Homeland: Bye-bye, Frannie-pie
In “Clarity”, the tenth episode of season 7, Carrie finally realizes what she needs to do to keep Frannie safe. But is it too late for a show that kept the kid around for way too long?
With Dante’s death, one mystery is solved: He was never supposed to be the new Quinn. Anson is the new Quinn, as should have been obvious based on physical type, and on the British actor’s really good American accent, as opposed to British actors with weird accents like David Wellington and Brett O’Keefe, who cannot possibly be of romantic interest because who talks that way? We open with Carrie going for her third and final electroshock treatment. Anson is by her side, as her
beacon support system. How long has it been since she had a “complete psychotic breakdown?” Apparently only three days, but like Christ or season five Peter Quinn, she is risen.
Vice President Warner has a guest. David Wellington has come over to the Naval Observatory, so that we can all be reminded that it’s the VP residence in case we missed The Americans where that was referenced two weeks ago. Wellington catches us up when he tells the VP that Paley is back on the warpath. Paley was ready to buy into a vast Russian conspiracy, but then got suspicious when the only people who could confirm that it was all Russia either disappeared or died, so now he’s got four cabinet members ready to sign on to #25ththe45th. Wellington wants to make sure Warner is still playing for team President Elizabeth I, as the 25th Amendment can only be invoked if the VP goes along with it. Warner pledges his loyalty to the Queen despite having felt ignored by her in the past.
Saul visits Sandra, who’s an oracle who sees all and knows all. She tells Saul that Simone isn’t dead and and stuffed in a suitcase left in a dumpster, but alive in Russia with Yvegeny.
Carrie’s lawyer comes to meet her at the hospital. There’s an offer from Maggie: Visitation every third weekend, which is probably more than Carrie’s been seeing Frannie since they moved in to Maggie’s, but Carrie’s not interested in giving up the kid she’s always sending away when she’s not actively endangering her. The lawyer warns her “there are no certain outcomes”, which sounds like legalese for “take the deal.”
Elizabeth I meets with her cabinet. She tells them that Paley must be considered a participant in a “massive Russian operation” because the writers thought “vast Russian conspiracy” would’ve been too on the nose. She also warns them that there’s no daylight between her and the VP, who’s sitting by her side. Then she tells them it’s okay to bash in Paley’s head… with words, and she throws in a Pulp Fiction reference because she’s feeling feisty.
Carrie is strolling with Anson, apparently on the hospital grounds, because thanks to Obamacare that’s just the type of hospital a woman with no employment and a ton of debt would stay at. They’re brainstorming about getting some dirt on Maggie and Bill to help Carrie’s case, and plotting a break-in to find the medical records Maggie kept, when she was treating Carrie under a fake name and keeping it from the CIA. Anson says, “That’s her medical license right there!”
Saul is talking to the Moscow CIA station-chief on a ginormous screen, because in the White House an ordinary laptop just won’t do. They’ve figured out where Yvegeny and Simone probably are based on an autobiographical unpublished novel Yvegeny wrote in college, in which he references the same family dacha he told Simone about. (Unpublished? Do they not have Kindle in Russia?) The station-chief isn’t that eager to help him because Elizabeth I went to war with her intelligence services, and they’re holding a grudge.
So it looks like Saul may need a little outside help….
Saul goes to visit Carrie because he wants some advice about which guy on her team should lead the mission. Are we really talking about a mission to take Simone and Yvegeny out of Russia? That’s some Mossad-grade shit! Except even the Mossad usually does its kidnapping in countries like Italy or Argentina where kidnapping is a national past time, and where the targets aren’t nationals. Oh what’s that? They just need Simone. Sure, easy-peasy. Now it makes total sense.
Saul doesn’t really want one of Carrie’s guys to lead the team. He wants Carrie, the woman who had a psychotic break a few days ago. Has Saul had a psych eval recently?
Carrie is actually the adult in the room and says no, mostly because of Frannie, at which point we can pretty much predict she’ll wind up losing custody and going because otherwise there’ll be no show.
(Note to the writers: In most places, when you have a full psychotic break and they take you out in four point restraints, and shoot you full of Haldol, you’re not considered competent to voluntarily check yourself into the hospital. Even if you consent, it’s legally involuntary treatment, and checking yourself out requires getting your doctor to sign off, which could be tricky if your exit plan is “go to Russia to exfiltrate spies”.)
