After a slow start to the season – focused on the emotional fallout of Carrie's misadventures in Berlin -- Homeland Season 6 Episode 3 picks up the pace on the espionage and action. Carrie, Saul, and even Quinn get their spy-groove back, while Dar continues to position himself with the president-elect.
Quinn's back! (Maybe)
Howdy Quinn lovers (AKA everyone)! How psyched were you to watch Quinn beat the crap out of that douche Tommy and wrap his sexy assassin hand around a gun once again? We are truly blessed!
After trying to get frisky with Carrie and getting his stinky ass rejected (maybe if you'd showered like she asked, you could've gotten lucky, dude... just sayin'), Quinn went on a rampage, taking out his sexual frustration on Tommy's face and stealing the scumbag's gun.
*Quinn hits Tommy across the head*
Tommy: Fuck, man!
Quinn: So, that's the two thousand I owe you, less the two thousand you stole from me leaves what? How much I owe you now?
Tommy: Zero. Nothing.
Quinn: You're fucking right.
Why did Quinn need a gun? Because he sensed somebody was watching Carrie and decided to investigate.
Like Carrie, his alter ego, Quinn's default is recklessness. I'm not sure assuming the role of vigilante is such a great idea in his current condition, but at least it gives him something to do other than be sullen.
Is someone really after Carrie or is Quinn being paranoid? He's been imbibing conspiracy theories via radio and his senses are off, so it's not quite clear.
It's a clever role reversal, though, with Carrie the "unreliable narrator" of Homeland Season 1. Nobody believed her about Brody because she was such a freaking basket case. Now, we get to play the "is he onto something or is he imagining things?" game with Quinn.
Knowing how Carrie's suspicions panned out, it's probably wise to give Quinn the benefit of the doubt on this one. In the meantime, we'll just enjoy him in badass mode, even if he's still a little wobbly.
Carrie gets her way
Considering Carrie's historic reluctance to operate within the confines of the law, the idea of her working for a law firm is pretty darn hilarious. In fact, her little tête-à-tête with Saad, against the judge's orders, led the prosecution to withdraw the plea deal it had offered Sekou. Oops.
Reda: This isn’t the arrangement we made, Carrie.
Carrie: What do you mean?
Reda: Our partnership. You were supposed to secure funding, investigate, advise. What you weren’t supposed to do is take matters into your own hands, break the law.
Carrie: I’m sorry, Reda. I fucked up.
Reda: Yeah, you did.
Carrie, after admitting to Reda that she frakked up, proceeded to dig herself in even deeper by getting some dirt on Conlin and blackmailing him.
The crooked little smile on her face as she triumphantly left Conlin's office was the same devious smile she had when she eluded her pursuers in a bazaar on Homeland Season 2 Episode 1.
If you'll recall, after being booted from the CIA and spending a few months putzing around her sister's vegetable garden, she got her fix during a one-off mission to Beirut for her former employer.
Because, like Quinn, Carrie is an action addict. When Quinn told her in Homeland Season 4 Episode 4, "It's like a drug, you know, going from one mission to the next," Carrie knew exactly what he meant.
It was this addiction that Carrie tried to quit cold turkey by running away and establishing a fake life in Berlin.
She failed, obviously, and now she appears to be giving free rein to her impulsive instincts. But at what cost?
She scored a point against Conlin and is riding high on the adrenaline of the chase. But given that we're only three episodes in, chances are good that Carrie's self-congratulatory bubble will burst pretty soon and pretty dramatically.
Will she eventually learn to use her gifts and honor her calling while managing the more destructive facets of her addiction? I'm not sure, but it will be fun to watch her mess up majorly as she tries to reconcile the feuding aspects of her personality.
Saul, back in the groove
Saul is another spy whose instincts have gone a bit dull over the past few years. In Homeland Season 4, he walked right into a trap set by Pakistani intelligence at the Islamabad airport and got himself abducted by mega-baddie Haissam Haqqani.
Then, in Homeland Season 5, he got honey trapped by Russian double agent Allison Carr and it took him most of the season to figure out he'd been duped.
Well, now Saul is back in the field, traveling to Abu Dhabi to get intel on the alleged parallel Iranian nuclear program from a source brought in by Mossad.
Saul: Says here you have a 120 million dollar line of credit at First Emirates, a little over half of which was accessed in the last week.
Saul: Compliant bank, correspondent accounts, these are the same tactics you used to counter U.N. sanctions, fund Hezbollah, export your revolution to the rest of the world.
Nafisi: Is that a compliment?
The interrogation scene has the nostalgic feel of old-time Homeland. Saul's still got it; he sees right past his target's lies and confirms, with great confidence, that the Iranians are indeed cheating on the nuclear deal.
Or are they? Just like it's hard to trust that Carrie has triumphed over Conlin merely three episodes into the season, it's likely there's more than meets the eye where the Iranian scheme is concerned.
Nothing gets past Dar
That mysterious cigarette box Saul found in the waste bin is gonna spin this thing out into a whole new direction, but just what that direction might be is anyone's guess. Whatever it is, I can't help but think Dar Adal has got his shady prints all over it.
Scratch that; Dar's way too smart to leave his prints on anything. As the ultimate puppet master – scheming, undecipherable, ruthless – he is the CIA incarnate. Dar Adal's motivation is singular: keep America safe by any means necessary.
Yes, he's capable of human emotion. His eyes welled up when he discovered the fate of "his guy" Peter Quinn at the hands of the terrorist cell in Berlin.
But Dar does not let feelings – or morality, for that matter – get in the way of what needs to be done. He is the ultimate pragmatist and he cannot be manipulated.
We fear him and distrust his methods, yet ultimately, we can't be sure that he's wrong, so we admire him grudgingly and suspiciously and try to keep him on our side. And so does President-elect Elizabeth Keane:
Keane: What would you do? Call the Iranians out?
Dar: I would, yes.
Keane: Well you can guess how I feel about your advice.
Dar: I’m an old spy, madam. I trust old friends, new ones, not so much.
Keane: Well I’m going to try not to take that personally.
Dar: That’s not what I meant.
Keane: I hope not.
Dar: Otherwise you should feel free to ask the director for someone you’re more comfortable with.
Keane: You know what, I don’t think so. I think I’ll stick with you.
Dar: As you wish.
Dar, in essence, is a lot like Carrie; both are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. But where Carrie is impulsive, reckless, and ruled by emotion, Dar is immutable and calculating.
The two are deeply suspicious of each other and have been itching to bring each other down since Homeland Season 4. Back then, Dar outsmarted Carrie big time – he struck a deal with Haqqani and kept her from reaching Quinn when he shipped off to Syria.
This season is preparing to pit Dar and Carrie against each other in an epic showdown that's been a long time coming. But it's personal for Carrie. It always is. Will our heroine be able to keep her emotions in check to finally outfox the old fox? I'm going to go with "no."
Are you excited to see Dar and Carrie go head-to-head? Be sure to watch Homeland online and leave your comments below.