Homeland Recap: 6×12 “America First”

OK, I’ll just say it: I am glad this happened. Scroll to the “Conclusion” after the recap for more thoughts.

Previously on Homeland:  Keane declared that the deceptive video of her son was not political speech but just a lie, and reiterated she wasn’t going to back down; Dar Adal, who had been colluding with the entire national security establishment against Keane, told Keane not to go to war with said national security establishment; Quinn told Carrie that a kid was a gift, sometime in an earlier season 5 (which reminds me not only that he has a child, but that he was once a clean-cut, young-looking, clear-spoken guy: how far he’s fallen!); Dar intimidated Carrie into giving up the deposition she was going to give against Dar Adal, using Franny; Quinn smashed Black Hat Dude to a pulp and then declared to Carrie that he (Quinn) was a horrible person with no heart; Max helped Dar find the anti-Keane sockpuppet that Brett O’Keefe and his right-wing internet minions had created in Quinn’s image; Rob told Carrie that there was an incident with the President-Elect and they’d brought in reinforcements; Carrie was about to figure out that something was wrong, when the staging site they were at exploded; and she rushed into Quinn’s arms when she saw he’d survived the blast.

Dar Adal walks through a busy intersection in his kicky newsboy cap, looking mighty pleased with himself, which is of course not unusual for him. He arrives at his favorite fancy restaurant, Orsay, where he’s greeted by an obsequious host who tells him that his guest is waiting for him. And by “guest,” he apparently means “mostly-naked United States Senator that I have strapped to a pole in the refrigerator downstairs.” Said Senator, Elian, is NOT pleased with Dar, but Dar just remarks that it’s ironic, since Elian is so supportive of “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Heh. Dar remarks that establishing trust is more effective than torture in an interrogation, but he already kinda knows Elian, sooo… let’s just say this is more a reprimand for keeping Dar in the dark, than an interrogation. Elian swears at Dar as he walks away, but is quickly distracted by the arrival of the elegant host, who throws a bucket of cold water on him. Yipes.

As rescue workers comb over the bomb site, Carrie calls Rob again to tell him that the evidence in the garage was all destroyed in the explosion, and that the Solicitor General was killed. Rob, in turn, says that Keane hasn’t been briefed because of the mysterious “incident” with her motorcade, and a General McClendon has been brought in as additional security with a team of Deltas. Carrie gets worried and says she’s going to call him back.

Hanging up, she immediately interrupts Quinn as he’s getting medical care (gee, when have I typed that sentence before?!) and asks Quinn the name of the person who was in charge when Quinn was staging operations out of the house. Quinn answers that it was Jamie McClendon, and Carrie puts it all together and says urgently, “We have to go right now.” Quinn asks why, she says she knows where the team was going, he asks where, and she says she’ll tell him in the car. And even before this uninformative exchange is over, Quinn is pulling a jacket around himself, all thought of his own possible injuries forgotten (though he does thank the EMT before he goes, which is sweet), following Carrie to the unknown danger she’s identified.

Side note: That, right there, is the essential portrait of the two of them. It’s not sappy letters and it’s not even half-unspoken confessions of unnamed feelings spoken in darkened surveillance locations. It’s the unquestioning knowledge that the two of them are on the same side when it counts, and that they will always go bravely together into the fray.

At the hotel, a man in camo who is clearly McClendon is discussing the explosion at the staging house with a suited Secret Service type whose name according to iMDB is Agent Thoms. He says this might be an ISIS safe house, and that this might mean Keane is a target, and that there could be another bomb out there. (Let me just translate his slimy doublespeak for ya, what he actually means is: “It’s my terrorist mob’s safe house, this definitely means Keane is a target, and I personally have hidden another bomb somewhere nearby.”) Anyway, Thoms insists that Keane won’t want to be moved out of the city again. Eyes narrowed, McClendon suggests another sweep of the hotel.

Outside the hotel is a raucous protest where everyone is shouting, “Not my president!” Keane, standing up at her window high above the fray as Saul sits in a chair nearby, remarks that they were wrong to decide she should debate O’Keefe. Saul assures her that what she did took balls, and that people like a President with balls. (You DON’T SAY.) Keane has experienced enough outright misogyny lately that this little bit of casual sexism just makes her laugh charmingly. Yay?

