The previouslies still don’t include Quinn—but the credits now contain snippets of him, both audio and visual, which I find interesting. Including something about him saying for her to think of him as a beacon–which I don’t think we’ve seen yet, so maybe we’re in for a posthumous letter from Quinn? Another one? Also, at least half of the snippets in the credits involve Carrie’s condition rather than the political/spying-related stuff.
Anyway, previously on Homeland: Keane wanted McClendon to be executed and he wasn’t sentenced to death, which she called “a problem”; Carrie’s source Dante met with Senator Paley and refused to testify; Brett O’Keefe played Hero of the Resistance; Wellington offered Saul a position as national security advisor; Maggie found out that Carrie was deep in credit card debt and accused her of being hypomanic; Wellington interrupted a security sweep just as Max was placing some cameras around his place so that Carrie could spy on him; McClendon died in prison, having apparently been murdered.
Brett O’Keefe, filming “Real. Truth.” while drinking a Diet Coke, pretends to be very upset about McClendon, calling him an “early casualty in our revolution” and immediately accuses Keane of orchestrating it. All of a sudden I’m starting to think it wasn’t Keane or Wellington who had McClendon killed at all, but Brett himself, hoping to rile people up. Brett says that the prison guard in whose charge McClendon was is a childhood friend of David Wellington’s, which does make Keane look guilty from our perspective. Then he starts growling and roaring in this way I super duper hate, all slobbery and red-faced. Ugh, gross. Anyway, a teenaged kid is watching from the stairs while he films in what appears to be a basement.
In the Oval Office, Keane interrogates two nameless suits about McClendon’s death. She says, “Even I don’t believe that a decorated soldier in perfect health drops dead of a coronary the moment he gets in to federal custody.” Once they’re left alone, Wellington protests that he obviously didn’t off Wellington using his childhood friend. Keane says of course not, but that’s what people are starting to think. It’s hard for me to read her, they could both just be playing a game of plausible deniability at this point – but my money’s still on Brett. Wellington wants to change the conversation—by releasing Saul and the rest of the 200. Keane thinks they haven’t been adequately questioned yet, but Wellington says she needs to show some good faith. He says that she won’t get any cooperation as long as everyone in this town has a friend or family member behind bars.
Back in the basement, Brett stands up and says, “That’s weird. Right as I was calling her Hitler for like the tenth time, I could feel myself leave my body and float up next to that jar of peaches there.” Sharon laughs, but I don’t get it! What’s the joke? Anyway, they try to say hello to the kid who was watching, but he runs away. Then Brett emerges to a crowd of white people clapping for him in front of what appears to be a sort of farmhouse or cabin. He greets one man, claiming to have stolen a phrase from him – the “clenched fist of truth.” He points over past the tree line, saying that it was the site of the first land battle of the Civil War. I don’t even wanna know what side these people sympathize with. Then things get even weirder—the kid from before rolls up his sleeve to show Brett that he has Brett’s face tattooed on his arm. Well that’s going to get really awkward when #MeToo hits Appalachia.
Carrie is in a therapist’s office, telling her that she had a huge lapse of judgment with getting Josie involved with the Dante thing. She follows this immediately by a series of excuses. Gently, the therapist asks her about her debt, and these special projects she’s working on, and why she was checked in to two separate fancy hotels (I am still wondering about that. myself). Carrie is a little annoyed the therpaist has been talking to Maggie, but the therapist says Maggie’s worried because her best friend died violently in front of her eyes. Carrie, pained, sits with her grief for about two seconds before deflecting again and ranting that he would have understood what she was doing because he never let her down. Which I think is true, in a way, but also a way of her making the Quinn thing about work so she doesn’t have to think about the other thing.
Anyway, back to therapy, she goes on to say that she’s called to protect her country, and that that’s what she’s doing. “OK,” says the therapist gently. “How does that sound to you, what you just said?” Heh. “It sounds true,” says the incorrigible Carrie. I feel like treating Carrie is probably the challenge of a lifetime for every psychiatrist she crosses paths with. Anyway, the therapist says that in some patients, lithium stops working eventually.
