‘Homeland’ 4.11 or “Failure Protocol” or Carrie Talks Someone Off A Cliff Part 3

homeland 4011

Last night’s episode of Homeland (“Kreig Nicht Lieb” — “War, not Love”) was brought to you by the letter B. B stands for Bummer. Was the entire penultimate episode of the season a bummer? No, but penultimate episodes have a reputation for being the strongest of a season, and this week Homeland showed a chink in it’s new shiny armor with a weaker, and slightly misguided hour of television. It wasn’t the worst episode of Homeland, or of the season, but the characters were all around inconsistent and several plot devices felt forced. In my best German pun, they were doppelgängers of the characters we’ve come to know and recognize. Also, yes, I totally called it last week that Dar Adal would be making a play for Lockhart’s position as CIA Director. I think.

So first issue: Carrie’s father’s death. It’s certainly believable that Carrie would be deeply affected by the news, however I would have appreciated something (even if it was very early in the season) to have built up the emotional impact of this considering that Carrie and her father have not been in contact in well over a year, nor has the matter weighed on her. Yes, Carrie is sad and Claire Danes is to chin-quivering what Meryl Streep is to accents, but it felt just a little cheap to throw an extraneous tearjerker in this episode. Did it make some of us cry? Sure. Did it have any meaningful impact on the season, characters, or plot? No. Therefore, cheap.

Now for the bigger issue: Quinn being revealed as a long-time emotional basket-case. Say it isn’t so, German Lady. Ich hasse. The entire season Quinn has been on some kind of final mission and exceptional breakdown, and I mean “exceptional” in the most literal way. To hear that swearing off the CIA and hating himself is just business as usual for him really undercuts the drama and the character of the entire season, even more so during his rogue mission. Also, this unnamed German woman coming out of absolutely nowhere to help Quinn and give Carrie insight on him… really?

Finally, the attempt at suspense as Haqqani’s SUV goes over the bomb. Well, obviously Quinn was not going to blow Carrie up so if anyone believed that was going to go down with her standing over it — right, no one did and no one would. I’m not sure audiences even believed that Carrie would have shot Haqqani moments later either. That also made no sense because Carrie had only moments ago convinced Quinn of not getting himself killed over Haqqani, so why would she? Especially after having just seen her daughter and being moved by it. Oh how convenient that Khan would sack her the moment she is going to pull the trigger.

And an afterthought, as a whole, these “Next week on…” and “Previously on…” prefaces and epilogues are doing a great disservice to television (Dar Adal in the “Previously on…” = spoiler alert). I’ve probably said this here before and I will undoubtedly say it again: I don’t watch previews. Ever. I can only imagine that most showrunners and writers see it as some necessary marketing evil but the evil is growing and I suggest that audiences to do their best to shield themselves from these the best they can. It’s oh-so-tempting, but the narrative impact is so much greater when you have no idea what to expect. Trust me.

QUESTIONS, NOTES, AND THEORIES

  • Is Carrie’s new (and sudden) stop-at-anything approach to getting Quinn out of Islamabad consequence of:
    • A) Guilt
    • B) Love
    • C) A protective mothering instinct
    • D) Loss
  • Thank you, Max. For keeping the “RIP Fara” flag waving. It meant a lot for Max to keep her memory alive beyond his already present indignation at her death last week. She was a beloved character, and deserved that.
  • What is Dar Adal doing with Haqqani and what could this have to do with the six Haqqani operatives which were released the week prior? Considering what we saw last week, not the CIA (Lockhart) nor the President of the United States wanted that exchange to happen, so there is no way Adal could be anything but rogue, otherwise the POTUS would have used him. Let’s remember who Adal is: black-ops CIA and, as such, Quinn’s former boss. Last week I wondered if Dar Adal could take over for Lockhart after the stunt Lockhart pulled with the briefcase, but now it would seem he could have been working with Haqqani to get there from the very beginning. Faking Haqqani’s death and the whole Sandy Bachman angle, even knowing that Dennis Boyd would be week enough to be their mole.
  • What will happen to the American assets whose names Haqqani has since aquiring the briefcase? Can Carrie and the CIA do anything to extract them or was all the information about them only in that briefcase? That story isn’t over.
  • Last week I insisted that something more had to happen with Martha and Dennis after that 4:30 scene where he begged her to allow him to kill himself and then he didn’t. I say this because otherwise it would have been a waste of time, nothing more than another extraneous plot to get a reaction from the audience, and I have come to expect more from the writing this season than that. After my grievances this week, I hope that I am still right to expect that.
  • Carrie has convinced someone not to kill themselves for three straight episodes: Amazing the first time (Saul at the fountain), really good the second time (Saul at the exchange), and totally trite the third time (Quinn at the rally). Yeah she’s a professional emotional manipulator (see: Aayan), and this season has proved that in a dark and effective way. However, something about seeing Carrie appeal emotionally to people she loves over and over again comes off as insincere in the context of this season, and  I don’t think it means to be. Am I wrong?
  • I don’t dare to theorize on how it will all end next week but I want to believe that something has to be done to rectify the complete and utter disaster that has befallen on them all. Carrie went in to this season trying to uncover the mere possibility of a problem, and is coming out of it with body bags in toe, and America’s tail between it’s legs. Every passing moment this season has been worst than the last for everyone involved. Even apparently minor triumphs like Saul escaping from Haqqani or uncovering Dennis, have benefited the opposing side. This level of failure there is no solution for, and reminds me of just how bleek and dark this series really is. Definitely rooting for Tasneem’s head on stick.

Did you have similar issues with this episodes? Other issues? Am I too nitpicky? Is Adal’s endgame to take Lockhart’s position? Could there be a happy ending?

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