Homeland Recap: 7×08 “Lies, Amplifiers, F**king Twitter”

If you think this title doesn’t make sense, then wait till you hear it in context… because it still won’t make sense. But it certainly makes gleeful use of this storyline’s connection to current events.

Previously on Homeland: Simone Martin told a Congressional hearing that she delivered money on behalf of a senior White House official, clearly David Wellington; Carrie realized she was lying and told Dante, then Saul; Saul realized she was supposed to get caught and that Dante had played Carrie; Carrie talked to Dante’s ex and she told Carrie that Dante hated a certain female CIA station chief we all know; Carrie fucked Dante after hearing this because of course she did; Saul knew Carrie was in there but went in to arrest Dante, leaving Carrie comforting a freaked-out Franny who had been staying in Dante’s apartment with Carrie because Carrie is, well, Carrie.

It’s morning, and Carrie is bringing Franny to school. Huuuuge cringeworthy moment as she bends down in front of Franny, sympathizes ever so briefly with her that last night was scary, and then admonishes her not to tell anyone so that Carrie doesn’t get in trouble. So much wrong here, but the saddest part is when Franny sees her favorite teacher, runs over to her, and buries her head in her teacher’s hips, ignoring Carrie bidding her good-bye.

Outside the school Carrie calls Saul to complain. It’s amazing how little shame she feels even the morning after what for anyone else would be the most humiliating moment of her life. “I had a plan,” she tells Saul. “Oh, is that what you call it?” he says. BURN! He’s sitting at his task force office, watching video feed of an impatient-looking Dante in an interrogation room. Carrie insists that he doesn’t know Dante as well as she does, and that he has a list of grievances in his mind that justify everything he does. She demands to know where he is, and Saul tucks his chin into his chest, wondering whether to tell her.

Keane’s in the Oval Office reading a report, faced by Paley and three other suits. They all know about what Simone’s testimony is going to be, and they say that they’ve come as a bipartisan group to ask her to resign because she and Wellington are going to be implicated in McClendon’s death. Paley says this will save the country from the chaos that will result from Martin’s testimony. Keane stares him icily down and then reminds them all of their long-running working relationships, and asks if they think it’s possible she did this. The one female Senator tells her that “things we thought could never happen in this country apparently can.” Not really an answer, but OK. They insist that resigning would be the right thing, but Keane doesn’t look convinced.

Carrie arrives at the task force office, where she gets a nice long look at her face on a Carrie-style wall of connections that also includes Dante and Simone. Saul calls her to the back and gives her a rundown of the travel evidence he got against Dante. Carrie demands to interrogate him, since she knows him so well, but Saul resists. “You brought Dante in based on intel I developed,” Carrie says, conveniently forgetting that she had no idea Dante was a bad actor until Saul figured it out from her story. Saul finally admits that he doesn’t trust her like he used to. It’s really sad given how central and enduring their relationship has been over the past six seasons, but of course it would be completely irrational if he did trust her. Carrie says her life has become insane and she hates it, which… yes, but there’s a whole lot of responsibility she bears in the mess that of course she’ll never admit. She insists to Saul that she’s motivated since Dante used her, and he looks like he’s almost convinced.

Keane has Wellington in her office and tells her what Paley said. He offers to resign again, and she refuses again, which makes NO SENSE to me. She frames it as a rebellion, but it reads more as “we’re invested in this character so we need him to stay.” Realistically, by not letting him resign, she is going to be much more implicated in whatever he is implicated in. It’s just so dumb. He offers to go talk to Simone, but Keane is not stupid enough to agree to this, since it’ll make them look even worse. So Wellington offers to put pressure directly on Moscow. Keane looks slightly more intrigued by this, so he pushes her for an explicit yes: “I can’t read between the lines on this, Elizabeth. You’re gonna have to tell me yes or no.” Um… is “reading between the lines” how you’re describing what you did when you literally ordered an airstrike that Keane had refused? Because… that’s not an accurate description. Ugh, what a jerk. Anyway, Keane tells him firmly to tell the Russians “No more.”

Carrie lets herself into the room with Dante and sits across from him. Dante complains that it makes sense why she came to his house now. Carrie protests that she didn’t know about the SWAT team. “You think I’d put my daughter through that?” “Absolutely,” Dante says, and I have to say, that’s… pretty fair. He says she doesn’t give a damn about anyone. Then, for the benefit of the cameras, he calls her a lunatic and exposits that she’s self-medicating with black-market drugs. Clever! Carrie has to bite back her emotion at that, and he insists that whatever she thinks he did is a fantasy of her fucked-up brain, then demands to know why he’s there. Carrie puts out the evidence against Simone, and then the evidence tying her to Dante. When Dante still looks completely unfazed, she makes to leave and he asks to take a leak. She sends him out through the front, right in front of Saul’s little idea wall. When he’s gone, Saul meets Carrie in the hall and asks about the meds and Carrie says it’s true, “but not like he said it.” Heh. What an airtight defense.

