Homeland Season 6 Episode 6 Recap: "The Return"

Photo: Courtesy of Showtime.
Sunday night’s episode, “The Return,” did what we like to call a bait and switch. Throughout the entirety of Season 6, Homeland hasn’t given one reason to like Special Agent Ray Conlin (Dominic Furmusa). Up to this point, he’s been nothing more than a man unworthy of the amount of power he yields at the FBI, and with all the personality of a smarmy car salesman

But this view gets turned on its head after Carrie (Clare Danes) provides him with evidence that could prove Sekou (J. Mallory McCree) was set up. We expected Conlin to brush this aside as nonsense, to be too offended to even consider such an investigation, but that’s not what happens. Turns out, Conlin is a genuine, hard-working FBI agent with the highest intentions to honestly serve his country to the best of his abilities.

WIth the current public outcry against Sekou, his family, and Carrie, no one would ever believe that the Muslim man Conlin originally tried to convict wasn’t now a proven terrorist. Conlin could’ve moonwalked out of this situation as both victim and hero. But he puts his ego aside and risks his life to figure out if Carrie’s onto something.

Tracking down the license plate of the suspicious neighbor’s car, Conlin finds himself in a high tech business building applying for a job in private security. There’s something super fishy going on with this mysteriously highly powered and well funded company, and the fact the he as a top government agent had no idea this place even existed, is very troublesome.

Too nervous to discuss such information over the phone, Conlin tells Carrie to come over to his house. After arriving, Carrie trepidatiously follows a trail of blood that leads to Conlin’s dead body in the upstairs bathroom. And threateningly still lurking around, her former neighbor. Like putting on a well-worn sweatshirt, Carrie slips back into fierce CIA agent mode, and impressively manages to make it out of Conlin’s house alive.

Carrie informs Quinn (Rupert Friend), who’s now locked up in Bellevue after last week’s debacle, that he wasn’t crazy. His suspicions of their neighbor was not only accurate, his pictures provide the only lead to figuring out who framed Sekou. But after being taken down for doing exactly what Carrie instructed of him, to protect Franny, Quinn thinks Carrie is a double agent. And learning his gut instinct was right on the money only feeds his extreme paranoia. There’s a huge conspiracy going on, and Quinn accuses Carrie of working for the wrong side.

Aside from dashing all hopes that Quinn’s investigative expertise would give him the confidence and wherewithal to get his life together, the fact that he appears to be a total psycho will not help Carrie’s case. Few people will give her the time of day once they discover all her evidence proving Sekou’s innocence comes from a man locked up in a psych ward.

All except for maybe Saul (Mandy Patinkin). After a rendezvous with his Russian contact, Victor, he learns that Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) has been wheeling and dealing with Israeli agent Tovah Rivlin the entire time he was away. Saul does his best to pretend that whatever Adal is doing must be sound, for he has full confidence in his friend and boss,, but Victor isn’t buying it. Nobody is. Regardless of the reasoning, Saul is shook to find out that he’s being kept out of the loop.

Saul is still unaware that Carrie is working as President-elect Madame Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) advisor, and Adal wants to keep it that way. But now that Saul knows something is up, he will soon find out. And if the Black Ops director had been upfront with Saul from the beginning, there’s a chance he would’ve sided with Adal over Carrie. Saul values honesty and loyalty above anything. Under oath to the President-elect, Carrie had to lie to Saul. Adal’s excuse for keeping secrets is because he either doesn’t fully trust him, or he thinks Saul would disapprove of his plans.

It now seems clear as to which side Saul will choose. And if history has proved anything, it’s that when Saul and Carrie work together, they’re a CIA dream team. Nothing can stand in their way.

Over at the White House, President-elect Keane is proving to be quite a badass. While President Forbes (Alan Dale) and Co.’s goal is to rouse the public against her anti-war plan, Keane worms her way out of captivity and gives a speech so powerful, it renders the press into an awed silence. We’re now fully rooting for her success. Keane is tough, smart, compassionate, patient, everything you’d want in a President. And she deserves a fair shot at becoming America’s next Commander-in-Chief.

The last few scenes of Homeland will stick with viewers through next week. With no contacts to call on, Carrie grabs her gun and stands guard by Franny’s bedside. This vulnerability, the fear of needing to be an army of one against all odds is a theme throughout the episode, a polarizing feeling shared by Saul, Quinn, and Keane.

In a surprise final twist, Quinn is broken out of Bellevue by none other than Astrid (Nina Hoss). A member of Germany’s secret intelligence, and a former lover of Quinn’s, it’s yet to be seen if she will prove be a friend or foe. A recurring cast member since Season 4, this is the first time we’ve seen Astrid this season and after such a heart-pumping entrance, we’re very curious as to how she’ll fit into this puzzle.


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