Homeland SEASON FINALE RECAP: The One About Carrie's Personal Baggage (S4:E12)

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Remember how the Season 3 finale was longer than a Wagnerian opera and filled with action and suspense, and finally they hung Brody but it still wasn’t over? There was that wacky “four months later” epilogue. For the Season 4 finale, they skipped the excitement and went straight to a fifty-four minute post-mortem.

What happened last week after Dev from Smash grabbed Carrie and stopped her from impulsively assassinating Haquanni? Who knows? We pick up in the middle of a two character off-Broadway drama in which the Mathison sisters—Carrie and Maggie—are packing up their recently departed dad’s stuff. We’ve seen this play before. We may even have performed it. And this is only one of many moments of ordinary non-spy life we witness.

There’s a knock on the door. It’s Dar Adal, and he’s looking for Peter Quinn. While it sure looked like he and Carrie made eye contact when Dev grabbed her, apparently they did not. Dar has no idea Carrie knows he was in Islamabad. She tells him for all she knows Quinn could still be in Pakistan looking to take Haquanni out. Dar hopes he has more sense that. Haquanni is now in the tribal areas under the protection of the Pakistani military.

Wasn’t Carrie’s whole shtick about getting everyone, including Quinn, safely home? How did she wind up leaving him there?

We catch a brief bit of Tasmeen on television denouncing the Americans and talking about Pakistani honor. She’s described as an up-and-coming Pakistani official. Homeland viewers hoping for her painful demise will be disappointed. Then again, it’s Pakistan, so there’s still a pretty good chance she’ll be successfully elected to high office and then get blown up.

It’s Saul and Mira who are watching the news as Saul gets ready for a meeting. Saul seems to have recovered from last week’s sudden onset of age and shame. Now he wants back in. Mira tells him it might not happen—meaning she’s praying it won’t happen.

"Well, I supposed I couldn't have expected a "you go get 'em, champ.'"

“Well, I supposed I couldn’t have expected a “you go get ’em, champ.'”


Carrie takes the Brody-spawn to a park where she conveniently runs into a “park friend” of her father, who can tell her all those things Frank never had a chance to. Coming home, she notices a car with a Missouri license plate in the driveway. Who’s dropping by now? Why it’s Carrie’s Mom, whom she hasn’t seen in fifteen years.

Carrie is mean and chases her mother away before she has a chance to say much about what she’s been doing lately.

Saul is meeting with Joe, the chief of staff who completely fucked him over last season and appointed Lockhart to head the CIA. He’d love to offer Saul a job, but there’s that embarrassing video of him and Haquanni—not the one where Saul is watching Haquanni and one of his wives having the sex, but the one where he’s totally Haquanni’s bitch and Haquanni talks about using Saul to free his brother warriors and march into Islamabad.

Then it’s time for Frank’s funeral, and guess who shows up? Peter Quinn, that’s who! Carrie takes him aside to find out what happened. Carrie tells him how Dev stopped her from killing Haquanni. They bond over wanting to murder terrorists. She doesn’t mention seeing Dar in Islamabad but tells Quinn that Dar is looking for him. They both agree that Dar is a dick. Can’t these crazy kids see they belong together? Well, one of them can!

More of this. But naked.

More of this. But naked.

Also at the funeral, Saul and Carrie have a brief conversation about Saul’s meeting with Joe—because sure your father’s funeral is a great place to talk about work. Joe didn’t know anything about any overtures to Haquanni, so Carrie and Saul are both figuring Dar must have been working something on his own. Saul asks Carrie not to tell anyone—including Quinn—what she saw. Carrie agrees that Quinn would go “ballistic” if he knew.

Then it’s time for the goyishe version of shiva, where they eat and drink whiskey and talk about how great the dead guy was. Turns out when Carrie was in Iraq, her dad used to get arrested regularly protesting the war and wrote hundreds of letters (which Saul intercepted) asking Carrie to be reassigned. You’d think with a dad like that, they might have taken a closer look at Carrie’s psych profile.

