May 19, 2018
Homeland: Treason season
We all agree Dar Adal has to die. The only question is who takes him out and how. Will Carrie beat him to death with Franny’s stuffed rabbit (stuffed with the coin-stuffed sock Peter used to sock Tommy)? Will Quinn, strangle him with his bare hands and naked because it’s personal? Maybe Saul will get Dar into the trunk of a car and riddle it with bullets gangster style because it was so satisfying when he took out Allison like that. Javadi might surprise us and make things right with a clean shot in the head because like Renault in Casablanca, he’s not quite as cynical as he lets on. My money’s on Franny. It’ll be one of those tragic accidents that happen all the time when a small child gets her hands on a gun.
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But as we begin episode 8, Alt.Truth, Satan’s little helper remains with us. He’s meeting with Not-Alex Jones who’s working on the swiftboating of Madam President-Elect’s dead son. The conspiracy monger is working with the CIA. Wake up sheeple!
Saul is using a homeless shelter as a safe house for Javadi, which given what happens later might be a big mistake. Javadi whose expensive watch is visible under his tattered coat, isn’t trying too hard to get with the cosplay. When they meet, Saul still hasn’t even gotten the appointment set up with Keane. No wonder Javadi is losing faith in his old friend.
Saul walks in to Carrie’s house where Max is still working on the security system. Maybe he’ll be like Eldin, the house painter on classic sitcom Murphy Brown, and become a permanent fixture. Saul can’t quite remember Max’s name. Cognitive decline? Or is he just trying to psych out the underling? Max gives him the scoop on Franny, and uses the term “black dog” to describe Carrie’s depression. You’d think Saul would be enough of a student of history to get the Churchill reference, but he misses it. Dog allusions have been a thing this season. Peter told Carrie she was on him “like a dog” in episode one. He rolled on the floor like a dog when Carrie visited him in Bellview and then bit her hand. Last week, he suggested Dar should put collar on him, though that might have been an allusion to a game the two of them used to play when he was a teenager.
Carrie is in Franny’s room, surrounded by Franny’s stuffed animals and drawings. Saul is gentle and paternal – and not in a creepy sexualized way like Dar was to Peter. He needs her help.
Peter and Astrid are walking in the woods. He tells her his dreams have a “realness” and realness has a dreaminess. He tells her his thoughts keep disappearing. This is a clue for the audience. Peter is mostly on track, but he’s not always getting the signals right and sometimes – like when he bit Carrie’s hand – he doesn’t know whom to trust. Does he trust Astrid? And if he does, will he trust her in ten minutes?
Nope, he’s just playacting. As soon as she goes out for a run he starts checking around the house. He finds his fake passport and lots of cash. He goes out to the car where he finds a gun. He unloads it and throws out the bullets. If he thinks it’s going to be used on him, wouldn’t it make more sense to keep it with him? Didn’t Chekhov say if there’s a gun hidden between the seats, midway through the episode, it has to be important later?
Saul drives Carrie out to the private home where Franny is staying. They can see Franny on the porch and she looks happy – way more happy than we’ve ever seen her. Carrie wants to get out of the car so she can upset and totally confuse her daughter, but Saul reminds her that would make things way worse.
Saul tells Carrie about his past three weeks. She tells him – in case he hasn’t put it together – that she was the one who recommended him for the mission to check out Nafeesi’s story. He fills her in: Nafeesi was working for Mossad. The whole thing was a show. Elements in “our” intelligence services were in on it. Carrie points out that if what he’s saying is true, he’s talking about treason. He has proof provided by Javadi, who’s in town.
Saul asks her to be the go-between so he can get Javadi to Kane and convince her. Carrie doesn’t mention she and Elizabeth may not be as close as they were, but asks if Dar is part of the conspiracy. She connects the dots for Saul: Dar told her to stand down, she told him to fuck-off, and the next day the bomb goes off, and two days later the FBI agent she was working with on that is murdered. She doesn’t add the whole set-up with Children’s Services, the surveillance on the house, etc. When she puts it that way, it really sounds like the universe does indeed revolve around her.
Saul asks why she didn’t come to him about all of this. She tells him she didn’t know whose side he was on. Long term viewers may remember their rift – the real one, not the one for show in Season 3 – happened at the end of season four, when Carrie went to confront Dar about his making a deal with Saul’s kidnapper, and Ayan’s executioner – Haquanni, and found Saul was at Dar’s and good with all of it.
