Kata Vermes/SHOWTIME

Saul and Carrie's mission comes to a close, while Keane makes a difficult decision

April 30, 2018 at 12:12 AM EDT

How much would you be willing to sacrifice for democracy? For Carrie, the answer has always been — and now, is clearly — everything. Her daughter, her freedom, her mind — she’d sacrifice it all just to know that her country’s still intact, just to have that moment where she can look up at Yevgeny Gromov’s shell-shocked face and smile at it.

The question is whether any of it really worked — but we’ll get to that. The season finale — an intense, powerful installment — opens where the Great Wig Switch left off: with Carrie, dressed as Simone, being driven away by Anson and his grey Mercedes to lead Yevgeny’s men away from the real Simone. The real Simone, in a blond wig to play Carrie, has been taken to the embassy, where Saul and his team are waiting to extract her from the country. On their way out, Mirov stops their car, suspicious of how quickly Saul wants to get out of the embassy when before he’d been stalling, but luckily Yevgeny calls just in time to report that they’ve found the grey Mercedes in question and are about to detain Simone.

Duped, Mirov leaves Saul be, and the Americans make their way to their jet. They’re not safe yet: Back home, even Keane can’t cover for Saul and his mission anymore. When Warner visits the embattled Keane, she tells him the truth, about Simone being alive and how Saul’s mission was to retrieve her — but she admits that all she knows now is that something clearly went wrong that led to the violence in Russia. She just didn’t tell Warner because, well, Warner just helped remove her from office. At least on the other side of town, Paley and Janet can’t do any more damage; Sandy discovers Clint had been threatened by Janet and folded, so she has Max take away Clint’s phone and vows to keep a close watch on him for the rest of the mission.

But the closer the Americans inch to their getaway, the more trouble ensues. Simone knows she’s being passed off as Carrie, but rightly asks Saul whether he’s okay with leaving Carrie behind. Carrie, meanwhile, has to dash off on foot after she and Anson are cornered in an alley. As she tells Max over comms, she just needs to find a way to stall the police long enough for Saul to make it out of the country with Simone. Unfortunately, that may take more than a few minutes: Saul’s van gets stopped at the airfield security checkpoint, and his diplomatic immunity isn’t enough to stop a guard from trying to order everyone out. He’d been scanning their passports, and while it seems like Simone’s doctored ID worked, the guards want one of the men on Saul’s team to be arrested as a suspect in a homicide outside Moscow. (They did leave bodies behind during their raid to extract Simone last episode.)

Saul doesn’t fold, however, and winds up calling Warner to request help for them to pass. Warner asks if the mission has been a success, and after a beat — Saul realizes Keane must have let him in on their plan — he says yes. “If our situation here isn’t resolved,” he warns Warner, “that will change.”

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Warner, though, must finish his chat with Paley first. Paley wonders if the call was about Simone being retrieved, and after learning that she is, he tells Warner that if they do bring Simone back and let her testify, Keane will be allowed back in the office, and she’ll be even more vindictive than before. He advises Warner to tell the Russian ambassador what’s going on, to blow up Saul’s mission, because after all, Warner himself has done nothing wrong.

But when the ambassador arrives in the Oval Office to chat, Warner completely ignores Paley’s treasonous advice. He tells the ambassador that he must allow Saul’s team to board within the next five minutes, or he’ll close the embassy and detain every single Russian diplomat. Cowed, the ambassador calls Moscow and Saul’s team is allowed to move forward. And as for Paley? “Senator,” Warner says, “You can get the f— out of my White House.” Who knew Ralph Warner would be the stealth hero of Homeland season 7?

It all culminates in Carrie barely fending off the guards before being grabbed out of her hiding spot and turned over to Yevgeny, who’s furious at the realization that he’s been chasing a decoy. Saul’s plane takes off with Simone on board, Carrie smiles her smile at Yevgeny, and it’s mission accomplished. For now.

The episode jumps to three days later, with Simone’s testimony about to begin. Saul’s task force has gathered inside their hideout, and they’re thrilled by what Simone finally says on national television: the truth. She admits that she’s a captain of the GRU — the foreign military intelligence agency of Russia — and explains that yes, she was a part of a team that “tried to compromise your president and push her out of office.”

Just then, Keane walks in and smiles at the team. “So, this is the room where it happened,” she muses, while somewhere Lin-Manuel Miranda gives a thumbs up to Homeland‘s writers’ room, probably. Keane’s there to thank the people who vindicated her, and to assure them that she’s doing “everything” to bring Carrie home. Saul’s smile fades a little as she says that, and so does Max’s. After all, getting Carrie back from Russia isn’t going to be easy. When Saul offers the Russian ambassador the opportunity to trade Carrie for three Russian prisoners the Americans are holding, he refuses, because Moscow’s in no mood to appease the Americans on any front at the moment. Plus, they’re holding out for one prized prisoner named Gorin.

So for now, Carrie’s being held in a grimy-looking facility where a man named Alexander has kindly provided her with a book so she has something to do while staying in her cell. He takes her to Yevgeny, who wants to make a deal: She can record a statement — a “confession,” rather, that the entire Simone thing was a CIA exercise, putting the blame back on the U.S. — or she can continue to live in her cell without the meds she needs to stay sane and sober. “Apologize to the Russian people, and the pills are yours,” he tells her.

Carrie refuses, because she knows that even if a filmed statement would immediately be dismissed — everyone would know she, a prisoner, was coerced into making it — it would still plant a seed of doubt that Yevgeny, as he puts it, can water. Once back inside her room, she tries another tactic: She asks Alexander to get her the pills she needs. He assures her he’ll try. (Next: A presidential homecoming…)

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