Homeland: Their own private Alamo

Keane is ready to dump David. Saul has a very bad day. Carrie has a proposition for Dante. And Costa Ronin (Oleg) from The Americans drops by for a very special non-crossover.

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We open with Carrie watching her favorite live streaming series Hail to the Chief of Staff! Is David’s sexy French girlfriend staying over? No, but a caravan of black cars pulls up to the house. Uh-oh! It’s the boss! Keane is convinced those lousy generals hijacked her presidency, but David confesses it was him. Despite his making the case that he did it to save her presidency, she’s not grateful.

The moment you realize that the one person not trying to kill you, may be insane.

Will she fire him on the spot? Ship him to Gitmo? Carrie doesn’t get to find out, because she has to answer the door. It’s Max. She gives him a recap of the plot so far. She’s now convinced that David is nuts enough or ruthless enough to have had McClendon killed. She can’t wait to tell her other boyfriend Dante, but Max reminds her she can’t do that, as that would out the surveillance and lead back to him.

She gives Max her copy of Simone’s hard drive so he can unlock her emails, and tells him she needs to borrow his car. He tells her he thought she was grounded so she can rest. And he actually says “grounded”, because Maggie treats her like a troubled teen.

Over at Big Daddy’s sovereign state and used car lot, Brett’s army is unloading truckloads of weapons. How is this happening given that the FBI has blocked off the roads? Never mind that. This is war! The Head Sister Wife seems upset that the young ‘uns might be harmed. but Brett assures her they’re just trying to make a point and he’ll hand himself over to the feds before he’ll let anything happen to a kid.

“Of course your kids’ll be safe! I’m on TV. I wouldn’t lie.”

Agent Maslin is mad because someone shot down his drone, and boy, things were a lot easier back when he was Agent Harris in New Jersey! At least those mob guys played by the rules. He takes it out on Saul, who spends much of the episode looking shell-shocked, or maybe like he’s experiencing deja vu all over again, which might be more the point.

Carrie drives to Hazelton, Virginia, a mere three hours away from the DC-Metro area in light traffic, to case the area where Simone got her parking ticket. West Virginia looks beautiful with those fall colors even though it’s supposed to be around March… less than 100 days into Keane’s presidency, as David just reminded us.

Looks like Simone got the ticket while she was inside a check cashing place, so Carrie gets into character, and poor Carl, the schlub on the other side of the protective glass, doesn’t know what hit him.

Just give the lady what she wants, Carl. You really don’t want to make her angry.

Like some dame in a hard-boiled detective novel (The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep, for instance) she flashes Simone’s photo, and tells him her sister is in trouble, only her sister’s trouble sounds a lot like her own: bi-polar, in debt, dependent on and driving her family crazy. She tells Carl that if her crazy sister did any money transfers he better fess up or she’ll sue. He caves immediately, which is a good thing, as we know how Carrie gets when you say no to her. Simone got $9,950.

Back at Waco-East, tragic events are unfolding. JJ, Big Daddy’s beloved son, is chasing after his dog, the one that’s trained to only bite FBI agents. The dog runs toward some of those who are crouched in the woods with guns, because he’s a good dog who’s just doing his job, and they shoot him dead. JJ then aims at them, so they shoot him… not dead. They’re about to call an ambulance, when some of the well-regulated militia come out and grab the boy and the agent who shot him.

They bring them back to the house where Big Daddy beats up the FBI agent, and no one has any idea what to do about JJ who’s got a stomach wound.

Carrie is computer-chatting with Max from the Hazelton Library because sure, libraries are excellent places to have loud top secret conversations. It’s not like anyone ever uses them, and the librarians are sworn to silence like shrinks and Cash n’ Dash clerks.

She’s not on a cell phone, so she’s not breaking the rules.

Max has opened the emails, revealing that Simone sure goes to a lot of parties! Carrie tells him to see if he can figure out where she might have gotten more money from, since less than ten grand probably wouldn’t have been enough for a hit on the general. Max reminds her she should be on the road, as she’s going to be in big trouble if she’s not back by the time Maggie gets home with Franny. And Carrie is like, “Oh crap!” because she really is half-crazy, but that’s why we want to be here.

Over in Ruby Ridge, Saul wants an ambulance for the kid, but Maslin wants his hostage freed first. Saul calls the President. Saul wins this one, but Maslin is not happy. And like Dar said last season, it’s never a good idea to go to war with your own intelligence agencies.

