Max, captured at the end of last week’s episode by a Taliban fighter, tries to get away and is shot. But he survives, of course, because he’s Max. He’s relieved of the flight recorder, mind you, which is sold on and last seen on a pack animal heading into the Afghan hills. I mean, how would you even start to try to find it? I think they emit a signal so that they can be found after plane crashes, but I might have completely made that up, and I’m not Googling it.
Carrie, meantime, is concerned that the search for Max isn’t at the top of everyone’s list of priorities, so she reaches out to Yevgeny. He, in turn, says that he’ll make a call to his contacts, but that she’ll need to turn off the CIA’s surveillance for two minutes so that he doesn’t risk burning his source. This isn’t a particularly easy thing to achieve, but after an inspired bit of tradecraft with a photocopier she manages to do it. Even without anyone knowing about that, though, she’s in trouble: her last conversation with Yevgeny has now been transcribed, and it’s clear she completely lied about it. More than that: it was her idea for POTUS to visit Afghanistan in the first place. So was it Carrie who – perhaps inadvertently – leaked the details to the Taliban through Yevgeny? Saul, with the FBI now breathing down his neck, is required to intervene.
Before that, though, he is also required to restrain himself from ripping his own beard out by the roots in fury when he has to provide counsel to the new POTUS, President Idiot. G’ulom has taken advantage of the assassination of the Presidents to take 300 Taliban prisoners, house them in a football stadium, and threaten to kill them unless Haqqani surrenders himself. Saul and Wellington patiently talk Commander-in Chief Idiot through how this is actually a bad idea, how it will revive the Taliban insurgency, how G’ulom should stick to due process, even how to pronounce G’ulom’s name. This all last for at least a minute when Idiot speaks by phone to G’ulom, and is persuaded that, actually, slaughtering hundreds of political prisoners in a stadium might be a good thing.
So everything is about to go very wrong: Haqqani’s missing, the flight recorder which might prove that the Taliban didn’t kill the Presidents is out there somewhere, as is Max, and Carrie’s been having secret meetings with a Russian operative. She pleads her case to Saul, but he takes the view that she has to leave Afghanistan stat and return to Germany: he rushed her back to work, he concedes, way too soon. (I was actually beginning to wonder when and if Carrie’s mental health was going to be referenced again.) She’s escorted to the airport, and almost on to a plane. It’s the “almost” which is, of course, the problem: she ducks through a doorway and down a flight of stairs, where she’s picked up by Yevgeny. It’s another good, solid episode. I’d quite like an outstanding one, though.