Previously on Homeland: Dar found Carrie at Franny’s playground to warn her that Keane didn’t realize the level of the threat America is facing; Saul accused Farhad Nefisi of breaking the nuclear deal, then met with an Iranian politician to find out if it was true; Quinn saw someone watching Carrie from across the way, and followed him to a parking lot filled with Medina vans; Carrie asked an old friend for a recording of Saad talking to Agent Conlin, and used the recording to get Sekou out of prison; Sekou went to his work driving a Medina van, and it blew up.
So, I’ve been complaining that Homeland wasn’t super exciting this season. Complaint withdrawn! This episode really got the ball rolling. FINALLY.
We open on the set of a television show, “Real. Truth.” A man with a combover almost as bad as the real-life president’s spends about four seconds pretending to be sad about the bomb going off in New York before going back into his growling routine. This, apparently, is the extremist show that Quinn’s been listening to, or at least the horrible voice is the same. His rant basically says that if you are nice to terrorists, you get “BOOM.” Evocative, no? He blames President-Elect Keane for the attack and says, “I won’t take it anymore and I am not alone… if you want a fight, you’ve got one.” Yikes.
A TV displays the news that two people have been killed and six wounded as Keane is ushered to a chopper. Apparently it went off in a business district before working hours, hence the low number of fatalities. Keane is reluctant to get on the chopper and even more reluctant to do so without Rob, but the police force escorting her insists it’s necessary for safety.
Franny and Quinn watch the news in silence. Carrie tries to pull her away, but Franny is mesmerized. Carrie tells her it’s going to be on TV constantly for a long time, and it’s only meant to scare her. She tells Franny that they’re careful, but they’re safe and it’s time to get ready for school. “Is Quinn safe?” asks Franny cutely. Just then Quinn realizes that the van has the same logos as the ones he saw near his friend from across the street. Carrie gets a call and asks him to help Franny get ready for school.
It’s Reda, who tells Carrie that the FBI is at the office with warrants, and that Sekou was in the van. Carrie is utterly horrified, and incredulous. But Reda urges her to get over to Sekou’s house and make sure his mother and sister, who are being interrogated, don’t get themselves in trouble. Carrie protests that she wants to make it a normal day for Franny, but she’s been overly optimistic: Reda duhs that there’s no school anyway.
Upstairs, Franny’s introducing Quinn to all her stuffed animals. He tells her he likes rabbits because there’s a famous one named Peter like him. Carrie witnesses the end of this sweet moment and asks Quinn to watch Franny for forty-five minutes till the nanny gets there. Oh, god. You can already tell this is gonna end badly (although I had no idea how badly it would actually end). Carrie’s like the girl in the horror movie who decides to check out the abandoned house.
Left alone, Quinn gives a bemused look to Franny. This should end GREAT.
The chopper lands in an open field. As soon as Keane gets out, she’s asking about Rob again, and they say they’re working on getting him there slash getting her a phone. This woman really likes her chief of staff.
Carrie arrives at Sekou’s building to find his mother being escorted by the FBI. His mother throws herself into Carrie’s arms, sobbing. Conlin has Sekou’s sister, Simone, on the side and is being a huge jerk, offering to show her security cam footage of Sekou blowing himself up. Carrie pulls Conlin aside, and Conlin is somehow incredulous that Sekou’s lawyer(‘s assistant) would want to protect Sekou’s family, since there might be another bomb coming and Carrie clearly misjudged. He says everyone’s going to want to know how “that shitbag” got released, and he’s going to tell everything, including about Carrie’s recording. She won’t tell him where she got it. He says he at least knows it came from the NSA, and tries to scream at her loud enough to make her do it, which shows he does not know the first thing about Carrie Mathison. She’s near tears, because of Sekou, but she obviously is not going to tell him about the source of the tape.
Back at home, Franny is showing Quinn a little game she has of sliding down the stairs on her butt. He pretends not to get it so she’ll do it over and over again instead of him taking a turn. Just then the doorbell rings, and Quinn opens it thinking it will be Letisha (the nanny) only to find a reporter and a cameraperson demanding information about Carrie and Sekou. Quinn shuts the door, but Franny can hear the questions the reporter is shouting through the glass.
The President-Elect arrives at a safe house, still complaining about not having a phone, a TV, or her staff. An elderly woman offers her water, but she declines.
Carrie’s friend, Roger, emerges from the NSA building and is not particularly thrilled to see Carrie. She reveals that the person he helped to set free was her client, Sekou Bah. He’s shocked to learn that Carrie got him released. Carrie assures him she won’t say where she got it. “It wasn’t from me,” Roger says. She says, “Well, right,” with a wink-wink, thinking he’s lying. He has to clarify that he actually didn’t send her the recording; he filed a contact report and send it up the chain. Carrie ponders this, trying to put together what actually happened.
