The pieces are finally — finally! — coming together. For much of this season, Dar Adal’s villainy was only touched on, not understood, and after tonight, it’s clear where he stands: as Saul’s duplicitous enemy, willing to go to any lengths to make sure the U.S. heads for war. He’s the trigger roaming free across Homeland — and the only one capable of removing him from this dark, deadly picture is Quinn.
Quinn, who’s now trapped in Dar’s game. Waking up with a start in a house he doesn’t recognize, he crashes around his room before being restrained by Astrid, who tries to tell him that “everything’s going to be fine now” because she’s there, he’s there, and the sedative will eventually wear off. “Don’t let me forget,” Quinn says. And then he’s gone again.
Until dawn, that is. Astrid hurriedly tracks down Quinn on the side of a road, trying to hitchhike his way back to New York. He comes close: A driver stops by, but Astrid manages to convince him that Quinn’s her unstable husband. Astrid insists on Quinn staying where he is; after all, Dar told her Quinn is a national security risk after the so-called hostage situation, and she believes keeping Quinn away from the action means keeping him safe. She has no idea she’s a pawn in Dar’s darker game.
Carrie, meanwhile, is also grappling with a false sense of security. Max has installed cameras around her home, and there’s no sign the man who’d been watching her from across the street is still there, but she’s nervous all the same. Max wonders if it’s better for her to call the police, but Carrie’s paranoid now: She’s seen Conlin murdered for following a lead she gave him, and if the FBI can’t come close to figuring all this out, how will the NYPD?
To make things worse, Carrie gets a call from Franny’s school telling her Child Services has come to talk to Franny and needs to meet with Carrie. Carrie arrives right away but isn’t allowed to see Franny. Instead, she’s taken to meet Christine, the woman investigating the case, who deems Franny “at imminent risk for further harm,” especially after staying in the home where she was kept locked in a bathroom with her nanny. For the time being, Christine says, Franny has been taken to a state-registered youth home and will not be returning to the brownstone with Carrie.
Carrie is understandably shell shocked. How is it possible for someone to simply snatch her daughter away from her, and at such a dangerous time in their lives? Christine says she understands and asks Carrie to come to her office to discuss their next moves. While there, Carrie tries to compartmentalize her emotions. “I am a good mother,” she says, before diving in to tell her story. She says she knew the nanny was only 10 minutes away and left Franny with Quinn because “Franny adores Quinn.” Sure, Quinn has psychological issues, but he had been fine living in her basement because there were strict rules, and, as a highly trained soldier, he was only trying to protect Franny from the crowd of journalists and protesters outside who threw rocks through her window.
“Do you think that Franny felt safe?” Christine counters, adding that in her interview with Franny, Franny said she thought she was going to die when Quinn turned against the people outside. On the verge of tears, Carrie can barely get her words out while begging to see her daughter. Christine doesn’t offer any comfort; instead, she coolly informs Carrie that her case will be presented to a judge the next day, and Carrie should get a lawyer.
Luckily, Carrie works with one. Meeting at a diner, Reda tells Carrie that Franny has been moved to a private foster home and will only be sleeping over for a night. Reda tries to calm Carrie, saying it’s all up to the judge, but he has no idea how worried Carrie is — which is why, at the court the next day, he’s shocked to learn from Christine that Carrie had a gun with her while asleep on Franny’s floor the night after the incident. Christine’s case is too strong: She presents Carrie as a mother who’s trying hard to do the best she can, but one who has too many issues. Not only did she bring the mentally disturbed Quinn into her home, but she also thinks she can protect her daughter by staying in her room with a loaded gun. Carrie tries to explain that she did what she felt was reasonable from her training. (Christine nearly rolls her eyes at Carrie’s mention of her work with the CIA.) When Carrie convincingly explains why she had been wary of calling the police, Christine decides to play her dirtiest card: She tells the judge Carrie suffers from bipolar disorder.
Even Reda is stunned. He defends Carrie, saying that the illness — which Carrie has had under control for a year — has nothing to do with her ability to mother her child. But Christine is clearly out to get Carrie, recommending that Carrie, a mother who fell asleep in her daughter’s bedroom with a loaded gun, is at “imminent risk” of causing Franny further harm and therefore must be separated from her daughter for the time being. The judge accepts this, sending Carrie to psychiatric evaluation, telling Christine to dig deeper into the state of the home, and determining that Franny must stay in foster care. At this, Carrie cries, seeing no way out.
