Has any show had such a complete turnaround like Homeland has this season? It has been unafraid to raise the stakes to the highest possible degree throughout the season, and yet, all of it has connected intimately with the overall idea of (as Dar Adal says in the promo for the finale) questions of “moral clarity.” In “Krieg Nichy Lieb” (roughly translated to something to “War not Love”), Homeland is also seeming to consider the idea that maybe the bad guys win; and maybe that’s because the good guys let them. Hit the jump for why,”there was a Taliban flag hanging over my head. I can’t let that go.”
“Krieg Nicht Lieb” was tense as all hell, which has been Homeland‘s trademark all season (in escalating fashion). “Krieg Nicht Lieb” stripped the story down to just Carrie and Quinn (and a little bit of Max) in Quinn’s hunt for Haqqani. No Martha or fucking Dennis, or Saul or Lockhart (at least, not much of him). It was a chess match between Carrie and Quinn, but also, an emotional plea and a vendetta. And it was masterfully done.
Homeland has prepped up for explosive moments all season, so when Lockhart told Carrie that there was something going on he didn’t know about — with many meetings happening in DC, on the heels of the President breaking diplomatic ties with Pakistan — the assumption might have been some kind of air attack (much like Carrie was involved with at the start of the season). Instead, it ended up being something far more subversive, far murkier, and far more damning. In the final frame we saw our old shad-ster, Dar Adal, in the car with Haqqani as Haqqani waved to his adoring admirers. What. The. Fuck?!?
It makes a lot of things fall into place, including Dar’s personal appeal to Quinn to not set out on this mission. But let’s back up: “Krieg Nicht Lieb” also introduced us to Quinn at his most badass (with his cheekbones in sharper relief than ever). He had his “spy who loved me” moment with a German woman, escaped from his own compatriots (and having to wound them, but not fatally), and in short order built a bomb, planned and executed a riot to plant said bomb, and was ready to detonate it from a rooftop in a potential suicide mission to get revenge on Haqqani.
Carrie messed it all up in the most frustrating of ways, and yet, that final frame showed us why it had to happen like it did. Killing Haqqani is not that simple — Dar Adal and the U.S. are somehow involved with him being alive. That’s a much darker and surely far less satisfying point for this season to conclude on, but it’s also a lot richer, and I applaud Homeland for going there instead of the resolution being yet another bomb.
Carrie’s part in all of this was completely against type, though, which was an interesting turn for her character. For once, she wasn’t the rogue running around pissing people off, she was in the Saul role. She was playing nice with Lockhart and Khan, and was doing everything she could to stop Quinn from killing himself on his mission to take out Haqqani. Even Carrie’s emotional wall was breached at the news of the death of her father, so much so that she actually asked to see Franny, and showed real love and compassion towards her. What. The. Fuck?!?
But it felt right. Hasn’t Quinn played that same role for Carrie in the past? But it was also important that Carrie not just let Haqqani literally pass her by without her reacting somehow. Her trigger point was thinking of Aayan, but it could have any one of Haqqani’s many sins. In that moment, she was carried way — like Quinn, and like the others — to want to take him out, consequences be damned. But Khan, her valuable frenemy, stops her. One the one hand, he does so to save his own hide (even though he seems to want Haqqani gone), and on the other he does so to alert her to something far more disconcerting: Dar Adal, and the U.S.’s involvement. If Haqqani is killed, there are many more to take his place. But what of the machine that allows Haqqani and those like him to rise and prosper in the first place?
“Krieg Nicht Lieb” was tense, complicated, emotional, and a great balance of plot and character development. It also solidifies the fact that Homeland has succeeded in returning from the dead in a way no one could have expected. Next week’s finale should reveal what all of this has been building towards, and how those red herrings and false leads connect to the bigger picture. Homeland looks like it’s going to end on the same kind of dark, complicated note that its first series was built on: that there is not black and white, only shades of grey.
Episode Rating: A
Musings and Miscellanea:
— “Our people come before the mission” – Dar Adal in a previously on (to remind everyone he was still around).
— “All I want is to get [Quinn] home” – Carrie.
— Quinn has never looked hotter than when he was about to press that remote detonator, hah. His emotion after he held back because Carrie said she can’t lose him was intense.
— I liked the factoid that Quinn has pretended to retire a hundred times before. It made his quest for Haqqani less of a tragic suicide mission, and more of a “ok, relax. He’s got this.”
— Happy to see Aayan’s plot brought back in a meaningful way.
— TIL: C4 smells like almonds.
— As stealthy as Quinn is, he really didn’t think hard enough about leaving a water mark for Carrie to see. Also was surprised his German lady friend let Carrie in to the apartment, where she could have easily run around and found Quinn (which would have been such a Carrie thing to do).
— Carrie standing on the truck and telling Quinn not to press the button was reminiscent of several things from Homeland’s pass, including Brody and Saul.
— Seriously, Franny could not look any more like Brody, it’s kind of crazy.
— “She was a financial analysis, she dealt with spreadsheets, and you brought her here” – Max, making sure that though Fara is gone, she is not forgotten.
— Quinn’s plan to bait Haqqani by leaking the Aayan video was brilliant.
— “I don’t want to lose you. I can’t lose you Quinn” – Carrie. I’m not shipping any more than their friendship, but this was a lovely moment.