Wellington arrives in federal prison to a rather sullen-looking Saul and tells him that Keane accepts his condition, as long as he accepts the job. Saul asks if this is about General McClendon dying. “Does it matter?” McClendon. Saul says yes, because “if my new position is just a shitscreen for this administration, I’m not interested.” Wellington goes for the “it’s so ridiculous, no one could possibly believe that” defense again. He says Saul doesn’t have to be a cheerleader, but he has to be cool, aka, no leaks to the press. Uh, yeah, I’ve heard that you tell people not to leak to the press, they’ll totally just listen to you and not do it. Ask John Kelly how that’s working for him.
Carrie arrives home, on the verge of a good old-fashioned Carrie cry, but she breathes through it and instead gets on her computer. Wellington isn’t around for her to creep on, so she sits back, frustrated—but then she sees an unknown woman enter the house and walk down the hall.
A free Saul arrives in the Oval Office and greets Keane, who’s just finishing up with a makeup artist. “You know your lines?” she asks, and then remarks that her advisors say it’s time for her to move on, but the national security establishment came after her, and she’s not sure she should get over it. Saul assures her it was a very small group and he wasn’t in it. He reminds her that he was there with her that day, and that the doctors spent hours pulling shards of glass out of his face. Keane takes this with the curtness she takes everything.
Carrie is still watching the mysterious woman in Wellington’s apartment, who leaves a piece of paper on the counter. She takes a screenshot, then sends it to someone and calls Dante. He excuses himself from what looks like a work meeting and Carrie just leaps in to asking him to identify the face. It’s totally hilarious. Like the last time they saw each other she had blatantly lied to him and risked his job and safety, and they had a physical fight. And now she’s just like “Hey dude, what’s up, sorry to interrupt you at work where no one is supposed to know you’re talking to me, but can you use government resources to do me a favor? kthxbye.” It’s so Carrie. The only surprise is that Dante actually stands up to her. “What about our last encounter suggested I ever wanted to hear from you again?” he asks. Carrie says it’s important, which, again, is hilariously in character. He hangs up on her.
Maggie knocks on the door and takes Carrie downstairs to watch a news conference. Keane is announcing that in the interests of this country, she’s decided “to put it behind us” and releasing the 200. Everyone claps obediently. Back at the house, Carrie stares at the TV in horror as Saul takes the podium and tells everyone that “they are one nation.” Maggie and Bill clearly think this is great news and Carrie’s going to be thrilled and forgive Keane everything, but Carrie’s just shocked that Saul is “joining them.” She turns to leave and Bill shouts after her that she never admits she’s wrong.
Keane and Wellington watch as Saul dodges a reporter question about whether his own incarceration was justified. “Have you told him?” Keane asks—about what, we don’t know. “Not yet,” says Wellington. Saul concludes by saying his first order of business is to find his office, and we see Keane bringing him inside and telling him that David will get him started. There’s a slight power play between the two men – Saul says he has thoughts on what to do, Wellington reminds him that his boss, the president, has thoughts of her own.
He continues that there is a troubling national security problem: O’Keefe. Saul pulls his glasses off, which, you never want to be the person who makes Saul pull his glasses off. He thought there was an amnesty—but Wellington says, he’s calling for the overthrow of the government and it has to stop. Saul thinks this is domestic police work, and Wellington says that it’s more like hunting a terrorist.
Carrie tucks Franny in, and Franny has some Concerns. Namely, that she likes living here and that Carrie and Uncle Bill are always mad at each other so she’s afraid she’ll have to leave. It’s a little on-the-nose for my taste—but it does remind us, and Carrie, that Franny is suffering some consequences of Carrie’s lifestyle.
Back in her room, Carrie flops on her bed and turns off the light as if to go to sleep, even though she’s still in her silk blouse and black pants. Then she sits up and does what any reasonable person with insomnia would do: goes on 4chan. We’re treated to a nice little montage of horrible internet comments ranging from fat shaming to racial slurs. Naturally, Carrie decides it’s a great idea to post this picture—from a laptop in her own home—from the illegal surveillance footage of Wellington. On 4chan. So basically she is asking a bunch of racist fourteen-year-olds to do her spy work for her.
