Homeland: Quinn goes Rambo

Previously on Homeland, Sekou’s van blew up, taking out Sekou and much of a three block radius of Manhattan. The good news is there were only two other deaths. The bad news is the fallout for Carrie, Madam President Elect, and America is going to be yyyuuuge.

While we all know that Sekou was set up, the world believes he was a terrorist who was released from jail the day before on a technicality.

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We begin with not-Alex Jones, whom we’ve heard previously this season, but haven’t seen before. He’s the host of The Real Truth, not to be confused with The Fake Truth. Research on the internet reveals Infowars and other right-wing sites are thrilled by the shout-out while also condemning it as yet another example of liberal bias. Jake Weber playing not-Alex Jones is no Hugh Laurie when it comes to talking ‘Mercan. Is it really Jake Weber at all? Behind the shaggy-do and facial hair, could it be John Oliver? Because he sure sounds like what I’d imagine John Oliver would sound like if he were parodying Alex Jones.

John Oliver, is that you?

While the execution is shaky, the concept of the character works. This season is all about lies, plots, and paranoia. Not-Alex Jones captures that, and helps us understand the stakes and fallout of the recent attack. Keane’s already been painted as an “accommodationist” thanks to Dar, and the voters are experiencing some serious buyer’s remorse. Speaking of Dar, his message and not-Alex Jones’ message are in perfect alignment: Fear is strength. If you stop living in fear for even a second, things are going to blow up.

Shortly after the explosion, Carrie is getting Franny ready for school while trying to convince her she’s safe, even though the message on television is that nobody is. While she’s talking to her daughter, Peter, who has joined them for breakfast, notices a piece of debris shown on the TV is a truck part with the “Medina Middle Eastern” logo. He doesn’t have a chance to share this tidbit and what it might mean with Carrie because she gets a call from Reda, informing her that Sekou was the driver, and she needs to go to his  family in Brooklyn until he can get over there. Also Franny isn’t going to school because the whole city is on lock down. Carrie calls Leticia, the nanny, but it’ll be forty-five minutes till she can get there, so Carrie asks Peter if he can babysit for a while. What could possibly go wrong? (Answer: Everything.)

Carrie sees Conlin outside with Simone and Abby. Conlin yells at her for using the recording to get Sekou released and asks her where it came from. He knows it had to be NSA, but Carrie tells him she can’t tell him, so he yells at her some more.

Back at her house, reporters our gathering like the crows outside the schoolhouse in The Birds,and Keane has been taken sort of against her will to a “safe location” sans phone, internet, television or even her right hand man, Rob.

Carrie goes to see the NSA guy she previously ambushed. The whole scene reminds us of what a dangerous — as in Glen Close Fatal Attraction level-crazy — femme fatale she used to be. Remember how she had a past with David Estes and almost wrecked his marriage back in Season One? Remember the Brody-like ginger she was imbibing much vodka with and screwing in early Season 3? Ah good times!  She’s there to warn him that even though she’s not going to give him up, they’ll be an investigation. He looks at her like he can’t believe she’s shown up at his place of work, and he’s got a sudden desire to check on his daughter’s pet bunny. Here comes one of those beautiful twists you probably didn’t see coming: He never sent her the recording. At first, Carrie is like, “Yeah well of course that’s what you’ll say, but…” And then he makes it 100% clear that he did not agree to break a thousand laws because they may have had drunk sex once. He filled out paperwork and reported their contact, and boy is he relieved he did.

“No, really, Carrie, sometimes no does mean no.”

So if he didn’t send it who did?(Until we know, feel free to speculate!)

Franny and Peter watch the gathering storm. Franny wonders what her mom did to piss off so many people. Kid, given who your mom is you’ll probably be asking yourself that question a lot! Leticia finally arrives, but after she does, Peter opens the door to an especially insistent reporter, grabs her and forces her inside, puts his good hand around her throat and starts asking her questions, including who sent her and how she found the house.  She mentions that “someone” called in to the station saying there would be a demonstration outside. Peter wants to know who called, but she tells him she doesn’t know. He then releases her by shoving her down the stairs.

Leticia suggests that maybe she should take Franny over to her house. But Peter rejects that solution, and doesn’t think calling Carrie to ask her is a good idea either because “They’re listening.” Then he takes the battery out of Leticia’s phone.

