Homeland Season 4 Episode 5 Review: “About a Boy”

Homeland 4x05

“About a Boy” is an interesting episode of Homeland. I’m not sure how much I exactly enjoyed the episode itself, but I know that it definitely got me excited for things to come.

One of the best parts of Homeland Season 4 so far is (and this might sound strange) the fact that we don’t know too much about what’s happening right now. We’re five episodes into the season, and all we know is that Haqqani, who is a major terrorist threat, remains alive and that the ISI is trying to cover up the murder of Sandy by any means necessary.

We’re not sure what this people will do in order to protect their secrets and lies, and we’re not even positive that we even know what all of those secrets and lies are yet, which allows for scenes like Saul’s abduction at the airport to be an interesting new development. Do I think Homeland will kill off Saul? Of course not, and they would be stupid to do so. However, the fact that he’s not only back in the field but in danger establishes a new, more personal problem for Carrie and company this season.

And speaking of Carrie and personal problems, our favorite erratic CIA agent finds herself opening about her deepest issues to Aayan in “About a Boy.” While Carrie partly tells him about Brody in order to help gain his attention and trust, she’s also doing so because Aayan is probably the only person that Carrie knows who has no idea who Brody is and will not judge her for her past.

Although they occur during her operation to turn Aayan into an asset (which is successful, as he tells her the truth about Haqqani being alive in the episode’s closing moments), Carrie’s confession about wanting to marry Brody, along with her fear and trepidation of ever telling their daughter about her father, are real and authentic. They provide us with a glimpse into just how damaged she still is because of losing him. Similarly, Carrie cries while sleeping with Aayan not because she feels badly for using him or taking away any sort of innocence he has, but because she’s reminded of what she no longer has. She no longer has Brody, she no longer has love–she only has her job.

However, what will be left for Carrie when this job is over, and similarly, what will be left for Homeland? While the central mystery of this season has been incredibly strong so far, I’m more worried about the character relationships of Season 4, especially the one between Carrie and Quinn, which seems to be hitting the same emotional beats over and over again. Carrie does something questionable. Quinn disapproves. They argue. Carrie wonders if it’s all about something else (aka Quinn’s possible feelings for her). He remains silent. Rinse, wash, repeat.

And maybe that’s why “About a Boy” left me feeling both optimistic and worried about Homeland after a promising start to Season 4. I’m hoping that potential storylines, such as Saul’s capture and ISI learning about Carrie’s daughter or medication, will allow the show to incorporate more character moments into its central conspiracy plot. Because without them right now, all this action and suspense feels a little hollow.

Other thoughts:

– One thing I didn’t mention in my review that I’m really happy about: Fara’s upgraded and more vital role in both the series and Carrie’s operation. I’m just hoping it doesn’t lead to something bad happening to her.

– I wonder if Carrie will blame herself for Saul’s capture since she wasn’t answering her phone when he was tracking Farhad Ghazi or when Quinn wanted the drone to follow Haqqani’s guy, who ended up having Saul in his trunk.

– Still not heavily invested in the Dennis Boyd plot just yet, even though I know he’s probably essential to figure out what exactly happened with Sandy. Here’s hoping things escalate with that story in the coming weeks.

– Sorry again about the lateness of this review. With Boardwalk Empire airing its series finale last night, I’ll no longer have any time conflicts with Homeland, so expect the rest of this season’s reviews to be posted a lot sooner after the episode ends.

What did everyone else think about last night’s episode of Homeland?

Photo via Showtime

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