Dec 24, 2019
Homeland: The wrong horse
We’re a fly on the wall listening to Carrie explain herself to the shrink she must appeal to in order to see her daughter. This might be more fun if she spoke English instead of Stock Phraseeze. She talks about her “unusually intense” relationship with the father who died before Franny was born, and how “it didn’t end well,” which hardly does justice to a hanging in the public square. She mentions the Brodiette’s ginger locks as a reminder of the unnamed papa’s absence, and references her role in his not being there, how she pushed him even though she knew “where everything was heading.” Then she talks about Quinn, and moving him in – her capital crime in the eyes of Children’s Services – and how she felt she just couldn’t lose another one. The shrink hasn’t said much, but then devastates her by telling her that at some point our kids have to come first. If you’re playing the drinking game where you take shot whenever Carrie’s lips convulse, you’re already drunk.
But is this fair? Respectable parents leave toddlers in the hands of hormonally unbalanced teenagers and immigrants who our president tells us are criminals unless they are
white hot trophy wives. Carrie doesn’t know she’s a character in a spy-thriller, and that her old life will always pull her back in. She couldn’t anticipate the riot in front of her house that set things off. Her main mistake was not listening to Quinn more, but if she tried to explain to the shrink that Quinn was right – about everything – he would think she was bonkers.
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Dar, aka the Devil Himself meets with Madam President-Elect. She wants to know Dar’s plans for responding to Iran, and tells him the news that Iran’s cheating on the deal. Dar does his best to look shocked. She fills him in on her meeting with Javadi, and that she’s interested in names he could bring her for secretary of defense (which would probably include one or more of his co-conspirators such as the general who called her the c-word last week). As Dar shakes, Keane’s hand, we see a “mission accomplished” smirk beginning to form. Fortunately, us old timers know that Homeland never rewards hubris.
Has Max moved in with Carrie? He’s there when she gets back from the shrink, and it’s not like she needs a babysitter unless he’s been babysitting her. He shows her a photo of the building Conlin visited before he was killed. Max calls it a “black box.” He’s applied for a job there, has already done the Skype interview, and is heading down in person that afternoon. Carrie is not pleased given all the blood on her hands, which feels pretty fresh after that session with the psychiatrist.
Javadi is in his swanky hotel room. Quite the step up from a soup kitchen! He’s breakfasting with Dar who’s telling him the good news (from his point of view) about Madam President-Elect’s new outlook. Javadi just wants to take his money and run to some location he has no intention of telling Dar about. Really, Majid, did you think it would be that easy? There’s a knock on the door, and Dar goes to get it. Who is it? Why it’s the three Mossad goons that Dar has been expecting, and they are there to kidnap Javadi, torture him till he reveals everything they’ve always wanted to know about the Iranian Guard, and then kill him – the ungrateful bastards.
Looks like Javadi’s “sure thing” turned out to be the wrong horse! But before they inject him with a sedative and stuff him into a laundry cart, he manages to surreptitiously speed dial Carrie, who hears him say stuff along the lines of, “I can’t believe you would betray me Dar Adal and hand me over to the Mossad,” unfortunately he doesn’t add, “Not after you put me up at the Hyatt on 63rd and Lex in room 802.” She calls Saul, who goes to young Nate, the only honest man besides himself left in the CIA, who tries to track the call, but by the time Saul, Carrie, and Nate get to the room, they’re all long gone. Javadi, however, left behind a little gift – that phone – the one with the tape of Nafeesi confessing that the whole Korea story was a Mossad invention.
Is this the new season of Fargo? A couple of local cops in winter gear, are looking at the country house where the sound of shots was reported. They see two bullet holes in the glass door. Quinn is inside. He’s placed Astrid’s body on the couch. Will he kill these two enforcers of law believing them to be part of the conspiracy, or is having one of his clearer days? Fortunately, he seems to be in his right mind, and sneaks away before they enter the house.
Saul and Carrie have somehow gotten Keane to agree to see them. They play her the video of Nafeesi’s interrogation, with Saul translating. “They said you needed to be educated,” he tells her, which makes her plenty mad, but she’s still skeptical. She finally gets it and is made to understand that this wasn’t just the Mossad pulling the strings, but “someone” from the CIA, and that someone’s name is Dar Adal.
But wait, there’s more! Carrie tells her about how about the guy watching her house, and how she has photos of him at Sekou’s workplace the night before the bombing, and how Dar confronted her at Franny’s school and threatened her the day before the explosion. She doesn’t outright accuse him of planting the bomb, but she does imply the strong probability of his having directed all those events.
Keane wants to know how she can shut down the “obsequious little shit” and if this was a major motion picture, there would have been applause in the theater when she finally came around.
We’re back in the “black box” building of doom, where Max is sitting alone in the reception area. Not-Alex Jones is discussing Max with an underling. Yup, that’s right. Not-Alex Jones seems to be in charge of this operation. How does he also have time to do a television show? The underling is concerned about gaps on Max’s resume, even though he seems perfect for the job. Not-Alex Jones decides they should have a chat. Max confesses to spending that year (aka last season when we didn’t see him) masturbating and doing meth after losing someone close to him. From the way he describes the death, he’s talking about Farrah, and the story rings true to Not-Alex Jones, if not to those in the audience who wouldn’t take Max for a meth man. Max is not only hired on the spot, but it looks like this is his first day of work.
