‘Homeland’ recap: Carrie takes control of besieged CIA station

Episode 403
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) sneaks out of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to meet with a covert squad she’s forming on “Homeland.”
(Joe Alblas / Showtime)

By threatening to expose treasonous acts of CIA Director Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts), Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) regains her frontline position in the war on terror.

But in assuming command of the troubled CIA station in Islamabad, she finds herself in lockdown with a staff she doesn’t trust on Showtime’s “Homeland.”

The title of Episode 403, “Shalwar Kameez,” refers to pajama-like clothing worn in Pakistan. Carrie dons this traditional attire to appear less conspicuous when sneaking out of the U.S. Embassy in defiance of Ambassador Martha Boyd (Laila Robins).

Carrie makes a secret rendezvous with two people she can trust. They are surveillance expert Max (Maury Sterling) and CIA analyst Fara Sharazi (Nazanin Boniadi), who’s honing an accent so she can pose as a British journalist.


Fara is tasked with befriending medical student Aayan Ibrahim (Suraj Sharma), the only survivor of a U.S. airstrike that killed a terrorist along with 40 innocent victims at a wedding party.

Outrage over the fiasco plunged American relations with Pakistan to their lowest level since the Osama bin Laden raid in Abbottabad.

“It is a seduction,” Carrie tells Fara, urging her to make physical contact with Aayan. The goal is arranging a follow-up meeting.

But Aayan resists Fara’s beauty and charm out of fear for his safety. He’s been warned, possibly by Pakistan’s ruthless Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, to keep quiet about the bombing – or else!


“Even if you are who you say you are, I can’t talk to you,” Aayan tells Fara, emphasizing that he wants to be left alone. This intense reaction indicates that Aayan is a more valuable resource than previously thought.

“The fact that he’s being told to shut up means he knows something or saw something,” Carrie reasons. Upping the effort to recruit Aayan, Carrie confronts him at a coffee house by pretending to be Fara’s editor.

“You are part of an important story,” Carrie says. “I want to be the one to tell it.”

Does Aayan need protection? Does he want to continue his medical studies in America or England? Carrie can arrange it, she promises.

“You won’t ever see me again if you don’t want to,” she says. “But you should want to – especially if you’re in any kind of danger.”

Aayan could hold the key to uncovering the person who provided targeting information for the disastrous airstrike.

Carrie suspects this “dark asset” revealed the location of terrorists to her predecessor, Sandy Bachman (Corey Stoll), in exchange for top secret information. And because CIA Director Lockhart endorsed this illegal activity, he could go to prison.

This same asset also may have leaked Sandy’s identity to the news media, prompting his murder by a vicious street mob.


Carrie learns more about Sandy’s death when she receives an urgent call from Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who’s suffering from PTSD after conducting 12 years of CIA black ops.

Carrie and Peter attempted to save Sandy from the mob but barely saved themselves. When examining a video of the brutal incident, Peter spots a man in the crowd with an earpiece who coordinated the assault.

“We never had a chance,” Peter insists. “It was premeditated, the whole thing from start to finish.” And the attack bears the mark of an ISI covert action.

“This changes everything,” Carrie exclaims. “This means I really need you now.”

Peter no longer wants to work for the CIA, however, let alone return to dangerous Islamabad.

But Peter may be romantically attracted to Carrie, whom he describes as “the hardest person in the world to say ‘no’ to.”

Looks like Carrie’s secret team just got stronger.

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter