As we saw in last night's fraught closing scene, Carrie was completely shaken by the whole thing, and by her increasingly strange and complicated relationship with Brody. Is he flipped asset or old lover turned potential new lover? Is he a double-agent or a triple-agent? The uncertainty appears to be quickly eroding Carrie's mental stability, and now on top of her own psychological burdens she's got a half-dozen dead agents and a seemingly very committed terrorist cell planning on doing something with a big box full of something. The scenes-from-the-next clip suggested that there was C-4 in the chest, but who knows. That seems too obvious somehow? Whatever was inside the box (Gwyneth Paltrow's head?), the increasing villainization of VP kid Finn has us more convinced that he's somehow the ultimate target. (VP kills Nazir's son, Nazir kills VP's son.) If he's not, this ongoing hit-and-run plot is even more irksome than previously thought. But yes, mass carnage on Homeland, a show that tends to shy away from such things. The stakes feel suddenly raised, but hopefully the bloodshed doesn't spell an escalation to 24-style action.
Boardwalk Empire has upped the body count this season to mostly striking effect, but perhaps went a bit over the line last night with the big, booming bombing of Babette's on the boardwalk. That the attack, presumably done by Bobby Cannavale's Gyp Rosetti as a way of snuffing out both Nucky and Arnold Rothstein, was instigated by Gretchen Mol's grieving/crazy madame was sensational enough, but the grandness of it, and that it wiped out burgeoning starlet Billie Kent as collateral damage, pushes it nearly into action-melodrama territory. Is Gyp really so bold as to blow up an entire club? It's an awfully messy and attention-grabbing way to do the thing, after all. Though we suppose Gyp hasn't been the most discreet guy during his run on the show, so maybe this is simply another example of his brash and possibly psychotic M.O.
Of course he didn't actually get Nucky; some boardwalk oaf accosted our hero before he could walk into Babette's, sparing Nucky but dooming Billie, who was told to go on ahead lest she suffer the advances of said oaf. So we'd guess that Nucky will be dealing with some form of guilt or anxiety over that, which could either prove compelling — Nucky rarely shows much weakness, after all — or frustrating. Characters lashing out from grief or guilt, the whole he's-out-of-control type of arc, is a pretty well-worn trope on these kinds of shows, so I don't particularly relish the idea of this otherwise deft and swiftly moving season being saddled with all that heavy psychology. And Billie, as annoying as she could be, will be missed. Getting a glimpse into the roaring era of showbiz was pretty fun, but I suppose her run had to end sometime. And like any good actress, she at least when out with a bang. What this means for Tracy Middendorf, the long-ago 90210 actress who pops up occasionally as Babette, we don't know. But it's worrisome. Also troubling in a contemporary sense was seeing a Jersey Shore boardwalk violently destroyed, but that's just tragic coincidence.