“Krieg Nicht Lieb”: War, not love. It’s the title of this week’s episode, but it could also easily be the tagline for this entire season of Homeland. War, not love, is what drives our heroes, despite all pretenses to the contrary. War, not love, is what they’re making week after week, month after month. And war, not love, is the promise that Homeland made to us, in this penultimate episode. Whatever you think of this season’s twists, turns, and unusual choices, nobody can deny that this show knows exactly what it’s about.
When we last saw Carrie, she was going after Quinn, who had gone after Haqqani in the aftermath of the attack on the embassy. Only that breach, and everything that went with it, was about much more than killing American agents or stealing American intel. As Asar Khan explains to Carrie: “It wasn’t an attack, it was a god damn coup.”
In other words, Haqqani’s exit from the embassy was an entree into de facto leadership in Pakistan. Posters of the man’s face adorn every street corner, and the ISI is protecting him; presumably, the next step will be some sort of extremist dictatorship with the terrorist czar at its helm. It’s a bad time for Americans to be wandering the streets of Islamabad, especially Americans like Quinn who have been targeted for death by the ISI. Carrie, working from a locked down, stripped, defeated skeleton shell of a CIA station, is a defeated skeleton shell of her former self. This is the woman who, once upon a time, didn’t know the meaning of the word “stop” if it meant not completing a mission—and yet, when Max suggests that Quinn might find Haqqani and take him out, she simply shuts him down.
“He can’t,” she says.
Only, y’know, he kind of can. For starters, Quinn, the ultimate master of sneaky spycrafting, has found his way to an apartment occupied by a blonde with a German accent.
“Your name is on the watchlist,” she tells Quinn. So, she’s a person who’s privy to the contents of the watchlist. (Then she tells him, “There’s still some clothes of yours in the drawer,” so she’s apparently also a person who’s privy to the contents of Quinn’s pants.)
While Quinn enlists his fraulein friend’s help to track the phones belonging to the terrorists, Max is trying to sneak resources to Quinn, which tells us everything we need to know about how broken-up he is over Fara’s death. He really, really wants to see Quinn take out Haqqani and avenge their fallen friend—but he also really, really can’t hold up to questioning when Carrie catches him red-handed. The only thing left is for Carrie to find Quinn and bring him in, using two soldiers to strong-arm him, which in hindsight was definitely not enough soldiers. Quinn disarms and dispatches both guys in less than five seconds, shoots one of them point-blank in the leg, and then seizes Carrie by the throat before fleeing to who-knows-where. (Side note to Quinn-Carrie shippers: Sorry, but this near act of strangulation is probably the closest you’re going to get to seeing them hook up.)
NEXT: If you’ve ever wondered what C-4 smells like…