VP Warner goes to meet someone for dinner in one of those fancy private back rooms that DC restaurants have on TV. Paley is here too, and it’s a scene from Julius Caesar where they’re planning to Ides of March President Elizabeth I, but instead of long knives, they’re going to use the Constitution. Warner questions Paley about his come-to-Saul moment last week when he literally came to Saul, who convinced him with a PowerPoint presentation that he’d been duped, but Paley tells Warner that was before Dante died. And here you might be asking, how does Saul even still have a job after that particular screw-up? Paley has eight cabinet secretaries ready to sign on to oust the president, but he’ll need the VP to sign on too.
David knows a bartender who called him about the Paley/VP meetup, so now he snitches to Elizabeth I, who tries to call the VP’s cell, but it goes straight to voice mail. Cold. To be fair, she’s leaving him messages like, “I know where you are and who you’re with, and I’m going to boil your bunny.”
But Carrie is still crazier than the president. Anson calls her to tell her he can’t find her files in Maggie’s office. Then Carrie remembers that Maggie probably has them at home in the garage. She gives him the code. Sure, send your black ops guy to break into your sister’s garage. What could possibly go wrong?
Her Royal Highness President Elizabeth I meets with the presidential lawyer who knows the one neat trick to prevent cabinet secretaries from voting her out. Fire them first! David tells her this would cause the very constitutional crisis she’s been trying to avoid. He begs her to reconsider, but she doesn’t.
And now it’s time for a very special hearing. Anson gives Carrie the file. What will she do with it? Josie is on the stand. She’s sympathetic towards her aunt and believes “trying to save our democracy is a good thing,” but she admits that Carrie wasn’t there much for Frannie. Next we hear from last season’s social worker lady, who recounts Carrie’s bad decision to let Peter Quinn babysit. Then comes a lady from Frannie’s current school who talks about what Frannie said about the night those men busted in and took away Mommy’s special friend.
Finally, it’s Maggie’s turn, and it’s a weepy courtroom climax out of an old time movie. Maggie doesn’t tell Carrie that she’s terrible. She tells her that she can give Frannie the one thing Carrie can’t—safety—because in a few weeks, Saul will come to her again with a new crisis, and “the whole circus will start again.” And that, folks, may be the real “clarity” to be found here. No matter how hard she tries, Carrie just can’t quit… Saul.
The judge declares a break, and Carrie goes to Maggie, not to tell her to be prepared to lose her license, but to tell her it’s a deal. And the audience applauds, because even though most of us don’t care for the Brodiette, watching Frannie get traumatized every season feels pretty yucky.
Back in the White House, the VP goes to see President Elizabeth I. The VP tells her he still stands with her, but he did have second thoughts at the dinner, and needed to think it through. He wants her to rescind the firings, which according to the lawyers he talked to are probably unconstitutional. (He’s echoing the advice David gave her earlier.) She senses a trick, and tells him she’s not going to do that because then he could vote her out, and she doesn’t like being dictated to. He tells her she needs to fight the real enemies, not her own people. Neither one caves, and that’s that.
Unless there’s a new twist where it turns out the VP is actually a cleverly-placed Russian asset, he’s making a lot of sense, and Elizabeth I continues to be a really terrible portrait of a woman in power.
And now it’s time for Dante’s funeral, another reminder of what a busy few days it’s been since Simone’s disappearing act and his death. Saul and Carrie are both attending, as the murderers should always attend the funeral. Carrie is going to talk to his parents who think he died of a heart ailment, and apparently don’t know that Saul and Carrie poisoned him, and the rent-a-cop who was supposed to be watching him at the hospital was on a smoke break when the Russian spy got there to finish him off.
Okay, Dante might have been a treasonous asshole, but did anyone else find that scene tasteless?
She tells Saul that Frannie will be living with Maggie and Bill, so she’s totes ready to lead the team. Saul tells her she’ll be leaving in four hours. This gives her enough time for a quick good-bye with Frannie, who will be just fine. Maggie tells her to go out and do what she was born to do, because Maggie has gone from being her sister to being her supportive spouse, and keeping the home fires burning, for America.