Except Brody, of course, who finally died at the end of last season, leaving Carrie both mourning his loss and carrying his baby. (His death was sad, but at least we don't have to suffer through any more weird Dana subplots, so, hooray to that.)
She's the bomb.
The new season kicks off with Carrie (Claire Danes) stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, ordering a drone strike on a rural farmhouse in Pakistan, thanks to a tip from colleague Sandy Bachman (played by House of Cards actor Corey Stoll) that a bad guy was inside.
Warning for DVR users: Spoilers ahead!
Did that go well? It did not – at all! They got the bad guy, but also blew up 40-plus civilians who were attending a wedding inside, setting off a political sandstorm, local protests, and – the very messy end of Corey Stoll. Can someone get this guy a better agent already? If you thought his death on House of Cards was yucky, this was downright unwatchable. Oh, and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) was also there for Stoll's demise, so it was nice to see him and Carrie in the hot seat together, just like old times.
Double agent alert?
Good news, though. One young man, Aayan Ibrahim (played by Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma) survived the bombing. He seems like a nice guy, albeit one with a big secret; I get a sense that he might be someone Carrie tries to coerce into being a double field agent for her, but time will tell. Plus, he has every right to hate America right now.
Worst. Mom. Ever.
When Carrie gets booted back to the States over the scandal, she has to suddenly face something much scarier than a mob of pissed-off Pakistanis – her infant daughter Franny, who has red hair, just like Daddy. It's pretty clear from the start that Carrie isn't cut out to be a warm, cuddly mama. (Remember how she behaved when she was pregnant?)
This girl knows terrorists, not tantrums. But lest we forget that she extremely is bipolar and often a danger to herself or others, there is a really spooky scene where she's bathing her kid and for a split second, you really fear for the baby's life. She lives. But you start to want the same thing Carrie wants – to be far, far away from her own kid.
Better Call Saul
Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) and Carrie reunite at Bachman's funeral, and it's clear that the old pals will soon be a working duo again. Jerky CIA director Lockhart (Tracy Letts) has committed an act of treason that Carrie knows about, Saul hates working at a private security company, and Carrie will really need his guidance again now that she's going back to Islamabad, Pakistan, to be the new station chief.
Saul's marriage might suffer again this season because of this, but as long as he and Carrie are together, Mira doesn't really seem to matter much. (Sorry, Mira.)
Homeland season 4 kicked off with a literal bang, and it's safe to say that with Brody and fam out of the picture, the writers can once again concentrate on writing a complex drama based on reality. Because there really is a scary war going on out there – and plenty of bad guys to go after.