Homeland: Black Ops Jesus

Saul prepares to go on the lam. Carrie gets some unexpected news about Franny. Quinn runs into an old friend from a different life.

The stingray leads Quinn to a diner. While the sign  says (or has been digitally enhanced to say) Sunny Side Diner, location buffs will recognize the Clinton Diner which changed its name to The Goodfellas Diner after it went Hollywood. (Real New Yorkers still call the Triboro Bridge the Triboro Bridge and don’t do name changes.)

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He goes inside where he recognizes a waitress named Nicky. It takes her a minute, given the shape he’s in, but finally she remembers him and calls him  “Johnny.” Going back a ways – to season 2, we know that Quinn was known as Johnny. From what we get of the conversation, Quinn used to frequent the diner with other members of what Nicky refers to as “the old crew” who also haven’t been around. The latest “crew” is the worst. Bad tippers probably, or cold-hearted mercenaries? He tells her he was supposed to meet a guy there the previous night, but she can’t help him with that. She says she wasn’t working then. She bites down on her lip after he leaves. Is that because she’s worried about the state he was in, or was she holding something back?

“What do you mean how do I mean funny?”

He heads to another place that he doesn’t need a map to get to, but it’s been so long he can’t quite find it, and then makes a u-turn when he spots a house with a flag in front of it.

Carrie’s getting ready for her busy day. She’s waiting for a car to the deposition, and after that she has her visit with Franny. She’s explaining this to Max. When exactly did Max move in? Despite what he told Not-Alex Jones last week about spending two years “masturbating and doing meth” it doesn’t feel like the character exists outside of his service to the Drone Queen. He’s trying to tell her about the sock puppets, but she’s distracted. She again advises him to avoid the danger and ditch his dangerous new gig. She grabs Hop and a coloring book, and heads out to her ride.

Saul is in the diamond district, already looking like a man on the run. He goes into one of the jewelry stores and out another door onto the other side of the street, and then goes into a different store and around the back where rings a bell, and speaks to a security camera. He’s looking for someone named Pesach, which is the Hebrew name for Passover and not usually a person’s name. Maybe it’s an Orthodox gangster or spy thing? But try it with Christian holidays and you can hear how ridiculous it sounds. Pesach is in Kinshasa, which makes sense for a diamond merchant or an international man of mystery like Saul. The man left in charge, however, knows what to do and gets Saul a bag filled with cash, diamonds and a stack of passports. Saul tells him to wish Pesach, “mazel” (luck) and that he’s going to disappear.

Retirement plan B.

As Carrie gets out of the car, the driver hands her a card and then calls her by name, telling her she might want to check on her three o’clock appointment at Children’s Services. Well that was specific! The car speeds off, and Carrie is naturally rattled. She calls the social worker lady who tells her she was just about to call. Franny has 102 fever, is on the way to the doctor,and the visit will need to be rescheduled.

Carrie does not completely lose her shit, and goes into the building where Rob has been anxiously awaiting her arrival. She asks him if “You guys” sent a car for her that morning, but he doesn’t know anything about it. He ushers her into a room where Solicitor General Pallas is ready to start. She asks him if he sent the car, but he also has no idea what she’s talking about, and then she announces, “I can’t do this,” and walks out. Looks like she’s taking that shrink’s advice and putting Franny first. Outside, she calls the number on the card the driver gave her and concedes. “Tell Dar Adal he wins. I want to see my kid.”

Rob calls Keane to tell her about Carrie’s exit. Keane tells him Dar is downstairs waiting to see her. They decide to offer Saul a deal.  Let’s hope they catch him before he disappears. She tells her people to send Dar in. She notices the gash on the side of his face which he attributes to a “fight” with an old friend who thought he was responsible for something he had nothing to do with. “Fight” sounds like he actually fought back as opposed to peeing his pants and and trying to worm his way out of justice.

Dar gives Keane the names of three picks for secretary of defense, and they’re all people who publicly stated she was unqualified to serve. She does some manspreading, uses her reading glasses for gravitas, and reminds him she is the President (elect).

If all else fails she is about a foot taller and does look like she could beat him up.

Dar tells her he has a constituency as well – the intelligence community, and she’ll lose if she goes to war with them. She’s isn’t buying it, and tells him she’ll put his “ass in jail.” He tells her, “Good day, Madam,” and it looks like she won that round, but what’s next? Is Dar going to tie little Franny to the railroad tracks? Nope. He calls Not-Alex Jones who is gleeful that he’s being freed up to “weaponize some information.”

