A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
A flash of light is what Etai Luskin believes will be the final image of Israel, the image wrought forth by what is in his mind the inevitable Iranian nuclear bomb. Etai’s belief is tied to his reality, the reality that is in front of him and the one he sees regardless of the perspective that is placed in front of him. In that vein, Etai is no different than everyone around him who sees exactly what they want to see. The reality, as Majid Javadi explains in no uncertain terms, is significantly more complicated but that won’t matter. No matter what the exact nature of the truth before them is, he tersely notes that half of America will believe the theory of Iran’s evil pursuit of nuclear weapons and that half of Iran will chant “death to America.” People will see, in essence, what they want to see and in some cases what they need to see in order to keep their version of reality alive. Saul, taken in multiple directions by individuals in secretive vehicles (which surely comes with a diminutive amount of surprise at this juncture), finds that to be the case yet again. His sister continues to keep the appearance of Luskin’s flash of light alive in her mind, her thorough conviction that the Israeli settlements were the road to peace blinding her to the reality that it isn’t. She knows quite adroitly that Saul disagrees, but she stands up for him regardless when Luskin comes knocking at their door. Her loyalty to her scant-seen brother is worth more than her loyalty to the state of Israel, even if he does, as she notes with a notable bitterness, that he came to visit her after twelve years as a cover for his work. And what work that is. Javadi, a surprise return from season three but a logical one considering where the story is going, is asked to investigate whether or not Iran is actually cheating on its nuclear deal. Javadi, the criminal with a wry grasp on human behavior notes that the reality is largely irrelevant. Saul, being Saul, is adamant that the truth in fact means something.
Javadi’s point isn’t just relevant to the aforementioned geopolitical and social realities. Sure, it may be a tad bit too cynical to apply such generalities to entire populaces, but the underlying point is driven home in an episode that has an understanding of the byzantine nature of the intelligence work at hand and how it does and doesn’t reflect the truth and society at large. Dar Adal sees the dimming of the CIA as the proverbial flash of light, one that is sure to come if he doesn’t succeed in either driving President-elect Keane into irrelevancy or into the corner of where he believes the CIA ought to stand. He tries the former, tipping the press off to his certain belief that Iran is cheating on the nuclear deal while noting that the President-elect has what he considers to be “too soft” of an approach in dealing with Tehran. Keane, for her note, refuses to be cowered, shutting Dar down with a trite note that she wasn’t going to have American ships sail into the Strait of Hormuz because he was trying to sabotage her foreign policy before it even came into effect. It’s a temporary measure, but Keane is savvy in her own way, her flash of light being that irrelevancy Dar in part desires for her. Having Carrie as a friend and adviser, she assumes, has to have more benefits than bugged conversations in a restaurant (not that Keane is aware of the bugging) and Keane approaches Carrie with the desire to shut Dar Adal down. Carrie is taken aback by the suggestion, rightfully noting that her decision to leave the agency came with certain strings attached and even though she was by no means a friend of Dar Adal’s, at points he had her back when she was a field agent. Then Keane maneuvers to tap into that vision of the world where Carrie has access to power, the power to make the world a better place, a place where the horrors Carrie saw and the ones she inflicted could become a vestige of the past. “What’s the point of being in power if you can’t correct things?” she notes quietly.
The position of power brings with it its own set of realities, ones that in this political climate seem to be as bizarre as if an episode of The Twilight Zone had come to life in an unironic fashion. Keane is at the cusp of being in power, but before she sits in that position, a variety of realities are presented before her with each of them promising an equivalence of destruction and reward. Carrie sees the world in which she could continue to achieve penance for her sins, penance that sets Sekou free for the moment until the end of the episode, when the mystery Quinn had been eyeing is seemingly tied to the explosion that ends Sekou’s life. Sekou sees the world in a much more different lens than Carrie does, their conversation about the meaning of 9/11 carrying tremendous weight as Homeland goes back to the original moment that had galvanized Carrie. Sekou sees a foreign policy that is tremendously destrucyive and if the images he sets up links to offend people, then as far as he’s concerned, he’s achieving the reaction he wants. America, as Carrie notes astutely, went batshit crazy after the terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center and considering her role in the intelligence community, she has a specific insight into how that insanity spiraled. But she also notes that the images Sekou puts up do deeply offend her because they’re at times individuals she knew and worked with. There’s hurt here, and a depth of understanding that is going to prove immensely difficult to carry forth. The literal flash of light ends the vision of the world Sekou had seen but it just as importantly gives life to the vision of the world Dar Adal and the individuals who think like him see. Dar Adal’s vision was one that, as Carrie notes in her sharp confrontation with the man, lasted for fifty years and had achieved absolutely nothing substantial in terms of progress. As the dark plumes of smoke rise into the New York City skyline, it’s a vision that is perched at the precipice of achieving more power and blinding any other visions that stand before it.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“Your flight was cancelled.”
+“This whole country went stupid crazy after 9/11 and no one knows that better than I do.”
+“You fuck with us, we fuck with you.”
Episode Title: A Flash of Light
Written by: Patrick Harbinson
Directed by: Lesli Linka Glatter
Image Courtesy: EW
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Syrian Refugee/Refugee Crises
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