Homeland Season 6 Episode 5 Review: Casus Belli

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At its best, Homeland delivers scintillating action sequences with a powerful emotional punch.

This is exactly what Homeland Season 6 Episode 5 accomplished and why, six seasons in, Homeland can still surprise us and make us agonize over the fate of our beloved characters in equal measure. 

Carrie's world comes crashing down when Quinn – the only person she can truly trust – is taken into police custody just as she discovers she's the object of a dark conspiracy. It's Carrie against the world once again. 

Quinn Babysits Franny - Homeland

When Peter Quinn Babysits

So is Peter Quinn the best or the worst babysitter ever? The jury is still out, but he may want to leave “excels at hurling journalists down stairs, shooting guns out of windows, and incapacitating police officers in presence of young children” off his resume.

Other than that, he should be golden!

Luckily, young Franny is ballsy as heck, like her mama, and will stare down a crazy-eyed, Glock-toting assassin unflinchingly when she wants to get her way.

My gut tells me this pint-sized spitfire won’t be easily traumatized by the crazy antics of her mommy and (future) step-daddy.

And thank goodness for that because with a last name like "Mathison," she's in for a crazy ride!

Franny and her Nanny - Homeland

When, in Homeland Season 6, Episode 4 Carrie asked Sekou, “Would it surprise you that I sympathize with what you just said about defending your home?” little did we know it foreshadowed the major sh*t-storm that would go down chez Mathison the very next day. Yikes!

By the time Quinn went into frenzied “protect Carrie’s daughter by any means necessary” mode, it was already clear to us that he wasn’t paranoid.

As soon as he saw the wreckage of the Medina Medley van on TV, Quinn understood that a conspiracy was afoot and that he and Carrie were right smack at the epicenter.

When the unfortunate journalist told him someone had tipped off her station about the demonstration, Quinn knew the circus outside Carrie’s home was staged – by whatever larger powers the mysterious bad guy across the street is in cahoots with? – and no one was to be trusted.

We know Quinn’s not crazy and Quinn knows Quinn’s not crazy, but, unfortunately, to the nanny, to the police, to the news stations, and to Carrie herself, it sure looked like an armed-and-dangerous Quinn had lost his marbles.

How touching was it, then – in the context of her besieged home and her inability to reach her daughter – that Carrie defended Quinn and didn’t doubt for a second that he was trying to protect Franny?

What I need to believe is that you're protecting Franny. OK? Because that's what I asked you to do when I left here this morning, that's what I told everybody here. I shouldn't have left you alone here with her, and I'm so sorry. But I, I had such a good feeling seeing the two of you together, really, it was, it was the best feeling I'd had in a really long time. So, it's my fault, OK?

Carrie

In a world where deceit and mistrust are common currency, Carrie and Quinn – two incredibly messed up people – trust each other implicitly and unconditionally. Their unyielding loyalty to each other is something to behold.

Alas, I’m pretty sure this episode spelled the end of their brief domestic interlude, because, let’s face it, how in the heck is Quinn gonna get out of this mess?

Carrie Talks to the Police Chief - Homeland

Still, despite spending half the episode screaming, “don’t do it, Quinn!” through clenched teeth, I was pretty psyched to see Quinn in full Quinning mode again.

It turns out half a body is all it takes to drive back a fully armed ESU team if your name is Peter Quinn, ladies and gentlemen!

Whodunit?

So let’s talk about this conspiracy, shall we? I am really confused. Is anyone else really confused?

Let’s see what we know so far and who the candidates for the coveted “villain of the season” title are:

It wasn’t Sekou. That one’s pretty obvious. Could he have been framed by Islamist extremists who suspected he’d been turned by the FBI?

Seems unlikely because…

Carrie Warns Roger - Homeland

The NSA is involved!??! Holy smokes! What?? Carrie’s NSA contact claimed he did not get her the Conlin/Saad recording; he filed a contact report and sent it up the chain of command instead.

Uh oh. Someone high up at the freaking NSA sent the recording? But why? And what do they want with Carrie?

Following Her Home - Homeland

The FBI? I suppose the same motive that led Conlin to entrap Sekou with the $5,000 (in Reda's words, "They're sham cases, only meant to convince the public that the FBI is keeping them safe") could lead the Bureau to frame Sekou to prove how dangerous he was. Still, it feels like a stretch.

If it was the FBI, though, I imagine the scheme was cooked up way above Conlin’s pay-grade.

Conlin may be a royal jerk, but he’s no evil conspirator.

He’s an FBI version of early-seasons Carrie, straying beyond the confines of the law as necessary, but only to keep America safe.

