We’re back to getting very little real action on Homeland—on the other hand, there is major payoff from a plotline that I was afraid was going to be forgotten forever.
Previously on Homeland: Saul had suspicions about Nefisi working with Israel before he arrived; he asked for confirmation from another Iranian, Javadi; Carrie asked Quinn to babysit, which naturally ended in him shooting someone and a SWAT team being brought in; Carrie visited Quinn in Bellevue and learned he thought she had betrayed him; Carrie showed Conlin the pictures Quinn had taken of the white terrorist’s van, and he investigated but was shot dead in his house before he could tell her; Carrie caught one glimpse of the terrorist before running away, and kept watch over Franny all night; and Quinn was kidnapped and taken out of Bellevue.
Quinn awakens in a quiet room, his hands uncuffed. He tries to get up, only to fall down, giving the Peter Quinn fangirls a nice view of his black boxer briefs. Astrid comes in to ask Pee-Tah if he’s OK. “They said you’d be out for another twelve hours at least,” she comments. Yes, but didn’t you know, Astrid? He’s Peter Fucking Quinn. He’s magical. He’s superhuman. You can torture him as much as you want and he’ll spring right back up like a little roly-poly toy. Quinn can barely form words, even Astrid’s name, so Astrid sits him back down and explains they’re in Upper Chateaugay, and everything’s going to be fine now. He lies back down and mumbles, “Don’t let me forget. …Carrie said…” and then falls asleep.
At Carrie’s place, Max finishes up installing Carrie’s security system, and Carrie peers anxiously towards the apartment where the watching was coming from. He says he “had eyes” on the building all night, and she says she didn’t sleep either. He starts to press her to call the police, but she sums up everything that’s happened and tells him they’re connected. “I’m worried about you,” he says, that sweetheart. But they’re interrupted by a call from Franny’s school, the principal telling her that there’s someone from Children’s Services here to talk to Franny about what happened at her house two days ago. I can’t believe Franny’s already back at school!
Carrie arrives at the school to find an infuriatingly calm social worker named Christine who explains that she’s required to investigate any situation where a child is harmed—physically or otherwise. In fine Carrie form, Carrie immediately denies that this is in any way a possibility, because it would mess with the everything’s-okay narrative she’s already built around this. “She was upset, naturally. Anyone would be. I was. But we talked the whole thing through. She just wants to get her life back to normal.” Oh, Carrie! Funny how Franny wants exactly what you want, which is to sweep this under the rug so you don’t have to admit how fucked up Quinn is (and at your own hands, by the way).
The social worker explains that Franny is actually traumatized and it’s not safe for her to be back at home. Carrie, for once, keeps hold of her temper and says she disagrees with this, but she’ll do whatever Christine thinks is best and get her out of the house. Christine then has to explain that she’s determined Franny’s at imminent risk, so she’s been taken out of school and put in a home. Now Carrie flips out and yells that Christine has no right. “You cannot just put her in some institution!” she cries. Christine says they could move her to a family member, but apparently Carrie’s sister is in Rome this year, which explains why the nanny has had to take Franny every time there’s a problem. Carrie yells, “This is bullshit!” and people outside the room start to get disturbed, so they agree to go to Christine’s office to continue the disucssion.
Javadi gets off the plane with a group of men and is greeted by a suited young man—the young man who helped Saul out at the CIA a couple episodes ago. He gives Javadi a passport belonging to a “Mr. Karrubi.” He and Javadi share a little bit of a nod or wink as Javadi proceeds through customs. Outside, they’re confronted by a group of anti-Iranian protesters.
Keane is being interviewed on TV explaining why she’s started to talk about her son after all this time. She says it’s because she realized that she was making it seem as if she weren’t proud of her son. Meanwhile, Dar Adal watches from a bar, looking judgmental and sinister, as he tends to do. The story unfolds that as Keane withdrew her support for the Iraq war, she and her son had problems with each other. In the bar, a man joins Dar Adal and comments, “What a cunt.” Lovely. Keane comments that the US has invaded, occupied or bombed 14 countries in the Middle East, as Dar’s friend shows him a photo of Javadi arriving in New York. “Javadi and Saul cannot meet. Otherwise, everything unravels,” he says. Dar, of course, already knows all about this and merely says calmly, “They won’t.”