She leans on the desk near Saul and asks if he’s seen any other Presidents face this. He says he hasn’t, and that she scares people because she can’t be “controlled from within.” Keane swallows and confesses that she’s not ready for this, and wonders if the American people made a mistake. Presidents: they’re just like us! They suffer from imposter syndrome and everything! Saul assures her that she wasn’t a mistake.

Dar arrives back in the basement of the restaurant, having apparently just enjoyed a nice meal of pasta, for which he thinks the elegant host. Dar is a cold son of a bitch (uh, no pun intended). He enters the refrigerator where the poor Senator is still waiting, wearing a giant parka, just to taunt poor Elian. He asks him about the “Toxic Soldier” account, created in Peter Quinn’s image. The Senator, shaking, promises he knows nothing. Dar just leans forward, shadows covering his face just so that it’s very clear he’s being Super Evil right now, and starts questioning him again.

Carrie and Quinn shove their way through the protest, alarmed. Carrie says she’ll be OK because she knows the Secret Service guys. Quinn says he’s going to look for the deltas. They tell each other to be careful—and part. Quinn slinks through the crowd and tries to bond with one of the Deltas, asking if they’re bringing in a lot of firepower. He’s pretty much blown off, but he gets a good look at all the snipers on nearby roofs.

Dar leaves the fridge, the Senator’s sobs heard behind him, and casually orders the elegant host to let Elian warm up. He immediately calls McClendon to say he’s just talked to Elian about Peter Quinn. “Pretty boy,” McClendon remembers. (Apparently he hasn’t seen him since season 5.) McClendon won’t admit to knowing anything about Quinn’s account, but Dar has his information, and he’s pissed because they already have Keane on the ropes and don’t need to do this. As Elian, bare-legged and sobbing, is led through the kitchen behind Dar, McClendon just says he wouldn’t work with “that oily fuck” (Elian) anyway.

Carrie has made her way to Keane’s suite and is telling Rob, Thoms, and Saul that the house that blew up was under McClendon’s direction. She sums it up: she saw Sekou’s van at that house, a squad of Deltas left it this morning—and now there’s a brand-new team protecting Keane. Rob asks Saul if “she” is right. But before Saul can answer, an agent knocks on the door to say that there are bombs in the walls of the hotel, and they need to evacuate.

The Ominous Drumbeats of Impending Action accompany the team on their way out, shepherding a nervous-looking Keane down the emergency stairs. As usual, Keane just wants to know about her staff. She doesn’t want to leave without them, but the Secret Service agent orders her to get into the car. Meanwhile, Thoms assigns everyone else to different cars.

Carrie gets a call as everyone else loads up. “Quinn?” she says. “Quinn, are you seeing this?” But it’s Dar. After a moment he introduces himself and asks what’s going on. Carrie’s eloquent but quite appropriate answer is “Fuck you, Dar.” Dar warns Carrie not to let Keane leave the hotel. He says it’s been vetted for months and the bomb scare is a ruse to get her out on the street. Carrie thinks he’s trying to get Keane to shelter in place so he can kill her, and tells him he can go to hell. She’s planning to ride with Keane, but Dar keeps going—he says that as a troubled vet, Quinn is the obvious choice to take the fall for killing Keane.

Carrie, suddenly realizing it could all be true, jumps in front of Keane’s car just after the rest of the motorcade has passed, forcing them to draw to a halt. She’s yelling that they’ve made a mistake when the next car in the motorcade, now hundreds of yards away, explodes in a giant fireball. She and Thoms quickly pull Keane out of the car and back into the hotel.

Meanwhile, McClendon is coordinating with the field agents from his staging room, or whatever you call the place where the non-field characters look at a bunch of video feeds of what’s happening in the field. His agents think that Keane was in the second car with poor dead Rob, but when McClendon realizes there was no third car in the motorcade, he asks them ominously to make sure. (Slimeball translation: “Make sure the president-elect is really dead.”)

Quinn can see agents converging on the area, but manages to keep from being evacuated with everyone else. Several Deltas converge on the garage where Keane’s abandoned car is, as Quinn observes from around the corner. They report the car to McClendon, who says to “find and secure” (Slimeball translation: “find and assassinate”) her.

Then. THEN. An agent arrives with a COMPUTER PRINTOUT of a COLOR PHOTO of Quinn on the garage security cameras, taken (according to him) thirty seconds ago. It’s so hilarious. Like jeez, the props team couldn’t spring for one more iPhone?

