Dealing with the emotional fallout of Franny's removal, Homeland Season 6 Episode 8 plunged Carrie into deep depression. Her despair began to dissipate when Saul gave her a purpose – helping him bring Dar down.
Peter Quinn followed the opposite trajectory. He began with a purpose – investigating what Dar's true intentions were in cloistering him in the boondocks – and ended up defeated. Almost.
More Mangst for Quinn
Ugh, did they just pull the old “disposable woman” trope on Astrid?
In my review of Homeland Season 6 Episode 7, I noted Astrid’s appearance felt random. I naively hoped her return would serve a worthy purpose. Well it sure looks like they brought her back just to die for the sake of Quinn’s arc. Not cool.
I’ll bet you five dollars Quinn’s gonna go into full-blown action mode to avenge Astrid’s death…predictable much?
And they couldn’t just let her die in dignity – a cool, independent, kickass spy woman in a longstanding, friends-with-benefits arrangement with Quinn. They had to turn her into a pathetic, clichéd female who’s apparently been pining away for the guy.
No thank you, Homeland.
You know this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen if Homeland had more women in the writers’ room. Just saying.
OK, rant over.
I guess I can think of a more generous interpretation of why Astrid’s return was necessary.
Walking through the forest, in the first scene she shared with Quinn, he opened up to her regarding how he perceives the world around him now, after his stroke:
QUINN: My dreams have a realness. My realness, realness… [struggles for word]
QUINN: My reality has a dreaminess. And my thoughts keep disappearing.
We’ve spent seven episodes trying to figure out what’s going on in Quinn's head; now, he finally tells us. Well, he tells Astrid. But we, the audience, needed more insight into his condition, and Quinn would not have opened up this way to anyone but her.
Astrid is (or, rather, ‘was’) pretty much his only friend. Apart from Carrie, of course. But, you know, it’s complicated with Carrie.
Following up on this rare glimpse into Quinn’s inner workings, the episode pulled out all the stops on the “Quinn as unreliable narrator” thing.The true misfortune of Quinn’s condition, it turns out, is not drop-foot or aphasia, it’s that he doesn’t know if he can trust his own mind.
Quinn’s perception of reality – at times limited, at times enhanced – is fundamentally altered. And he just doesn’t know how to make heads or tails of it.
We watched him track (and assault) the wrong man. We watched him act (viciously) suspicious of Astrid.
And now she is dead because of his error in judgment.
How tragic, how heartbreaking was it to see Quinn struggling to warn Astrid that, in his paranoia, he had removed the bullets from her gun?
At least he had a chance to apologize. If – as I half-expected he might – Quinn had found Astrid dead when he returned from his botched manhunt, he would never have forgiven himself.
Before the final shootout proved him “right,” Quinn felt thoroughly defeated:
“I fucked up,” he told Astrid, “I’m fucked up.”
Quinn was ready to settle into his new, quiet life by the lake and accept that he’s not the invincible super spy he once was:
ASTRID: Are you going to be able to do this? Live out here? Make a life for yourself?
QUINN: In truth, I don’t know.
ASTRID: You going to try?
ASTRID: You’re different than you were. You have to accept that.
QUINN: I keep hoping I’m not, but I know I am.
Two seconds later, bullets came flying through the air, proving to Quinn – and Astrid – that his fears were justified. Quinn was right, but the cost was the death of a friend.
Apparently, he didn’t have enough dead people on his conscience, being an assassin and all. Homeland had to go and add one more. Sigh.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that this is Quinn’s low-point for the season. He knows he’s onto something; he knows he still has something to give. He just needs to learn how to interpret fact from fiction in this alt-reality he’s now living.
I trust that he will get there.
Carrie and Saul, Together Again (They Literally Have No Choice)
When Saul and Carrie team up, you know they’re getting pretty desperate.
Ever since Saul agreed to the deal Dar made with Haqqani and Carrie turned her back on the CIA, these two have found little common ground.
In Homeland Season 5, Carrie needed Saul’s help. He rejected her.
This time, it was Saul’s turn to seek out Carrie. Lucky for him, he found a more sympathetic ear.
Having learned of Dar’s treason, Saul needed Carrie to arrange a meeting with the president-elect in order to deploy his secret weapon: Majid Javadi.
If Saul expected he could put Javadi (clearly a fan of luxury) up in a homeless shelter and keep him on his side, he clearly doesn’t know his “old friend” too well. He got fleabites all over his legs, for Christ’s sake!
Javadi is the ultimate chess master – an Iranian version of Dar Adal – always positioning himself to his best advantage.
Like Viktor, the old Russian spy from Homeland Season 6 Episode 6, it didn’t take Javadi long to figure out Saul was now on the outside looking in at the CIA.
Javadi did what any reasonably intelligent, psychopathic spy would do, he reached out to the guy who’s really calling the shots: Dar Adal.
SAUL: What the hell’s going on?
JAVADI: You really don’t know, do you? My God Saul, you have lost your powers. [Saul grabs him] Get your hands off me!
SAUL: Tell me, goddamn it! Why, Majid?
JAVADI: Because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder. Sorry, old friend.
SAUL: Sorry? Dar? You reached out to Dar Adal?
JAVADI: I bet on a horse. In the end, I went with the sure thing.
Hey PEOTUS, Don’t Come Crawling Back to Carrie
Not surprisingly, the bad guys (apparently there's a conglomerate this season) are planning to use Elizabeth Keane’s son’s lackluster career in battle against her:
O’KEEFE: You can’t let us down. […] You were the only one who was actually out on patrol that night.
RUDY: I know that, but my head’s a mess. […] Why now? What’s the point now?
O’KEEFE: Because people need to know the truth. Because Andrew Keane was the opposite of a hero and because his mother is the most dangerous person to ever set foot in the White House. Now we can’t just stand by and watch her gut our armed forces, abandon our closest allies, and cede control to the world government, can we?
RUDY: No sir.
Creepy alt-right media guy, Brett O’Keefe, and Dar are doctoring up a propaganda video showing Andrew Keane running away in battle.
Well, the original footage showed him actually saving a couple of wounded soldiers before taking a sniper bullet in the back, but who needs the truth when there’s a powerful woman to discredit?
Are we supposed to sympathize with Elizabeth Keane, though? Because she’s one smug, self-righteous you-know-what and I’m having a really hard time rooting for her.
Seriously, I can’t stand her. And when she haughtily told Carrie, “I was wrong to have ever listened to you,” I was like, Carrie can you please make her eat her words? Honestly PEOTUS needs to be taken down a notch or two.
This episode began to put the pieces in place in preparation for the confrontations to come in the final act of the season.
While Dar still seems pretty close to the epicenter of the conspiracy, you have to wonder why he would go through the trouble of setting Quinn up at the lake house only to send mystery assassin guy to kill him. Seems like he could have easily offed Quinn without so much fanfare.
Something still feels off.
It probably goes without saying at this point, but Rupert Friend’s acting was superb this week. Quinn 2.0 may be hard to watch, but the nuance and depth that Friend has brought to a character that’s been practically impenetrable for four seasons is quite masterful. This guy deserves some serious recognition for his work this season.
What did you think of the episode? Be sure to watch Homeland online and leave your comments below.