Homeland: Busted, or five degrees of congruence

Andante, music played at a slow tempo, is a polite name for the filler-filled seventh episode of the seventh season. Yet, a few things happen to move the story forward: Carrie gets laid. Max gets waylaid. We learn something new about David and Elizabeth, maybe. We meet Mr. Vice President in one of the lamest introductory scenes a big name actor on the small screen has ever had to play. And the team formerly known as Saul and Carrie may be broke beyond fixing.

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Picking up where we left off: While Dante sleeps, Carrie and this year’s Scoobs are going through everything in his apartment, including Americanski basketball player/Russian nesting dolls which can only be purchased in the finest airport gift shops and/or Amazon. Dante briefly wakes up, looks around, and passes out again. They don’t kill him, but finish quickly and skedaddle.

They briefly discuss his waking up, and decide he probably won’t remember anything. No smoking gun was found, but Max has some downloads to go through. They’re planning to get breakfast when Carrie suddenly realizes she stayed out past curfew and Mom Maggie is going to be so mad.

In this week’s episode of Hail to the Chief of Staff—a wacky sitcom about a beleaguered senior White House official who’s always having unexpected guests—Saul does the dropping by. He looks around as though to say, “Carrie, I know you’re watching!” Then he drops the bomb on poor David, telling him that his sweetie is a Russian agent, and she’s going to set him up but good when she testi-lies.

Saul is vetting David for membership in the club of which he’s CEO.

Carrie tries to avoid the walk of shame by sneaking up to her room, but Maggie busts her. Carrie says she was “working.” That doesn’t cut it, and here come the lectures. Carrie grabs Frannie and leaves the house, but not before calling Bill “Mr. I’ve Had It” and sarcastically thanking them for their “hospitality.”

Will Maggie call child services? She should!

Max walks into his apartment and is immediately grabbed by a goon. Not to worry, it’s Saul’s goon. Saul tells Max that Carrie told him about the surveillance. Saul does not say, “Thank you for taking that big chance when 200 others and I were sitting in jail.” Saul does not say, “Did I thank you last year for your work exposing the troll factory?” Saul does not say either of these things because Saul is at his most petulant, and doesn’t have time to be nice. He asks Max where he was the night before, and Max tells him.

Carrie tries to check into a motel with her captive daughter. Carrie’s card is declined, so she hands over another one, with a different alias. The clerk is “confused.” Carrie decides “change of plans” and leaves. Frannie by now is hungry and wants to go home, home being that nice normal house in the ‘burbs where she spent the first couple of years of her life before this crazy lady what tried to drown her took her to Germany, which Frannie had to leave because her life was in danger, and then they moved to Brooklyn, where they put her in foster care because her life was in danger, and oh my god it’s amazing this kid is both still alive and not a complete basket case.

Carrie gets a phone call from Dante, who doesn’t remember what happened the night before (allegedly). He asks if they did the sexy times. Carrie tells him he would have remembered that, which isn’t grandiose or anything. When Carrie tells him her tale of woe, he invites her and the kid over for pancakes, and she goes because this couldn’t possibly be dangerous.

Saul brings Max up to the future home of Crossfit. He walks him past Sandy and Clint into an office where he shuts the door and tells him to start going through the downloads, and if he finds anything interesting to tell him and not Carrie. He tells him that if he “fucks” him even the tiniest bit, he’ll tell a judge the surveillance on David constitutes the biggest security threat since 9/11. He does not say, “Thank you, Max, for your help in busting the Russian spy ring that is the biggest threat to this country’s security evah.”

Saul is the adult in every room throughout this episode.

Saul gives Sandy some stuff on Simone to go through. Then he leaves, presumably to complete more world-saving tasks.

Dante is making chocolate chip pancakes with Frannie, and Carrie looks genuinely impressed. Then he tells her he has a meeting to go to, which sounds plausible because this is a weekday and unlike Carrie, he’s got a job. What a break! Now Carrie has time to complete her exploration of his apartment. Will she invite in the crew?

Over in the White House, it’s time for special guest star Beau Bridges as Mr. Vice President. Mr. VP goes to visit President Elizabeth I, because he wants to know about Simone’s immunity deal and whether David (and presumably his boss) are about to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors. She doesn’t use the words “witch hunt”, because that would be a little too on the nose, but she does warn him that Paley “sows doubt”, and it’s the VP’s job to “stop the rumblings.” Then she has to go off to give medals to the heroes of that military raid she didn’t actually authorize.

Another completely unnecessary scene, but hello Beau!

Carrie is “cleaning up” Dante’s place. Frannie, who’s helping, finds a wedding album under the bed. Carrie looks up the wife and discovers she works at Treasury. Time for some snooping! That’s funny, wouldn’t the guys have found that wedding album the night before? Could this be a trap? If it is, this year’s Carrie, who’s less bright than in any previous year, is going to fall for it.

Dante stops by Casa de Maggie, and charms his way inside. Maggie’s so relieved her errant daughter sister has such nice stable seeming friends! With actual jobs! He’s there to pick up a few things for Frannie, whom he assures Mags is just fine. They go into Frannie’s room, but can’t find Hop, so Dante offers to look in Carrie’s room, and Mags is like, please feel free to go through all my crazy sister’s stuff. He does not find a crazy wall with his photo and arrows connecting it to Simone’s photo, but he does find a photo of himself with some information, so it’s at least enough to tell him Carrie’s been looking into him.