Dar shows up at Keane’s safe house. Given what happened, he seems strangely chipper. Keane wants to know where her staff is. He tells her “Logistics are tricky,” and gives her a phone connected to the “supernet” that she can use to call the White House and a few select others, that don’t include Carrie, Rob, or anyone she actually trusts. He also explains to her that the driver of the car had been released from custody, and that a former agent, Carrie Mathison had been involved in getting him out through her non-profit – though there’s no reason (yet) to think she had any foreknowledge of the bombing. He also implies that the bomber might have been heading for her hotel. The whole speech sounds like he’d been rehearsing exactly what to say in order to provoke maximum uncertainty in Keane.  Throwing Keane off by isolating her also has Dar’s not so subtle fingerprints.

“Repeat after me, Madam President. Dar Adal is the only one I can trust. He’s also the handsomest son of a bitch in the CIA, and he does NOT paint his hair.”

The demonstrators are now shouting in front of Carrie’s house. Someone throws a rock in through a window. Peter responds by shooting a bullet at the miscreant. That works. Leticia asks again if they can leave. He tells them it’s not safe and she needs to lock herself in the downstairs bathroom with Franny.

Carrie calls Conlin to tell him the recording really didn’t come from her source, and she has no idea where it did come from, but whomever sent it knew she’d use it to get Sekou out of jail. Sounds like Conlin believes her. He’s watching a television screen and asks Carrie if she knows there’s a “hostage” situation at her house.

Carrie races back home to find a SWAT team walking on her roof, and snipers set up everywhere. She starts yelling at the top cop that he can’t send people in. It’s all a crazy misunderstanding, and also Quinn is a trained “war fighter” and if he sends people in, people will die. Naturally, the cop ignores her. The skylight opens. The first officer climbs down. Peter grabs him, and holds a pistol to his throat. The rest of the team aborts, giving Peter hostage number three.

Dar, who is still glowing, picks up Saul at the airport, and tells him Madam President is now “a little more open.” They discuss the Israelis, and Saul explains why he was looking at the cigarette package in the garbage can in the previous episode. A package of Nafeesi’s cigarettes was in the trash in a part of the house that Nafeesi had no access to during the interrogation. Therefore, Saul believes Nafeesi was at the house before, and the Israelis may have told him what to say. That’s why he met with Javadi. He doesn’t trust the information he got from Nafeesi. Dar remains poker-faced.

Over at Carrie’s, Peter is grabbing all the cop’s cool weapons. Franny is getting frightened. On the street, the head cop is finally listening to Carrie, and agrees to allow her to go in alone and talk to Peter.

Peter is convinced that they “know too much” and the cops won’t let them go. The poor hostage-cop was left with tape around his mouth in the boiler room and can hardly breathe. Peter brings him out at Carrie’s insistence. This somehow gets his body camera back online, so the cops decide they have a clear shot and should go in – despite having promised Carrie they wouldn’t.

Peter and Carrie with their super spy senses, hear them coming. Carrie tells Leticia and Franny to stay low in the shower. She tries to convince Peter to give himself up. He tries to show her the pictures on his phone proving he’s not crazy. The police bust down the door. Suddenly there are many red laser dots on Peter. Carrie protects him with her body, gets him on the floor, and makes sure he’s not killed. While it seems unlikely the show would have killed Peter off less than half way through Season 6 after implausibly saving him last season, it felt like anything could have happened.

They were either planning to shoot him or release the kittehs.

Madam President still can’t reach Rob or anyone else on her special phone though she finally discovers there is, despite what she was told, a working television in the house. The housekeeper is watching The Real Truth where she is being vilified.

Carrie sends Franny off with Leticia and her husband. Leticia is amazingly calm given that she was held hostage by a madman. Is she also ex-CIA or just from a very tough neighborhood? Carrie is planning to gather some things and join Franny. It’s good to be friends with the nanny. Carrie picks up Peter’s miraculously not broken phone and starts flipping through the photos he was so anxious to show her, and there it is: The man hes followed to Long Island City went to the Medina Middle Eastern Cuisine distribution center – where Sekou worked. She goes to a window and can see the silhouette of someone watching her through the blinds from the apartment across the street. Connect the dots, sheeple!

Except for the worst American accent since either Emma Thomson or Alan Rickman in Judas Kiss, this was possibly the most suspenseful episode since Brody put on a suicide vest in Season One. Who do we think sent the recording? We know Dar has been listening in on Carrie and Madam President. He’s scheming so much and acting so suspiciously that he’s practically wearing a button saying “False Flag Operation.” But is he too obvious a villain? With seven more episodes to go, it looks like there’s going to be more surprises.  Maybe with Quinn doing the heavy lifting in the altered perception department, this will be the first season where Carrie never goes crazy. Thoughts? Feelings? Speculation? Feel free to express yourself 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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