Homeland recap: 'Casus Belli'
Carrie’s never been good at separating her personal and professional lives — Franny is arguably a product of that — but this hour may be the closest brush she’s had yet with her work following her home. And as much as she takes the blame for leaving Quinn at home with Franny, she couldn’t possibly have known how quickly things would escalate around her
tiny tony (this typo got the better of me — I envy Carrie’s place like crazy, even if I don’t envy what happened to it this week) brownstone.
In fact, Carrie’s oddly centered during this hour while everyone around her reacts with panic or fear. Conlin screams into her face, Reda (who, commenters last week rightly pointed out, only helped Sekou get his old job back) chides Carrie for even thinking about sending Franny to school, and Keane frantically tries to retain control. She’s the antithesis to the rage-fueled radio show host — the program’s called “Real. Truth” and has shades of Rush Limbaugh — Quinn listened to only a few episodes ago.
The hour opens with that show, as the host blames Keane for turning a blind eye to terrorism. He emphasizes how the terrorist threat is not over and has never been over, and “if you are that stupid” to believe it is, “what do you get? Boom!” He’s angry — and much of America is, too.
For now, Keane can’t let that anger take over. She’s quickly ushered into a helicopter and transported away from the city to a safe house, but she’s unable to bring her staff along, leaving her separated from her trusted chief of staff Rob, who’s been with her in every meeting. At the safe house, she asks for a TV and access to her staff, but all anyone can offer her is Marjorie, who’s happy to fetch her tea and snacks and whatever she’d like to bide her time.
Obviously, biding her time isn’t at the top of Keane’s to-do list, so when Dar Adal arrives on the safe house’s doorstep, she’s thrilled to finally hear some news — even if it’s not great news. He gives her a phone that’ll allow her to talk to the White House at the very least, and then briefs her about, as he puts it, “a few unfortunate facts.”
F. Murray Abraham and Elizabeth Marvel then give a master class in acting cagey: He reports that the bomber, Sekou, had been in custody, slowly divulging the information about Sekou being defended by a non-profit in Brooklyn that got his case thrown out on procedural grounds. He watches her, hoping for a reaction; she watches him, without betraying a thing. He continues, saying that Carrie — who he slyly explains is “one of our former officers” — was involved, but Keane doesn’t blink an eye.
Dar instead decides to push his narrative of the situation: He tells Keane that the bombing happened just 20 blocks away from her hotel, sowing seeds of doubt in Keane about whether her life was in danger that morning. Keane responds by asking once more for a TV, then lets Dar leave as he head to meet Saul when he arrives from Tel Aviv.
Carrie also has a rough morning. Franny and Quinn watch the news about the bombing, and Franny has more questions about it than Carrie would like — and when Reda calls to tell Carrie that Sekou was the one in the van (security camera footage proved Sekou was driving), Carrie’s forced to ask Quinn to look after Franny for at least 45 minutes before Franny’s babysitter, Latisha, arrives. Quinn assures her he can, but he’s already thinking steps ahead about what’s truly happening: While he was watching the news, he noticed the Medina logo on the exploded truck, the same one he photographed the night he tailed the man from across the street.
Carrie heads to Sekou’s apartment, where she hugs his sobbing mother before stopping Conlin from interrogating Simone. Conlin’s too pissed to worry about decorum, or about going to through Carrie to talk to who he wants to talk to: He points out that she’s in deep trouble for helping release a terrorist. He warns that they’ll be looking into her source for that recording of him and Saad, but she counters that she can’t reveal her source’s identity at all. Of course, that’s not what Conlin wanted to hear: “Get out of here, you hear me?” he shouts. “You’re not wanted.”
