Dec 08 2014

Homeland – “13 Hours in Islamabad” Retrospective. The Body Count.


Season 4, Episode 10

Air Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014, 9:00 pm ET/PT on Showtime



I’m in the vault with CIA Director Lockhart. He was at the station when it was overrun. Yes, we’re under attack. What the hell do you think I’ve been saying? We’ve had heavily armed firers in the compound…gunfire, casualties. We need your immediate help!” – Ambassador Martha Boyd

Saul and Carrie make it out; John Redmond (Michael O'Keefe) doesn't fare quite so well.

Saul and Carrie make it out; John Redmond (Michael O’Keefe) doesn’t fare quite so well.

With Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) motorcade taking on fire, and Haqqani (Numan Acar) and his thugs headed to the U.S. Embassy in last week’s episode, “There’s Something Else Going On,” all hell breaks loose in this week’s installment of Homeland. As Carrie and Saul are trapped at the bombsite, Haqqani storms the embassy under the pretext of trying to wipe out all the Americans who have invaded his country.

From the moment “13 Hours in Islamabad” begins, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. To say this episode is tension-filled is putting it mildly. The first half hour is pulse pounding, with non-stop action, while the remaining 15 minutes (yes, that’s right; the episode is only 45 minutes long) deal with the emotional reactions to what happened.

Even though Lockhart gives Haqqani the list he wants, Haqqani carries through on his threat.

Even though Lockhart gives Haqqani the list he wants, Haqqani carries through on his threat.

Watching Haqqani kill innocent people inside the embassy not only is heartbreaking, it makes me angry. Although I think I stopped breathing when Haqqani holds a machete to Fara’s (Nazanin Boniadi) throat, threatening to kill her if CIA Director Lockhart (Tracy Letts) doesn’t give him the information he wants. What a spot for Lockhart to be in. As Ambassador Martha Boyd (Laila Robins) succinctly points out, Haqqani is probably going to kill Fara anyway. But what neither Martha nor Lockhart know is how much Haqqani hates Fara for working with the Americans.

With the majority of marines away from the embassy, trying to protect Carrie and Saul at the bombsite, Quinn (Rupert Friend) and only one marine remain, doing their best to safeguard the others. I don’t know about you but I shouted a huge cheer when Quinn shoots Haqqani. Too bad it’s not a fatal shot.

What a travesty!

What a travesty!

With Carrie and Max (Maury Sterling) sitting on the embassy steps looking at all the body bags, particularly Fara’s, you can tell how hopeless Max feels that he couldn’t protect her. Fara was more than a co-worker; she was Max’s friend. He chides Carrie for never telling Fara what a good job she was doing, explaining how much Fara looked up to Carrie. What a heart-wrenching scene as the two bond over Fara’s senseless death.

I’m not sure who I despise more, Martha or her husband Dennis (Mark Moses). He is a coward of the utmost kind, asking her to give him her belt so he can hang himself. He is the one responsible for everything that has happened since the beginning of season four, and now he wants to take the “easy” way out? And Martha, she’s no better in that she shouldn’t even be considering his request. Dennis should be handled like any other person who commits treason. I’d love to see him rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life. But Martha is all about Martha; she is only concerned about herself and her career. Should Dennis be sent back to America, her ability and her role as an ambassador would be called into question. They both make me sick. Don’t you just love the look on Martha’s face when she sees Dennis in one the cars headed to the airport the next morning? It’s like her life is flashing before her very eyes.

Saul already feels responsible so Quinn asking him questions he can't answer makes it even worse for Saul.

Saul already feels responsible so Quinn asking him questions he can’t answer makes it even worse for Saul.

Saul is the key to locating him before he is smuggled out of Islamabad.” That may be true, Quinn, but how do you expect Saul to tell you things he doesn’t know? Once again, kudos to Patinkin; his acting prowess makes it so easy to feel his frustration at not being able to answer Quinn’s questions, no matter how hard Quinn pushes. It seems to me Quinn is turning into Carrie in “13 Hours in Islamabad” and Carrie is becoming Quinn. I’m not sure I like this role reversal although it may be necessary.

The most emotional and poignant scenes of “13 Hours in Islamabad” happen in the last 15 minutes of the episode. First, Carrie calls Fara’s father to inform him of his daughter’s death. But, before she can get the words out, she breaks down. It has to be one of the hardest calls anyone has to make. That scene is immediately followed by Saul in the shower. He looks beaten, both mentally and physically. The bruises left behind by his ordeal are clearly visible. There are no words, just the steam rising around him and the sound of the water as it hits the tub. As Saul leans into the wall with his head bowed, it’s almost as if he is trying to wash away everything he feels responsible for. I felt so bad for both him and Carrie.

With the state of things, the President orders everyone home post haste. I didn’t think Carrie would agree to leave, but she makes a good point when she tells Quinn, “our diplomatic immunity is gone; our networks are blown; and if you’re right, if Haqqani still is in the capital, he’s being protected by an army of ISI officers. No way we get to him now.” But Quinn isn’t going to go down without a fight; that’s not the kind of man he is. How easily he fools the marine guarding the dead bodies, saying he’s taking pictures to try to identify the terrorists when in reality, he searches for cellphones and any other clues he might find that would help him locate Haqqani. Is Quinn biting off more than he can chew? I understand why Carrie stays behind to help him but I fear for both their lives.


“13 Hours in Islamabad” takes us back to the Homeland we loved in season one—a first-rate action adventure, suspenseful, and thrilling series about terrorists and terrorism. This week’s installment is about as close as you can get to a fictionalized accounting of the 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. It also leads us into 24 territory when Quinn decides to become Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), telling Carrie, “I’m trying to kill the motherfucker who’s trying to kill us!” Carrie feels responsible for bringing Quinn over there, so she has no choice but to stay behind to help him. With only two episodes left, I shudder to think what will happen to our two heroes since they have no backup whatsoever. Next Sunday can’t get here soon enough for me!


What did you think of “13 Hours in Islamabad?” Leave your comments below or hit me up on Twitter @SeasideTV.

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© 2014, Linda. All rights reserved.


Love TV, movies, and books--mostly mysteries, with a good love story thrown in every now and then. I have four adopted dogs who I adore. I love trying new recipes, and enjoy eating what I make. English language perfectionist. Reading in bed, Italian food, warm weather, the beach, all types of games = favs!

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