This week of Homeland may have been one of the most complicated episodes of the second season. “Two Hats” helps us understand why David Estes was so intent on selecting Peter Quinn to run the covert operation, and also what the CIA plans on doing with Brody once the mission is complete and Abu Nazir is captured or killed.
At the start of the episode, Virgil and Max dig up information on the man they know as Peter Quinn. After surveying his home, they quickly realize there’s more to this man than just being a lower-level CIA analyst. While scanning the near-empty apartment, they stumble upon the only book in his place, a copy of Dickens’ Great Expectations (ironic in theme?), which contains one personal item: A picture of a woman holding a newborn in a hospital. This information is enough to convince Saul that he needs to invest some time into the investigation. He quickly does his research on the woman in the photograph and finds out she’s a police officer in Philadelphia. This prompts him to make the trip to meet her and disguise himself as an IRA representative. The woman immediately suspects Saul isn’t who he says he is and refuses to give any information on the father of her child. Saul now refers to Peter Quinn as “John X.”
With Saul’s trip to Philadelphia leading nowhere, John X is now being watched closely by the Virgil and Max team. Later in the episode, he is seen getting on a bus to meet with Dar Adul (F. Murray Abraham), a well-known CIA intelligence operative, who is sure to be critical to the last few episodes of this season. It appears that John X is reporting to him with another operation: Murder Brody once Nazir is killed. This isn’t far-fetched considering that Brody has admitted to working for Nazir. Given the information on this second operation, David Estes isn’t overly interested in delivering on his end of the deal and giving Brody immunity for his crimes—but before we get too far into this storyline, let’s go over a few other important items from this week’s episode.
According to the information Nazir gave Brody, the terrorist cell was planning on attacking a homecoming which 300 soldiers, the vice president and Brody would be attending. The details of the plan weren’t concrete, but it appeared as though it was legitimate. Just before the attack could take place, the FBI rushes in to stop the terrorist force, but there’s only one problem: Abu Nazir wasn’t present. If we are to look to season one for Nazir’s attack styles, it’s that he uses a first attack as a distraction and a second attack as the main event. There’s no reason to believe that isn’t the case here in season two.
With only three episodes left in the season, it’s more than obvious that Saul has pieced together exactly what Quinn is tasked to do. The risk is that if Carrie finds out about Quinn’s involvement, she could derail the entire operation. While Carrie has spent most of her time in season two as an asset to the CIA, she could soon find herself as a liability given her strong feelings towards Brody.