Homeland Season 6 Finale Recap: "America First"

Photo: Courtesy of Showtime.
How quickly the tables turned in the season 6 finale of Homeland. In fact, it’s a mere 34 days after Madame Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) officially takes the office as president before the entire White House falls to shit. No longer is the Washington seen on this Showtime series an admirable state. It’s now eerily as miserable and terrifying as what viewers see when they turn on the news.
The differences between this fictional commander-in-chief and the actual 45th president of the United States are many, but most notable is that there’s hope that Keane can get back on the right path toward justice. Keane has not always been an “Un-American” monster as Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) insists. She’s been a victim of a horrible attack which has left her as damaged as Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).
And here, we must pause.
[A moment of silence for our beloved Quinn.]
Somehow, Quinn is the last person we expected to die in this finale. But in order to save Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and the president-elect’s lives, he guns the car with them in the backseat, and drives straight through an army of McClendon’s black ops agents firing round after round at the vehicle. The bulletproof SUV can only take so much heat, and Quinn is soon nailed with bullets in his neck, chest and heart.
As devastating as it is knowing this is the last time we’ll see the talented Rupert Friend on Homeland, considering Quinn’s current state, a heroic suicide is the best ending we could’ve expected. He hated his crippled body, the delay in his motor functions caused by his stroke. The former CIA operative was riddled with PTSD, hated the man who used to be his boss, and was frustrated that he’d been rendered incapable of doing the one job he believed he did well. And while Carrie loved him deeply, she was not in love with him, a truth he had trouble digesting. “You saved my life. Why?” his voice echoes at the end of the opening credits every week. And Carrie could never give him the answer he wanted to hear.
After Astrid’s (Nina Hoss) death, Quinn became his own worst enemy, but we never stopped rooting for him. No one could tire of watching this “pretty boy” fight for his country, and it’s hard to envision the series without him. We’re not sure we want to.
After a six-week time jump, it appears that everything is on the mend in Washington. Conservative pundit Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber) continues mouthing off as usual, but Keane could single-handedly save the world from an incoming meteor and he’d criticize her for showboating. There’s no winning with this guy. Brett complains that Keane’s inauguration was done in a closed room, but we don’t think too much of it. After discovering that a group of people within your own intelligence community are trying to have you killed, holding a public ceremony doesn’t quite seem like a top priority.
Dar is deservedly behind bars, and at the White House, Carrie’s temporarily working as a liaison between President Keane and the heads of the governing agencies, one for which Saul (Mandy Patinkin) now has a prime seat at the table. Numerous arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation to see how deep Dar’s conspiracy group against Keane went, and Carrie reassures them that there won’t be a blanket firing of staffs, or random officials taken into custody. Carrie gives them her word, so of course, the opposite is about happen.
Things are just going too well. President Keane offers Carrie a permanent position as her senior advisor, and after returning home to Brooklyn, she passes the home examination to get Franny permanently back in her custody “with flying colors.” So just when Carrie can take a beat, have a moment to finally mourn the loss of Quinn, she gets a FaceTime call from Saul. He’s being arrested at gunpoint. And so is every other agency head she just assured would not be.
Carrie beelines back to the president’s office, but Keane won’t let her in. It’s as if an alien has taken over Keane’s body, and it’s a jarring scene to watch because it’s Carrie who’s sane, and the president who needs to be on meds. Keane is off her rocker with paranoia. She trusts no one. The only person she’ll speak to is her social secretary. She’s decided to run the country without help or input of any other government agency.
Keane’s abrupt move to dictatorship is absurd, her political housecleaning, even crazier. It’s clear that she needs serious medical help and intense daily therapy to get over her PTSD, or she’ll become the most dangerous president the country has ever seen. After Carrie is forcefully escorted out of the White House, the episode comes to a close with her staring at the Capitol building, and the look on Carrie’s face is not full of pride. Her eyes are filled with fear and frustration, and if such a glare seems familiar, it’s because Brody once stared at the Capitol with that exact same look of despair. The issue of homegrown terrorists has been a theme throughout this entire season, but it’s hard to imagine Carrie ever going rogue like Franny’s father.
But there’s no way Carrie stands idly while Keane blindly destroys the country she loves so much. Nor will she let Quinn’s death be in vain. Carrie will make sure Keane returns to being the president that the people voted into office. Because she can’t possibly become a terrorist… right?
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