At home, she can’t bear to sit still and wait for everything to sort itself out. Looking inside her fridge, she spots an unopened bottle of white wine, and after taking a deep breath, she decides to pop it open and drink for the first time after months of sobriety. Oh, Carrie…
Next thing she knows, she’s drunk and clutching Franny’s favorite toy while sobbing on the floor. Before she wipes her tears away, she decides to call Keane — yup, the very president-elect — and though Keane is sympathetic to Carrie’s troubles, she chides Carrie for thinking she could help. “It’s unethical,” Keane says of Carrie’s request for her to give someone a call to override the judge’s ruling. “I’m surprised you would even ask me.” Distraught and drunk, Carrie goes too far. “I just thought you of all people would understand,” she sobs. “You lost a child!” And at that, Keane wonders if she’s been drinking. Carrie lies and apologizes, but it’s too late.
There’s nothing Carrie can do, because it’s not Christine and Child Services that won, but Dar Adal. In the final scene, Christine calls Dar to report that while she hates to take a child away from her mother, this was the right thing to do. She thanks him for supplying “helpful information” and says that Franny will be in foster care for the foreseeable future. Pleased, Dar smiles at the news. After all, this isn’t his only win in this episode.
NEXT: Nothing But the Truth
Dar Adal, whatever he’s planning, knows how to work damage control. At a nondescript bar in the city, General McClendon visits Dar as he scrutinizes Keane, who’s being interviewed by Martha Raddatz on television and speaking out about her son. Keane talks of how tough it was to see the war differently from her son, who served two full tours in Iraq before being killed during his third. She transitions into underlining her anti-war views, saying that it’s been 10 years since her son’s death and that they’re still there. At this, McClendon turns away and complains to Dar that Keane is winning the argument. Dar’s unfazed, so McClendon continues with his other charges: He knows that Javadi has just reentered the U.S., and he wonders if Dar will do anything about it. Dar, of course, knows that Saul had met with Javadi abroad to confirm whether Iran really is working a separate deal with North Korea, and McClendon is concerned about whether Javadi will actually meet with Saul. Dar assures him the two won’t meet. But how?
By sidelining Saul in an insufferable debrief, it turns out. Before Saul returns to the office, he has Nate — the young man he met earlier who admired his lecture at the Farm — pass tickets to Javadi and set up their meet. Nate accomplishes this, but just as Saul’s satisfied with the movements, he’s told to meet with Rachel, the deputy counterintelligence officer who relays to him her director’s order for him to answer questions about his visit to the West Bank. Saul is surprised and argues that Tova must be behind all of these shenanigans, even joshing with Rachel that he’s “not worried about optics.” “If I did, I’d never look in the mirror,” he says, grinning. But Rachel’s not playing: She takes his phone and starts asking him about exactly what he had been doing in the West Bank.
At the same time, Javadi is also sidetracked from his journey to meet Saul. Guards take Javadi away from his relaxing time in the hotel pool, while the man who had been watching Carrie watches from inside his car. Seeing that Javadi’s been removed from the hotel, he calls Dar and reports to him of Javadi’s movements. Happy with this development, Dar pockets his phone and grabs Saul’s before racing to where Saul has been kept and putting on a show. Dar fights Rachel, saying he’ll talk to the director and that she’s not needed. Saul just sits and watches as Rachel, another Dar-constructed pawn, reluctantly leaves. Dar pretends he didn’t know that this would happen, but Saul scoffs. “A heads-up would have been nice,” he says to Dar, who continues claiming that he didn’t know this was happening until a minute ago. Saul doesn’t reply, simply asking Dar for his phone back. After he leaves, Dar looks mildly worried — but for now, everything’s still going according to his (evil) plan.
After all, Javadi’s being tortured. In a bare room, he’s strapped to his chair by his disloyal men as a man named Naser walks in. Naser presents Javadi with what he knows: that Javadi has been working with the U.S. this whole time and that he’s a traitor to Iran. Naser says he has proof, as his source is someone inside the CIA. Even at that, Javadi doesn’t give himself up, refusing to give him names of American agents working in Iran. “Idiot,” Javadi says. “Even if I’m what you say, I wouldn’t know. I’d never know such a thing.” Naser just smiles, commands his men to hold the chair, and then uses one of the tools by him to torture Javadi and pull out his fingernails. As Javadi screams, gunfire suddenly erupts.
One of the men who brought Javadi to the scene has remained loyal to Javadi and shot Naser and his men. The man, Amir, tells Javadi that he served with him in Iraq and remembers when the general had been good to them, feeding them goat. Javadi promises he’ll remember what Amir has done before they race away from the scene.
Freed from his pseudo-interrogation, Saul waits by an empty seat at a hockey game. Amir sits down next to him and tells him that they have a mutual friend who’s waiting for Saul. When Saul questions why Javadi can’t be there, Amir says Javadi sends greetings from Sergeant Brody. The comment raises alarms in Saul’s mind, and he agrees to leave with Amir immediately.
