.
Back at the White House, HIOHHP steps into the Oval Office to give a short address. Linus touches every inch of his face while he looks on.
HIOHHP: Good evening, America. In the words of Shaggy, it wasn’t me.
It’s over after about 20 seconds and HIOHHP and Linus get the fuck outta there and head into the situation room and everyone gets up when he enters and blah blah blah. They’re having technical difficulties connecting to Kabul station, which I take it is something that happens quite frequently at the CIA.
In Kabul station, Carrie asks Saul—for what is probably the eleventy hundredth time—where is Max and is he alive and who is looking for him?? Carrie has no concept of making herself less annoying while everyone is still wondering why the heck she’s stuck around in Kabul this long but THAT IS WHY WE LOVE CARRIE.
Carrie goes and finds another person to annoy, this time poor Lonnie in the computer room. Lonnie is, what’s the phrase, Totally Over It. She badgers him with questions about the phone calls they’re listening to, wanting to know if there’s been anything about Max. She asks for the keywords in the audio that trigger some sort of automated something or other. The words on this list are the names of various mass transit systems in America (??), countries in the Middle East, and ominous noun/verbs like “bomb,” “murder,” and “attack.” Carrie quite astutely points out that they’re NOT THAT DUMB. Lonnie is basically like, “if you want to add more words, be my guest. Also who are you again??”
Keyword list in hand, Carrie heads back onto the main floor just in time to eavesdrop on the arrival of Vanessa Kroll, who is leading the FBI investigation of Just What the Fuck Happened Out Here, Guys?! We can tell right away that she Means Business because she asks for a room with doors that close. Shouldn’t this be every room in Kabul station? Anyway, Carrie overhears the whole thing and has a bit of an “oh shit” look on her face, probably because she’s been meeting with Yevgeny in secret for God knows how long and oh! the CIA are thisclose (actually they’re finished, but she doesn’t know that) to learning what was actually said at her meeting with Yevgeny a few days ago.
Despite all of this, Carrie could really use some fresh air, so she hops on her motorcycle. I know it’s a stunt double and not actually Claire Danes riding this thing but IT IS SO BADASS THAT CARRIE JUST KNOWS HOW TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE. And she really does. She weaves in and out of traffic with ease. And she also has to reroute herself several times, which is how we know she’s been to the place she’s going at least a few times before. And where is that? YEVGENY’S PLACE, which would be a cool name for a mid-90s sitcom. Anyhoozles, he opens the door like, “oh, you again?” and she barges right in because—I repeat—they’ve done this before.
Carrie: First things first, this is definitely the beginning of an arrangement, despite what I’m saying now.
Yevgeny: I’m so tall that I’m literally leaning my elbow on this china cabinet.
Carrie: Remember that time you took away my meds and I went totally crazy and then tried to kill myself?
Yevgeny: Yeah, I saved you.
Carrie: Ok, well saving me wasn’t the actual favor. What I’m asking for now is.
Yevgeny: I’m listening.
Carrie: My friend, Max, my ONLY friend, is missing. I think the Taliban have him. I have to save him.
Yevgeny: Damn, I’m surprised you have a friend.
Carrie: I know you have contacts in the Korengal. Can you figure out where he is?
Yevgeny: On one condition!
Carrie: Which is?
Yevgeny: You need to break into the computer room at the CIA and cut off the surveillance over the region, otherwise my contact is gonna get bombed to oblivion right after I call him.
Carrie: First, I’m amused you think I even know how to do something in a computer room. Second, no way!
Yevgeny: Ok, then I can’t help you.
Yevgeny: Look, you came to me. I’m not making you do anything. It’s a phone call, two minutes. All I’m asking for is two minutes.
Carrie: Hey, I said that line once… I can’t fucking believe this is happening to me and I further can’t believe how attracted I am to you right now. I need to take a few steps backward otherwise I don’t know what might happen.
Yevgeny: I’m just gonna lean over here since I know you like when guys lean.