Saul is getting an update from his ally at the CIA when he’s pulled into a conference room. A woman named Rachel Croft from Counterintelligence asks him to debrief her on the visit to West Bank. Saul plays dumb, saying it was just a visit to his sister. Rachel Croft is not convinced. Saul pulls out his phone to make a call, and she says, “This is awkward, but I need your phone.” It’s to track his movements in the West Bank. Saul realizes he’s being interrogated, but they maintain a veneer of politeness; she takes his phone and hands it off, and Saul looks worriedly at the table in front of him.
At Child Services, Carrie is still trying to talk her way out of the problem, saying that no one understands what really happened. Christine asks her to tell her what happened. “I am a good mother,” is Carrie’s somewhat amusing response. She tells Christine the story, but of course it doesn’t sound great—it didn’t look great watching it either. Oh, she only left Franny with Quinn for ten minutes, and sure, he has some problems that may include psychological issues, but he is a totally qualified babysitter, and also, he was in a separate apartment, that was locked, until she left Franny with him that is! You have to give it to the infuriatingly calm social worker; she manages to break through Carrie’s self-deception with a few well-worded, calm questions, which almost no one can do. At one point, she asks, “Do you think Franny felt safe?” “I’m sure she was frightened,” Carrie says, as if avoiding the word safe or unsafe will make it irrelevant. “But she’s a strong girl.” Christine just stares at her, and Carrie slowly realizes she’s doing badly here. Finally Christine says that Franny told her she thought she was going to die that day. Shocked, Carrie bursts into tears and asks when she can see her. They’re going to get the case before a judge tomorrow. “Now, do you have a lawyer?” she says, which is a little bit of an obnoxious question, like why would Carrie have a lawyer when she didn’t even know this was happening until an hour ago?
Back at the safe house where Astrid has Quinn—which looks EXACTLY like the safe house where Carrie once took Brody for their secret sex weekend—Astrid realizes Quinn has left the house and jumps in her car. Down the road, she finds Quinn, holding out his thumb because he doesn’t realize it’s her. Oh, Quinn!
He refuses to get in the car with her, but Astrid explains that Dar Adal made a deal, that he had to keep quiet and stay up here if he was going to go free. Otherwise he’s a national security risk. And you know, he shot someone. Quinn, whose agitation is making his aphasia worse, cries that he did it “in the… the… safe place.” Then he explains “That they were coming for me.” She asks who. “The people,” he answers. Poor Astrid has a very human reaction—she asks what people, trying to contain inappropriate laughter. I mean, he sounds unhinged. I’d probably laugh inappropriately too. He finally gets out that it’s the people who built the bomb.
Astrid still doesn’t get it, but just then a truck comes down the road, so Quinn ditches Astrid to try to get a ride. The driver, a ruddy-faced salt-of-the-earth type, seems up for it at first but then Astrid shows up to say that her husband isn’t well. Quinn then, hilariously, says not to listen to her because she’s not his wife, she’s “a German spy woman” who has him trapped. Astrid says he’s off his meds. And, you know, between the agitated guy claiming with slurred words that the woman next to him is a German spy, and the put-together woman who says that her husband’s off his meds, who would you believe? The truck driver makes his excuses and speeds away, leaving a frustrated Quinn in the road.
Javadi is chilling in a pool with a way-too-young-for-him woman in a bikini nearby, when a man in a suit arrives. Unclear who he is, but this is clearly bad news for Javadi. His exit is observed by a man across the street in a car: our friend, the guy with the black hat who almost killed Carrie last week. He calls Dar Fucking Adal and says, “We got him.” Yup! Dar Adal is working with the white terrorist!
Saul’s still being interrogated when Dar Adal busts in to play Good Cop, acts like he just found out this was happening, and kicks a petulant Rachel out of the room. Saul is, finally, getting wise to these maneuvers. He knows this wouldn’t have happened without Dar’s blessing. Dar still plays innocent, and Saul looks him in the eye dubiously for a long moment before asking Dar for his phone back. Poor Saul. If you’re going to be that trusting of your friends, maybe don’t be friends with Dar Adal.
