Usually, nothing good comes from drunk dialing, but usually nothing seriously terrible happens either. However, most people don’t have the President-elect’s number on speed dial. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is understandably spiraling after Franny (Claire Keane) is taken by social services in the episode, “Imminent Risk." Breaking her sobriety streak, she looks for solace in the bottom of a wine bottle. On the floor, crying, an exemplar vision of a drunk mess, Carrie pulls out her phone to make a call. Instinctively, we want to jump through the TV screen and click “end.” Whoever she’s calling right now, it’s a conversation that can and should wait until the morning.
But obviously, we can’t stop Carrie, and she proceeds in dialing Madame Keane (Elizabeth Marvel), who accepts her late-night call thinking something is terribly wrong. Now, something is terribly wrong, but Carrie’s brazen attempt to ask the President-elect to abuse her power for a personal problem is something Keane would never do, and she’s appalled Carrie would even ask her.
Carrie realizes she’s crossed the line and apologizes profusely. She pleads with Keane to understand where she’s coming from. If her son were still alive and were taken away, she’d do anything it to to get him back, right? Immediately after the words leave her mouth, Carrie realizes how wrong she is in comparing two incomparable situations. And then, in questioning the morality of the President-elect (and in such a feckless way) — that line Carrie previously crossed? She has now sprinted and leaped past it.
We eventually find out that it was Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) who tipped off the authorities about Franny’s situation. Placing Carrie’s daughter in foster care is a low move, and even though it was done with ill intent, we also can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t actually for the best. The night before, Carrie was lying a few feet Franny’s bed with a loaded gun. Sure, the safety was on, but Franny could’ve crawled out from under the covers, innocently grabbed the gun while Carrie was drifting in and out of sleep, and well, who knows what could’ve happened.
We also agree that moving Quinn (Rupert Friend) into her downstairs bedroom was a poor decision. In his current mental state, a locked door isn’t enough to safely separate the PTSD-riddled ex-CIA agent and Carrie’s young child. During the court proceedings, Carrie defends her recent actions with strong, well-explained reasoning. She’s not winning any Mother of the Year awards, but there’s zero doubt Carrie would do anything in her power to protect Franny.
But when the investigator describes Franny’s fraught perspective of her home life, it’s chilling to hear that the little girl secretly fears for her life, and it breaks Carrie’s heart. After all, she is trying her best. And in her defense, no one can ever fully protect their child from everything. Perilous situations can present themselves at any time, no matter how much precaution is taken. But trouble doesn’t just follow Carrie; she seeks it out. Even after leaving the CIA and choosing to work as a legal aid, Carrie continues diving headfirst into troubled waters without thinking of how it may affect those around her.
Carrie’s life is crumbling far worse than Adal intended, but based on his smug face at the end of the episode, he’s pleasantly amused by how it’s all shaking out. Adal is also the man responsible for orchestrating Quinn’s escape from the prison’s psych ward. Quinn wakes up in an idyllic lake house, surrounded by calmness and nature, but he wants nothing more than get back to turmoil-riddled NYC. Why? Carrie, of course. Astrid (Nina Hoss) can’t get him to stay put, and calls on Adal to reason with him.
The CIA Black Ops director is not a man Quinn is too fond of, and he’s highly suspicious as to why his former boss has taken such a sudden interest in his life. But Adal says he got him out of prison because he’s earned this dream peaceful life by the water, and he doesn’t understand why Quinn would risk throwing it all away for Carrie. Adal asks if Carrie ever explained to Quinn why he’s in such horrible physical and mental shape (as viewers know, Carrie did leave out a vital piece of the story of what happened after he was rescued from being held hostage); Adal happily fills him in.
Carrie didn’t mention to Quinn that, even after doctors warned her of the possible devastating repercussions of waking him up from a deep coma, she did it anyways. Carrie thought he had vital information, which he did not. Yet even knowing the risks, she had him woken up for questioning. It was afterward that he suffered a brain hemorrhage. Again with that smug grin, Adal tells Quinn that it’s not out of love Carrie took him in; it was out of guilt.
Quinn doesn’t want to believe Adal, but you can tell he’s affected by this story. And it is all true. But Carrie would’ve made the exact same decision even if it had been Saul or Brody in that coma. Carrie puts the greater good above anyone, even herself, and even above Franny. While her intentions are unselfish, and these instincts naturally make her a fantastic CIA agent, they're also what makes her a crappy friend and mother.