Lockhart stops by with lasagna. He couldn’t make it earlier because he was busy with his lawyers. Humbled Lockhart seems like a nice guy. Not Dick Cheneyish at all. Not competent to lead the CIA, but he’d probably be an okay senator. They invite him to drink.

"So... we cool?"

“So… we cool?”

Quinn stays late, helping to clean up. Maggie seems to be experiencing Quinn fever. Oh, the power of the mighty Quinn.

Carrie walks Quinn to his car and then it finally happens—they kiss each other—on the mouth! They talk about the pleasures of ordinary life, about getting out of the spy biz—which Quinn admits he can’t do on his own—but maybe they could kick it together. It’s overwhelming, and it’s beautiful, and you can almost believe that maybe these two are going to make it after all, and you want to shout at the screen, “SAY YES, CARRIE!”

Is she pointing at what I think she’s pointing at?

Carrie says she’ll just fuck it up, but she can’t totally resist the Quinn. She tells him she’ll think about it. She can’t sleep and spends the night looking at old photos of her parents in happier times. She takes off in the morning to track down her mother in Missouri—a crazy road trip because all the planes were booked up or maybe she couldn’t fit all that emotional baggage.

Meantime, some black ops guy stops by Peter’s complex, but Quinn insists this time he’s out—and he really really means it. For real. The ops guy hands him a stack of letters to be delivered to the loved ones of the agents involved in case the mission goes south—which has a much bigger chance of happening if Quinn isn’t there.

Carrie drives through the dusty plains of Missouri, which look just like Iran did last season when she and Brody went for their little road trip to nowhere. At her mother’s house she finds “Tim,” the half-brother she never knew she had. Mom is at work and promises to explain all later that day.



Dar and Saul are meeting at their usual breakfast joint. Dar admits he went on his own to meet with Haquanni and arrange to get him off the kill list as long as he was no longer “harboring terrorists.” Saul points out that Haquanni IS a terrorist and just slaughtered thirty-six people in the American embassy. Dar says many words that include a John LeCarre quote, and he says everything quickly and with conviction, so Saul doesn’t argue—even though the words don’t necessarily make sense. He presents Saul with a disk—the one and only copy of the video, which Haquanni has promised never to release, and tells Saul this now paves the way for his return to lead the agency.

It looks like Dar is indeed Saul’s personal dark passenger.

Quinn calls Carrie, who is hanging out at a hotel waiting for her meeting with her mother. Carrie is still frazzled and doesn’t want to be pressured by Quinn. Quinn takes this as a rejection. But because these two don’t actually talk about the feelings, Carrie doesn’t know that Quinn has just given up on her.

Then Carrie finally gets her big talk with mom. For years, Carrie believed that her mother left because of her father’s bipolar disorder. And therefore, Carrie would never find happiness, because she’d just get left too. Surprise! Her mother left because she wasn’t good at the marriage thing. She was constantly having affairs and finally decided to start a new life. So Carrie realizes her belief was based on inaccurate intelligence! It is entirely possible she won’t always fuck up every relationship. But what the hell do you do when your paradigm takes a sudden major shift? Is it too late to turn your life around?

HOMELAND SEASON FINALE RECAP: The One About Carrie's Personal Baggage (S4:E12)

“Life is like a box of chocolates.”

Carrie tries to call Quinn but finds his number has been disconnected.

Quinn has decided to go on the mission after all. He gives the guy he’s replacing the letters—including one he has addressed to Carrie.

Carrie drives to Dar’s house. She wants to talk to Quinn immediately. Dar says it’s too late—the mission has already gone “dark.” And then, because NOBODY SAYS NO TO CARRIE MATHISON, she tells him she saw what he did in Islamabad and she threatens to go to the Washington Post. Dar suggests she talk to Saul before doing that. She tells him that Saul would spit in his face for negotiating with Haquanni. But Saul is there on Dar’s back porch—probably discussing what the new CIA will look like. He and Carrie stare at each other a moment, and then Carrie walks away. She gets back in her car and drives as the jazzy music plays.

Where will she go? What will she do? Frankly, my dears, I will admit that Homeland made me care just a little bit.

For more Marion Stein, go to marionstein.net.

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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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