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TV Recaps

Homeland recap: 'The Return'

Carrie and Conlin investigate Quinn’s photos — and the conspiracy deepens

Posted on

JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME

Homeland

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA
seasons:
5
run date:
10/02/11
performer:
Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin, Mandy Patinkin
broadcaster:
Showtime
genre:
Drama, Mystery, Thriller

We gave it a B+

The Homeland conspiracy has always been larger than it seemed. With Astrid (and therefore German intelligence) back in the picture and Saul’s dealings with the Russian SVR, the midtown bombing appears to have been masterminded by someone truly hoping to shake things up.

That someone turns out to be a nameless corporation straight from a Black Mirror episode. In fact, so much of this hour felt like Homeland crossed with a dystopian drama of some sort. It begins with a blinding light that fades in on Carrie waiting hours to see Quinn, only to be told she’s wasted her time because he’s been moved to Bellevue, the mental hospital that’ll keep him isolated for at least 72 hours.

Keane is just as annoyed. In her compound, she watches as Charles Widmore President Morse holds a press conference encouraging more action against terrorism, including additional measures to the Patriot Act. Sure, she has a TV now, but all she wants is to have her chief of staff with her and to be back in the action in New York. Later, when she returns from a jog, she snoops around in the coats hanging on the rack, hoping to find a phone she can use to contact the outside world, but Marjorie walks in — and becomes her ticket out of the compound.

Hidden in Marjorie’s truck, Keane manages to make it out just as Rob is finally allowed in, going through a ridiculously tedious security process to do so. And though the Secret Service finds Keane easily, she convinces Marjorie to help her make it all the way to New York, and the two women trade stories about the sons they lost in the war. Marjorie never voted for Keane, she explains, because Keane backed away from the war after voting for it. Keane defends herself, trying to change Marjorie’s mind, by saying that she realized it was a wrong move, as the war happened because of false and misleading reasons. Marjorie says it’s the opposite, that her son Andrew believed in the war, and that it wasn’t false at all. She encourages Keane to talk more about her son — and Keane looks thoughtful as she listens.

While the two women may agree to disagree, Carrie and Conlin fight again over Sekou, but even though Conlin would rather dismiss the photos Quinn took, he’s unsure of whether their theory that Sekou acted on his own still stands. Neither of them can live with not knowing who the man in the photo is — and Conlin ends up summoning Saad to the FBI offices to find out if Saad had ever seen him. He’s angry at Saad, but Saad makes it clear that he had never seen the man in the photos, and Sekou definitely wasn’t working with him. Rattled, Conlin asks him to take a closer look, but after a tense exchange, Saad says that simply put, the man just looks like someone from the government. “He looks like you,” he says, leaving Conlin speechless.

Afterward, Conlin goes to meet Carrie at her brownstone. He admits that he was wrong about Sekou but that the FBI couldn’t find out anything about the man in the photos either. He only has one lead: the lease on the Jeep driven by the man belongs to a mysterious corporation, and he’s going to check it out himself. Conlin also does Carrie one more solid and gets her a chance to see Quinn in Bellevue. She thanks him for his “good faith”; he just shakes his head. “Nothing good about any of this,” he replies.

He can say that again. The next day, Conlin heads to the corporation and spots the Jeep parked in the lot — and from there, the entire sequence plays, again, like something out of Black Mirror. The receptionist coolly asks Conlin if he’s an applicant for a job, and he tells her truth about him wanting to talk to the man who owns the Jeep. She replies, confusingly, that he’ll have to talk to accounting, and they’re still at lunch. As he sits, he gathers some more intel from the man sitting next to him filling out a form that has boxes for how confidential the information should be. The man asks if he’s from Langley, and it turns out that all the people there are former employees of federal agencies — basically “government” people, as Saad had said. This corporation is private and has access to “tons of data” federal agencies would never let employees touch. Conlin asks if he’s heard anything strange, and the man says that 96.8 percent of all data flows through this place, and that that’s the craziest, most exciting thing.

Conlin decides to pose with the rest of the group as an applicant and joins them as they descend six floors, (more than) six feet under the ground. The scene morphs into a horror film, almost, with a sense of dread overwhelming every corner. Conlin breaks away from the group and walks into a room that’s filled with desks and chairs, and he’s stunned, unsure of what he’s seeing. The woman who led the group walks in on him and immediately knows he’s up to no good. He shows her his FBI badge, but she has the guards escort him out, because if he had any authority, he wouldn’t have lied his way in. As he leaves, he calls Carrie and tells her to meet him in person ASAP — he’s seen something strange. By then, the Jeep is gone, but the trouble’s just begun.

Before the call, Carrie had been inside Bellevue, visiting Quinn. The visit’s a disaster: Quinn’s face has been beaten to a pulp, he’s been placed in a straitjacket, and worst of all, he’s back to hating having Carrie around. As she crouches next to him on the floor to tell him about how far she’s gotten with his photos, he tries to crawl away. “You said, ‘Protect Franny,’ and I did,” he wheezes. “Then you took me down… when my back was turned.” Carrie argues that she was trying to save his life, but he doesn’t believe her or her story that she’s only shown the photos to an FBI agent she trusts. Paranoid and convinced she’s now also a part of the conspiracy, Quinn shouts for the guards to help take him away. Oh, Quinn.

Shaken, Carrie heads to Conlin’s to find out what he discovered — but when she arrives on his doorstep, there’s no answer. She sneaks her way in through the back and just misses seeing another man inside. Upstairs, she finds Conlin dead in his bathroom with a gun still in his hand.

NEXT: Run, Carrie, Run

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