Like a parent stepping back with pride as their child grows up and matures into an adult, such is the feeling after Sunday night’s (March 26) episode, “The Flag House.” Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) has always had one objective in life, to tirelessly fight for the rights and safety of innocent citizens around the world. She has risked her life and resorted to extremely questionable tactics in order to produce results. The former undercover agent could exploit even the toughest terrorists into sacrificing everything to help her agenda. Carrie is a master manipulator, and in turn, immune to being manipulated.
Convincing Carrie to do something that she doesn’t want to do is like trying to drive through a dead end. But the President-elect shows up to her home, and with a platoon of guards in tow, tries to persuade her former advisor to come clean about the Berlin breach. Even though Carrie has come to terms that her deposition against Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) would also cause Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) career to be collateral damage, when Adal again threatens to take away Franny if she testifies, Carrie can’t do it.
“My priorities have shifted,” Carries says, turning down Keane’s (Elizabeth Marvel) impassioned appeal. For the first time, Carrie is putting her daughter first before everything. Franny is more important to her than anything in the world, and while it’s painful to let Adal skate free, Carrie can not and will not risk losing her child again.
The President-elect’s Plan B is to summon Saul to testify, but he’s knee deep in making moves to disappear off the face of the Earth. Fake passport acquired, jewels in hand, and overseas accounts ready to cash out, he orchestrates an impressively complex covert operation to say a final goodbye to Mira before ghosting forever.
The woman who was once married to this dedicated CIA agent for 26 years is genuinely confused as to why Saul is jumping ship. Not because she’s sad he’s leaving, Mira keenly remembers why she divorced him in the first place, but this running scared routine is not like him. So what if his name will be publicly drawn through the mud? If he’s confident in what he’s doing is right, who cares? He never has before.
Mira (Sarita Choudhury) has always been smarter than what Saul’s given her credit for, and maybe because Saul feels like he has no other option, he listens to her. Saul knows he’s got enough leverage to cut a deal with the government, that he’ll likely never spend one day in prison even if the Berlin breach is exposed, so why is he running? Saul letting go of his ego, soaking in Mira’s advice, and allowing himself be vulnerable for once, it’s quite a watershed moment.
Like Carrie, once Saul sets his mind on something, there’s no deterring him. But Mira’s tough love speech encourages him to backpocket his escape plan, and with renewed energy, heads straight to Carrie’s house. He’s confident that if they work together, they can to figure out a way to take Adal down once and for all.
While Max (Maury Sterling) delivers evidence that Adal’s been working closely with Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber), the bastard right wing conspirator who helped produce the viral video disgracing Keane’s son’s military career, Quinn is on the hunt for that elusive mystery neighbor. The man who murdered Tomlin (Dominic Fumusa) and Astrid (Nina Hoss) is the lynchpin between Adal, the underground sock puppet company Max is pretending to work at, and the bomb framing Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree) as a terrorist. Needles to say, Quinn wants this guy dead.
Returning to “The Flag House,” where Quinn (Rupert Friend) once lived and helped run Adal’s Black Ops team, he not only spots the mystery neighbor, he finds Sekou’s Medina Medley van parked in the garage. And while Saul breaks into Carrie’s house, happily discovering she hasn’t given up the fight, finding solace in her signature wall-to-wall detective work, Carrie reunites with Quinn. The episode comes to close with Quinn picking up his fully loaded stolen gun, and aiming it right at the suspicious neighbor’s head across the street.
Things are all starting to come together, but with two episodes left in the season, there will definitely be a few more bumps in the road before Adal meets his maker. President-elect Keane is hanging by a thread and she hasn’t even officially taken office. If Carrie demands a full guarantee that Franny will forever remain by her side in exchange for her help, we’re confident that Keane would now be singing a different tune in response. Keane’s learning the hard way that when it comes to running the free world, not everything can be color by number.
There’s such growth happening in Carrie, Saul, and Quinn this season. We’ve always cheered for these characters to succeed, and while they’re all tough, none of them are mutant superheroes. They’re humans who make mistakes. But now, they’re learning to utilize their weaknesses as strengths. Franny doesn’t hold Carrie back, she empowers her to be a less careless operative. Even though Mira could never fully understand the parameters of Saul’s job, her outside perspective allows Saul to weed through the political nonsense and see what’s truly important.
While Quinn is still very much a work in progress, he is learning how to forgive, let go of grudges, and move on. Madame Keane, like we imagine anyone who’s first stepped into the Oval Office, is learning she may not be able to carry out her Presidential agenda exactly as she once planned. But that doesn’t mean she has to completely abandon her moral code. All these headstrong Homeland characters are learning how to compromise in life, and it’s extremely satisfying to watch happen after nearly six turbulent seasons.
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