Homeland: Carrie's Personal Jesus -- Season Finale (S5 E12 Recap)

homeland logoWe pick up exactly where we left off last week with Carrie running down the train tunnel with her gun drawn as the Germans all stand by doing and saying nothing because they are Germans, and Homeland will never lose an opportunity to promote an ethnic stereotype.

Carrie runs into Qasim, whom I will no longer call Cat Stevens because he shaved his beard. She plays on his “second thoughts” regarding mass murder, and offers to give him her gun, so he can go further down the tunnel to where Bibi is arming the weapon, and kill him – thus saving hundreds of lives. He won’t take the gun, but he says Allah will give him the words to stop his cousin. That doesn’t work out too well. Bibi shoots him. But the Lord, by any name, works in mysterious ways, so he isn’t killed immediately. There’s a struggle, and Carrie is able to run towards them, even while she’s in the path of an ongoing train. (And for those of us drinking every time something “religious” happens, check out the light in the tunnel.)

homeland 12 light

She shoots Bibi dead, proving that the only thing that can stop a bad man with a poison gas bomb is a good woman with a gun. This Homeland is brought to you by the NRA.

Carrie tells a dying Qasim that he saved everybody, and she thanks him for saving Peter too with the atropine. Then she says a Muslim prayer over him because God is God, whatever you call him, and the entire season has been a religious allegory.

So within the first five minutes of the finale, Carrie has foiled the evil doers’ plans. How are we going to kill the rest of the hour?

After a brief check-in with Carrie outside the station, Saul interrogates Ivan. Just to keep hitting us over the head with the religious stuff, Saul announces that he is going to be Ivan’s “confessor.” Does he mean that in a Torquemada kind of way? Nope. The only person Saul wants to torture and burn at the stake is Allison herself, and Ivan is going to help him. Saul points out that she and Mother Russia have left him holding the bag, so if he’d like a nice easy retirement into the witness protection program, and a complimentary lifetime pass to one of America’s most fabulous ski resorts, he must ACT NOW and tell Saul how Allison plans to leave the country. The scene between these two late-career spymasters was the best thing about the entire season. It was restrained, witty, and fun to watch. Could we pretty please have a spin-off where they open up a private detective agency in some faded, but colorful ski town?

A couple of middle-aged white guys sitting around talking.

A couple of middle-aged white guys sitting around talking.

Where is Allison? She’s been taken to a safe house that she realizes is a transit point for underage girls being trafficked. Haven’t they already established Russia is evil enough this season? First they blew up the plane with the kidney transplant girl, then they killed a bunch of other people, and after that they decided to let the sarin gas attack happen. Isn’t trafficking overkill?

Despite colluding with the Evil Empire, betraying her country, and killing or ordering the death of colleagues, Allison is appalled that the SVR is involved in the exploitation of women. What has kept this character from being a one-dimensional villainess is her undeserved sense of self-righteousness, and moral superiority. It’s like when she told Saul that she was the aggrieved party. She really believed it.

You know who else acts like she’s saving the world? Limp-haired Laura, that’s who. Astrid busts into her office at the Düring Center for Do-Gooding and arrests her. A hacker in the employ of the BND looks through her stuff to find a link to Numan. Numan, who is waiting for her, also gets taken into custody.

Carrie returns to her apartment. Jonas isn’t there. She takes a nap. Jonas wakes her up sometime later. He was at the BND trying to see Laura, his client, but she’s being kept away from everyone.  Carrie doesn’t tell him what happened, or how her hand got injured. She pulls him to her and they start machen die heiße Zeit . Later he tells her that the story of the mysterious blonde with the gun in the train station is all over the internet. She admits it was her and tells him they are safe now.

Instead of being all, “Hooray, my girlfriend is a superhero,” he tells her to keep his over-sized shirt and they’ll always have Berlin. She’s pissed that he’s breaking up with her and the Brodiette, but he tells her that he can’t unhear stuff he’s heard. She gets into a snit about this, but is it because she’s so in lurve with Jonas or because she liked the life the three of them had? Also if she squinted, and it was dark enough, she could pretend he was Brody.

Then even though it’s now late night, she goes to visit Quinn because Carrie don’t need no stinking visitor’s hours. She finds his bed empty! A nurse tells her he had a stroke – a big one – and is in surgery. She goes to the chapel in keeping with the spirit of the season. It’s ultra-nondenominational with no religious symbols at all, in contrast to the church on the Lost finale with all of them.