Carrie: FINE. I’LL DO IT. Be ready at 3pm. I hope our watches are synchronized.
Over at the presidential palace, G’ulom is asking Saul and resident hottie Scott Ryan where Haqqani is. He’s convinced the Americans have him. They go back and forth about the 300 Taliban soldiers G’ulom has locked up in a soccer stadium without food or water. He’s gonna murder them all soon, they’re pretty sure. Anyway they all hate each other and Saul doesn’t even have the will to pretend anymore. He straight up accuses G’ulom of crashing both the helicopters so he could become President. Phew! G’ulom says they can both gtfo and they do.
Carrie returns to Kabul station for her interview with Vanessa Kroll, which lasts about 30 seconds and she stops just short of being like, “wait you’re not gonna arrest me now?” Give it time, Carrie. Give it time.
…Because Mike is finally listening to the recording of Carrie’s conversation at the mosque with Yevgeny. And it’s even worse now, mostly out of context, and given that Carrie fully lied on her contact report. Mike says things like “fucking Christ.” Jenna, God bless her, thinks maybe Yevgeny is lying and also totally understands why Carrie would lie about all this. Mike wants to report this up the chain but decides to sit with it a while.
Somewhere in Afghanistan, Max is—thank God!!!!—still alive, asleep on a mattress in some random dude’s house. The Taliban soldier picks up his backpack and takes it into town to sell off some of those Hot American Goodz. But not the flight recorder! No one knows what that weird red box even is for. It’s promptly moved to the back of the shop and put on the junk shelf.
In Kabul, Haqqani remains hidden, also in some random dude’s house. Random dude informs him that G’ulom has a million dollar bounty on his head and if he doesn’t turn himself in he’s gonna murder everyone in the soccer stadium, so Scott Ryan was correct. What a quandary!
HIOHHP is in the Oval Office and Linus has rolled up his sleeves so you know shit is getting real. Saul and Scott inform them that G’ulom is gonna murder all these people without due process, which is totally against their constitution. If that happens, they’ll see a wave of insurgency that will once again completely destabilize the country. Which means more troops. Remember two days ago when we were so close to peace? HIOHHP needs to get on the phone with G’ulom ASAP to make sure this doesn’t happen and he can start by threatening to withhold all aid from them.
He agrees to get on the phone and then has a highly hilarious exchange with Linus where they say the word “G’ulom” over and over and fuck, this show is funny again!
The phone call, however, is a bust. HIOHHP plays right into G’ulom’s hand. He says things like “no” when he really means “yes” and just repeats Saul’s talking points, only less coherently, and by the end G’ulom gets him to agree that they gotta murder all these Taliban soldiers immediately since it will be a defining ~presidential moment~. Linus nearly falls out of his chair. Bet Elizabeth Keane is looking pretty great now, huh? I hope she’s enjoying an extended Caribbean vacation.
It is 14:52 which means Carrie has eight minutes until she needs to do something with computers. Jenna attempts to follow her, but Carrie catches on. Jenna is actually inches away from Carrie’s door when she opens it, asks smartly if she needs anything, before Jenna makes up a lie so bad Carrie could have come up with it. I am starting to feel badly for Jenna because she cannot do literally anything she’s supposed to.
Carrie makes her way to the computer room and once again we are treated to some high comedy. She gets Lonnie to print something for her and purposely causes a paper jam in the computer. Lonnie remains Totally Over It but Carrie causes just enough of a diversion to cut off the surveillance to the Korengal region. I know what you’re thinking: this is so unbelievable! The wires would never be out in the open, unlocked, where just anyone could disconnect them. Unfortunately, I totally believe this is how the CIA operates. And also, Carrie could never do something with a computer! On that point, you are right. Anyway, two minutes pass and she reconnects the wire and gets her stack of paper so it was a pretty good day for Carrie!
Oh wait…. Mike decides to bring his concerns to Saul. Carrie and Yevgeny have met, he recorded their conversation, she fully lied about what they said, and it’s all Very Concerning and he thinks that Carrie may have unwittingly helped Yevgeny assassinate Beau! Saul very evenly says “I am going to have to listen to that tape.”