When she wakes up, having apparently passed out still fully clothed, she has a response from someone named Anonymous, who says they know who it is. At first I thought she was about to get rickrolled, but it’s worse: they send what appears to be a jpg attachment, and Carrie clicks to download it, like oh honey no. Of course just as Franny comes in for help buttoning her dress, Carrie’s computer locks down and displays a giant red skull. She sends Franny out and finds a message saying her files are locked and she needs to pay $5,000 to get them back. The fee will double every 12 hours.
Maggie calls Carrie down and asks her to take the girls to school, but Carrie claims to have an interview. Josie keeps offering, while Maggie keeps ignoring her, and finally Maggie says she can take them if Franny’s ready right now. Carrie gives Franny a big kiss and Maggie wishes her luck. Carrie’s like, “With what?” Um, with the interview you just made up, dude. Those spy skills are in serious abeyance in this episode.
Back at the farmhouse, Brett is watching his fan club do some target practice and waxing poetic about exercising one’s constitutional rights. He hesitates to join in (telegraphing to everyone except his hosts that he doesn’t actually know how to shoot a gun) but when they whip out a Keane poster, he agrees. Of course as soon as he shoots the kickback gets him right in the skull and he falls down. Saw it coming, but it was still funny.
Max has come over to help Carrie with her computer. She asks him how it’s going. “Your keyboard’s locked, and all your files are encrypted,” he tells her. “Yeah, no, I got that, but how bad is it?” asks Carrie, hilariously. Max says it’s bad, and no one can break this type of encryption, and she’ll have to pay. Carrie protests that she’s broke, and he says he can loan her $753. Awww.
Finally, the hacker himself chimes in via Carrie’s laptop, to call Max a “loser” and double his price. Carrie, at the hacker’s demand, sends Max away. She pleads with the hacker that she has no money, but he says she’ll figure something out, no extensions. If she doesn’t pay by tomorrow, he’ll be publishing the contents of her hard drive online. Carrie—who’s used to being able to manipulate pretty much anyone—swears in frustration.
Senator Paley arrives at the Oval Office and Keane asks him about the armed civilians patrolling the border of Arizona, his state. “Yahoos,” Paley brushes it off. He promises there’s not going to be a revolt. Keane gets serious and says, “It doesn’t help that you’re all over the local media down there, calling me un-American.” Apparently he said he could no longer guarantee Keane’s safety. He looks embarrassed and says he got carried away. It’s weird to see a Republican politician, even a fictional one, who still has shame.
Next, Keane and Wellington bring up the fact that they released the 200, clearly expecting kudos, which is sort of like stealing a cookie, eating half, and then expecting praise for giving back the other half. Paley says that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop his committee’s investigation, since it doesn’t change the fact that the people were locked up to begin with, and there’s the matter of McClendon’s suspicious death. Keane and Wellington go with their patented, “That’s soooo ridiculous, we would neeever do that” defense. But Paley doesn’t seem worried.
Carrie stares at her reflection in the mirror, on the verge of panicking. Then she has what appears to be an idea and keeps staring at herself as if in horror at her own future actions. Or maybe I’m just projecting, now that I’ve seen the rest of this episode. Anyway, she goes back to her laptop and tries to get the attention of her hacker, tapping keys and yelling “Hello.” All this does is make him raise the price to $20,000. “You can’t keep changing the terms!” Carrie protests, then: “It’s not fair!” Given that the hacker is, you know, a hardened criminal, he’s not impressed with this argument. When she says it’s too much, he reveals that he knows about the cameras she has all over the President’s Chief of Staff. Carrie laughs and says, “Go ahead,” claiming that Wellington knows about the cameras and gets off on it. Apparently Wellington’s career-ending scandal, which has been referenced off-hand earlier in the season, was being busted with a couple escorts. The hacker seems slightly convinced, but Carrie says she can’t afford to pay him.
Finally she takes off the sticker over her webcam and brushes her hair back from her face and gives him a terrifying attempt at a sexy smile (terrifying not because Claire Danes isn’t gorgeous, but because Carrie-on-a-mission is pretty much incapable of hiding her intenseness beneath a soft voice and expression). Anyway, it all leads to Carrie taking off her shirt and giving the guy a little preview of what to expect if they meet up, which is her endgame. It’s probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on this show. Especially the silhouette shots of the dude practically drooling on his keyboard. Finally Carrie stops and says, “It’s not for free, asshole.” He has to meet her in person and unlock her computer.
