It’s taken a while – and sometimes it does with Homeland – but this might have been the point at which this season finally locked into place. For much of its running time, it’s the Dar Adal show: to start with, he’s dining with Javadi in the latter’s hotel room. Javadi, of course, betrayed Saul and joined Team Dar last week, which he clearly thought was a good idea. And maybe it was, but not for Javadi; Dar is aware that Israel would love to interrogate Javadi, and he has invited some mean looking Mossad men along to perform an extraordinary rendition. Javadi has the nous to call Carrie behind his back, and she patches Saul through, so the two of them can at least enjoy a moment of schadenfreude before trying to trace him. Dar, meantime, more or less struts into a briefing with PEOTUS, who has entirely bought what he’s selling, up to the point of asking for his recommendations to be Secretary of State.
Dar 2, Saul 0. But Saul’s not finished: he and Carrie get to PEOTUS again, this time armed with evidence of Dar’s perfidy, and swing her back to their side, although not without a certain weariness: were I her, I’d be banishing all of them. She’s about to be President, for God’s sake. She’s got shit to do, and arbitrating between the éminences grises of the CIA isn’t on that list. They agree to let Dar continue in the belief that he still has Keane’s ear.
But at the next Dar/PEOTUS meeting she overplays her hand: she’s just a little too friendly, a little too bright, and Dar knows he’s been rumbled: he leaves without sharing his suggested nominations for Secretary of State, and when Keane speaks to her candidate for Attorney General he’s of the view that there isn’t enough to prosecute Dar; unless, that is, Carrie is prepared to testify that Dar helped cover up season 5’s infiltration of the Berlin station by a Russian mole, which Carrie is reluctant to do as that would end Saul’s career.
So Dar’s still on top, just about. Until he gets home, where Quinn is waiting for him in order to crack him on the head, although not until Dar has told Quinn that he loves him. (Not coincidentally, something Quinn was unable to say to Astrid last week.) I’m still not convinced about the Quinn arc this season – this week he seems to have recovered enough of his mobility and skills to drive for hours, blow up a car, steal a sackful of guns, break into a high-ranking CIA agent’s apartment, and bug his phone. And the rest of the episode – Carrie and Franny, and Max going undercover at the alt-right fake news generator – felt superfluous. But, overall, this was as vital as Homeland has been for weeks.