Tensely, Thoms and Carrie escort Keane into the now-abandoned lobby of the hotel. Thoms, who hasn’t quite adjusted to the new world he lives in, blithely announces on his comm that Apple isn’t down, she’s with him. Carrie says “Now they know she’s alive,” but it’s pretty much too late for that. So Thoms sends her upstairs with Keane and says he’ll wait to figure out what’s going on. Carrie, clearly knowing she’s leaving him to die, takes Keane upstairs.

Thoms is confronted by two agents who ask where Keane is. He tells them to lower their weapons and put them on the floor, but they shoot him instead.

At the sound of the shot, Keane and Carrie, not far away, are both electrified. Carrie leads Keane around the corner to an elevator. When it closes and descends to basement level, she hits the emergency brake and beep-boops on her phone, only to realize that communications are down. Keane starts trying to fight off panic. Carrie tells her not ungently that they’re in a kill zone, and the people who just tried to kill her and executed Thoms are going to come back to try again. Keane immediately says that they should go, that she can’t just wait here and do nothing. Carrie, relieved, rubs Keane’s arm in a lovely little moment.

The elevator door opens to a gun pointed right at them, so Carrie jumps in front of Keane—but it’s “Quinn. Thank God,” she realizes. “Hurry, this way,” he tells them.

And, they’re off, without ceremony or hesitation: Carrie and Quinn, on one last mission together.

The alphas who shot Thoms arrive at the elevator bay and quickly figure out which floor Carrie and Keane must be on. They start down the stairs.

Meanwhile, Quinn, with a protective arm around Keane, explains that the place is crawling with agents and snipers and they have no way to know who out there is friendly. He puts Keane in the back seat, tells her to get on the floor, and tells Carrie to get on top of her. Carrie hesitates, but he tells her to do what he says—and after a pained moment, she agrees.

Just as they’re all getting in place, Carrie lying full-body on top of Keane for protection, the agents arrive in the garage. Quinn quickly drives out, only to realize he’s surrounded on all sides by unfriendly agents. “What’s happening?” Carrie asks. “Stay down,” Quinn says hoarsely, coming up with his plan.

He drives straight at the blockade, all the agents firing at him. The car’s bulletproof, but eventually under the hail of bullets, a few get through and hit Quinn. We’re treated to a jump-the-shark level slow-mo shot of blood starting to pour darkly out of his mouth, which lasts absolutely forever, and then finally the car spins to a stop.  

Carrie gets up, leans forward, and sees that Quinn’s dead. She gives herself just a few seconds to make the classic Carrie cry-face, and then gets back to business, telling a gasping, terrified Keane that she can get up. Keane, realizing that Quinn’s dead, says that he saved their lives. “What was his name?” she asks. Carrie manages to answer, “Peter Quinn.” As civilians with cell phones converge around the strange scene, Carrie stares off to the side, fighting tears.

And then the title cards take us to “SIX WEEKS LATER.” We’re barely halfway through the episode here, if you can believe it.

Ugh. It’s Brett. I can barely stand to watch this dude on screen. He’s just too real. (Or “Real.”, as he spells it. [Ed. Note – and as he pronounces it, with that spot-on Alex Jones twang-growl that Jake Weber is somehow producing over his native English accent.]) He sits down to his show for a dramatic announcement that he’s just sooo disappointed in himself because… Keane is the worst, apparently. She had an inauguration behind closed doors. That is rather shocking. But I mean, they didn’t even livestream it? And, it turns out she’s expanded the Patriot Act, and used it to throw the conspirators in jail without trial. Finally, he leans forward and says that America is headed for civil war.

Suddenly, we’re put in the uncomfortable position of wondering if this horrible, revolting man is actually right about something.

In a briefing room, Saul at the foot of the conference table, and Carrie at the head, a dozen agents are staring at Carrie. Carrie is apparently the liaison between the intelligence community and the new administration, and she’s trying to convince everyone that Keane is just running a normal investigation under the amended Patriot Act, trying to find out how far the conspiracy went. But the agents seem to think Keane is basically compiling an enemies list. One of them points out that Keane herself should be here, and is refusing to have briefings more than once a week. They’re worried their agents will be arrested. Carrie, though she has no real comebacks for most of their concerns, brushes them off: “Stop listening to Brett O’Keefe.” She promises there will be no purges.