Quinn gets a local kid to ring the bell at the flag house to make sure nobody is home. Satisfied the coast is clear, he goes around back. He knows where to find the hidden key. He not only knows there’s an alarm, but he’s got the code. Then he’s attacked! No, he’s not. That was a flashback, but it’s filmed to be a little confusing – probably like whatever’s going on in Quinn’s head at any given moment. We learn from the flashback that once upon a black ops team met there to plan their ninja assassinations on US soil, and that the team was lead by OMIGOD the same general that’s been meeting with Dar, the one who called Madam President-Elect the c-word!

How plausible is any of this? Isn’t ninja assassination on US soil the FBI’s job? Also would they really use the same house for years? Mightn’t people get a wee bit suspicious? And they never change the code on the alarm? What is it, 1776? Or maybe 1984?

But before we can wrap our brains around the unlikeliness of everything we’re seeing, Quinn’s trip down memory lane is interrupted by the return of the terrible new crew. He sneaks out through a door that leads to a garage where he sees (SURPRISE) a white van with the Medina Medley logo.

Carrie gets a call from the social worker lady. It was all a big mistake about Franny’s being sick. It was some other kid. Can she still make it to the appointment! You bet! But then the secret service arrives with Madam President-Elect, who’d like a word. Keane’s there to pressure Carrie back in the fold even though she knows Dar has something on her. She guesses it has to do with her daughter. Carrie neither confirms nor denies. She leaves them all in her house and trots out to her appointment. That’s what you get for blowing Carrie off when she called you in her hour of need, Madam President-Elect!

Carrie is just following doctor’s orders.

Mira, the ex-Mrs. Saul Berenson, is sitting at an old-timey white tablecloth restaurant. The waitress delivers a note with a message that the man who left it sends his apologies. Saul has left Mira an elaborate set of instructions to get to where he is without being followed. This includes the use of an identically addressed double. If the previous scene with Saul in the diamond district felt a little Mission: Impossible, this one just seems too Get Smart. Mira winds up in an empty classic six prewar apartment in a luxury building, and all the New Yorkers watching are wondering if it’s for sale for realz. Saul is waiting for her over by the huge living room window with the amazing Central Park view. It’s established  he hasn’t even seen her for two years so this is not an elaborate pre-sex with your ex ritual.

“So you didn’t buy this apartment in a desperate attempt to get me back?”

He tells her he’s in trouble and is taking off, so he wants her to do him a favor and not tell whomever comes around to ask her that he’ll be living in their secret hideaway, an old rectory somewhere in Greece.

Mira figures he’s caught in the middle between Madam President-Elect and the intelligence community. He tells her it’s Madam who wants him to take the fall. She tells him to cut a deal and not “leave her to the wolves.” He tells her he can’t because he’ll be humiliated. She rolls her eyes at him, and suddenly he is woke and realizes that the problems of one aging CIA agent who should’ve retired five years ago, and definitely should have better vetted his sex partner, don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, and that if he gets on that plane he’ll regret it, maybe not today but soon Ilsa, and for the rest of his life. Who knew Mira would finally have a purpose in our story!

When Carrie gets to Child Services, she’s momentarily distracted by the secretaries computer screen which is showing the video of Andrew Keane “running from” battle. But Carrie doesn’t even have time to react. She sees Franny and it’s a mother and child reunion. Even the Social Worker Lady who is convinced Carrie is a clear and present danger to her daughter looks touched. Who’s hoping the Social Worker Lady will be collateral damage when the ninja assassins come for battle in the finale?

“Honey, next time when Mommy says duck, it’s okay to push the Social Worker Lady into the line of fire, okay?”

Keane is with Rob and another adviser. They’re talking about the video which is racking up the YouTube hits. Keane wants to respond with the truth, but she’s told that “the truth won’t put a dent in it.” Madam President-Elect disagrees, but if this show has taught us anything, it’s taught us that the President-Elect has no actual power whatsoever.

Dar is visiting the war room of 100 commanders of 1 million sock puppets that Not-Alex Jones runs in northern Virginia which is an easy commute from New York on this show and Quantico (a show this episode is only slightly less ridiculous than).

Actual commuting time.

