Last week I speculated that Homeland might have relocated its mojo. On the basis of this outstanding episode it very much has. Quinn is trying to locate Dar’s hitman, and ends up in a diner which is, I think, close to an army base at which he used to be stationed. He recognises one of the waitresses – who knows him as “Johnny” – and they share an awkward yet oddly tender scene, which is beautifully written and played, notable as much for what was left out as for what was said. (The scene later in the episode with Saul and his wife falls into the same category.) He then goes to a nearby house which he seems to know – memories of shared bro’ing with fellow soldiers – and finds a van with the same Medina Medley livery as the one which had the bomb.
Meantime, Dar Adal has bounced back from getting pistol-whipped by Quinn: he’s keeping Carrie onside by manipulating CPS and impliedly threatening that she won’t get Franny returned to her, as a result of which Carrie declines to provide a deposition implicating him. And he effectively declares war on President-elect Keane to her face, ostensibly because he’s ideologically opposed to her and he knows better than she does how to keep the country safe. Now, it’s easy enough for liberal elitists such as me to be horrified by this very concept; but, on the other hand, it isn’t difficult these days to, uh, hypothesise a situation in which the President doesn’t have the faintest idea what he should be doing, and what should a responsible public servant do then? Resign, I suppose, which is the last thing Dar is going to do. PEOTUS is furious: “In the future, in case you’re wondering, this moment right now is when I decided to put your ass in jail”, she snarls at Dar, which I assume to be a deliberate homage to President Bartlet’s “In the future, if you’re wondering: “Crime. Boy, I don’t know,” is when I decided to kick your ass”.
And then all three parts of the plot come together very neatly, if a little implausibly. Dar has pushed the button on his fake news factory, and the bogus story about PEOTUS’s son’s cowardice has gone viral, so Dar heads over to the factory, where Max – still undercover – manages to film him talking to O’Keeffe, who is running the show. Max is caught, though, and given what happened a few episodes ago to Conlin I’m not optimistic for him. Saul doesn’t know, for now, that Carrie isn’t dropping him in it, and has started making plans to leave the country, but after his meeting with his estranged wife he has a change of heart and heads to Carrie’s apartment to speak to her. She’s not in, but while he’s there – as well as finding her Conspiracy Wall – he hears an email arriving on her laptop and has a look: before being captured Max managed to send the video of Dar and O’Keeffe. It’s a smoking gun. And the reason that Carrie isn’t home is because a go-between has taken her to see Quinn, now staking out the house where he found the Medina Medley van. It’s probably as good an episode as Homeland has managed all season.