Mid season, Homeland can be pretty dark, I get that. But Homeland Season 6 Episode 7 went a teeny bit overboard.
I like drama as much as the next guy, but when you start throwing in gratuitously cringe-worthy details about characters' back-stories, that's when I start to roll my eyes.
Still, it's been a strong season, and this episode was no exception, so I'll try to overlook some of its warts, for now.
Kick ‘Em While They’re Down
Holy crap, could things get any more depressing for Carrie and Quinn?
Last week on Homeland Season 6 Episode 6, when Carrie lost her allies, I speculated that she had reached her low-point for the season.
Well, clearly she hadn’t.
This week – in an agonizing series of scenes, each one bleaker than the one before – Carrie lost custody of her child.
JUDGE: Can you explain what you were doing in your daughter’s room, with a loaded gun?
CARRIE: I had reason to fear for my safety, Your Honor, and Franny’s.
JUDGE: Why didn’t you call the police?
CARRIE: I used to work for the CIA. I’ve been trained to handle firearms and deal with threatening situations. […] The last time the police came to my house, things didn’t turn out so well.
JUDGE: So you’re saying you can handle a dangerous situation better than the police?
How crazy does her explanation of the whole fiasco sound when she presents it in Family Court?
Of course, the truth would have sounded even crazier:
“Your Honor, it’s just that there’s this conspiracy, you see. But once Quinn and I crack it, I promise Franny’s home environment will be grand.”
Yeah, that probably wasn’t gonna fly.
Still, I so badly wanted to stab that stupid social worker. Argh.
What the heck, woman? You wanna talk trauma? How about the trauma of being separated from your mother and placed in some strange home?
Besides Franny’s got spy blood; can’t you see the child is not easily rattled?
Considering how slow Carrie was to warm to motherhood (how’s that for an understatement?), I’ve got to say, Carrie has become a damn good mom.
You know what I love about her parenting style? She doesn’t shield Franny from the world around her; she uses scary situations as teachable moments.
She reassures Franny by giving her tools and strategies for dealing with fear: “Are we careful? Yes, when we need to be” (Homeland Season 6 Episode 5).
This is just perfect. So proud of her!
Meanwhile, how (tragically) ironic is it that Franny’s been taken because of Carrie’s relationship with Quinn?
Quinn has been one of the few people in Carrie’s life encouraging her to accept her child since way before Franny was born: “Quinn, I can’t be a mother” / “That kid is a gift” (Homeland Season 3, Episode 12).
But even under scrutiny from Child Protective Services, Carrie won’t throw her boo – ahem, I mean, her “friend” Quinn – under the bus. She defended him to the bitter end, like it should just be obvious to anyone what a gentle soul Quinn is beneath his erratic and violent exterior.
CARRIE: [Sekou’s] family was distraught, I had to get over there.
LONAS: And that’s when you left Franny with Mr. Quinn?
CARRIE: I had to go and there was no one else. Plus, Franny adores Quinn.
LONAS: I just got off the phone with the V.A.. I understand that Mr. Quinn suffers from bouts of rage and depression, including violent outburst.
CARRIE: He hated it at the V.A..
LONAS: So you moved him into your house?
LOL, good luck with that, Carrie.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t enough to stick Quinn in the psych ward, he’s now been banished to the sticks.
Astrid, it turns out, is there to convince Quinn to stay out of the public eye and take care of him until he can take care of himself. (Seems kinda random; hopefully next episode will give Astrid’s appearance this season a more robust purpose.)
Dar had struck a deal with the police and moved him to some sort of safe house, with a lovely lake view, I may add.
Turns out, though, Dar’s motivation is to keep Quinn and Carrie apart:
DAR: You were in a coma, Peter, a deep coma. Carrie ordered the doctors to wake you up. She did this despite repeated warnings about the risks of the procedure. She thought you might have information on the terror cell that was plotting the attack on Hauptbahnhof. She was wrong.
QUINN: What risks?
DAR: The main one was massive cerebral hemorrhage. Stroke. You think she’s been taking care of you all these months out of love? Sounds a lot more like guilt if you ask me.
Well, this is a blatant lie. Saul’s the one who insisted on waking Quinn in Homeland Season 5 Episode 11. As a civilian, it wasn’t even Carrie’s call.
But the suggestion that Carrie’s been caring for him out of guilt, not love, is probably going to nag Quinn. He’s always been insecure about Carrie’s feelings for him.
Sigh. Homeland’s gone and set up a whole “them against the world” kind of thing for Carrie and Quinn, haven’t they? This is the kind of twisted, twisted way this show does romance. I love it, I admit. It’s a sickness.
You Are Dead to Me, Dar
Fine. I guess I have to deal with the elephant in the room.
Um, WTF at the reveal about Dar and Quinn?
DAR: You grew up in a hard school, no time for self-pity. It’s the first thing about you that impressed.
QUINN: Not the first thing.
DAR: Yeah, well, we’re all beautiful when we’re young, aren’t we?
QUINN: Fucking dirty old man.
DAR: Fair enough. For the record, though, I never forced myself on anyone.
First of all, I did not need to know this. Ditto, second and third of all.
Was this really a necessary detail from Quinn’s backstory, because it seemed awfully gratuitous from my vantage point. No thank you, show.
We had already learned in Homeland Season 5 Episode 12 that Dar recruited Quinn at the tender age of 16 and pimped him out to honey-trap sick old bastards.
The only thing they achieved in telling us Dar himself was one of the sick old bastards was to make Dar irredeemable and erase any semblance of nuance from his character.
What happened to your famous “shades of gray” mantra in the portrayal of villains, Homeland? Even the murderous Haissam Haqqani was given a semi-healthy family life. Why make Dar – a character we’ve been intrigued by for five seasons now – into the caricature of a fiendish demon?
Not only is Dar trying to sow doubts in Quinn’s head regarding Carrie, he’s also behind Franny’s removal?
And he burned Javadi? One of the biggest assets the CIA ever landed? What in the heck is going on?
In any case, I will now do a 180 from my previous pronouncements on the subject and declare to the world: I need Dar dead.
A slow, painful death… preferably at the hands of Quinn.
Go to hell, Dar. I can’t believe I was ever charmed by your turtlenecks and adorable Jaxon hats. You are dead to me.
Saul’s Our Only Hope, Lord Help Us
So… now that Carrie is a drunk mess and Quinn is trapped in the boonies, Saul is our only available hero. Yikes. Ok.
Luckily, Javadi escaped “enhanced” interrogation at the hands of Iranian intelligence by the hair of his goatee and was able to alert Saul to Dar’s betrayal.
Clearly, Saul, Carrie, and Quinn need to team up to bring the predatory bastard down. But… I think we still have a long way to go to unravel the season’s whodunit.
Hear me out, now. I know my credibility’s been shaken, but we’re only halfway through the season. Dar’s been way too neatly wrapped up and handed to us as the season’s villain from the get go, don’t you think?
There are a lot of moving parts and lots of players in this conspiracy. We just got reminded of one biggie, General McClendon, whom we met in the season premiere.
I’m going to stubbornly hold on to the idea (at least for a little while longer) that Dar is not the mastermind here. Sure, he’s in the mix, but you know what would be really cool? If Dar turned out to be a pawn in somebody else's game. Something to bring some poetic justice to his downfall.
Oh well, a girl can dream.
I have mixed feelings about this episode, to say the least. I like my villains a little more rounded out. I do hope they have some kind of twist in store on the Dar thing, but I was waiting for a twist that did not materialize the whole of Homeland Season 5, so maybe I should lower my expectations.
What did you think of the episode? Remember to watch Homeland online and leave your comments below.