Wellington is meeting a gorgeously Russian-looking Russian ambassador who offers him his condolences about Simone getting Wellington into trouble. “All of them are crazier than usual these days.” Hee! What an operator. Wellington says curtly, “I appreciate that.” Awkward. Anyway, he launches into telling the ambassador to tell Moscow that if Simone lies to Congress, they’ll treat it as a hostile act. The ambassador plays innocent, but Wellington just repeats himself and tells the disconcerted ambassador to pass the message to Moscow.

Back in the interrogation room, Carrie is in with Dante again. He’s angry and protesting his innocence. But Carrie retells the story of running into Dante six weeks ago, when she was coming out of hearings on the 200 and was angry about it, when Dante happened to be saying the same things on a phone nearby. She tells him that he used her, and that she knows he was mistreated after Kabul. She even gets all emotional and personal, saying that she knows what it’s like for the country not to love her back and what it’s like to end up far from where you wanted to be. Usually I like how the show does this kind of scene—where Carrie’s manipulating someone yet finds herself telling the truth to them more than she does in her regular life, because that makes her a more effective manipulator—but this doesn’t entirely make sense with the character, because she has if anything gotten away with too much in the name of service to her country, except that it fits with her general inability to see what she’s done wrong.

Meanwhile, Saul is watching the video and also watching Carrie’s phone vibrate with calls and texts from Maggie. Carrie’s information security sucks, she has her phone set up so the contents of her texts are visible to anyone. Even I keep my phone more secure than that, and 99% of my texts are just anti-Trump memes from my mom, not, like, matters of actual national security.

Dante thinks about this for awhile, and Carrie clearly thinks she’s gotten somewhere. He just retells the story of their running into each other: he says he remembers not being on the phone, but the fact that his life was a mess and he saw her smile and he would’ve followed her anywhere. He also reminds her that she talked him into being a whistle-blower, then stuffed him into the trunk of a car and took him to see Paley when he hadn’t agreed. Ha! Good point. She did stuff him in the back of a truck. He finishes up by demanding a lawyer. Carrie glares and leaves.

In the back room, Saul says that Carrie needs to go home to Maggie. She agrees with reluctance but tells him not to do anything about Dante till she gets back. On her way out she takes a couple pills, and, well, let’s just hope they’re not uppers.

Paley drives along a back road to a house surrounded by armed guards. He lets himself into the house where Simone is being held without even knocking, which, RUDE. She comes out with her best scared-lady face, and he asks if she’s ready and well looked after. Then he suddenly tells her her testimony is bullshit, and pushes her on why she thought leaving the money in the woods for Wellington was really for David’s friend with a gambling debt. Simone gets teary and insists she trusted Wellington. After about thirty seconds of this Paley is like, “Good,” and then says that he had to know she was for real. That is SO cute that he thought his thirty-second bluff would break her if she wasn’t for real.

Carrie arrives home to Maggie and Bill, who are in the kitchen quietly drinking wine. They’re clearly pissed. Carrie acts all normal and makes to say goodnight to Franny, but they protest that they just got her to sleep. Bill leaves, portentously telling them he’ll leave Maggie “to it.” Maggie tells Carrie that Franny couldn’t stop crying at school and that she only got her to say what was wrong by promising that Carrie wouldn’t get in trouble. Oof. Carrie’s friend was dragged from the house by men with guns, “And then in the morning, you took her to school and you left her there.” The reality of that hit me at the same time it hit Carrie–how easy it is for Carrie to put Franny out of her mind. It’s so easy that as a viewer I didn’t even really process what was going on.

Maggie goes on to say that as a doctor if she sees a child being abused, she has a legal responsibility to act, and Franny is a nervous wreck. Looking sad but determined, she tells Carrie to check herself into a hospital or she’ll take legal proceedings to get custody of Franny. Carrie protests at first, then finally pleads that the country is under attack. “Lies, amplifiers, fucking Twitter, people are being killed.” Well, that was… a lot of current news buzzwords. Anyway, Maggie doesn’t buy it, so Carrie storms out, leaving Maggie, I guess, to start those legal proceedings. She screams in anger in her car, then calms, swears to herself, and starts driving.

At an elegant party, the ambassador brings champagne to a woman who quietly points him downstairs, and he goes down to find Yevgeny. It turns out the Russians did take the American warning seriously; he tells a reluctant Yevgeny to call off Simone. This is accompanied by assurances that Moscow appreciates his success so far, which is probably not much of a comfort from a government that’s in the habit of poisoning people. Anyway, Yevgeny asks how he’s supposed to find her, but the ambassador is like, Not my problem bra.