Reda and Carrie meet at a diner, and he tells her Franny’s being moved to a private home. “She has a home,” says Carrie. Real productive. She thinks Franny must be freaking out, but Reda says it’s just one night, and they have court tomorrow afternoon. Carrie says she can’t let this happen, and Reda says gently that she has no choice, and the caseworkers are just trying to protect Franny, which is their job.
Javadi is brought to an empty room by his captors, who are apparently from Iran. He apologizes for not telling them he was coming to New York, but they just whip out a gun and sit him down and tape his wrists to the table. A man, Naser, arrives and reprimands Javadi for taking this risk. Javadi claims he’s just visiting an asset. Naser says that since he’s spent time in enemy hands, he might well be an enemy. Now he has proof from inside the CIA that Javadi is a traitor. He wants the name of every American agent working in Iran, but Javadi says he doesn’t know anything.
And, uh, I’m going to have to recap just the broad strokes of the next bit, because I had my eyes squeezed shut for most of it. The dude takes out some kind of wrench and legit pulls out one of Javadi’s fingernails. It is ROUGH. Javadi’s still defiant, but someone else arrives and shoots the hell out of the room. He explains his name is Amir, and he served with Javadi in Iraq and admired him for risking his life to get food for his men. “I’ll remember what you’ve done for me today,” Javadi says. Note, however, that he does not say, “And I will return the favor.”
Up at the safe house, Quinn sits on the couch in silence and stares into the distance.
It’s time for Carrie’s court date, and Christine is giving her testimony. She gives Carrie credit for trying to be a more stable mother, but says that her efforts “have been undermined by some… blind spots.” Understatement of the year! Proving Christine’s point, as soon as she brings up Quinn, Carrie interrupts to say “I thought I explained that,” like her defense that he only has psychological issues was so effective. Carrie also argues that Quinn is out of her house. But Christine reveals that Franny woke up to find Carrie asleep in her room with a gun. Reda is horrified. Carrie has to admit she had the gun, and it was loaded, but she won’t cop to being asleep. She says she’s a trained officer, and that the safety was on. No one seems SUPER comforted by any of this.
Carrie can’t really give a good answer as to why she didn’t call the police if she feared for her own safety. The judge asks if she thinks that’s reasonable, and if she thinks she can handle a dangerous situation better than the police. Carrie can’t admit that she thinks there’s a conspiracy against her involving the police, so her answers seem totally empty. Finally Christine pulls out her trump card: Carrie has bipolar disorder, and that her distrust of the police and her claims about threats sound like a manic episode. Oooof. Christine argues that the gun alone meets the definition of imminent risk. The judge agrees and orders psychiatric evaluation for Carrie. Carrie cries and stays at the table alone as Reda promises to go talk to Christine.
Saul is sitting alone at a hockey game, soberly dressed amidst a bunch of jersey-wearing fans, when he’s joined by Amir. “Sure you have the right seat?” he asks. Amir explains he’s sent by Javadi, and Saul seems dubious until Amir mentions, of all things, Brody’s name. Awkward.
Carrie arrives home that night to her empty house, the security system beeping. Looking weary, she stumbles into the kitchen and stares at Franny’s art on the fridge. Then she opens the fridge and sees, nestled in the back, a giftwrapped bottle of wine. She slams the door shut and breathes against the urge for a good long time, until suddenly her discipline breaks and she takes out the bottle, slamming it on the table with the determination of someone who is about to get really drunk.
When Saul arrives at an abandoned lot, Javadi pulls a gun on him and asks who knew he was coming to New York, and who knew they met in the West Bank. Saul says that Dar is the only person who knew for sure, but if Dar wanted to burn Javadi he already would have. Javadi retorts, “Not if he thinks we’re building a bomb in North Korea.” Then he reveals that Nefisi is working with Israel, and he has him on camera admitting that fact. He won’t show it to Saul until Saul promises political asylum, protection, and access to his forty-five million dollars. Saul promises to put him in front of the President-Elect so she can hear from him that Iran isn’t cheating. With the deal struck, Javadi goes back to the car and SHOOTS Amir. What a jerk! “For Christ’s sake,” Saul says, shocked. Javadi answers, “No loose ends. You taught me that, Saul. Come on, help me put him in the trunk.” Wow, Javadi’s one cold fuck.