Max uses Simone’s EZ Pass summary to retrace her journey. There were cash machines all along her route. Then he hears a voice and turns around, but it’s not Carrie. It’s Maggie!

Busted! God, those Mathison women are tough!

Mr. Undercover in the Troll Factory Guy can’t come up with a good answer when Maggie asks him where Carrie is, but Carrie waltzes in a second later like she was really downstairs getting a glass of milk or something. Maggie knows those kids were smoking reefer or having sex and not studying for their math final! Max tells Carrie that Simone collected about 50 grand on her road trip, which is apparently the going rate for poisoning a general in a federal prison.

The militia-men let the paramedics through, and they take JJ. One of them leaves a bug near the FBI hostage. Brett starts broadcasting from the house. He’s not just spinning; he’s straight out lying, accusing Keane of giving a shoot to kill order on the boy and his dog. JJ’s mom yells at him to stop and he does.

Neither fair nor balanced.

That night, Maggie makes Carrie take her Serequel, because Maggie is not playing anymore.

Saul calls Brett to try once more to get him to give up and end things before someone gets hurt. Then he asks him to at least let the kids and moms go, but Brett tells him he’s not in control.

JJ is brought to the hospital, where many medical people work on him furiously. Meantime, a man sneaks into the ER, puts on some scrubs, and manages to secretly snap photos of the kid. In one of them, you can’t see all the doctors and nurses. That’s the one he tweets out, with a message that the kid was left alone to die. The mystery man is played by Russian-born Costa Ronin, so it’s a probably a safe guess that he’s supposed to be a Russian spy. Now the question is, did they cast him because they want us to know he’s a Russian spy? Or did they figure that no one watches The Americans, so we wouldn’t know?

Might want to watch the typecasting, Costa.

Has Carrie learned her lesson? Apparently not, because the next morning when everyone is out of the house, she goes downstairs for another day of fun and spy games, this time with Dante. Of course, she’s a little out of it because of the meds. So they go to meet her connection, who knows her from somewhere, but where? The CIA? The community college she was teaching in back in season two? AA? Who knows?  But he’s as knowledgeable as any pharmacist and has brought her oodles of pills.

My money’s on his being an adjunct from the community college. They always have a side gig.

Based on her history, we’re in for a fun trip and might even meet an old killed-off cast mate. Maybe in an altered state she’ll mistake Dante for a pre-stroke Peter Quinn!

She tells Dante about Simone’s cash trek to the prison. He asks if he should bring Simone in, but Carrie says they don’t really have the evidence, and Carrie has something else in mind. She wants to get the goods on David, and this is going to require some covert, definitely not legal, possibly career-ending, ops. Is he in?

Oh yeah! He’s in!

Over at compound, Brett tries to give the Head Sister Wife some friendly advice for dealing with the press as the moms and kids will be leaving after all. She sees through his bullshit, and pays him no mind. It’s beginning to look like this thing could just end peacefully after all, or at least without a bunch of dead kids, but then almost simultaneously, the FBI and the militia see news reports with the photo of JJ and hear the rumor that he’s died.

Saul calls Brett to tell him to tell them that JJ is okay. He’ll get JJ on the phone. But Brett seems to be stalling, and Big Daddy shoots the FBI hostage dead, and then the militia men yell for the moms and kids to come back and the everybody gets their guns out, and Agent Maslin throws Saul against the wall when he tries to stop him.

Saul’s gotta be asking himself why he hasn’t retired to that Greek island. Oh, that’s right! This job was his get out of jail free card.

Brett runs down to the basement where he gets out his laptop and starts one last broadcast, but the FBI cuts it. He literally wraps himself in an American flag to protect himself from the tear gas.

There is much smoke, and we watch it begin to clear as two agents walk him out. Big Daddy and many others are dead. We don’t know how many kids died, but it’s the type of clusterfuck that will likely doom Keane’s already shaky presidency.

Saul looks at Brett, and he sees something. We see what Saul sees: Brett’s not defeated. He’s not scared. The mask is off. He’s triumphant. Brett could have stopped it, but he didn’t because he wanted it to end this way: in civil war. We can read Saul’s thoughts because we’ve heard them before in other contexts. He knows this is all part of a plan to destabilize the United States, Cold War-style.

So the next question is: What will Saul do with this newfound knowledge now that he’s about to be shitcanned for totally screwing up his mission?

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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