Spoilers ahead for Season 3, Episode 9, "One Last Time."
Saul’s grand plan, we learned tonight, goes like this: Maneuver a double agent into the high ranks of Iran’s intelligence force, and then use another infiltrator to “take out” the leader of that intelligence force so that the double agent takes his place.
There’s something … familiar here. Saul has risen to the top spot in America’s intelligence force because everyone above him was “taken out” by an infiltrator. Were one inclined to believe Saul to be a mole, this plot of his might smack of revenge, of a symmetrical redemption bid.
Of course, Saul probably isn’t a mole. Towards the end of last season, showrunner Alex Gansa tamped down suspicions to the contrary in fairly clear terms, calling it “strange that people were convinced he was the traitor.”
What’s actually happening is more disconcerting. Thats because there’s something else familiar about Saul's scheme: It falls in line with the CIA’s long and often ugly history of covert regime-change efforts. Given the show's interest in scrutinizing and showing the unintended consequences of foreign-policy maneuvering, this is probably meant to be worrisome. As America has learned before in Iran, contra Saul's rhetoric, lasting peace isn’t attained merely by replacing the high-level leaders you don’t like.