Um, wow. I guess we should have all known that Aayan was doomed from the start — he was way too guileless and woodland creature-esque to make it far on a show like Homeland . But still, wow; did that moment in Sunday's episode pack an emotional wallop or what? To see Aayan killed by his uncle, Haissam Haqqani, was nothing short of a gut-punch.
The plan all along was for Aayan to lead the CIA to his uncle and this week, the plan started in earnest. To push Aayan to his uncle, Carrie faked her own capture — and it worked. With no superpowered journalist to help him flee and the "ISI" (aka the CIA in disguise at Carrie's behest) on his tail, he went straight for his uncle... which created something of a moral quandary. Because, as Fara so righteously pointed out, there's no way "the boy" (a term a very guilty Carrie took great umbrage to) could possibly survive being anywhere near the likes of the 500-pound warhead they were planning to drop on Haqqani.
The episode seemed designed to showcase Carrie's moral bankruptcy, and they did so through Aayan. Because as Fara says (and indeed, last week's episode title confirms), Aayan is nothing more than a boy. Everything he does points to that, from near-tearfully telling his ex-girlfriend that he might be falling in love with Carrie to calling Carrie from a payphone mere hours before his death to express both his sincere gratitude and newfound love to, finally, meeting his uncle in a place from his childhood, and acting accordingly — taking his shoes off and picking his way across the stream and sunbathing.
Everything shows us just how innocent Aayan is, and by extension, how corrupt Carrie is. Sure, she can rationalize all she wants (she spitefully told Fara that he's "a grown adult who's been smuggling drugs to jihadists" — and we all know that's a stretch), but when it comes down to it, she's willing to take the shot. When a car ostensibly containing Haqqani pulls up next to Aayan, she instructs the drone controller, "If the target appears, we will take him out."
It's chilling, and up to the last second, everyone (audience included) is praying she'll change her mind. Unfortunately, she doesn't have to— because Haqqani (acting on the intel brought to him by the ever-squirrelly Dennis Boyd) promptly tells Aayan of his lover's deceit and shoots him in the head, making no bones about literally leaving his body in the dust. Try as she might to appear a being of pure rationality, it's Aayan's death that causes Carrie to snap, ordering a hit on friend and mentor Saul Berenson in the process. So while Aayan may be gone, I'm sure we'll be seeing his aftershocks throughout the rest of the season.
Image: David Bloomer/Showtime