It finally happened. Carrie, after struggling for so long, has come to understand what everyone else already knew: Her true love is this country, and as much as she loves her daughter, she’ll always end up putting her work first.
Hey, the show’s not called Franny.
The strength of this hour, unlike much of this season’s wobbly first half, came from Carrie’s story. After her meltdown, Carrie’s been checked into a mental hospital, where Anson accompanies her to her therapist, who oversees her final electroconvulsive therapy session. Carrie’s so used to having to go through the operation, which involves having a seizure induced, that she appears calm, almost bored by the procedure. The camera, though, tells a different story: The final shot lingers on Carrie’s body as she shakes and trembles over and over. It’s grueling to watch.
When Carrie recovers, Anson’s there to bring her orange juice and her custody lawyer, Ronda. Maggie has officially filed for custody of Franny, and with the hearing set for the next day, has laid out an offer for Carrie that involves allowing Carrie to visit her daughter every third weekend, and then every other weekend after a probationary period. If she agrees to the terms, they’ll skip the hearing and ensure that Carrie will retain visitation rights. If she doesn’t, the hearing could result in Carrie never seeing Franny again.
Carrie doesn’t like the idea of skipping the hearing, though — she wants a chance to argue her side, even if it means a longer, lengthier, and uglier legal battle. “If they want Franny, I’m not going to just hand her over,” she says. But even Ronda’s not so sure about Carrie’s chances of actually winning her argument, warning her that she needs to seriously consider Maggie’s offer.
And so she does, while on a walk with Anson. He wonders if there’s a way they could strengthen their case, not by proving Carrie’s fit to be a mother, but by proving that Maggie’s not. At that, Carrie pauses — because even in her mind, Maggie’s the perfect super-mom, and her brother-in-law, Bill, is a saint. What could possibly be used against Maggie? And how low could Carrie really go? Perhaps lower than she thinks: She tells Anson that Maggie did used to be her unofficial doctor and would prescribe her drugs and run her blood tests under an alias to keep her from being flagged by the CIA. That’d revoke Maggie’s medical license, Anson points out, and would certainly help Carrie’s case.
But Carrie’s not ready to throw her own sister under the bus. To prepare for the case, she opens up a document in which she’s typed up all the things she’s been doing to be better. “Clarity,” she’s written. “Thoughts not racing.” She also types that she has to emphasize how she now has perspective, that she knows she screwed up. Still, does that mean she won’t screw up again — or know how to prevent another meltdown?
Just then, Saul enters her room to check in on how she’s doing. He’s in full papa bear mode, sweetly wondering what exactly happened to Carrie and worrying about whether it was his fault she went into a psychotic break. Carrie immediately dismisses the idea and tells him there’s nothing he can do for her custody battle and everything she’s going through.
Instead, maybe there’s something she can do. Carrie knows Saul’s not there to simply check on her well-being: He has an update on what they’d been working on. Saul reports that Gromov’s gone, probably back in Russia now that it’s been over a week since Dante’s death, and that he needs a team in Eastern Europe to track him and Simone Martin down. Earlier, he’d thought Simone dead; after speaking with Sandy, who has evidence that Gromov and Simone knew each other in Paris, he’s convinced that the pair are lovers dedicated to the same cause. (Does it sound cliche? Yes. Do we know it’s true? Also, yes.) And so, Saul would prefer having Carrie lead the mission — Anson and Bennett are great guys who have carried out ops for her, but neither of them have ever worked the region, and he really needs evidence of Russian interference ASAP — but Carrie turns him down. If she’s going to convince the courtroom and Maggie that she’s leaving this life of danger behind in favor of Franny, she’ll have to properly leave it.
Still, she does carry out one more mini-op, by having Anson break into Maggie’s office and steal the files that have been kept under an alias. At first, he can’t find them, but Carrie realizes that everything must be in Maggie’s home office instead. Anson asks if he should go there, and Carrie hesitates but eventually gives him the green light.
Meanwhile, at Vice President Warner’s residence, an even more awkward conversation is taking place. Wellington has decided to pay the VP a visit after months of helping Keane avoid him, because, as it turns out, Keane’s cabinet members are toying with the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would declare the president unfit for office and begin the process of impeaching her. Senator Paley, after Dante’s death, has flip-flopped again, and gone all in on taking Keane out. Only thing is, the amendment can’t be ratified without the VP’s signature.
And so, Wellington’s there to ensure the VP’s support. “It must gall her that the survival of her presidency would come down to me,” Warner gleefully remarks. And though he’s a little more than amused by this turn of events, he assures Wellington that Keane shouldn’t worry. He took an oath to support the office of the president, and he’s going to keep it.
Relieved, Wellington relays the news to Keane, and that night, Keane gathers her cabinet and doubles down on her rhetoric for them to stand together. She tells them that Paley must now be considered a participant in the Russian conspiracy, and that even though the entire thing sounds crazy, it’s important that they focus on what they set out to do when her term began. She also assures them that she and the VP stand together — so if there’s anyone signing that document, they should know it won’t succeed. If only it were that easy. (Next: Time’s running out…)