Homeland Season 6 Episode 2 Recap: The Man In The Basement

Photo: Courtesy of Showtime.
It’s been quite some time since viewers have seen CIA operatives Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) working in the field, so deeply entrenched in espionage plans, it’s questionable as to whether or not they’ve lost their sense of self in the process. Masterful liars, experts in the art of persuasion, there is not one person immune from drinking their spy Kool-Aid. They make people believe what they’re doing and saying, is actually what they’re doing and saying, when we know that’s so rarely ever the case.

In episode 2 of Season 6, entitled “The Man in the Basement,” Carrie is on her meds, on the wagon, and working full time as a legal rights aid for Muslim Americans. With intermittent help from a nanny, Carrie is also the primary caretaker of her 4-year-old daughter, Franny, And perhaps because she’s wracked with guilt from not pulling the plug as instructed, Carrie is also taking care of the PTSD riddled shell of a man that is Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), hence the episode's title.

In what’s maybe her signature perpetual condition, Carrie is beyond stressed out from taking on more than one person could ever think to handle. So when Saul waltzes in to Carrie’s law firm while passing through the city, it’s more comforting to her than if she found a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food on her desk Even though she’s since retired from the CIA, her and Saul remain forever bonded.

Together, they’ve survived the unspeakable. Devastating events for which even if they wanted to discuss with other people, would be held in contempt for doing so. It’s reassuring to see Saul checking in on his young protege. He grins at Carrie as if she were his own daughter. Carrie embraces her old boss with the kind of bear hug reserved only for family. It’s so heartwarming seeing them reunite, we are somewhat blindsided when Saul reveals the real agenda for his surprise visit.

Saul asks Carrie point blank if she’s advising President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) on terrorist operations. Er … what? Carrie is so taken aback by Saul’s accusations, she laughs. Saul must be off his rocker! Carrie is done with CIA. And if Saul can’t get that through his brain, he should leave right now. And Saul promptly exits.

Carrie’s reaction to Saul is so convincing, that in the very next scene, when she receives an urgent text, runs to an emergency meeting with who else but the President-elect, we also can’t help but laugh. We totally fell for her schtick! So not only is Carrie still at the top of her game, Saul hasn’t lost his knack, either. And even though we don’t how Carrie came to be Madame Keane’s shoulder of wisdom to lean on, seeing two intelligent powerful women hash out international political strategy for which a man’s opinion is not once heeded for approval, is invigorating.

Carrie’s status as the crazy girl who always ends up being right after much resistance has become a tiresome storyline, so it’s refreshing to now see someone of high importance taking her seriously from the get-go. However, the idea of the bi-polar Carrie wielding such power and sway is something that scares the pants off Saul and Dar Adal (F. Marry Abraham). And in some secret location, there’s an entire room of CIA agents looking to squash this Supergirl partnership.

Until Inauguration Day, the CIA still holds the power to move ahead with attack plans without the Commander-in-Chief’s green light. And it’s well known that this upcoming President-elect is staunchly against covert ops taking place without her prior knowledge. Keane enlisting Carrie, who’s well versed in how the CIA goes about making strike orders while skirting the Presidential seal of approval, puts whatever secret plan the agency is looking to accomplish before the official White House transfer or power occurs, in deep peril.

It’s safe to assume whatever conspiracy plays out, Carrie will again find herself working either with, or against the CIA. Like Saul, she’s addicted to the rush of living dangerously for the greater good. For if they don’t do it, who will? Well, if neither of them ever retire, that question can never be answered.

While working a life-threatening job has little effect on anyone close to Saul, whom continues living a nomadic bachelor lifestyle, Carrie likes to forget that she’s a mother. And that if anything happens to her, Franny becomes an orphan.

This season looks like it might turn into a kind of “Sophie’s Choice” for Carrie. Will she agree to do whatever risky in-the-line-of-fire type of assignment the CIA or the President-elect will inevitably ask of her? Or will she be able to say no? And live with herself knowing international warfare, a terrorist bomb, or insert whatever new threat is looking to strike out against the free world, may be in play because she wants to stay at home and raise Franny. For most people, these options are impossibly difficult. But for Carrie, the answer is clear as crystal.



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