Rattled, Carrie heads to her source, the man she had approached who could access NSA recordings and provide her with Conlin and Saad’s conversation. As she tries to explain what that recording was about, adding that she still can’t believe that Sekou would do something like this, he starts to freak out. He tells her that he didn’t give her the recording — and though Carrie thinks he’s just saying that in agreement with her to cover this up, he insists that it wasn’t him. After she approached him, he had reported their contact up the chain and didn’t think about it again. The revelation stumps Carrie. If it wasn’t her NSA contact, then who was this third party in the agency who sent her flowers?
She can’t investigate this twist just yet, though: Back in her apartment, events have spun out of control. Journalists have swarmed to Carrie’s doorstep — as the public defender on Sekou’s case, her address is publicly available — and rattled, paranoid Quinn has not only threatened and tossed a female journalist down the front steps but also fired his gun into the crowd of protesters who gathered and threw rocks through Carrie’s window, hitting the hand of the man who began the violence. Latisha arrives shortly before the journalist-tossing incident, and after Quinn takes away Latisha’s phone, saying they’re being watched, he forces her and Franny to hide inside the basement bathroom. He wants to protect them, obviously, but none of this is helping.
Carrie only learns of this after calling Conlin about the third-party mystery at the NSA. Conlin is also surprised by the revelation, but he’s stopped in his tracks not by this new twist but by what he sees on the news: Carrie’s apartment in disarray. He warns her about what’s happening — it’s been deemed a hostage situation — and Carrie rushes home right away.
NEXT: Home is where the hostage situation is…
Finally, Carrie’s back on her block, but the law enforcement there prevent her from approaching her apartment. She tries to explain that Quinn is only triggered by all of the commotion outside, that feeling trapped will only make him more paranoid, and that if they send people inside to try and extract the so-called hostages — Franny and Latisha — they’ll have blood on their hands. No one heeds her warnings, however; she’s told to calm down instead.
Carrie’s left to watch the monitors as the team confirms Quinn’s position and tries to enter through a skylight. Quinn, though, knows his way around a situation like this, even if he’s still unsteady on his feet. He carefully readies his gun, and the next thing Carrie knows, he’s pulled it on the first officer who drops into the apartment, shouting at the rest to leave — or rather, “back the f—- off.” They do, for now.
Around the same time, Saul has reentered the United States after finally being allowed out of Tel Aviv. He’s surprised to see Dar greet him and listens warily as Dar talks about the bombing and the fact that Keane seems more open to, as he says, “reality.” Clearly, this is what Dar wanted: for Keane to open her eyes. So, could he have been the one pulling the strings behind the bombing and the isolation of Keane? He seems to be the most likely suspect, but I smell a red herring. It can’t be this easy.
Maybe Saul’s thinking the same thing — or maybe he has no clue what Dar’s up to. He tells Dar all about what he did in Abu Dhabi with Nafisi, explaining his suspicions over his cigarette pack being inside a room where it didn’t belong. He tells Dar his theory: Nafisi must have been briefed by Mossad before their interrogation ever took place, and maybe that meant a set-up, a charade just to inspire war. Dar furrows his brows at this but doesn’t let anything on. Saul reveals he’s waiting for Javadi’s confirmation, and Dar doesn’t respond.
Back inside Carrie’s apartment, Quinn has tied up the officer, who realizes he’s an ex-soldier. He tries to find out more from Quinn about where he served, but Quinn’s too erratic at this point to converse. Instead, the camera cuts rapidly between shots of his hands and fingers methodically gathering weapons in the dark, making him seem more machine than man. Just as he finishes arming himself, Franny and Latisha walk out of the bathroom — Franny pleads to leave, but Quinn shouts at them, confusing the poor little girl.
Outside, Carrie insists to the chief that the last thing they want is a shootout, because Quinn will fire back and take out his men, especially now that he has more than just a handgun. The chief finally lets her approach the house, and as Carrie walks up to her home, the camera shakes, blurring everything around her as she tries to find a way in — to her place, and to Quinn’s rational mind. With a spotlight from a helicopter shining above her, she approaches the basement window and softly calls out to Quinn.
