Homeland: Dar's game

When a character’s first name is spelled D-A-R and it’s not short for “Darling,” the writers aren’t being subtle. “Imminent Risk”, the current episode, proves Dar is more evil than we imagined, and possibly smarter—but maybe not as smart as he thinks. Saul’s onto him. Madam President-Elect doesn’t trust him. Carrie and Peter—even in his diminished state—will have it figured out soon.


Speaking of the Quinn, he wakes up in a country house, and we all know how creepy those are from movies and television. He doesn’t seem to be mad at Carrie anymore either. He even tells Astrid to remind him of something that Carrie said, but before he can spit out what it was she said, he falls back asleep. It’s a nice little shout out to the Season One Finale,when Carrie realized something important about Brody while being wheeled into electroshock therapy.

Over at Carrie’s, Max has the security system up. Carrie briefly explains to him (and us) that she can’t go to the police—or any other agencies—because of reasons. Then she gets a call from Franny’s school. Someone from Children’s Services is talking to Franny about the incident at the house. Do they mean the time when Peter forced Franny and Letisha to hide out from the cops in the bathroom, or the time Mommy stayed up all night with a gun? (Eventually all of them Katey!)

When Carrie gets to the school she talks to the Social Worker Lady, who tells her Franny is already in a youth home and needs to be assessed further. Carrie, takes this well FOR CARRIE. Her lips move a lot, and she tears up, but she does not pull a gun on the Social Worker Lady and tries to agree to her various demands. Carrie’s sister is in Rome for a year with her husband who’s on sabbatical, so sending Franny there is not an option.

“Okay. No more ex-black ops babysitters. Now, can I have my kid back?”

A trade delegation from Iran arrives at the airport. Our man in Iran, Javadi is with them under an assumed name. The young agent who helped Saul last week is checking passports and manages to slip a hockey ticket into Javadi’s. A hockey game – what a perfect place for a clandestine meeting! Who goes to those things?

Next up on television within television, Madam President-Elect is wearing a white pantsuit as a shout out to the popularly-elected one true President of these United States. Now she won’t shut up about her dead son, but she’s still anti-war which bothers Dar who’s watching in a bar when the General we saw leaving an interview with her several episodes ago walks in and says that Keane is winning the hearts and minds of the people. Are they going to start planning her assassination? Not just yet. First they have to keep Saul from meeting Javadi because if that happens “everything” will unravel.

“Yes, Martha, I wish I were the real president too.”

Saul is back at the CIA New York office where he’s told he’ll be “debriefed” about his West Bank trip because apparently the Mossad is now calling the shots. His cell phone is taken away so they can track his movements in the West Bank. Saul looks both perplexed and annoyed. He’s sticking to the “just visiting my sister story for the first time in 12 years” story.

Carrie and the Social Worker Lady have now moved from the school to the social worker’s office, where Carrie is being asked about Quinn, and his bouts of “rage and depression.” Carrie tries to explain that Quinn wasn’t keeping anyone hostage—“from his point of view”—and yup, it sounds pretty crazy. If we think it doesn’t, it’s only because we’ve been in Carrie’s world too long. Bottom line Carrie won’t get to see Franny until after family court the next day, and when is going to be up to the judge. She needs to lawyer up.

Quinn’s awake and would like to get back to New York City, but Astrid tells him Dar was the one who “made a deal” to get him out of sight. He shot a civilian and if he goes back to the city he’ll wind up in jail or a psych ward. Peter protests that he shot the guy “in the safe place” and whomever they have advising on speech aphasia after a stroke is doing an excellent job. He tries to explain the guy who made the bomb was going to get him, but Astrid has no idea what he’s talking about. We’ll forgive Astrid because she’s acting on the limited information Dar’s given her, and like Carrie, she’s thrown by this new version of Quinn.

The German Spy Lady is only trying to keep him safe.

Javadi gets abducted by  a rival with long-term suspicions. Seems someone from the CIA told his service Javadi was a traitor. Who in the CIA would compromise a top-level asset that way? (We all know the answer.)

As Javadi’s rival, Nasser, gets Javadi into a car, we see the Black Hat Guy in the blue van watching. He calls Dar to tell him that Javadi got picked up.  They’re not leaving any doubt now: Dar is not only in on the Iran set up, he’s also connected to Black Hat Guy which means he’s behind the surveillance of Carrie’s house, the bombing, and Conlin’s death.

Connect the dots sheeple!

Directly after getting the news about Javadi, Dar “saves” Saul from the interrogation, telling him he was just on the phone with the director, and had no idea this thing he totally set up was going on. Saul doesn’t buy it. They are so over!

Nasser gets out the serious instruments of torture and starts pulling off Javadi’s nails while demanding to know the identities of every single CIA asset in Iran – which Javadi points out he wouldn’t know even if he were a traitor. Then before the manicure can continue, Nasser’s henchman shoots him and the other henchman. Turns out Amir, served under Javadi (who doesn’t remember him) and he’d do anything for his General.

Miner script glitch for those paying attentions: Nasser refers to Javadi’s last trip to the US as being “three years ago.” It was three seasons ago, but Franny was still in the womb and now she’s at least five, so they should have changed that.

