Sarita Choudhury, Mandy Patinkin
Homeland has dropped a number of twists this season, but one of its most recent could potentially strike acting CIA director Saul Berenson very close to home.
Just as Saul (Mandy Patinkin) seemed to be putting back together his marriage with Mira (Sarita Choudhury), the show threw us a curveball. After Mira broke things off with her former lover Alain Bernard (William Abadie), he broke into Saul and Mira's house and planted a bug on their computer. So, is Alain a spy who is using Mira to get intel on Saul's operation or just an obsessed scorned lover? Sunday's episode (9/8c, Showtime) holds the answer.
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"Episode 9 will answer the question of who he is, and Episode 11 will answer how it fits into the greater scheme of things," executive producer Alex Gansa tells TVGuide.com. But regardless of who he is, could this wreck Saul and Mira's relationship once and for all? "Mira really wasn't unfaithful," Gansa says. "She and Saul separated; Saul made it very clear that he was unable to meet her demands on the home front."
But could the unintended professional betrayal be more devastating? "I view Mira as blameless in the affair. She was being used. I think she can be excused for that because she was in Mumbai. She was halfway around the world and not in Saul's life anymore. Her defenses were down. If she was in Washington, D.C., I don't think she would have in a million years gotten involved with anybody else because of the very fact that that could be used against the director of Central Intelligence."
So are Saul and Mira on the road back to happiness? TVGuide.com chatted with Choudhury to discuss her character's true feelings for Saul and the price of being married to the CIA.
At the beginning of the season, Mira came running when Saul needed her. What does that say about their relationship?
Sarita Choudhury: There's so much deep love between them that, when something as big as the bombing at Langley happens, something that is so epic, you do run. Your heart speaks the truth for a minute. Her love for Saul is that true.
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But we learned that she was having an affair. Do you think she began that relationship out of resentment that Saul didn't put up more of a fight for her to stay?
Choudhury: One of the reasons she leaves is because she wants him to stay in his job and not worry about coming home late. She left, in a weird way, to give Saul his freedom. I don't think we premeditate that much in terms of our actions. I don't think it was pre-planned to do anything against Saul, but sometimes someone else does enter your life and maybe remind you of who you are.
When she does get back, the relationship with Saul was still strained. Did that deflate Mira?
Choudhury: [She gave] the energy of coming back and showing Saul that she cares only to find him in this odd slump. And in those early episodes, he wasn't making decisions on any level. That kind of stagnation, for someone like Mira, is almost degrading. She has to go on living her life at that point.
If she left Saul was to free him up, do you think bringing Alain to the states was a way to push Saul out of that slump?
Choudhury: That's interesting. I definitely think his inactiveness creates her activeness. But I don't think on a conscious level, she was with Alain to push Saul into a reaction. I think the frustration led to her just saying, "Someone in this house will make a decision this time."
Well, conscious or not, it did activate Saul. But right away, he has to leave again. Does
Mira think this cycle can ever be broken?
Choudhury: I think part of her could take a plate and throw it across the room and be very dramatic. But then a part was like, "OK, I do know his job, and I can tell on his face he is sad about it." We're having wine. We're relaxing. There's a part of her brain that always works in terms of, "This is his job. Let him go away for the week. Let's hope he calls me every night. Let's hope when he comes back, we're having a laugh again." That's where the change will be.
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And she does decide to break things off with Alain.
Choudhury: It would be hard to try and love Saul and be with another man. When Saul said, "You know what? I was wrong. This does affect me," I think that was enough for her to be like, "Thank you. I am breaking it off." She just needed to know it affected him on any level that she exists and that he would fight for her. That's what she needed to know.
But then of course we find out that Alain has a secret. Is he a spy or just obsessed with Mira?
Choudhury: I can't talk about it, but I can say that is exactly the question they want the audience to be thinking about.
Hypothetically, if he were a spy, how would Mira feel about being used as a pawn?
Choudhury: Mira would probably think, "Fair game." I've been used, and I used. Because she's fully in love with Saul, and on some level she used Alain. I don't think her ego would be hit.
But in the same way that the affair was a betrayal, this could also lead to a huge professional betrayal.
Choudhury: You're right. That is huge. But because it's not something she willfully did, Saul wouldn't blame her. Although it was careless.
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Because Saul has to keep so many secrets, does Mira ever feel like she's genuinely close to Saul?
Choudhury: I think she signed up for it, and she knows it. I think the difference is in the early part of their marriage, they would have fun with intellectual or philosophical ideas. Now, the job itself is so much, what she's fighting for [is,] "You don't have to tell me about your job, but you do have to be present."
Alex has said he wanted this season to be about the cost of intelligence work on the people who do it. What is the cost or impact for Mira as the wife of someone like Saul?
Choudhury: With Homeland, you never know what your story's going to end up being. So I always end up creating a few lies in my head for her that probably will never come to fruition because I know deep in my soul this woman is not a housewife. I think being married to someone like Saul, you have to want that life. She would not be happy with someone who just came home every night. And that's the bigger truth: the same things she gets upset about, she actually fell in love with. It's that double-edged sword.
It seems like Saul has a ticking clock on his time at the CIA.
Choudhury: And I think she might know it more than him, you know? Because he plays everything so fully, he's not thinking of whether this is the end of a career or what he's going to do next. I think she actually is thinking about that for him a little more.
Does Mira hope that perhaps Saul will realize he can step away? Perhaps this relationship can rescue him?
Choudhury: Wow, that would be so beautiful. I think it's going to be part of it. Even in the scene, him making breakfast and just having normal moments at home, I think that's what the hope is. But with Saul you never know. It's kind of unpredictable what he's been doing this season.
Homeland airs Sunday at 9/8c on Showtime.
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