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Homeland recap: Why Is This Night Different?

Saul, Quinn, and Carrie’s targets might not be their true enemies after all.

Posted on

Stephan Rabold/Showtime


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin
Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The annual Homeland bloodbath has begun, with two major character deaths, a pair of close calls, and plenty of collateral damage. And it probably won’t stop there — not if Allison has her way. At least, it seems like Allison’s the one pulling the strings in this episode all about trustworthiness of the people around you, whether it’s a dogged journalist or a greedy hacker or — in Carrie’s case — a former partner-in-crime. Quinn is another ghost from two years ago, but one she’s happy to see, unlike the one she hallucinated last week.

(Speaking of which, before we move on, I do want to point out that when I called Carrie “crazy,” it wasn’t the best idea, as many of you mentioned. To be clear, I don’t use the term to diminish the severity or the state of her mental illness; rather, just as a Homeland viewer, I wasn’t happy with the way the show wedged it in as a plot device. Sure, revisiting Carrie’s demons was necessary to get her out of her comfortable Berlin life, but bringing back her mental illness at this point felt like a decision on the part of the writers to simply catalyze the action. It’s not that I want Carrie to no longer have to deal with her bipolarity, it’s that I wish the show wouldn’t use it as a “danger of the week,” a phrase a commenter used on this post deftly breaking down the issue of “unstable” Carrie by Alan Sepinwall over at Hitfix. Still, was it unfair to criticize the tonal shift and slap on the word “crazy” when that’s how frustrating manic-depressive disorder becomes in real life? Yes, and I should have been more careful. So with all that said, I do want to know more of what you think about the way the show has portrayed Carrie’s disorder. And now, back to your regular programming…)

Carrie comes to after her woodland showdown with Quinn, waking up in Quinn’s lair — the Quinncave, I’m calling it — where Quinn reveals he was sent to kill her, but obviously didn’t. He cuts himself, rubs his blood onto her face, and has her play dead for the proof of death he’ll submit at the drop box. How’s that for a reunion?

Quinn’s plans for their first date keeping Carrie alive involve replacing her with a new identity and finding her fallback, where she keeps the supplies she needs to disappear. Before they leave, he asks her to get her affairs in order, which means recording a video for Frannie, but wait — Quinn wants Carrie not just to explain why she had to send her daughter back to the States, but also to say goodbye. “If you want Frannie to be safe, you have to be dead,” he tells Carrie. And so she tries again, and speaks to the camera — and to us, almost — in what would surely be Claire Danes’ Emmy submission episode if we didn’t still have most of the season left to go. “I didn’t abandon you,” she says, holding back tears. “I know what that feels like, and I would never do that to you… You make up for every mistake that I’ve ever made, and although you don’t believe it, I love you very, very much.” It gives us our most heartbreaking Carrie cryface yet:

She’s asking Frannie — or one day, when she’s probably going as “Frances” — to trust her. (Also worth noting: The scene cuts to Quinn many times, just to drive home the point that he also abandoned his child, but Carrie’s level of remorse is exponentially greater now that she’s experienced what life would be like with Frannie.) It’s the same emotional wavelength Carrie’s working with when she persists in asking Quinn whether it really was Saul who put in the kill order. Even though Quinn tells her the operation involved only him and her former mentor, she doesn’t believe it, because deep down, she knows he wouldn’t abandon her.

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Which may be why the hour actually begins with Saul’s story, not Carrie’s, the first episode to do so this season. Saul and Allison are at a seder (hence the episode title) held by Üter, the Israeli official Saul had been talking to in last week’s episode. (Faith seems to be a core theme this season, as the premiere began similarly with that church hymn and Carrie pausing in a pew. But maybe I’m just reaching with this thought.) Üter explains why they’re there, asking those at the table to “remember the enemies we still have all over the world,” giving Saul a pointed glance.

He’s curious about Saul’s true intentions: Üter already knows Saul was bluffing about the CIA’s role in Syria. He calls him out for wanting to replace President Assad with General Youssef, a man Saul agrees would be a good choice. When Saul pushes back on the questioning by wondering why Israel would rather not have peace, Üter almost laughs. “You used to be a good friend to Israel,” he says. Too bad, Üter: Saul’s got a new friend he’s about to visit all the way in Switzerland…

NEXT: Saul makes an offer a war criminal can’t refuse