Peter and Astrid are out grocery shopping. Peter notices a man in a black hat bump shopping carts with Astrid. It’s a baseball cap, not a wool hat, and the guy doesn’t drive a blue van, but Peter thinks it’s Black Hat Guy and as they drive home, notices him pulling into a nearby motel. Once they get back, he grabs Astrid and starts trying to interrogate her. He suspects the whole set up. Astrid doesn’t have any answers. She just came to help. He finds that suspicious as well, and when she tells him she’s his friend, he tells her they were only fucking because they were lonely, and he asks what she told the guy in the supermarket. Then he punches her in the stomach, takes her phone and drives back to the motel.
Javadi is playing checkers at the shelter with veteran theatrical actor Arthur French because veteran theatrical actors need a payday, and have to eat at soup kitchens. He gets a message his ride has arrived, and is surprised to discover Carrie is behind the wheel. This further solidifies his suspicion that Saul is not exactly running this play from the inside. Carrie warns him not to underestimate Saul. Let’s hope that proves prophetic. They don’t have a lot to say to each other, but then Javadi mentions secretly moving Brody’s grave to a nice shady spot in a cemetery of martyrs. He even offers to draw her a map, so she can find it. Is he being almost human? And is that a sign he’s about to gut someone like a fish?
Saul is priming Keane, explaining she can absolutely trust whatever Javadi tells her because he has no reason to lie. Javadi starts lying as soon as he starts talking.That guy! He agrees Nafeesi put on a show for Saul and that elements in the Mossad and her own intelligence services were trying to manipulate the information, but he also claims that the bank transfers and the trip to North Korea really happened, that he lied to Saul because Saul wouldn’t have set the meeting up otherwise. He tells her there really is a parallel program, and she shouldn’t trust the Iranians.
She believes him. Meeting over. Carrie tries to convince her that Saul didn’t get it wrong, but Keane tells Carrie she was wrong to have listened to her, and good-bye. The drunk-dialing probably didn’t help with Carrie’s credibility.
Saul confronts Javadi, who it turns out made a deal with Dar – kind of like Saul did at the end of Season Four, except Javadi’s deal could lead to a disastrous and unnecessary war between Iran and the US, or a full employment war economy and a chance to seize the oil depending on whose facts you like best.
Speaking of alternate truth, Not-Alex Jones shows Dar the unedited tape of Andrew Keane’s death which has him running to save his troops, and then shows him the edited version in which it looks lie he’s running away. Guess which version Not-Alex Jones will be broadcasting with voice over from the not-so-loyal troops?
Over at the Countryside Motel, Peter hits the guy from the grocery on the head with a crowbar. Ouch! Then he realizes it isn’t Black Hat Guy. Oops. This seems to bring Peter to his senses, or at least a realization that he can’t do this alone. He goes back to the house. Astrid is still there, mostly because he took her phone and the car. Peter is apologetic and admits that they are “friends” which isn’t quite enough for Astrid, but might have to do because she clearly has a bad case of Quinn fever. It looks like they are on the verge of having a moment, when Peter sees the red laser dots on her, and pushes her down. He gets grazed on the head, and she yells at him to get up. We see the real Black Hat Guy outside the house, shooting with a long-distance rifle.
Astrid announces she’s going out to the car for the gun. Peter tries to warn her that he took the bullets, but he can’t quite get out the right words, and she’s not really listening. She makes it to the car, and gets the gun, and boy it’s a sad look on her face when she realizes there are no bullets. Black Hat Guy shoots her and then gets closer and shoots her dead for sure. Peter watching from the house, screams. He’s got no weapon and tries to run. He’s by the lake when Black Hat Guy shoots, and Peter fall into the water. Black Hat Guy looks at the lake with his flashlight. He’s looking for bubbles or some sign. He’s out there a while before he finally turns around and walks away. Then we see Peter rise up because he’s probably been trained to breathe under water like a dolphin, and he really can’t be killed.
It’s like a superhero origin story. Peter’s about to turn into the Universal Soldier and go medieval on Black Hat Guy, and maybe a certain treacherous lecher as well. Good-bye Astrid, minor-player designated to take this season’s hit. Comments, speculation, and theories are welcome!