At home, Quinn and Franny are upstairs, Franny wondering why the reporters are angry. Quinn suddenly says, “You know you’re always safe with me, right?” Franny takes no notice of this, but gets excited to realize Letisha has arrived. She marvels, somewhat naively, at the fact that everyone’s waiting outside even though Carrie’s not there. Just then there’s a knock at the back door. Quinn yells at the persistent reporter, who’s intrepidly made her way to the back door, that Carrie’s not there. When she won’t go away and keeps yelling questions, he pulls her into the house and throws her against the wall, choking her. “OK, sir, you don’t want to talk, I see that now,” she squeaks. He asks her how she found them, and she spills it all and says that someone called the station to alert them that there would be a demonstration here. When she can’t give him any more information, he drags her through the house—with a horrified Letisha watching—and throws her down the front porch stairs into the crowd of reporting.
When he comes back in, poor Letisha is trying to get Franny home with her without upsetting Quinn further. He says he promised Carrie, and Letisha nervously suggests they call Carrie. But he just says, “Not OK,” takes her phone, and removes the sim card from it while Letisha watches in fear. “They’re listening,” he says, but obviously it looks to her like he’s just fucking kidnapping them. Which, actually, he is.
At Keane’s safe house, she’s excited to open the door only to find Dar, instead of her staff. He says smoothly that it’s been tricky, and he’s brought her a supernet-connected phone to speak with people in the White House. He briefs her on the attack, including the fact that Sekou had been in custody. Then, feigning ignorance of Keane’s ties to Carrie, he reveals that she was assisting Sekou and says, “We have no reason to believe she had any foreknowledge of the bombing.” Oh, Dar. Anyway, he says that she needs to keep her head down while they figure out whether the attack was intended for her, since it was close to where she was staying. Before leaving he asks if he can get anything for her, and she repeats that she wants a TV. Dar says he’ll put in a request, which: sure.
Back at Carrie’s, there’s now a full-on demonstration. A young redheaded dude picks up a rock and throws it at the window, breaking it. So Quinn picks up a gun and fires at the guy.
Well. That escalated quickly.
Letisha scoops up Franny, who’s yelling that she wants her mother, both of them freaking out. Quinn says that they have to get out of sight and urges them downstairs. “Nothing better happen to this child,” Letisha whispers to Quinn. He tells them to lock themselves in the bathroom until he says it’s safe, and then stands outside the bathroom with his gun, waiting.
Conlin picks up his phone and Carrie says her recording didn’t come from her source, and that there’s some third party involved, she doesn’t know who. Conlin processes this—and then sees something on the television. He tells her there’s a hostage situation at her house.
By the time Carrie gets back there, Quinn’s standing guard outside the bathroom, and snipers have gathered outside. The police officer in charge tells her the shooter has two hostages and “He shot a man.” Carrie says it was a guy who was throwing rocks, and if he’d wanted to kill the guy he would’ve. Then she tries to play the “U.S. vet suffering from PTSD” card to convince them to pull out. She begs to go in and talk to them, but the cop says that she could end up a third hostage. Carrie tries to explain—evincing a level of faith in the New Quinn that I’m not sure is entirely justified, although in another way, it has to be justified because otherwise she’d have to admit she left her daughter in the hands of someone who can’t be implicitly trusted, and Carrie is not a woman to let reality get in the way of her self-deceit—that Quinn promised to protect her daughter and that’s what he’s doing. “You don’t know that,” the cop says. But Carrie tries to break away from him, yelling for Quinn. She can see a SWAT team running across her roof.
Quinn, too, peering out of the basement entrance, can see what’s going on. As Carrie begs them not to do this because Quinn is a highly trained war fighter, Quinn slides up the stairs just like Franny was doing before. Carrie, who’s been restrained by the cops, watches on the various video feeds in horror. Meanwhile, the SWAT team lets themselves in the skylight on the top floor, as Quinn loads his gun. The first person to get in is immediately caught in Quinn’s chokehold, and Quinn yells for them to back off, pointing a gun at the officer’s head. The mission aborts, and Quinn pulls his captive further into the house.
At the airport, Dar has picked up Saul, who’s mildly surprised. Dar says with his witch-like smile that he thinks Keane’s a little more open. “Open to you?” Saul says drily. “To reality,” says Dar. He brings up Saul’s visit, and admits that he knew all about Etai picking up Saul. Saul asks Dar where he got the intelligence about the supposed cheating on the nuclear deal, and explains the significance of the cigarettes: he found a pack of Nefisi’s brand in the room they used for surveillance, which Nefisi never set foot in. He assumes Masad must have briefed him before Saul arrived, and the whole thing may have been a charade, so he’s waiting for confirmation from Jovani. Poor Saul. He’s so trusting. Dar is so clearly not on his side, he’s like half a minute away from doing an evil cackle and rubbing his hands together.
