Homeland: The Adventures of New Carrie in Brooklyn
Welcome to Carrie in Brooklyn: She’s a single mom raising a cute ginger-tot in brownstone Brooklyn. How can she afford a Brooklyn brownstone? How do any television characters afford their fabulous New York apartments? Maybe she got help from that billionaire/occasional guest star, who’s sweet on her? She runs a human rights legal clinic that’s all about defending Muslims– probably also bankrolled by the sugar daddy to whom she’s not giving much sugar. But this is no run of the mill legal procedural! Like all dramatic heroines on television, there’s something dark in her past. She’s trying to make up for her former life as the Drone Queen of the Kabul, but as the billionaire keeps telling her, it doesn’t work that way.
Doesn’t look like she has much of a dating life or family outside of the kid, but there’s some disabled veteran-type who’s not a relative, but she’s very enmeshed with, and visits every day at the hospital. After an unfortunate incident, she takes him in. What wacky shenanigans will now ensue?
A reboot is what happened in Season 4 after Brody was killed. This is an entirely different show. On the season premiere they even jettisoned the iconic opening credit montage, but not the equally well-parodied jazz soundtrack, even when there was nothing jazzy going on.
We open with Carrie on the cleanest bus ever seen in Brooklyn. She shows up at the veteran’s hospital and is not pleased to find that Peter has skipped physical therapy. The therapist tells her, “You can’t make people do what they don’t want to do.” Clearly, he doesn’t know to whom he is speaking.
How is He-Who-Has-Risen-From-The-Dead? He’s grown some facial hair that someone must be helping him groom because it’s at the perfect teenage-Jesus length. He’s limping. An arm is paralyzed. He slurs his words or can’t remember them, but he still manages to be our beautiful boy, our Quinn.
Carrie gets on him about not going to physical therapy. She pushes him – literally. He pushes back. There’s yelling. Attention is paid by staff. He’s tells her he’s not going to get any better, and to leave him alone. He walks off. A nurse-manager tells Carrie her maybe her visits are “upsetting” him, and maybe she should listen to what he’s saying. Carrie asks if that’s what his doctors think, but the way she spits out “doctors” she might have as well have said, “those idiots who didn’t believe he’d ever get this far.”
In another part of town, there’s a lady-president-elect meeting with people at a fancy hotel in New York. Dar and Saul are briefing her. And yes, apparently Saul does still work for the CIA, despite embarrassing them by sleeping with a double agent. Madam President-elect (would that it were so) wants to hear the juicy stuff about lethal programs and drones – but not because she’s some drone-happy Hilary type. That would be so season four! . She wonders aloud if maybe not every problem in the Middle East has a military solution. Man, I wish I were in this alternate timeline.
Dar looks at her like, “Say what?” and squirms a lot.
Then we are introduced to an appealing young man named Sekou whose hobbies include making jihad-videos and slut-slamming his sister about how she dresses for school. Really, he’s a nice kid, super-smart, dropped out of high school to help support his family because his dad got deported back to Africa, not violent – just believes there are two sides to every story. With his friend filming on a phone, Sekou takes us to the ballroom of the Marriott hotel where he explains how a “humble brother” popped Muslim-hating Rabbi Meir Kahane right there, and you can practically see the bloodstain on the carpet. YOU ARE THERE. Google it!
Carrie goes to the aforementioned legal clinic where her
sugar daddy former employer Otto shows up. After being charming and supportive to the team, he speaks with Carrie privately. He thinks the clinic is “small potatoes.” She’s wasting her time. Together they could rule save the world, but Carrie’s been saying no to that offer for months. He tells her if it’s not him, he hopes it’s someone else, and then we immediately see Peter because this show has been driving toward that endgame ever since Peter decided not to put a bullet in Brody’s brain because it would make Carrie sad.
Peter goes AWOL from the VA with the assistance of Clarence, who works there. First he cashes his check (with Clarence getting a cut) and then it’s time to party with a shady-lady friend in a den of crack/and or other iniquity featuring surprisingly retro 1970s decor and music (okay maybe 1989 music) – unless the decor and music are Peter’s hallucinations. Apparently since returning from the dead he sees things others don’t. Can’t wait to find out what other superpowers he may have picked up during his coma!
Dar and Saul debrief in a men’s club, not a the kind with naked ladies, but the kind of place you’ve seen in countless old movies – with leather couches and twelve-foot tall bookcases, where the well-heeled menz would go to get away from the battle-ax at home, smoke cigars, read newspapers, tell stories, and drink port – brought to them by the valet who’d been there for a million years but never aged.
