'Homeland' Season 8 Episode 8 Review: Deaths and dirty politics turn the story around in a shocker plot twist
Spoilers for 'Homeland' Episode 8 'Thenrody(s)'
Imagine a gut-punch. Better yet, imagine this gut-punch followed by a vicious and decisive uppercut. Or, if that isn't painful enough already, imagine being shot. Shot till you're dead. And, then picture the overwhelming grief that pours itself out.
Threnody means to lament, and if the writers decided to make it plural, then, it's not hard to imagine the s**tstorm that's headed our way. 'Homeland' Season 8's slow-burner pilot is thoroughly justified as the last four episodes have been pacy affairs.
They command attention and blinking comes at a cost. Each season of Showtime's arguably best political thriller has had that one episode where they absolutely go all the way in dropping shockers, except this season has two and we're sure there's more coming.
Deaths and dirty politics form the crux of 'Thenrody(s)' as the series kills two crucial characters without hesitation. Haissam Haqqani (Numan Acar) and Max Piotrowski (Maury Sterling) are the casualties as their lives are snuffed out as simple as a snap.
And the timing is nailed to perfection because none of us see it coming. At least not in Episode 8. In the end, it is their deaths that spawn off a string of moves from the main characters — Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).
For those who follow 'Homeland' since inception and are currently tuning in will know that just about everything goes wrong for the US Government. Blame it on a mix of bad decisions and luck.
Unfortunately for them, Haqqani's death is a sign of a major screw-up while Max's death is about their lack of faith in their most trusted asset.
While the Taliban leader's death was imminent, the most painful part was Max's demise. Shot by Jalal Haqqani, Carrie's friend and go-to man, one of the long-surviving members of the series gets an end that's ... just sad.
We aren't sure how fans will take these deaths, but we're damn right when we say there will be major fan outrage.
For someone who developed a liking for the series and the character a bit late, critiquing this episode is as strenuous and painful as Haqqani himself being shot. However, emotions aside, 'Thendrody(s) is the first part of what will surely be an explosive finale.
To quickly recap the plot, G'ulom's authority and his first move as Afghanistan's President sees him execute Haqqani. And it takes the firing squad a second attempt as he stands up defiant till his last breath.
It can't be helped to see John Zabel, a foreign policy advisor, for all mysterious reasons continue to coax the President to carry on making one bad decision after the other, despite David Wellington's (Linus Roache) pleas.
Max's death can also be directly linked to Zabel has he terms the operative "an adventurer" and the US cannot go saving just about every hostage and the delay results in Max being ruthlessly shot by Jalal.
As far as the Haqqani storyline goes, Jalal also falsely claims he shot down the Presidents' chopper and a clip of this finds its way in President Benjamin's (Sam Trammell) hands. Now the act is simple. Warn Pakistan and threaten to go on a war if they don't capture and handover Jalal.
This move will surely cause some major ramifications. To be honest, it actually does. Saul's attempt to bring Carrie back to Kabul is a complete failure as the delta team plans on taking her back as a prisoner.
This sees her go in pursuit of the Black Box with the Russian operative, Yevgeny Gromov (Costa Ronin). It also remains to be seen how Tasneem Qureishi (Nimrat Kaur) reacts to this news, especially after she and Saul fail to get a stay order on Haqqani's execution.
Zabel's intentions as to why he's pulling these moves are unclear and at this stage, it's easy to suspect G'ulom as the true mastermind behind the death of the President and the chaos.
Framing and executing Haqqani comes in as a convenient act and that's one theory. The other question concerns Yevgeny. Will he be another sacrifice as Carrie and Saul attempt to restore parity? Only time will tell.
'Thenrody(s)' makes us backtrack and take our words back when we called Episode 5 as one of the most audacious episodes yet. And with this sort of a compelling and riveting storyline, it's time to probably look for a word that's better than audacious.
'Homeland' Season 8 airs on Sundays at 9 pm ET on Showtime.