Quinn’s de-arming his new friend from the SWAT team, who’s trying to bond with him over serving in the military and going through “heavy shit.” Quinn tells him to shut up. Then he sees Franny and Letisha in the doorway. Franny says she wants to leave, but Quinn insists they get back into the bathroom. Everyone tries to convince him until he growls, “Franny, NOW!” and Letisha hurriedly shepherds her back to the bathroom.
Outside, the cop tells Carrie that her friend has a Glock. Carrie, bless her heart, is like, “Then we can agree we don’t want to start a shooting war.” She says she needs to talk to him alone. He says fine, which: I’m so sure.
Carrie walks alone down the street, observing all the snipers in position at various landmarks. She calls Quinn’s name at the basement entrance. There’s no answer, so she tells him she “needs to believe” he’s protecting Franny. He listens in silence inside, looking like he’s trying not to cry. Then Carrie admits that she shouldn’t have left him alone, but she got such a good feeling from seeing him with Franny. So basically this is what it takes to get Carrie Mathison to be honest about her feelings: kidnapping her daughter. Quinn lays down his gun, breathing shakily, as Carrie says she’s going to come in.
She lets herself in to the dark basement and calls Quinn’s name again. He ambushes her from behind, telling her she has to make “them” leave. She pleads that everyone will leave and they want this to end. He says that Franny and Letisha are safe in the bathroom. “And the policeman?” she asks. “He’s not a policeman,” Quinn says, in the grip of what seems to be a delusion. Carrie opens the door to a closet and finds the officer panting, gagged.
Carrie frees him, which means the cops outside now have view of his body cam again. Meanwhile, Quinn says he shouldn’t have let Carrie in here. “We know too much, they’ll never let us go.” He sounds absolutely like he’s in the middle of a psychotic episode. Carrie opens the door to the bathroom, hugs Franny, and gives Letisha her phone to text her boyfriend. She tells Franny there’s been a huge misunderstanding, which: you can say that again. Meanwhile, Quinn shoves the guy onto the couch. Outside, the cops realize that “all three women are out of harm’s way.”
An army of SWAT officers approaches the apartment. Carrie immediately hears it and puts Letisha and Franny in the shower, heads down. Quinn tries to get her back in the bathroom and says, “I told you, they’re not going to let us leave.” Carrie yells at them to back off, and when Quinn insists that they’ve been watching the house, she pleads—taking his face momentarily in her hands—that it’s all a misunderstanding. “No, it’s not,” he says, and holds up his phone with the proof.
Just then the door gets broken down. Carrie screams, “NO!” and tackles Quinn, bringing him down before he can get shot. “Don’t hurt him!” she yells as they take him away. Franny emerges into Carrie’s arms, and Quinn watches them both all the way out.
At her safe house, Keane’s trying to get a hold of Rob Emmons with her safe phone, but he’s not on the list. She yells at the person on the other end, but the phone just gets disconnected. Frustrated, she hangs up—and then hears something from upstairs. Following the noise, she finds—hilariously—the woman who’s been her caretaker at the house, knitting, in front of the “Real Truth” show just as the guy is making a nasty comment about Keane’s “stupid grin.” Awkward.
At home, Franny sleeps as Carrie talks to her in a teary voice, apologizing and promising to make it up to her. Letisha and her boyfriend arrive, and Carrie wakes Franny so they can bring her out to the car. Carrie promises Franny she’s just going to grab some clothes and meet them in an hour.
Wow, Letisha is a dedicated babysitter. She’s taking in a family that’s being targeted by demonstrations, only an hour after being freed from what to her must have appeared to be a day-long hostage ordeal. But of course, Carrie has a habit of expecting, and receiving, immense amounts of generosity from the people in her life.
At the safe house, Keane is watching the fake Fox News with her companion, a dry, angry smile on her face. Her companion is still there. And it’s still super awkward. You have to wonder if Dar is the one who is making it so Keane can’t reach the outside world–keeping her isolated from her staff, from the news, in the hopes of getting her to cave and do everything he says.
Back in the house, Carrie sees Quinn’s phone in a pile of shattered glass. She picks it up and starts flipping through the photos. Whens he gets to the pictures of the van, she zooms in, and takes in a shaky breath.
Then she peeps her head out of the basement entrance. In the dark, silent niht she stares at the shaded window where Quinn said “they” were watching from. Then the shade drops, just an inch, and she sees the shadow of a human being cross the window. It’s totally eerie.