As the season rounds the corner into its final act, Homeland Season 6 Episode 10 brings the three main characters to a turning point in their respective arcs.
For Carrie, Quinn, and Saul, Homeland Season 6 has been about what it means to be a hero.
While Carrie asks herself, “Can I be a hero and a good mother?”, the question facing Quinn has been, "Can I be a hero and a 'mutant'?"
For Saul, nearing the end of his career, the question is, “Can I be a hero even if my reputation and legacy are destroyed?”
The answer in all three cases is, of course, "Yes, you can." Being a hero, after all, is not a choice. It is who you are.
A Hero’s Gotta Hero
Carrie was riding high when she told Max – who was trying to get her to listen to his account of the propaganda mill he uncovered – that she was about to bring Dar down:
MAX: Listen to me, Carrie. Somebody is paying O’Keefe a shitload of money to build a massive domestic propaganda machine. And if this somebody is DOD, or NSA, or Dar Adal, he’s breaking about ten federal laws. Plus, this isn’t just about fake news and manipulating public opinion, it’s about stifling dissent.
CARRIE: If this is Dar Adal, I’m about to bring the roof down on his head.
To no one’s surprise (it's way too early in the season to catch the bad guy, after all) Carrie had the roof come down on her own head when she realized Dar was behind Franny’s removal.
When he told her, in Homeland Season 6 Episode 4, “I don’t think you realize just how vulnerable you are,” he was, of course, referring to her daughter.
In decidedly non-Carrie fashion, she finally stood down:
Tell Dar Adal he wins. Now I want to see my daughter.CARRIE
Even under the intimidating pressure of Elizabeth Keane, who reminded her what was at stake, Carrie didn’t budge.
The psychologist’s words from last week had apparently sunk in. Carrie was turning in her hero badge and putting her child’s needs first.
When adventure came a callin’ in the form of a video message from Quinn via Clarice, his hooker friend from episodes of yore, Carrie hesitated.
You could almost see Carrie considering what crossing that threshold to adventure would mean for Franny.
But of course she went. Because she is a hero and saving the day is what she does.
Saul was all of us when he grinned with excitement after breaking into Carrie’s home (um, Max, your fancy security system was an epic fail) and discovering her latest Wall o’ Weird™. That’s our Carrie!
Carrie’s ability to see connections and make deductions from disparate strands of information is her gift.
This season, we see her struggling to balance her need – some might, say her duty – to use that gift for the greater good against her desire to lead a normal life, personified by her daughter.
When You’ve Got Nothing to Lose
Quinn, for his part, would like nothing more than to be the hero he once was, but his body and his mind are not cooperating.
His journey now is to discover, to prove to himself, just how much he has left to give.
Astrid’s death, sadly for her, was the catalyst Quinn needed. He is full steam ahead now tracking mystery hat guy.
Nothing like a thirst for vengeance to snap Hobo Quinn out of his funk!
His quest, strangely enough, led Quinn to a faraway corner of his past. In a rare flashback, we glimpsed a younger Quinn, gathered with a team of fellow black ops agents, receiving orders from none other than General McClendon.
Hmmm?? We’ve seen this guy before and he is shady as heck.
In Homeland Season 6 Episode 7, a paranoid-sounding Quinn told Astrid “the people who built the bomb” had been coming for him.
During the incident at Carrie's house, also sounding paranoid, Quinn had told Carrie that the two of them would never get out alive because they were “people who knew too much” (Homeland Season 6 Episode 5).
Maybe Quinn was not so paranoid after all. Could the general be behind the hit on Quinn?
Does Quinn have something on McClendon? Seems likely. Whatever it is must ultimately link the general to the conspiracy.
Is this the twist I’ve been expecting all season? While certainly Dar will not be fully vindicated, he may not be as all-powerful as he – and we – had imagined. Whoever’s coming after Quinn knows better than to let Dar in on the scheme and, whoever it is, has a lot more clout than the old spook.
Man Up, Saul!
Back in Homeland Season 1 Episode 5, Carrie – in classic Carrie fashion – famously asked her mentor, “When did you become such a pussy, Saul?”
Five seasons later, his ex-wife Mira asks him pretty much the same question.
Saul set up a secret meeting with Mira to explain that he’s leaving the country and warn her what to expect from counter-terrorism agents investigating his disappearance. Mira promptly called him out on his cowardice:
SAUL: I’m in trouble. I have to disappear.
MIRA: This is about the president-elect, isn’t it? The intelligence community hates her. And you’re caught in the middle.
SAUL: I must say I’m impressed.
MIRA: What I don’t understand is why you have to run? […] Honestly, Saul. None of this sounds like you. You’re not just going to pack up and leave her to the wolves.
SAUL: I’ll be humiliated, publicly.
MIRA: When has that ever made the slightest bit of fucking difference to you?
Like Carrie and Quinn, Saul is at a crossroads. He is being called on to be a hero, to “fall on his sword” in order to bring down the conspiracy.
In Saul’s case, though, the sum of his sacrifice would be hurt pride. Mira rightly called Saul out regarding his misplaced priorities. And Saul, being a hero, rightly listened.
Dar’s End Draws Near
We have been getting hints that Dar may not be as all-powerful as he thinks. For the first time, in his veiled threats to PEOTUS this episode, we began to wonder if the old Icarus may be flying too close to the sun:
KEANE: I am the next president of the United States. 60 million people voted for me. Who the hell voted for you?
DAR: Nobody. But I have a constituency, too.
KEANE: What’s that supposed to mean?
DAR: It means, don’t go to war with your own national security establishment.
KEANE: Are you threatening me now?
DAR: I’m telling you, it’s a war you won’t win.
Keane may not have many allies, especially if her national security establishment is against her, but she is the president-elect and we must believe that not even Dar is above the law.
Now that Quinn, Carrie, Saul, and even Max seem to be teaming up to figure things out, Dar will find he may not be on such solid ground after all. I, for one, am patiently awaiting an epic confrontation between Carrie and Dar. I really want him to know she's the one who brought him down.
What are you most looking forward to as the season winds down? Remember to watch Homeland online and leave your comments below.