Back at Saul’s office, Carrie comes back in on a mission. Saul knows her well enough to know that fast walk and heavy breathing isn’t a great sign, but all Carrie will say is that she left Franny with Maggie. He tells her to go undo that, but Carrie says she can’t keep inflicting her life on Franny, but she can’t stop. Saul gets his sad, fatherly, disappointed look and says they’re out of time, since he asked for a lawyer. “I know. Let’s give him one,” Carrie says.

A nicely dressed woman gets into the elevator in a fancy apartment building and is quickly joined by Yevgeny. The elevator is totally made of glass and visible to the whole large atrium of the building, which makes him seem bolder but the scene less scary. The woman turns out to be Simone’s lawyer. He demands to know where she’s being held and stops the elevator long enough to tell her he knows that she’s committing Medicaid fraud for her mother’s nursing home.

Dante’s lawyer shows up, and Carrie goes into the interrogation room ahead of him. She pleads one last time for him to talk to them before he goes into the system because they’ll never give up on monitoring him till they get him behind bars. I was silly enough to think this was Carrie’s big plan to get Dante when I first watched it. Anyway, Dante holds firm against this not-particularly-effective plea, the lawyer shows up, and kicks Carrie out. He turns the cameras away from the table and says he’s subbing in for Joe, who’s apparently Dante’s regular lawyer. He has Dante sign a few papers on his motions, then leaves. Left alone, Dante notices ink on his skin, tries to rub it off, and then is apparently overcome by pain.

Watching from the next room, Carrie and Saul wait till he’s started screaming for help to intervene. Carrie pushes open the door, calls for a med kit and for someone to call 911, and tries to give Dante some pills for a heart attack. He says no, it’s poison from the lawyer’s pen. Carrie screams for them to stop the attorney—but he’s waiting in the room with Saul already. Dante gasps out that this is like McClendon, and the Russians. “Simone told me,” he says. Carrie acts horrified, until he loses consciousness, and then her face hardens. A medic gives Dante a shot, while she meets Saul in the hall. The lawyer says that gets them a warrant as long as he survives.

Saul and the lawyer leave, but Carrie wants to stay till he waks up. Back in the room, though, it turns out Dante’s heart has stopped. This time they call 911 for real, and Carrie and the first medic start defibrillating. Huh, this is awkward. Maybe you shouldn’t go around poisoning suspects and then you won’t have to explain accidentally murdering them. Just a thought.

Anyway, Yevgeny’s on his way down a deserted country road. He meets a few other agents who tell him shift change is in an hour and he sends them off on what’s apparently a pre-planned mission. Back at the farmhouse, the armed guards start to see movement and go after it. Simone, reading in her bedroom, perks up when the activity starts.

Meanwhile, Saul, on his way down the same country road, calls Keane with the good news that they have a warrant for Simone Martin. Keane tells him about Wellington talking to the Russians about Simone. Saul is like… oh, shit. Just then police cars speed by them, sirens blaring. Saul keeps up with them and they all arrive at the house to find the agents alive, but Simone gone.

Jesus, David Wellington is an idiot.

Meanwhile, Simone’s running through the forest with the two agents until she gets to a road where Yevgeny is waiting with a car. They smile and kiss and hop in, and he doesn’t just murder her like we were all kind of expecting him to (although if I had to put money on it, I’d bet that’s coming. No way does Simone make it to the end of this season).

Back at the house, Saul calls Carrie and tells her Simone’s gone. Carrie doesn’t exactly have good news either; she’s at the ER with Dante. His heart started again, but it’s not looking great. “Tell me he’s gonna make it,” Saul says. Carrie just hangs up.

Again, I hate to backseat drive here, but maybe… don’t… give people actual poison when you have them in custody?

This episode wasn’t quite as riveting as the last one, but maybe that’s because at this point we’re almost inured to the level of recklessness Carrie is capable of. The storytelling is still strong and the plot is pulsing along with enough twists and turns to keep me occupied. I admit I was almost pulled in by Dante’s innocent act, wondering if it really was possible that Carrie and Saul’s paranoia had driven them to take into custody a man who had been genuinely trying to do the right thing. And it was sad and well-earned to see Carrie finally giving up on her own self-mythologizing about not being bad for Franny, although it didn’t feel like that subplot quite concluded—I’m guessing it’ll blow up again in the following episode.

Oh, and one thing I’m appreciating about this arc with Simone and Dante: episodes without Brett O’Keefe are so much more pleasant to watch. I can’t stand that guy. Having to watch him slobber and growl his way through his scenes was by far my least favorite part of the first half of this season. I’m sure he’s coming back (his name is in the credits, after all), but this reprieve is nice.

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