There’s a mother and child in a pew rows in front of her. The mother is singing softly in German. The daughter turns and stares at Carrie. What’s this about? Are they hallucinations? Visions? Is the daughter future Franny? Carrie starts crying, only it looks almost like she’s orgasming, and then there’s a fade where it all goes blurry and light, and then she’s alone in the chapel, and the doctor comes in to talk to her. He tells her that even if Quinn makes it, they’ll be “significant” brain damage.

She strides purposely to Quinn’s room. Is she going to pull the plug? We all know Quinn wouldn’t want to live like that.“Oh dear God,” she cries, “Did I do this to him?” Even then, Carrie manages to make it about Carrie.

Then we get one of those fade outs with a time stamp that they like to do on their season finales. It’s four days later.

Carrie appears to be staying at Düring’s house, or maybe it’s his cottage, or maybe it’s THE cottage, but wherever it is there’s a lake she’s looking out at, which always centers her.

Astrid makes Laura an offer she can’t refuse. Marwan’s death is something that needs to be explained properly to the German people, who apparently need to be lied to because they can’t handle the truth. Laura has to lie to them or they’ll send Numan back to Turkey where he’ll be executed – even though Turkey ended the death penalty in 2002 because they want to join the European union, but on Homeland they’re probably under Sharia law. Also they’ll send Laura back to the US where she’ll go to “supermax” prison. The documents are not leverage because according to Astrid, they have Numan’s laptop, and presumably they know there aren’t copies. How do they know that? Don’t ask. Seriously, don’t because it probably involves off-screen “bio-metrics” and/or other forms of enhanced interrogation.

Also, if you ever make that smirky face at me again, I will beat you and you vill like it!

Also, if you ever make that smirky face at me again, I will beat you and you vill like it!

Carrie show up in Quinn’s room. Dar is there asleep on a chair. Carrie uses some ointment to anoint Quinn’s hands and lips because isn’t that something one or more of the Marys did for Jesus?.

Dar wakes up. They talk about Peter’s prognosis, which is bleak. If he doesn’t wake up soon, he never will. Dar tells a rather unsettling story about Peter’s lost years. He was a sixteen year old “street” kid in foster care. The CIA needed somebody like him – young, rough around the edges, but “pretty enough to turn the head of a Hong Kong paymaster.”

Did they just manage to imply that the CIA recruits underage wards of the state as sex workers to entice Chinese pederasts? Did they  just add Chinese to the list of ethnicities they insult?

His past with Peter is even worse than you imagined.

His past with Peter is even worse than you imagined.

Dar hands Carrie a letter Peter wrote for her when he went to Syria – the one we saw him address to her on the Season Four finale. Yay! We finally get to find out what he wrote! The voice over begins: “I guess I’m done and we never happened…” Get our your handkerchiefs.

Saul interrupts Carrie’s reading. He’s come looking for her because he’s been trying to get her to come back to the CIA, and she’s been telling him no. He calls her selfish because she is THE ONE and he is her Giles, but she tells him that’s really not who she is anymore. Saul is being unpleasant, so she goes back to hang with the guy that can’t give her any backtalk.

The mole that Allison met last week in the ladies’ room comes to escort her out of the safe house. Allison acts all princess and the pea about having to travel in the trunk of a car..

Limp-haired Laura makes another appearance on the talk show she was on last week. Astrid is in the studio because sure nothing unusual about having a BND officer there. To save herself and Numan, Laura throws dead-Marwan under the bus by saying he she’s seen evidence he was a terrorist. Also Germany rocks and is all about the civil liberties.

Turns out the place by the lake does belong to Düring, and he’s over for dinner. She pours him more wine which she no longer drinks herself except maybe when she’s taking communion. He brings his dishes to the sink like a mere mortal. They discuss Saul’s offer. Carrie insists that chapter is over, even if she’s not sure what the next one looks like. She’s going back to the US to be a mom for a while, which I guess she can afford to do because Otto, no doubt, has given her a very generous severance package.

He cleans up after himself real good.

He cleans up after himself real good.

Then Otto starts talking about her job interview. He remembers EVERY detail, and it’s more than just a German thing. It’s more like a stalker thing. His Carrie obsession seems to have started with her resume, which he may have mistakenly thought came through his Match dot Com inbox. While he uses the word “partner” rather than marriage, the meaning seems clear. He wants to be Bill to her Melinda, and together they can do twice the good.

But where is the romance and the passion? Also do we think he’s a creep because he told Jonas he thought she was unstable and was going to fire her? While that definitely seems like a dick move, Jonas had other reasons for ending the relationship – like not wanting to live with a war criminal who endangers the lives of those around her (including his son) and who thinks he’s a lousy lay.