Saul catches up with Carrie after the meeting and asks to talk to her. She suggests after-work drinks, but he knows he’s going to cancel on her. He says they haven’t spoken since Quinn’s memorial, and then—rather meanly—remarks that he was expecting her to get up and say a few words. (She didn’t? That is somewhat hard-hearted, even for Carrie. Not entirely out of character, though.) Obviously, Carrie is totally offended. Saul points out that the “worst happened” and yet she’s still going at full speed. “Dammit, I’m worried about you,” he says. Carrie says, with rather undue irritation, that he shouldn’t worry about her. Sadly, Saul walks in the other direction.

Carrie arrives at the Oval office and is courteously waved in. She finds Keane speaking with someone named David, who appears to be the new Rob—but instead of a mild-mannered young black dude, he’s a smug-looking middle-aged white one. Given the rest of the episode, I kind of think his whiteness and middle-aged-ness is supposed to signal some step back from progressivism, even though, of course, in real life hiring one black person on your staff doesn’t mean you’re a progressive (hi there, Dubya, looking at you), nor does hiring one straight-white-male type mean you’re not.

Carrie remarks that she tried to calm everyone down at the meeting, and David remarks snidely that maybe now they’ll stop leaking to the press. Carrie says they didn’t leak, because they care about the country. “She never tells you what you want to hear. Trust me, it’s a good thing,” Keane says, giving Carrie an almost-affectionate look.

David leaves, and Keane asks Carrie about taking a permanent position as a senior advisor to the President. Carrie says, “It would be the greatest honor of my career,” but adds that she has to check with her daughter’s social worker, who’s running a home visit in the morning–which Keane is completely understanding of. In the meantime, she asks Carrie to review a proposal to station more military assets in the Baltic states. Carrie agrees, and sits reading on the couch as Keane goes back to work at her desk. Before looking down at her papers, Keane gives Carrie a long keen (see what I did there?) look. Having seen the end of the episode, I’m interpreting it as an  “I have an Evil Plan Involving You” look.

Saul arrives in a typically depressing visiting room at a jail, where Dar Adal waits for him, looking not noticeably less pleased with himself than when he walked free at the beginning. He’s apparently been in jail for weeks, but Saul’s had a hard time finding him. Dar complains about being interrogated over and over because they seem to think that the conspiracy was huge. Saul says softly, “I wish you’d given me a chance to talk you out of it.” Dar says he didn’t need to hear the same arguments he already knows by heart, and then says, “It was never my intention for things to turn so dark.” Sure, you just locked that senator in a fridge for hours by accident while you enjoyed a giant plate of pasta.

But he’s not exactly penitent. He says that according to Graham Greene, the secret services are the measure of a nation’s health, the expression of its subconscious. I love when a show quotes Graham Greene. Then Dar digs in his heels and says that he’s not sure what he did was wrong, and that there’s something off about Keane: she’s “dogmatic,” “dangerous,” and “distinctly un-American.” Like, I’m pretty sure being dogmatic is the most American thing you can be, dude. Saul takes all this in with an indulgent smile, then–always the loyal friend, even to actual traitors–asks if he can help Dar. Dar apparently has a young boyfriend who teaches classics at GW, and asks Saul to send him the news about Dar. I wonder if he has a chiseled jaw and bright blue eyes and a Seekrit Pain. Seems to be Dar’s type.

In her bathroom, Carrie frantically puts on way too much makeup. She’s just wiping some of it off when the doorbell rings. It’s not Christine, the social worker, but a totally wasted Max! Hey, he’s alive! And I didn’t think about him once in this episode before this exact moment! Whoops! He slurs they have to talk, and that “they” are a disgrace, making Quinn out to be a stupid action hero. (Meta much?) Carrie just shoves him downstairs into the basement and tells him not to make a sound. He cutely agrees with a finger to his lips, “Shh.” Poor Max. No one wants to listen to him. No wonder he had to get drunk.

Just in time, Carrie closes the door on him and lets Christine in. This whole scene is MAD TENSE because I was absolutely convinced that Christine was going to figure out there was yet another substance-abusing male spy in Carrie’s basement [Ed. Note – or an insane-schizophrenic-conspiracy room at the end of the hall…]. But Carrie hangs Christine’s coat right over a man’s hat with no comment, and leads her upstairs to Franny’s insufferably cute room, covered with stuffed animals. Then she shows Christine her own room. Afterwards, she hovers anxiously while Christine fills her paperwork at Carrie’s kitchen table. She tells Carrie she passed with flying colors and that they can ask for a court date right away.