Haqqani decides that he will turn himself in, only to the Americans, not to G’ulom. Because then he’ll get a trial, and everything always turns out cool when you trust the Americans. He must not know Saul’s not running this dealio anymore. Everyone looks at him like he’s crazy and I must stress that this show making me feel badly for Haissam Haqqani is messing with me.
Later, Saul, having just listened to The Tape, knocks on Carrie’s door.
Saul: Let me cut to the chase. What the fuck’s going on with you and Yevgeny?
Carrie: Did Mike brainwash you?
Saul: Just answer me.
Carrie: Lies, lies, lies, more lies.
Saul: I know you just said lies. I heard the tape.
Carrie: Fuck, the tape. You heard all of it?
Saul: Yes. Look, this is all my fault.
Carrie: Yeah, I know. Wait, how…?
Saul: It was my idea to bring you here and now look what’s happened.
Carrie: Jesus, can we stop talking like I’m a child?
Saul: No we cannot! Look, here are the facts. You had a relationship with Yevgeny complicated enough to lie about. We’ve literally been here before. Secondly, he saved your life. Even you would feel indebted to him an eensy bit.
Carrie: Ok when you put it that way, it sounds really bad.
Saul: You told him about Franny. That you thought you were a danger to her. Is that true?
Carrie: Goddammit, Saul, you know that’s my trigger…
Saul: You never told me these things! How can we be in a codependent relationship if you keep from me things that you know I would absolutely judge you for?
Carrie: I’m still putting the pieces together. I’m not trying to be evasive, I literally don’t remember everything.
Saul: Yeah, that’s why you have to leave, pronto. Back to Germany. Say hi to Otto for me.
Carrie: Absolutely not, I can’t leave Max behind. I sent him here. I mean, actually you did, but I have a thing where I feel guilty about things that aren’t really my fault.
Saul: CARRIE, PLEASE JESUS. You look guilty AS FUCK. You talked Warner into coming here. You knew for an hour after meeting him where he was going. That’s enough time to make a phone call!
Carrie: This is bullshit.
Saul: Of course it’s bullshit, but the FBI needs a scapegoat and baby, you’re it!
Carrie: Idgaf. Doing everything we can to find Max means keeping me here because Yevgeny has a lead, I just talked to him. Let me call him back!
Saul: I want… to take a nap.
It’s… a devastating, climactic scene. In the way Saul pleads with Carrie, and she pleads back with him. So layered in all they’ve gone through the last seven seasons and beyond…
He thinks Yevgeny is trying to recruit her, just telling her what she wants to hear. She says that’s not what’s happening. They’re at an impasse and Saul finally just tells her she’s getting on that fucking plane to Germany willingly or in handcuffs. (There’s a third option he doesn’t yet know about.)
Thirty minutes later, Carrie does have her shit and is ready to leave. She smiles at Saul, which is how he should have known something was up. She gets in the car and, would ya look at that! Haqqani is surrendering himself in front of the embassy at this exact moment! Guess we’ll see where that ends up.
Elsewhere, Max has finally woken up. No he’s not ok. He was just shot! But his backpack is gone and he needs it back. The flight recorder! Cut to a long procession of donkeys carrying cargo through a mountainous valley. They have all sorts of stuff strapped to their backs including one red flight recorder! And the Emmy for Best Comedy Series goes to… Homeland!! Much applause!!
At the airport, Carrie wishes Jenna good luck, which is Carrie code for “fuck you and lose my number.” She scans her boarding pass and goes onto the jetway with the other passengers. Jenna continues her string of having one fucking job and failing at it because she departs soon after.
Right on cue, Carrie activates the aforementioned third option and makes a sharp right turn off that jetway, down a staircase, out onto the road below. and into the car of Yevgeny, ever punctual. He gives her a look like “damn I missed you,” before they both speed off.