Before she can turn him down flat, Otto tells her to go home and think about it. He’ll be in the US in a month, and they can talk then. He reminds her of the “scope and scale” of what he’s proposing. But would she have to give up her ginger habit? Carrie loves her some ginger.

Numan calls Laura, but Laura tells him she can’t talk to him anymore ever as part of her deal. He throws away his phone. Does this mean he thinks it was compromised by his calling her, or does he just hate his phone plan? Is he about to go underground? Are we really supposed to accept that he has no other copies of the files? These are questions that won’t be resolved – at least not this season, but probably never, because we don’t see him again. Let’s just rejoice that he is still alive even though he helped Carrie because the odds against that are extremely high.

Night time. It looks like the car Allison is in the trunk of is about to cross the border. They get diverted off the road and onto some spikes and then it’s pow-pow-pow-pow, as the CIA goes totally gangster because the only thing that stops a lying cheating bitch double-agent who betrayed you her country is a bunch of good men with automatic weapons.

Saul tells an underling to pop open the trunk, and sure enough Allison’s body is riddled with bullets and she’s really most sincerely dead. While that’s got to be personally satisfying for Saul, it’s a little less so for us. Wouldn’t it have been a neat trick if she wasn’t there? Not saying I want to see her get away with it, only that she makes a good bad.

We’re back with Carrie, who’s striding purposefully down the corridor of the hospital towards Peter’s room. It’s Peter’s voice in Carrie’s head, reading us his letter, which is all about their never-was romance and his being drawn to the darkness. She enters his room and uses a chair to block the door as he continues. There’s a whole section where he tells her not to put a star up for him. If you’ve been playing the drinking game where you take a shot at every reference to other season finales, drink up. He tells her that the possibility of the two of them was but a “false glimmer,” but he will always be with her as a “beacon” lighting her way. Around that moment, the sun rises and a light shines on his beautiful face, but fortunately we are spared the chorus of angels.

homeland 12 carrie and quinn

Quinn prior to his ascension.

Then a fade out.

What? Before the ascension?

So people are asking if she pulled the plug. Here’s the thing. There was no plug to pull. He wasn’t intubated or on a ventilator. He might have had a feeding tube or something for hydration, but if she takes those out it could be DAYS before he’s dead. The only way he’s going to die immediately is if she actually kills him – smothers him or injects him with enough morphine to shut down his respiratory system.

Some are interpreting the sunlight as a sign that she doesn’t kill him. How would his not dying work? Does she talk him awake because NOBODY SAYS NO TO CARRIE MATHISON? Maybe she doesn’t kill him, but she’s goes under the sheet and screws him like Garp’s mom, so she can bear his spawn, and then marry Otto, and bring up junior in the lap of luxury? Maybe she keeps a comatose Quinn under glass in the family chapel – like a relic. Maybe the light was God telling her that he already died so she’s off the hook.

No matter what, Peter’s surviving the season and coming back in any form other than celestial, is on a par with Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower.

Honestly, do we were really need to see her end him? The ending feels right, and the episode would make a perfect series finale. Peter’s dead. Saul seems to finally have his groove back. He lost it after his season four kidnapping, off-screen divorce, not getting the directorship, and sleeping with the enemy. But we saw him turn Ivan into a real defector and that took some fancy spy craft.  Carrie has prevented yet another attack. Lives are saved, but she’s gone for good from the spy biz and on to other things, and all things considered, she’s in a good place.

Unfortunately, Showtime has already renewed the series. Can we at least pray for a reboot? A next generation? Make that literally a next generation. The Brodiette and the Quinn-spawn Carrie is about to conceive both grow up to be agents, or maybe ultra-rich freelance world-savers taught by their mom. Or maybe Quinn comes back as a ghost, and follows Carrie around like in Topper? Anything would feel less ludicrous than Peter’s not being dead next season after the build up of the letter, but nothing could be more bleak than the prospect of Homeland without the mighty Quinn.

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves or with me in the comments below.

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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  • Disappointed that they resolved the train station terror attack so soon. I was really on the edge of my seat last episode, they could have kept that up. Don’t trust Otto. Didn’t he call Carrie a loose cannon? What’s his game? I’m sad that Allison is dead. Great character, great actress. Between the bullets and the gas chamber, Quinn really needed to die. OT, but Carrie looked adorbs in that sweatshirt. Next season they bring back Mrs. Brody! I hope!

    • He called her a loose cannon but that was to Jonas and it might have been his trying to manipulate their relationship. (Hence, the “dick” move I referred to.)