“I don’t even know where to begin,” she says. “What I need to believe is you’re protecting Franny. That’s what I asked you to do when I left here this morning. I shouldn’t have left you alone with her, and I’m so sorry.” She explains that she felt comfortable leaving him with such a heavy responsibility because he had shown how lovely he could be with Franny, and when she tells him it’s just her coming inside, he moves out of the way and lets her walk into the basement.
In the dark, he approaches from behind her, but Carrie’s ready. She checks on Latisha and Franny first and then asks him about the officer he dragged inside. Quinn warns that he’s not a policeman, but Carrie knows better and finds the man trapped inside the boiler room, ready to pass out. Quinn, convinced the officer is working for whoever has been watching them, drags the officer away again, but as he does so, the team outside notice that the officer’s body camera has turned back on. Seeing that Carrie, Latisha, and Franny are all out of Quinn’s reach, they decide to send in the rest of the team.
Hearing the commotion outside, Carrie gathers Latisha and Franny inside the shower, lets Latisha text her husband using her phone, and talks to Quinn alone. He says that they’ll never get out of the house, explaining that he has proof of them being watched. After all this misunderstanding and commotion, he finally gives her his phone with the pictures he took the other night, but before she can do anything with them, the officers charge in, and Carrie throws herself on top of Quinn’s body to protect him from being shot, shouting that he should not be harmed as he gets taken away.
And with that, it’s all over — almost. Inside the safe house, Keane overhears — could it be? — a television, and when she arrives upstairs, she finds Marjorie quietly watching the incensed program seen at the top of the hour: “Real. Talk.” Keane’s thrown: She had just lost contact with the outside world again when the signal went dead on the phone Dar gave her, and she had been told that Rob, her chief-of-staff, isn’t cleared on the list of people allowed to come see her. And now she sees that she’s not only being berated by a political talk show host but had also been purposely kept from knowing what’s happening? She’s too shocked to react, and she just stands watching as the host calls her a coward while talking to a guest who had been inside (and remained inside) the Pentagon on 9/11. She’s hypnotized by this turn of events, and she’ll have to find a way out soon.
So will Carrie. After a tender moment spent on the couch apologizing to Franny for putting her through hell for a day, Carrie sends her daughter away with Latisha to stay for a few days as she continues investigating what happened behind Sekou and the bombing. Franny asks for Carrie to pack Hoppy, her stuffed animal — which she showed Quinn earlier, in much calmer moments — in with her clothes, and Carrie agrees.
After she adds Hoppy to Franny’s bag, Carrie notices Quinn’s phone on the floor among the glass, having fallen during all the action. She scrolls through the photos, looking skeptical, but eventually she begins to understand when she sees his photos of the man across the street heading to the garage that housed trucks belonging to the company that employed Sekou. She stares at the photo, putting all of the pieces together before hesitantly heading outside.
Crouched under the stairs and just out of view, she watches the apartment across the street, glimpsing a shadow behind the blinds lifting one layer, then dropping another. Carrie’s face is inscrutable as she sees that Quinn was right — but knowing Carrie, it won’t take her long to spring into action. Her to-do list so far: find out who that third party behind the recording was, solve the mystery of the man across the street, and save Quinn.
It’s a solid episode, planting the seeds for the latter half of the season and raising intriguing questions — what will Carrie go after first? What does Saul know? — but also raising some red flags that don’t completely fit into the picture. For one thing, it seems a little far fetched to see so much hatred spewed toward the president-elect: Isn’t it protocol to move the next commander-in-chief out of harm’s way? Sure, she’s been careful on condemning terrorists, but what about the president himself? Why no news on him? There are enough pieces missing that I almost feel like Keane herself, left in the dark, but scenes with her, Dar, and Saul have reached new levels of tension. The episode title, “Casus Belli,” refers to something that provokes war, and Homeland is gearing up for several from here on out. The first battle took place inside Carrie’s home; who knows where the next one will be.