After the Cold War flares up again and the crew gets its hands on some enterprising Russian commandos, Marcus declares, "Now, as Americans, there's no debate about the fate of our POWs" before ordering them taken into humane custody. And in a fit of exasperation familiar to anyone who's ever wished they could knock two world leader's heads together, Marcus takes over the NATO communications system and leaves a Russian minister to explain what he was doing ordering the commando's raid on the island to the American Secretary of Defense, who would like Marcus and his crew back, along with their extremely powerful submarine.
This is governance by wishful thinking, a fantasy cocktail of realpolitik, nuclear deterrence, and human rights with a jaunty tropical cocktail umbrella anchoring all the garnishes together. Andre Braugher is a television actor of the finest caliber, able to convey with the corners of his mouth or a hitched-up forehead what some of his peers would need a canvas 72 feet wide and 53 feet high to show an audience. And it's fun to see him, as Marcus—unrestrained by the laws of the United States, the constraints of its political conventions, or conventional geopolitics—give the better angels of his nature free reign. But watching Braugher play George Washington and everyone else in the large and uneven cast try to keep up with him isn't yet as exciting as seeing the far more consistent cast in Homeland face down the prospect of cataclysmic terrorism.
When we meet up with bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) six months after her bout of electroshock therapy in the second season of Homeland, she's living quietly at home with her sister and father, teaching English to a class of new immigrants, and occasionally keeping an eye on the news. One of her agents, the abused second wife of a Hezbollah commander, resurfaces in Lebanon and asks to speak to Carrie personally, forcing her mentor Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and her former boss at the CIA, David Estes (David Harewood) to ask her to come back into the field. This is a big deal, as she disgraced herself in season one by investigating Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) and was fired from the CIA for accusing him of being a terrorist. Where Marcus has the ability to compel obedience within the chain of command and to force it on the local populace because of his control of overwhelming firepower makes him a stand-alone nuclear power, Saul, David, and Carrie can rely only on trust and relationships that can fracture in an instant.
The single greatest asset they had, whether Estes in particular was ever willing to acknowledge it or not is Carrie's brain. But it has been badly degraded by the circumstances in which she was drummed out of the agency. "It fucked me up, Saul," she tells them midway through their mission. "Being wrong about Brody. It fucked me up. Because I have never been so sure and so wrong. And it's that fact that I still can't get my head around. It makes me unable to trust my own thoughts. Every time I think I see something clearly now, it just disappears." The great cruelty of the damage done to Carrie, of course, is that everything she's been told was wrong was actually correct. Brody did intend to kill Vice President Walden—who now is courting Brody, a Congressman who took his seat in a special election, to join him in on his presidential ticket—and himself. It was Carrie's wild dash to Brody's family that convinced his daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor) to call him at the crucial moment at which he was going to go through with his plan, and it was the need for Carrie's words to Dana not to be true that convinced Brody not to detonate his suicide vest.