Dar thinks the lady-president will be a big problem, but Saul hopes she can be “educated. Dar’s skeptical. She’s a gold-star mom and Dar believes she blames the intelligence community for the death of her soldier son. Also women too emotional to be president, which he doesn’t say, but probably means.
Dar goes off for a covert meeting with a Mossad agent. It’s so secret he warns her to only report about it in person and not write anything down. He seems to trust her, which is unusual because Dar generally doesn’t have much use for the ladies, but she’s wearing a men’s suit, which maybe makes her an honorary man. He tells her he fears the new prez will be very bad for some covert activity the CIA and Mossad are planning. What are they planning? We aren’t told, but Dar says they’ll have to move before the inauguration. Move on the plan or move on “educating” the president-elect? Move on assassinating her? Or move, as in creating “facts on the ground” as they say in Tel Aviv, by acting on whatever it is immediately? There probably won’t be a reveal for several more episodes, but they’ll keep hinting at the worst.
Over in the den of iniquity, Peter is getting his mind and man-parts blown by a different lady from the one what brought him. The one what brought him goes off with Tommy – her pimp/boyfriend/partner-in-crime.
Sekou’s friend tells him about some guy he should meet before he goes to Africa, but Sekou is suspicious. His website has been getting a lot of hits, and people – as in the police – may be watching.
Peter is grooving to some music, high (having smoked some substance) and sexually sated. Tommy comes in with a gun to rob him. The whole thing was a set up. Peter tries to get his money without putting down his beer, which isn’t so easy when you only have one good arm, and are wasted. Tommy gets impatient and hits him in the temple with the gun, knocking him out. Looks like the eternal suffering of the Quinn will continue.
Sekou’s apartment is invaded by the military, there to arrest him for material support of terrorism. Special Agent Conlin of the FBI tells his mother her son has been radicalized by some bad hombres. As they take him away, Sekou tells his mother and sister not to say anything, and to contact the imam who knows a lawyer.
Carrie and the law professor from her clinic go to see Sekou in jail. Sekou is cocky at first. He knows what protected speech is, but as the lawyer talks about the charges, you can watch the panic seep into his face. The lawyer tells him he won’t be out for weeks – at least.
Special Agent Conlin sees Carrie after he has a press conference about saving America. He tells her Sekou has translated an ISIS pamphlet about all the ways to participate in jihad, and had a plane ticket to Nigeria and five thousand dollars under his mattress. Even Carrie begins to look uncertain. She gets a text that Peter is missing, and then she’s back at the VA berating the nurse she spoke with earlier. Carrie confronts Clarence – the last staff member known to have seen him. Clarence withers at her glance.
Carrie shows up alone at the den of iniquity because it’s not like she’d need backup. Strangely this place was teaming with sordid life hours before, but now appears empty. Peter’s still out cold, but she wakes him. He doesn’t want to go back to rehab, no, no, no.
We get some backstory: She’s been trying to put him in a private facility, no doubt on Otto’s dime, but Peter’s refused, and she won’t let him live on the streets. But when she gets him back to the hospital, he starts to panic and announces, “I’m leaving.” Carrie tries to stop him and then the guards intervene. They’ve got the Quinn in a headlock – the second event in this episode that could possibly be fatal to him. He’s struggling and viewers like me are getting flashbacks to the season finale of OITNB, and wouldn’t that be a twist – killing him off in the season premiere? Then Carrie yells, “Stop it,” and everyone freezes like magic because NOBODY CAN SAY NO TO CARRIE MATHISON.
Saul is having a drink at a bar with a senator. The senator is a man and Saul isn’t sleeping with him so he’s probably not a double-agent. The senator is also skeptical of Saul’s claim that the president-elect could be brought to see the light.
Carrie brings Peter to her lovely home, and puts him in the guest room downstairs that she normally rents out through Airbnb like everyone else in Brooklyn with more than 10 square feet to share. He asks her why her wallpaper is moving. She tells him she doesn’t have wallpaper, and also the house rules are no drugs or hookers. She’s got a kid.
There’s a brief shot of the President-elect looking sad and thinking about her lost boy. Maybe Dar is on to something.
The senator is greeted by Dar when he enters the same room in the Diogenes club we saw Dar and Saul in earlier. There are other people there too – all men in suits. Dar asks the senator,“No Saul?” The senator affirms that Saul isn’t coming. “It’s probably for the best,” Dar says ominously, before closing the door. He does not rub his hands together in the universal gesture of super-villainy, but he may as well have.
What do we think the plan is? Rewrite the map of the Middle East in ten days? Replace the President-elect with a Stepford President? Or are they just going to sit around and tell ghost stories?