When he arrives where Javadi waits, Javadi points a gun at Saul. “Kindly explain what the f— is going on,” he says, explaining that he had been picked up by his own men and accused of being a traitor after someone in the CIA gave him up. Putting two and two together, Saul figures out that Dar Adal must have been the one to give them the information, as Dar has wanted to end the nuclear deal “for forever,” he reasons. Javadi finally tells Saul what he came all this way to say: that they captured and tortured Nafisi until he admitted that he had been working for Mossad for eight years, and that the entire showdown in Abu Dhabi had been just that — a little show to get the CIA thinking there’s a parallel program. Javadi asks for political asylum, round-the-clock protection, and $45 million in exchange for his work, and Saul promises him he’ll ask Keane to handle all of that, now that it’s clear Iran isn’t cheating on the deal — just a part of one Dar has orchestrated to encourage conflict.
Just when Saul thinks it’s over for now, Javadi draws his gun again — and shoots Amir in the head. “For Christ’s sake,” Saul says. “What?” Javadi deadpans. “No loose ends. You taught me that, Saul. Come on, help me put him in the trunk.” Risk is imminent, always, even for allies.
We’ll have to wait and see what Saul does with Dar now that he knows just where his frenemy stands. In the meantime, Dar has arrived at the safe house where Quinn’s being kept. Astrid greets him, telling him that Quinn has calmed down since that morning but has refused to say a thing, instead staring into fires and wandering over near the water, where he now sits, continuing to stare at nothing in particular. Astrid says that maybe it wasn’t a good idea for her to come and handle him, but Dar disagrees. “Convincing him was never going to be easy,” he says. “You being here is going to be all the difference. Trust me.” Wait… convincing him of what?
Quinn’s not sure either. When Dar settles in next to Quinn, Quinn immediately tells him to “go f— himself.” There’s no love lost here between the two; Dar almost laughs at how Quinn’s pitying himself, adding that one of the reasons why he recruited Quinn all those years ago was because of his lack of self-pity. Another reason was Quinn’s, um, youth — though the scene implies that there was something else, something more disturbing, more sinister, to why Dar wanted Quinn. “Dirty old man,” Quinn says. Dar brushes off the comment. “For the record,” he says, “I never forced myself on anyone.” Oh… gross.
If that’s not enough, Homeland takes it all one step further to make Quinn as miserable as possible. Picking up on Quinn’s need to go back to New York, Dar talks about Carrie, pegging her as the reason why Quinn wants to leave the lake house. “The sway she holds over you and Saul, I will never understand,” Dar says, prattling on about Carrie’s resume and the unchecked power she had as the “Drone Queen” when she was a part of the CIA. “Just stop, Dar,” Quinn pleads.
But of course, Dar doesn’t. He twists the knife, telling Quinn the story of why he’s the way he is. Dar grits his teeth, revealing to Quinn that when he was in a coma after inhaling the sarin gas, Carrie ordered doctors to wake him up, despite knowing that the procedure would risk, well, a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Dar explains that she thought Quinn had intel on the terror cell that was planning the Berlin attack — and that in the end, she was wrong. Quinn’s speechless at the revelation. “She hasn’t been taking care of you out of love,” Dar concludes, “but guilt.” As Dar stands up to leave, Quinn returns to staring out over the water, more troubled than ever.
Is this the beginning of Carrie’s destruction? Will Quinn turn on Carrie? Will Keane refuse to hear from Carrie, just as Saul needs to capitalize on Carrie’s access to Keane in order to obtain the evidence Javadi has against the parallel nuclear program? And will Dar ever get his comeuppance, or will McClendon take the fall down the line? Why are all these machinations over the nuclear arms deal important in the first place? Homeland‘s answers are just out of reach, but this hour at least pushed them closer to the surface. Javadi always proves an intriguing presence (much of this is thanks to Shaun Toub’s mesmerizing performance) whenever he shows up, and we’re finally seeing how Keane may fit into the big picture.
Still, this episode showed just a little too much. It felt uncomfortable to watch, and not just because we had to see Carrie lose, but also because the plot had to jump through one too many hoops to make Franny’s exit from Carrie’s life (for the time being) believable. It’s as if you could see the writers plotting point A (Carrie separated from the spy games) to point B (Carrie dragged back in) and couldn’t figure out the final twist to make her want to seek Saul’s help and revenge against Dar. I know Carrie tends to fall hard and fall fast, but using Child Services to push her into this corner felt like a bizarre, conspicuous twist for Homeland, and an especially risky move by a top spy like Dar. Plus, taking Quinn out of New York feels like a repeat of the whole Keane-stuck-in-a-safe-house plot from the previous few episodes. When are we going to see them all converge, Homeland?
Either way, things are clearly going to get worse for Carrie before they get better. And for Quinn, well, it looks like things will never get better — but maybe, just maybe, he’ll go out a hero before this season ends.