Homeland: Whose life will Carrie mess up this week?

Poor Carrie – always trying to do the right thing, yet always causing so much damage. We can’t list all her victims, but with Carrie’s “help” Sekou will probably wind up in Gitmo. We’ll get to him soon. Let’s start with “the man in the basement” aka Peter Quinn, damaged goods at least in part because of Carrie’s decision to Uma Thurman him with adrenaline to get him to talk, leading to his stroke.

It worked better in the movie than on TV.

We open with Quinn listening to some nutter (probably real Alex Jones) on the radio. Isn’t it comforting to imagine a timeline where it’s damaged-warriors who live in basements soaking in the conspiracy juice and not say actual leaders of the free world? Homeland is doomed given its universe seems so much safer and nicer than the reality we are living in.

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The Brodiette wants to meet the mighty Quinn, but Mama shoes her away from the basement door and hands her off to another mom. Then she tries to get Quinn to take his anti-seizure meds, but he responds by throwing a mug through a glass door, so Carrie calls Max in to babysit. You remember Max, her go-to hacker-guy? When last we saw him wasn’t he mourning the Farrah, Carrie’s eager young acolyte, killed in the clusterfuck at the embassy due to Carrie’s total incompetence and inability to see that coming?

Yet, here he is at her beck and call because nobody can say no to Carrie Mathison, no matter how much harm she’s done. Did he take the Acela from DC or does he also live in Brooklyn now too?

Carrie and the professor meet with Sekou who explains that the $5,000 in cash under his mattress was was a loan from his friend, Saud for his trip to Africa. And yeah, Saud did want him to meet with some dude, no doubt a bad one, who maybe wanted him to blow stuff up, but he told Saud no, and he lent him the money anyway.

Carrie and the professor then see Sekou’s mother – Abby, and his sister Simone. Abby didn’t even know Saud existed, or much about what her son was doing on social media because unlike some moms she doesn’t have a secret online identity to stalk her kids. But Simone knows something. Turns out she was secretly “dating” Saud, if by dating you mean hooking up in a completely not permitted by the tenants of Islam way, and she has a photo of him.

Back at the office, Saul shows up to say hello and accuse Carrie of secretly advising the President-elect, which for some reason would be a terrible thing and a big embarrassment. Why? Is it because Carrie’s secret love child is the Brodiette? Is it because Carrie blew it in Pakistan in Season 4 – even if she did save Saul’s miserable life? Is it because she saved all those people in Berlin – even though she almost didn’t because Dar let Saul’s lying squeeze, Allison, run around like she wasn’t a double agent? How is Carrie an embarrassment in a world where Dar and Saul still have jobs?

Carrie insists that she’s not advising the President elect, and Saul stares at her a moment, and then leaves, satisfied that she’s not lying because she didn’t blink, and you can take that to the bank.

Dar meets the President-Elect’s adviser, Rob, at some downtown restaurant where everybody knows his name or maybe one of his aliases. Dar tells Rob some dubious story about how they all bonded saving people’s lives on 911. Then Dar tells Rob about Nafeezi, some Iranian “bagman” the Israelis are going to grab and talk to about how Iran is building a bomb “off-site” in North Korea. And the real President thought the President-elect should maybe know about this and might maybe want to do something.
May we pause here a moment to recall the events of Season Three, which involved setting up our man in Tehran? Whatever happened to him? Aren’t we pretty much running Iran in this universe, or are we supposed to forget that happened? Did Brody die for nothing?

Max calls Carrie to tell her that Saud is really Tyrone Banks Jr, whom it seems got into a little hometown jam in Pittsburgh and turned confidential informer. But then Max has to go because it looks like Quinn is on the loose.

The professor and Carrie go to court, but knowing about the CI doesn’t give them much leverage. They can’t actually cross examine him, and can only rely on written statements from his handler, Conlin. They will be in BIG trouble if they try to find Saud. However, the judge was a little pissed about not knowing about any of this, so it looks like there may be a deal for seven years on the table. The professor hopes seven years is a starting point, and they can get the government to agree to less.

Peter has made it to a store where he wishes to purchase much beer, but has a seizure. An ambulance is called. He refuses to go to the hospital. Max takes him back to Carrie’s. Peter refers to himself as a mutant – but he has not as of yet, revealed what his superpowers are – other than immortality.

Carrie and the professor tell Sekou about Saud, and the seven year deal. He wants to take the stand, which the professor advises against. Then Carrie says something about the unfairness of it all, and while she’s clearly trying to be helpful, she’s not helping. To make matters worse, after they leave, she tells the professor how good she is at getting answers from people who don’t want to talk. He tells her to please stop with the helping before they put the death penalty on the table, but will Carrie listen? (Hint: When has she ever listened?)

Then Carrie gets a special text from Rob and has to go visit the President-Elect whom she is advising despite her ability to look Saul in the eyes and lie to him. Carrie suggests they send Saul in with the Mossad to talk to the bagman, as Saul wants the plan with Iran to succeed and will be trustworthy on this.

Dar meets Saul in the same restaurant where he met Rob because it’s cheaper than filming somewhere else. He and Saul joke about the bullshit story he tells people about 911. The real reason they treat him like a movie star is because his nephew owns the joint. Dar had been looking at incriminating pictures of Carrie meeting with the POTUS-elect, but doesn’t share this with Saul, who tells him he confronted Carrie and he’s convinced she’s not advising the POTUS-elect because despite an entire lifetime of being deceived by women, Saul still believes he has some kind of lie-detecting superpower.

Is Dar’s goatee a little sharper this season? Does he look even more like Satan? Will this please be the time we finally learn that he is and has been the mole?

Simone meets Saud and introduces him to her new BFF, Carrie. Carrie gets this hardened criminal to cave and start crying within five minutes either because she’s THAT GOOD or the script is that CONTRIVED. He admits that Sekou never agreed to do anything for the money, and he told Conlon that. But he also tells Carrie she fucked up by meeting with him, and he’s not going to show up in court to save Sekou.

Back home, Max tells her about Peter’s seizure, and that Peter has “this strange thing” about Carrie which isn’t helping. Carrie does a lot of that face acting that we’ve never been able to watch with a straight face since Anne Hathaway parodied it on SNL.

It’s a little know fact that Anne Hathaway actually has been playing Carrie for the past two seasons.

After Max leaves, she goes downstairs to have a heart-to-heart with Peter – whether he wants to or not because it’s not as though disabled people have rights. He doesn’t remember the whole gas thing, but has been told about what happened to him, so she shows him the video on YouTube, and tells him the story of how she found him because of the tiles on the floor, and how he flatlined, though she leaves out the part about the adrenaline that caused his stroke. He asks her why she saved him, and she does some more face-acting and crying, and then she leaves him to go back upstairs.

Your humble recapper apologizes for the delay in this season’s Homeland recaps. She will get you caught up this week. She’s been fighting pneumonia since the Women’s March and she’s not saying that Russian spies infiltrated with some bacterial agent, but the world’s gotten crazier than Homeland or The Americans, so you tell me.

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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  • OpaCrackle

    I’m not sure that Saul really believed that Carrie is not connected to the president-elect. If he remembered their conversation at the breakfast table in Islamabad (Ep4x03) about her operations to come he would have realized that he made a point when he mentioned the president-elect’s ask for information about „drone strikes that don’t require a sign-off by the president“.

    By the way: Your recap me have come up a little delayed, but it still gives great fun to read.

    • Marion Stein

      Thanks! I’ve just got the next episode up, and hope to be caught up by the end of the week.