Max tries to capture some video of Dar and Not-Alex Jones together using the phone he is not supposed to have with him. Not-Alex Jones gleefully tells Dar how well their evil plan to malign a dead soldier is going. After years of going out of its way to make sure we understood that the Muslim heavies had a legit grievance against the US, it must be enormous fun for the writers to create villains who just enjoy wallowing in evil. Dar notices a laptop on Not-Alex Jones’ desk. There’s a photo of Quinn on the screen. Dar definitely sees it and asks, “What’s this?” Not-Alex Jones closes the screen and tells him it’s a “work in progress.” Then distracts him with some bright shiny object. What does Not-Alex Jones have planned? And why doesn’t Dar seem to care? Is he holding his cards close to his vest, or was his profession of love to Quinn just more of the endless bullshit that comes out of his pie hole?

As if the Mighty Quinn could be felled by their evil plans.

Hey, remember how last season everyone lost track of Quinn? It looks like it happened again. Carrie is returning to her house when she is confronted by Clarice which just seems like too many worlds colliding. Clarice hands Carrie her phone with a video. It’s Quinn, saying “This is Clarice, you can trust her. She will bring you to me.” Carrie is very confused as she thought Quinn was still at Bellevue and maybe he should be if he actually trusts the woman who set him up to get robbed by her no good junkie boyfriend.
Over in the war room, the giant screen and all the computers suddenly shut down with a whooshy “shut down” noise, and the same woman who caught Conlin where he shouldn’t have been screams for Mr. Petrovsky (Max) and asks him if brought a phone onto the floor. He denies it, but it’s clear a co-worker who bumped into him earlier snitched. He is taken away much against his will but in the presence of the 100 flying monkeys. What are the odds of one of them saying or doing something about it? Maybe he has a secret confederate who will call Carrie and she can be over there in ten minutes because that’s how long it takes to get to DC from Brooklyn in this particular parallel universe.

Saul rings Carrie’s front door bell. She’s not home, so he goes around the back and lets himself in through the broken glass door that still hasn’t been fixed because Carrie’s only worried about the people watching the house and not random strangers coming inside. He calls Carrie to tell her he’s now in her kitchen and Mira set him straight. There’s a pinging noise and he follows it to a locked door, which he opens because there is no privacy among spies. And there it is! A genuine bonafide Carrie wall o’ crazy the likes of which we haven’s seen since uh last season when she went off her meds. Saul looks super relieved because Carrie’s got the goods on Dar and knows how to connect a dot or two – with multicolored string.

The look of a man who knows his magically manic friend has once again saved the world.

But when exactly was she working on this? Did Carrie even build this wall? Or was it in fact Max’s wall because it’s definitely Max’s video that was pinging. Saul looks at the feed and sees Dar with Not-Alex Jones.

Keane is crying while watching the YouTube clip about her son. She’s convinced that not talking about him kept this from happening, and she shouldn’t have opened up her “big fat mouth.” In moment’s of crisis, all women, it seems self-body shame. Rob closes up her screen.

Clarice has brought Carrie out to a location allegedly in Queens (If they don’t want us to know where they are filming, maybe they shouldn’t show us the street signs.) Quinn is waiting for her, not in the flag house, but in a house across the street that is conveniently being remodeled. He’s by a second floor window looking through the site on an automatic weapon. He invites Carrie to take a peek. She spots Black Hat Guy. She looks so natural with a gun. You can see Quinn still loves her and forgives her for causing his stroke or maybe he forgot what Dar told him. No, it’s forgiveness. Quinn is our Black Ops Jesus, and Jesus forgives us our sins. He tells Carrie he has proof they substituted Sekou’s van. He’s seen the real one in the garage across the street.

Next week is the penultimate episode and on Homeland that’s always been the most action packed. So thoughts, predictions? Who’s going to die? You know someone is.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Homeland

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  • I thought I had missed some vital clue about the location of the troll factory building, but I’m glad that it’s them, not me.

    I would like to see the CPS woman get whacked, but the only way that happens is if she suddenly has an attack of conscience and flips on Dar. Then she meets the fate of anyone that helps Carrie.

    Whatever happened to that large woman that Quinn hooked up with? I liked that storyline. Why won’t she come back? Also, how come the disappearance of the FBI agent who was caught at the troll factory didn’t cause even the slightest buzz? You think the FBI might be slightly interested…

    • The death (or if someone moved his body — disappearance of) the FBI agent most closely linked with Sekou Ba and the bombing in New York, would have been HUGE. They definitely said the troll factory was in northern Virginia.