Dar, in a rather stylish newsboy hat, arrives at the safe house, where Quinn is sitting out by the dock alone. Astrid lets him in. She is starting to doubt that whatever they’re up to was a good idea, but Dar says, “Convincing him was never going to be easy.” Convincing him of what, I wonder? It doesn’t really become entirely clear. Anyway, Dar smiles at Quinn, which is actually scarier than when Dar isn’t smiling. He says Quinn doesn’t usually pity himself, and that’s what impressed him. Quinn points out that actually that wasn’t the first thing, and calls Dar a “dirty old man.” Ewwww. He tells Peter he has to stay here and be looked after by Astrid, otherwise he’ll go to jail or the psych ward.
He asks Quinn why he’s been so anxious to get back to New York, but answers his own question: “It’s Carrie Mathison.” Quinn denies it, but Dar sighs, “The sway she holds over you, and Saul, I’ll never understand.” Quinn impatiently tells Dar to just stop, so Dar narrows his eyes and asks if he knows the whole story of his stay in the hospital. OH NO. I knew Carrie should’ve told Quinn the whole story when she had a chance! Dar, taking a palpable pleasure in destroying Quinn’s last shred of attachment to the rest of humanity, reveals gleefully that Carrie woke him up from a deep coma to get information on a terror cell that was plotting an attack, despite the risks. After a long pause, Quinn asks, “What risks?” Dar answers, “Massive cerebral hemorrhage.” As a parting shot, he says Carrie has been taking care of Quinn all these months out of guilt, not love—and leaves Quinn out there alone to ponder this new information.
Meanwhile, Carrie’s not having a great night herself; deep into the bottle of wine, she’s sitting alone on the floor and crying, Franny’s toy bunny in her lap. Then, suddenly, she gets an idea: she gets up and DRUNK DIALS THE PRESIDENT-ELECT. Even though it’s the middle of the night. And the woman is the next President.
It’s going to be utterly impossible to describe how uncomfortable and embarrassing this scene is. Carrie can barely get through a sentence without crying, as she explains that Franny’s in foster care and she can’t find her. Keane takes off her glasses, alarmed, and says she’s sorry. Carrie asks her if she can use her contacts to help Carrie. Keane stands and says sharply, “I can’t use the office of the President to solve a personal problem.” Carrie bursts into tears and screams that her daughter’s in a stranger’s house. Then Keane says, “Have you been drinking?” Carrie denies it, which is futile since she’s crying wildly and saying absurd things. She even brings up Keane’s dead son, which is such a huge, embarrassing, rude mistake. That’s what finally wakes her up to the fact that she’s gone too far. She starts to apologize but Keane, looking massively disappointed in Carrie, says she can’t help her and has to go. Yikes.
At the office of CPS, Christine has called someone unnamed to say that Franny is out of Carrie’s house. It turns out to be Dar Adal, who gave her the tip in the first place. He thanks her for letting him know and hangs up, looking quite satisfied with himself over how much progress he’s making in his secret evil plan to make Carrie’s life hell.
So: yeah. Finally Quinn finds out the real story that Carrie had every chance to tell him and didn’t. How fitting that it happens in an episode that highlights Carrie’s pathological ability to twist reality in her own mind in order to self-justify the morally ambivalent choices she makes.
Though I find this show more entertaining when it has more action and suspense in it, in my opinion the most compelling part of it will always be the multi-layered character of Carrie Mathison, whose flaws are on full display in this episode. She sends Franny back to school two days after this horrible event, completely unaware of the danger and trauma to which she has exposed her kid, because she doesn’t want to be aware. So it’s fitting that she would never be the one to tell Quinn what she did to him; she has probably managed to convince herself that her act was irrelevant. If Quinn never experiences self-pity, Carrie is only too susceptible to it; that last excruciating scene where she gets drunk and attempts to use her connection to the President-Elect in such a horrifyingly inappropriate way, is nothing but self-pity at its heart. In that sense, it’s a really great episode.
The reveal that Dar Adal is full-on working with the white terrorist who exploded Sekou’s van is also interesting. We knew he was plotting, but I was somewhat surprised to realize his plot and the truck bomb plot were one and the same. Excited to see where it goes next!