Carrie drags Frannie along as she goes to talk to Audrey, the ex. Carrie is using an alias, pretending to be vetting Dante for some new top secret gig. Audrey scoffs at the idea that Dante ever had a drinking issue. Their marriage mostly broke up because he was so bitter and obsessed after Kabul. It especially irked him that while his career was in tatters, that crazy Drone Queen what blew up a wedding got a promotion. Boy, was he mad at that Carrie Mathison chick! But then he got some great new job and started traveling a lot, but by then Audrey had moved on.

Carrie calls Max and tells him in the least self-aware exchange ever that not only did Dante lie about having a drinking problem and a bi-polar ex, but he was really holding onto some “crazy” stuff about her.

“Can’t believe he’s holding on to that crazy stuff. Not like I got his girlfriend killed in Pakistan. Max? Max, are you still there?”

Max tells Saul, who was listening in, that it’s not fair keeping Carrie in the dark. In case we are all wondering what’s up with Saul and Carrie these days, he reminds Max and us that Carrie only came to him because she had nowhere else to turn. She got everything “exactly wrong,” helped a foreign power, and completely ignored his advice to lay low, so “not exactly citizen of the month.” So says the guy who was sleeping with a well-placed double-agent for how long?

In a nice funhouse reflection of our current national situation, Sandy and Clint have figured out that the NGO that Simone works for is a front supported by Russian oligarchs and a money laundering operation.

President Elizabeth I is about to give her speech prior to the medal ceremony. An aide hands her a letter from David which she’s not supposed to open till after the speech, so of course she opens it. It’s his resignation. She looks like she’s about to faint, but she doesn’t. And the point of this scene was what, exactly?

Saul is trying to get a judge to give him a warrant to question Simone, who’s being kept somewhere for safekeeping by Paley’s committee. The judge thinks this is all “political” and refuses to help Saul. Honestly, this too could have been covered by a line of dialogue with Saul telling Sandy why he couldn’t get the warrant.

Saul speaks to the President by phone. She tells him about the resignation letter, and how it was all “Russia, Russia, Russia” and wasn’t that what Saul had been trying to tell her at the meeting the week before? Saul says it was indeed. She asks if there’s anything she can do, and you’d think here the powers of the presidency might be somewhat important, but he says if there was anything she could do, he’d let her know.

Seriously, Saul, you can’t think of anything? Maybe a judge she could call? Nothing?

In her limo, Elizabeth reads David’s letter again and again. We see some words like “my true feelings” and “relationship of convenience”, but what does it mean? Is David a lovesick teen who really wants to play Prince Philip to Elizabeth’s Elizabeth?

Has your humble recapper been watching season 2 of The Crown? Yes, yes she has.

Back at the future home of Crossfit, Max has found something! Dante’s overseas trips have five points of congruence with Simone’s overseas trips. That’s all Saul needs! It’s time to get Dante!

Carrie and Frannie get back to Dante’s, where he’s waiting for them with Frannie’s special bunny, Hop, which should worry us, since the last time some semi-boyfriend of Carrie’s played with Frannie’s rabbit there was a riot and gunfire.

“My real daddy was a traitor too!”

Frannie thinks this one is a keeper, but Carrie isn’t thrilled that he went to Maggie’s. This leads to a semi-honest conversation about who was where and doing what. Carrie questions whether there really was a “meeting” he had to go earlier. He tells her that Audrey called him, and he wants to know exactly what she said. Carrie tells him that Audrey said he was “preoccupied” with a certain station chief, but the way Carrie puts it, it sounds more like a crush than a hate-crush. And it sure looks like all this talking is getting them so hot and bothered that they’re going to have to take off all their clothes.

Now we’re back to Hail to the Chief of Staff, because Homeland rented this nice townhouse to film in Georgetown, and they’re going to use it! President Elizabeth I drops by and tells David he can’t quit her. What exactly ever happened or is happening between them? Who knows? But she is his Queen and he will serve her.

And we thought he was the guy that just replaced the guy what got blowed up last season.

With the Brodiette asleep (allegedly) in the bedroom, Carrie and Dante start doing it in the kitchen while Saul has a team outside ready to go in. One of Saul’s guys is getting three heat signatures in the apartment. Saul mutters, “She was warned.” Really, Saul? Three! Not two. Does it not occur to him that she brought Frannie, or doesn’t he care?

Meantime, Carrie and Dante are still working each other while working on each other naked. He reminds her she never told him why she went to talk to Audrey. Between moans and gasps, Carrie starts to tell him, “Because I think you are a….” But before she can complete the thought with (a) Russian agent, (b) liar, (c) boyfriend material, or (d) all of the above, there’s a blast at the door and Saul’s squad comes in and grabs Dante. Nobody is killed, and an agent heads into the bedroom to secure and assure Frannie, but given the guns and the ski-masks, it doesn’t look like she’s comforted. Carrie covers herself with a blanket and cradles her terrified daughter in her arms. The true climax of the episode is the final shot of Saul, looking at Carrie like a parent beyond disappointed at his once favorite offspring.

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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