Carrie shows her out, and still no sound comes from the basement, thank God. At the last moment, Carrie asks about the new job, describing it as “administrative.” Um, I guess technically “in the [presidential] administration” counts as “administrative”? Christine says it’s fine and leaves, and both Carrie and I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Then Carrie shuts the door and, exasperated, heads to the basement. She softens quickly when she finds Max passed out facedown on Quinn’s bed. All of Quinn’s things are totally untouched, even clothes thrown haphazardly over a chair, and as soon as she looks around, the wounded-looking Carrie comes to a resolution. She grabs a garbage bag and starts throwing the crap into it—but pauses when she finds an envelope, slipped into the pages of Great Expectations. Which, for those who aren’t familiar, is often used as shorthand for a story about a boy with an unrequited crush on a girl, but is actually, in my opinion, mostly a story about how wrong it is to use other people for your own ends. Either of these—the unrequited love, or being used by others, from Dar and McClendon to Carrie—could be said to be the tragedy of Peter Quinn.

Carrie sits down on the couch in the living room of the basement suite, and opens the envelope. Which does not contain a letter (thank God) but photographs. Of his ex in a hospital bed, of a little boy (“John Jr.”) in various stages of early childhood. The last photo in the chronologically arranged set that tells a very simple and sparse story about Quinn’s inner life, is a photo of Carrie. Carrie, who’s been fighting off tears as she flipped through the photos, breaks down. Max wakes up and sits next to her, putting his arm around her.

Later, Carrie sits alone with a cup of tea in her own kitchen, looking sad. Her phone rings—it’s Saul, facetiming her. He’s been stopped on the side of the road. He tells her “Crocker and Crofts” (so, presumably, either two other intelligence agents or the founding partners of a hipster charcuterie boutique) were already arrested this morning and people are being arrested all over Washington. The officers outside point their guns at him and yell at him to open the door as Carrie watches in horror. Saul gets out, and his phone is immediately taken away.

Carrie turns on the television to find that it’s conveniently turned to a news show discussing this exact development. David Wellington, the new chief of staff, has said that they were all connected to the conspiracy. Carrie swears to herself as she watches.

Carrie steps away and calls the President, but the secretary insists that both the President and Wellington are in a meeting and not to be disturbed. She leaves a message, but I have very little faith that message will be passed on.

The next time you see her, she’s being led through the White House and into a briefing room where she finds David, who apparently hasn’t been answering her calls all afternoon. “Don’t be upset,” he says. “I wasn’t aware we were going to go full-on Joe Stalin,” Carrie snarks. Wellington claims the people who were rounded up today were only detained, not arrested, and that he has a memo from the Department of Justice (I’m guessing it says, “Rounding people up at gunpoint doesn’t count as arresting them unless you want it to, oh and by the way, torture is back in”?). Carrie accuses him of doing all this for payback, and—still not grasping, herself, the full magnitude of what’s happening—says she’s going to talk to the President. As she leaves, Wellington picks up the phone to make a call.

But by the time Carrie gets upstairs, she’s surrounded by Secret Service who say that Wellington has ordered them to escort her from the building. Carrie yells to Keane through the doors of the Oval Office that innocent people have been arrested, and, as she’s bodily dragged out of the waiting room, pleads at the top of her lungs that Keane “can’t let them do this!”

Keane, inside her office, where Carrie’s screams are clearly audible, stares straight ahead with an absolutely dire expression and then looks down at her tablet.

Carrie, having left the White House, walks through a park alone, looking distressed. Then she comes to a plaza where she has a perfect view of the Capitol building, and stares at it for a long time–just as Brody did in Season 1, before he almost blew it up.

Carrie stands, back to the camera, and looks at the Capitol building silhouetted on the horizon.

Conclusion

Well—I’m happy. I’ve watched and enjoyed the budding friendship between the two powerful women Keane and Carrie all season, and watched and enjoyed the strange mostly-unspoken love between Carrie and Quinn for several years. (And I’m guessing that at least in one of those, I’m not alone!) Both of those were laid to rest [Ed. Note – too soon.] by the end of this episode, but it left me with high hopes that Homeland will continue on as the same well-written, intelligent show it has managed to be throughout the past six years.

Quinn. Ah, Quinn.  He’s been the punching bag of the show for two years, suffering immense punishment that would have killed any mere mortal six times over, but always getting back up and coming back for more. It had begun to feel outright sadistic (I suspect the showrunners were, consciously or not, woobie-ing him to extract maximum emotion from fans). Only in the last few episodes, as his investigation outpaced Carrie’s understanding of the situation, did this perpetual victimhood wear off. But he still needed to die. It’s sad—because he brought a lot to the show, and of course because it means that Carrie and Quinn don’t get the never-likely-to-last-anyway happy ending many of us sentimentally hoped for—but I think the sheer amount of suffering he was put through indicated that his story was actually creatively played out.