How good is Peter Quinn even with brain damage? Peter Quinn is soooo good! He places a Molotov cocktail under a car in a strip mall, goes into a gun shop, and then when the customers and shop owner run out because it was the shop owner’s car, Quinn steals bunch of guns and a lot of ammo. And he does all this in less time than it takes to interact with a 30-second commercial!
Carrie meets with the Solicitor General and Madam President-Elect. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is they don’t think Carrie is crazy and believe what she’s told them. The bad news is they need more evidence, so they plan to take down Dar based on that thing that happened in Berlin that Carrie had previously mentioned to Madam President-Elect. What thing you might ask since apparently this scene took place off camera or was cut? It looks like Carrie told Keane that back in Berlin Saul was boinking the Berlin station-chief who was a double-agent for the Russians, and Dar covered it up. And oh yeah, it’s all on Carrie because she’s going to have to give them an affidavit.
Did we know about the cover-up? That does explain how it is that Dar and Saul still have their jobs. But how did that work? Didn’t a lot of people know about Allison? The German intelligence service certainly did, and this season Tovah Rivkin of the Mossad even made a joke about “poor Saul” needing to give up women. So is this like someone having an affair and all the friends know but not the spouse? If Dar goes down, so will Saul, but not to worry – Keane is prepared to give him a pardon, “Down the line.” This is not much comfort to Carrie, especially as she’s going to have to give an affidavit, but it’s not her call.
(As viewers do we buy that they’d go for what Carrie’s ex-boss Düring, might call the “small pototoes” of a cover-up rather than the vast conspiracy of treason? I suppose it depends on what we believe happens behind close door in our capital.)
Carrie sees Saul who smells a rat as soon as she tells him about her visit with Keane and the Solicitor General – a party to which he wasn’t invited. He can’t believe she told Keane about Berlin, and feels personally betrayed, ironic given that a few episodes ago he told Etai to get out of the spy biz if he wanted to have friends who didn’t lie to him. Carrie tells him it’s mostly on Dar for not reporting what happened, but Saul knows his reputation will be ruined, and somehow you’ve got to wonder if Carrie is recalling season three when she went to the loony bin for Saul, but she doesn’t bring that up. Instead, she tells him maybe he shouldn’t have been sleeping with a Russian mole. It’s a fair point, but Carrie is probably not the right person to bring it up given the obvious come back that she slept with a man who put on a suicide vest.
The conversation is cut short when she gets a phone call from Children’s Services. She’s debased herself enough to earn a visit with the Brodiette.
Madam President-Elect meets again with Dar. She’s playing nice because she wants to get her hands on the list he was going to bring her of potential appointments, as it’s likely to contain the names of co-conspirators. Somehow Dar figures out that something has changed. How? Is it spystinct? Or did Keane just go a little too far, implying that maybe Dar could be director someday. He plays along, but keeps the list to himself.
Max has been brought to one of the lower levels of
hell the black box building, possibly the same then-empty room that Conlan stumbled into, only now it’s filled with twenty something techy- types who look like they’re used to subterranean environments. What’s their job? They each control a battalion of online personas (sock puppets) and spend their no-doubt endless shifts being a multitude of assholes on social media, only they are all sad because their sock puppets have gone missing. But Max quickly finds them behind some firewall and frees these digital flying monkeys to wreck havoc and troll the intertubes. The nerds applaud and crown Max nerd king. Little does he know that at midnight, the king must die.
Dar is not in good mood when he leaves the meeting with President-Elect Keane, Being the cartoon-villain he’s become, he takes it out on his driver, who dares to ask if anything is the matter. Then he goes through the door of his lovely home and pours himself a drink when out of the shadows steps PETER FUCKING QUINN.
Quinn is pointing a gun at him, shows him his wound, and accuses Dar of sending Black Hat Guy to kill him. Dar tells him something that may be true, “I would never hurt you, Peter.” He reminds Quinn that he sent for Astrid to care for him. Quinn tells him she’s dead. Dar acts surprised, but not in that fake way he did with Keane, and goes on to tell Quinn he loves him, and he is his “child” and that if he doesn’t believe that he should pull the trigger.
Peter doesn’t pull the trigger, but he does bash the gun upside Dar’s head, which is almost as satisfying. And no, Quinn hasn’t gone soft. This was the plan. Quinn goes back to the car, which has one of those stingray devices we heard about last season – when he asked Astrid to get him one – and he listens and gets the location when Dar phones none other than Black Hat Guy.
Dar yells at Black Hat Guy for going after Quinn against his orders, but Black Hat Guy yells back that he’s not the only one running the operation, and other people had a different opinion, so yup he slew the mighty Quinn. Upon hearing the report of Quinn’s death, which he knows to be greatly exaggerated, Dar calls him a “fucking moron” and tells him he just talked to Quinn. Then Black Hat Guy tells Dar he’s the fucking moron (oh those two) for calling him on an open line because he can now see the writing on the wall. And the writing says: I AM THE GREAT AND MIGHTY PETER QUINN. I CANNOT DIE AND I AM COMING FOR YOU MOTHERFUCKER!
Three more episodes to go. Let the bloodbath of Quinn’s vengeance begin!