Keane is Evacuated to Safety - Homeland

The purpose of the attack seems pretty clear: to send the American people a message – discrediting the president-elect in the process – that the country is under an existential threat from Islamist terrorism. If we stop being vigilant, if we follow Keane’s “don’t overreact” motto, we project weakness and embolden our enemies.

Wait. This all sounds awfully familiar. Hmm… It’s the same stuff we heard alt-right media personality Brett O’Keefe bellowing during the episode’s opening scene:

What did you expect would happen if you let down your guard? If you announce to the world that the terrorist threat has passed? “Oh, they’re all in Raqqa or wherever, bringing on the end of the world over there with their goats.” If you stop pushing back against them here, every minute, if you are that stupid, what do you get? Boom! That’s what you get!
Madam President-elect, I hope you’re listening and, if you are, hear me now, you brought this down on us. You did! If you want a fight, and apparently you do, if you want a fight, you’ve got one from me, in spades. You’ve got the fight of your life!

O’Keefe

Is it a coincidence that this guy was introduced just as the “whodunit?” question is being raised? I doubt it. But what do an alt-right personality, the NSA, and potentially other intelligence agencies have in common?

Part of me feels this is way too big a conspiracy to be entirely ideologically driven. Some big money must be at stake. Who stands to lose the most from a less aggressive stance to national security? The famous military-industrial complex? But who’s masterminding this whole thing?

Someone help me out here! I feel like I’m way off, but I can’t help myself with all the crazy speculation. It’s addictive.

I’ve Got Your Back, Dar

Last but not least on our list of suspects, the CIA itself, through the machinations of the shadowy Dar Adal.

Quinn sure seemed to suspect his alma mater:

QUINN: I never should have let you come in here.
CARRIE: Why's that?
QUINN: We know too much, they'll never let us go. Do you hear me?

What could Quinn and Carrie possibly know too much of other than the inner workings of the CIA?

And the season has sure gone out of its way to make Dar look suspicious. The backroom meetings with politicians; the secret dealings with Mossad; the not-so-veiled threat to Carrie the day before the bombing.

Dar certainly has a motive. He profoundly disagrees with Keane and sees her agenda as a real threat to national security. We know Dar is a “by any means necessary” type of fellow who doesn’t bat an eye at civilian casualties.

But car bombs in Manhattan??? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s just not Dar’s style. His style is more “make a deal and leave no trace” and his motivation is not financial, political, or ideological.

He earnestly wants Keane to see the error of her ways because he believes the danger is real.

DAR: I’d like to bring you up to speed on the attack and a few unfortunate facts you should be aware of. The bombers name was Sekou Bah, an American Muslim of Nigerian decent. He’d just been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center where he was awaiting trial on federal terrorism charges.
KEANE: Wait, we had him in custody?
DAR: We did. He was being defended pro bono by a nonprofit in Brooklyn. They got the case thrown out on procedural grounds. But there’s something you should know. I’m afraid one of our former officers works at this nonprofit and was very involved in the case, Carrie Mathison.

Driving a wedge between PEOTUS and Carrie (and her “bad advice”) is one way to do that. Exaggerating the likelihood that Iran is cheating on the nuclear deal is another. But I'm going to draw the line at setting off bombs in American cities. 

I'm putting my reputation as a world-class Homeland predictor on the line for you... Don’t fail me, Grandpa Dar!

Who do you think is behind this crazy conspiracy? Be sure to watch Homeland online and join the discussion below!

Casus Belli Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

Vivian Figueredo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog at Sense Misapplied.

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Homeland Season 6 Episode 5 Quotes

What did you expect would happen if you let down your guard? If you announce to the world that the terrorist threat has passed? “Oh, they’re all in Raqqa or wherever, bringing on the end of the world over there with their goats.” If you stop pushing back against them here, every minute, if you are that stupid, what do you get? Boom! That’s what you get!
Madam President-elect, I hope you’re listening and, if you are, hear me now, you brought this down on us. You did! If you want a fight, and apparently you do, if you want a fight, you’ve got one from me, in spades. You’ve got the fight of your life!

O’Keefe

DAR: I’d like to bring you up to speed on the attack and a few unfortunate facts you should be aware of. The bombers name was Sekou Bah, an American Muslim of Nigerian decent. He’d just been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center where he was awaiting trial on federal terrorism charges.
KEANE: Wait, we had him in custody?
DAR: We did. He was being defended pro bono by a nonprofit in Brooklyn. They got the case thrown out on procedural grounds. But there’s something you should know. I’m afraid one of our former officers works at this nonprofit and was very involved in the case, Carrie Mathison.