The way that he died managed to redeem some of the problems with his arc, too. He wasn’t a passive victim (although that excruciatingly long slow-motion shot of him spewing blood was ridiculously overdramatic and embarrassing) but someone who made the conscious decision to do his job at the cost of his life.

Also, note that he makes Carrie lie on top of Keane in the getaway car. In a way, he redeems himself for the mistake he made, at the beginning of season 4, when he protected Carrie instead of their station chief, who was pulled out of the car and beaten to death by an angry mob. That left a huge scar on Quinn, and in this episode, he does a better job of doing what he has to do: let Carrie risk her life for Keane by lying on top of her. Drive another getaway car, this time choosing to protect the President with Carrie, rather than let his feelings get in the way.

Speaking of feelings. Carrie and Quinn get some closure—that embrace after the bombing showed that their connection had survived even Dar’s revelation of what Carrie did in Berlin. But the part I found particularly moving was their immediately setting off on a mission together, showing that they had resumed their professional partnership (which, of course, always had the intensity and singular focus of romance anyway). Something as small as Carrie causing Quinn a debilitating stroke was not going to get in the way of that!

But there wasn’t too much closure, which is a relief, because that was one of my problems with Season 5’s ending. Trying to tie up all the loose ends of people’s feelings about each other, especially people like Carrie Mathison, can sometimes be so laughably inadequate that it seems to become essentially a denial of the complexity of human relationships.

This ending, instead, is very open to interpretation. I’m sure it’s easy, for example, for someone else to see this as Quinn saving Carrie’s life. Which technically he did, but in my opinion, the story was actually about his putting her at risk, exactly as a contrast to the fact that he made the mistake of over-protecting her so many times in the past. When he died, they were partners in the one all-important mission of keeping the President-Elect safe. Their emotional connection served mostly to help them do a better job of that. And that made it a pleasure to watch, because Quinn’s death was true to the heart of the show.

And, too, Carrie’s frantic denial of how deeply she was grieving was true to the heart of her character. (Remember, this is the woman who took fifteen billion pregnancy tests because she refused to admit to herself that she was super fucking pregnant.)

By the way, how amazing was it that Carrie protected Keane by lying on top of her? Keane, who had lost all trust and respect for Carrie just a few episodes ago, now entering a battle scene with only Carrie’s body for armor.

As for the Keane side of this story: Wow. That took a turn. One minute, Dar Adal sounds like a misogynistic crank saying that there’s something “off” about her. The next moment, her dogmatic opposition to a police state becomes twisted and reworked into a revenge plot that she thinly justifies by declaring that the intelligence agencies can’t be above the law. Authoritarianism, as we all know, tends to look very similar on the left and the right. Unjustified arrests; intrusive investigations; the disregard for privacy and human rights. It’s all there in Keane’s sudden switch.

I think we are supposed to believe that her dogmatic progressivism was somehow a danger signal that she was always capable of turning into a wannabe dictator. But I didn’t see the signs until the last two episodes, when she accidentally admitted that she wanted to censor the video about her son. Before that, she seemed like a legitimately progressive person.

And this sets us up for a conflict that we haven’t seen before on Homeland: Carrie up against a truly strong female antagonist. (I’m not counting Allison, because “strong” and “really fucking irritating” are very different things.) With Saul in jail, Carrie has no guaranteed allies on the outside except for the ever-loyal Max. And she may be facing off against the full power of the Office of the President. As Brett O’Keefe says, with startling perceptiveness, she may even be facing a civil war.

Let’s just hope that, if there is a civil war, it doesn’t require Carrie to team up with the loathsome Brett O’Keefe. The fact that that’s even a possibility is a signal that the show came up with a truly interesting twist; it’s harder than ever to tell who is on Carrie’s side and who isn’t. Is it Brett, who will advocate bravely for freedom of the press but use that freedom for evil purposes? Dar, whose love for Quinn, at least, provides him with one moral reference point (and one big thing in common with Carrie)? Keane, who is so similar to Carrie, but who has in her quest for revenge grown far more monstrous than Carrie could ever be? The number of possible future configurations of alliances and enemies is huge. And I look forward to seeing what Carrie chooses.

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