(Spoilers ahead for those not up to date on Homeland. A little harmless speculation as well — with no inside-info.)

My Homeland recaps over on HappyNiceTimePeople are Mystery Science Theater. I watch the show while cracking wise, always trying to keep it upbeat and affectionate. But I’m bothered by this whole Mira/Alan thing, and not just because it’s another distraction that might not lead anywhere.

Let’s go to the calculators. The Langley bombing happened 12/12/12. It’s now around ninety days later – March 2013. Saul and Mira have been married 35 years, since 1978. If Mira is the same age as Sarita Choudhury, the actress who plays her, she would have been twelve when they married. Given that Saul, as far as we know, did not buy her from a village elder, it’s likely that Mira is older than Choudhury, making her around fifty-five.

Sarita Chaudhury is hot. She is smoking hot, and if she were fifty-five and looked exactly as she does now, that wouldn’t detract from her smokiness.

Mira’s French boytoy, Alan Bernard, is played by William Abadie. I can’t find a year of birth for Abadie anywhere on the Internet, and I’m sure that’s not accidental. But as Margo Channing said of her fiance, “He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he’ll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.” Abadie looks closer to forty, but the statement is otherwise applicable to him.

So what we’ve got is Mira – a woman in her mid-fifties with Alan a younger, very handsome man. He comes to DC, presumably to rekindle the affair they started in Mumbai, but it turns out he has a hidden agenda.

Do the writers think it’s so unlikely that the studly Alan could fall for a post-menopausal woman like Mira, even if she looks like she’s still in her early forties and could pass for a Bollywood movie star? Why must Mira be the recipient of this cruel fate? Why is this woman made to seem both disloyal – to her passive-aggressive, emotionally withholding husband – and foolish?

In Hollywood, older women on television and in the movies are not allowed to have sex with men even only a few years younger than their characters – without their being portrayed as oversexed and aggressive (cougars) or naïve and gullible (dupes). In either case there’s often a daughter the giglio is trying to get close to, or a large bank account.

People in Hollywood may think this is the way the world works, but there really are men in their forties happily shtupping women in their fifities just because they’re hot. Hollywood accepts pairing its withered leading men with women twenty, thirty, or even forty years younger, but if there’s an older woman/younger man romance — involving a much smaller age gap — it won’t work out, and there’s even a good chance he’ll be telling her how repulsive he actually finds her by the last reel.

Granted, the intention here might not have been to make Mira look stupid. It’s a spy show and why bring in a love interest if it doesn’t relate to the main story? Besides they’d already wasted enough time on Dana. But I wish that if Mira were going to be set up, they’d made the boyfriend closer to her character’s age, not because I think Mira’s romance with Alan seems unlikely, but because the writers clearly do.

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As for speculation and what I think is up, here’s the scenario I suspect: Alan and Mira started what was for him a casual affair in Mumbai and what for her was sort of a big deal. They were both working for an NGO. He might or might not have known her husband was CIA when they started sleeping together, but he had to know after she went back to Saul after 12/12 and Saul became the acting director. Alan acting out of a combination of opportunism, egoism, and idealism is a wikileaks kind of guy, very interested in living a spy fantasy and saving the world by exposing some CIA master-plan – and/or he’s just in it for the money.

(Comments and discussion most welcome here. But if you’ve had enough spy stuff, and are now in the mood for something different, why not check out this novella for less than a buck?)

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