Saul’s driving towards the mattress store, through a town that, instead of being quiet and deserted the way it was in the previous episode, covered in FBI agents and a crowd of curious locals. One car drives by loudly honking, the driver giving the “Feds” the finger—to cheers and applause from the locals. An FBI agent brings Saul in to see a cop who’s apparently being held in the back of the mattress shop for resisting arrest. “Uncuff him. Get him a drink,” Saul says, saying he wants to see him alone.
Back at what seems to be a guest house where Sharon and Brett are staying at the farm, Sharon’s tending to Brett, who claims he actually has shot a gun before—at summer camp, forty years ago. Sharon mentions that she’s leaving today. Brett protests that she got a bed, clean clothes, and a shower like she wanted, but she says she needs to go home to Brooklyn. She doesn’t like to be surrounded by gun-toting crazies, and Brett says he needs protection from the lunatic fringe. Just then, Brett’s young fan with the tattoo, J.J., calls them in for a meal. Uh-oh. Brett chases him out and apologizes for “saying something I’m not proud of” in order to wrangle “the world’s worst girlfriend.” What a peach. J.J. asks timidly if Brett thinks they’re crazy, and Brett says that anyone with principles can look crazy, but he’s proud to be on their side. Somehow J.J. buys this, and the two men go inside, presumably leaving Sharon to go hungry in the guest house.
Saul, alone with the cop who was resisting arrest, tells him he’s dismayed at what he sees. He calls the angry locals “ordinary decent citizens,” looking at the FBI like an occupying army. He says he’s seen this situation before in “some of the most fucked-up places on the planet,” like Iraq and Afghanistan. He doesn’t want people to start dying. The cop, who started out hostile, tells Saul to get the feds to leave, but Saul says they won’t leave without Brett, and to save his people the cop needs to bring Saul to Brett, alone. “I will end this,” he promises. “No one will get hurt.”
Carrie drives alone down a dark, abandoned road and tells the hacker, who’s on speaker phone, that she’s parked. He tells her to get out and walk.—and to leave her bag, which she does. This is remarkably Bad Idea Sauce, even for Carrie. Hacker dude watches her walk down the street by streaming camera footage from a laptop somewhere.
The FBI officer doesn’t love Saul’s plan of convincing Brett to turn himself in, but Saul threatens to get the guy off the case, so he gives in.
Carrie, at the hacker’s bidding, opens a door and goes in to a dark, abandoned industral building of some sort. Eventually as she wanders deeper into the building we can see from the hacker’s perspective that she’s visible through slats in some kind of divider. He tells her to put the phone down, and even in her not-quite-rational state Carrie now looks pretty nervous. Or she’s pretending to be. The guy comes out from behind his divider and he’s got center-parted hair, so, clearly a creeper. He dives right in with “Take off your shirt.” Carrie tells him to unlock her computer first, but he isn’t having it; he says if she doesn’t take off her shirt, he’ll start fucking up her life. She pretends her shirt is stuck, and turns around, on the verge of tears. Did I say Brett was disgusting? Well this guy makes Brett seem like the nicest guy in the world. Anyway, there’s some heavy breathing and neck-stroking, ugh, and Carrie pretends to be into it just long enough to get him in the right position for a backwards headbutt. Ouch. He tackles her, but she bites his hand hard enough to crack something and picks up a big wooden beam or stick of some sort and clocks him with it. When he doesn’t unlock her computer she beats him up more and finally, sobbing and bloody, he does it while she takes a picture of him. He says it’s done and swears to her, then begs her to let him go. “Like you let me go?” she asks before beating him up even more and choking him while threatening in a hoarse bellow to kill him if he tries anything else. Just when you think she might actually kill him she gets up and leaves with his laptop.
Wow. I want to say that’s the yuckiest thing this often-disturbed show has come up with, but of course, that’s major hyperbole – just think of Brody jerking off in front of his poor naked wife, or Carrie and Aayan, or, well, a lot of other stuff. Not to mention all the, you know, torture, murder, terrorism, etc. Still, this was an extremely dark and gross episode. I want to say kudos to the writers, but I’m too busy fighting off the urge to take a shower.
See you next time!