The next day in court, Carrie has brought her lawyer – Reda, and her game face. Unfortunately, her game face soon crumbles. Social Worker Lady refers to Peter as the “mentally disturbed veteran,” and not the super hero saran gas survivor we’ve all seen on internet, and says he’s Carrie’s blind spot. To be fair, Carrie does have a few of those! Also the CIA stuff does not impress the family judges probably because they’ve heard it all before as CIA agent is among the top ten delusions. Then there’s the staying up all night holding the gun, which Franny woke up and noticed at some point and mentioned to the Social Worker Lady, but Carrie has a reasonable explanation, “the safety was on” and “I’m trained to keep my head in a crisis.”

When your lawyer looks at you like this, you might consider taking the plea.

One judge, who you can see wants to be sympathetic, asks her why she didn’t just call the police if she was worried about the rock throwers coming back. Carrie doesn’t have a great answer because that would mean talking about the people watching the house, and how Seiko wasn’t the bomber, and black hat guy, and Agent Conlin, and how she’s a personal friend of Madam President-Elect, and even Carrie’s got to know how lunatic that would all sound.

And then comes the kicker: Social Worker Lady brings up Carrie’s history of bi-polar disorder and previous hospitalizations. Carrie does not explain the last hospitalization was the time she purposely went crazy and disgraced herself FOR AMERICA, or that her last “incident” happened when she purposely went off her meds to make herself more brilliant because she had to figure out who put her name on Peter’s kill list. (Note to Carrie: Better not mention that Quinn’s job title was assassin.)

The judges agree that Franny has to stay in state custody pending further investigation, and Carrie has to get a psych evaluation.

Saul is at the hockey game where he’s saving a seat for his ol’ pal Javadi – the man we must never forget used his last trip to the USA as an opportunity to gut his ex-wife like a fish. Amir shows up with the ticket, telling Saul he’ll bring him to Javadi. Saul is skeptical until Amir tells him that Javadi sends “Greetings from Sgt Brody,” which is only something Javadi would have come up with.

A few of us will wonder if he means it literally, and Brody is still alive leaving a peaceful life in some Tehran suburb or prison. Sure we saw him get hung, but we also saw Peter Quinn get gassed, and if Peter Quinn could survive season five, anything is possible, but Brody is probably dead and this was simply this season’s obligatory Brody shout-out. Last season we saw his photo with those of other “missing” soldiers that Carrie walks past in a flashback, and the season before she had the Brody hallucination after her meds got switched.

Javadi greets Saul by pulling a gun on him and demanding to know what is going on and why the CIA ratted him out to his own service. Saul realizes it had to be Dar. Dar was the only one who knew about his meeting with Saul, and that Saul was looking for evidence that Nafeesi was a fraud. Javadi, in fact, has brought the evidence and would be most pleased to provide it in return for access to his 45 million dollars, asylum and protection. Saul tells him he’ll set up a meeting with Madam President Elect. Then Javadi shoots Amir in the head because as Saul taught him, “No loose ends.” And Saul helps him put the body in the trunk because they really are old friends and friends do stuff like that for each other.

Dar stops by Yee Olde Country Hideaway to have a chat with Quinn. They go out to the deck and talk about old times, like back when Peter was a rough around the edges street kid recruited by Dar to be a teenaged sex slave for the CIA. Peter calls Dar a “dirty old man” probably because the stroke has made it difficult for him to say “pederast shit-bag.” Dar insists he never “forced himself on anyone” which is pederast shit-bag for “starvation is wonderful aphrodisiac.” He lays out Peter’s options: He can stay in the house in the country with Astrid until he can look after himself. The alternative he can get locked up or away for years.

But Peter still wants to go back to the city, and Dar knows why. It’s that damn Carrie Mathison, always messing up his plans. Dar gleefully tells Peter the part about his injury and recovery that Carrie left out: How she ignored the doctor’s warning and woke him from his coma to ask him if he knew where the bombers were going to strike, and how that was what precipitated his stroke. Then Dar twists the knife he’s already shoved into Peter’s heart by adding that Carrie’s taking of him out of guilt, not love.

Peter’s face remains a mask but his eyes are screaming. Rupert Friend can do more with his eyes alone than Claire Danes can scrunching up her entire face.

Read his eyes!

Speaking of which, Carrie on the floor of her lonely kitchen, holding Hop and practicing her facial contortions. She goes to fridge, where buried in the back is a bottle of gift champagne. Carrie downs the bottle and then instead of going out and looking for a nice ginger Brody replacement to do the sexy times with, she reaches out to the one person she thinks can help her get Franny back, and yes, dear reader, that would be Madam President-Elect, who she drunk-dials. The conversation is shaky from the start and then she mentions Keane’s dead son and it goes horrible to so humiliating you might have to turn off the sound. Carrie is sober enough to know she’s fucked up, but not sober enough to stop herself. Keane hangs up. This is why we need a breathalyzer app.

The next day the Social Work Lady has a chat with Dar – the person who provided her with information about Carrie. She tells him that Franny will remain in foster care “for the foreseeable future.”

Who has a bottle of gift champagne chilling in the back of the fridge? We can only wonder if on top of everything else, Dar sent it as an anonymous housewarming gift, knowing that after foster care to took away Franny, she would drink it and call  Keane, thus causing a rift between the two of them, and making Keane more amenable to Dar’s ideas. Or is that giving Dar too much credit?

Fear not, Homelandsteaders, even if Dar has the Mossad, a general, assorted senators, and all the rest at the secret meeting a few episodes ago on his side, Saul has Carrie, and Carrie has Quinn (no matter what Dar told him) and Javadi would love so very much to put a bullet in Dar’s calculating skull, and we will all applaud and pass the popcorn when he does.

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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