[Editor’s Note: The following review of “Homeland” Season 6, Episode 3, “The Covenant,” contains spoilers.]
If there was ever a time not to remind us of Carrie’s ongoing sobriety, “The Covenant” was it. After two weeks of slowly developing, low-impact storytelling, “Homeland” was due for a bit of excitement — not overdue, but still in need. Instead, more secrets were teased, more relationships contorted, and there was more waiting for something big to go down. And summing that up by Carrie “Two Bottles with a Handful of Bipolar Meds Per Night” Mathison passing up on a glass of wine, well, that’s the wrong reminder of where “Homeland” stands in Season 6.
As Carrie (Claire Danes) explained to Quinn (Rupert Friend), she’s a mother now, and one who won’t put her daughter in danger (let alone an awkward situation). While that’s a fine, responsible, logical mentality for Carrie to hold these days, it’s also not the kind of behavior that drives great spy thrillers, nor is it an appropriate parallel for the real world. We’re living in times of extreme political unrest, and “Homeland” suddenly feels like a safer, all-too-reasonable world in comparison to the nightly news. The President-Elect (Elizabeth Marvel) may have a secret agenda. Saul may be working in secret with the Iranians. Carrie might be bending the rules to protect her client. But the actions of the actual POTUS are rapidly advancing the end of the world. “Homeland” needs to step it up.
Classic ‘Homeland’ Twist
There were a trio of minor twists that almost added up to one big one: First, we saw Dar Adal listening in on Carrie and the President-Elect’s private dinner conversation. How that affects Dar’s plans is of secondary concern to when or if he tells Saul. Saul vouched for Carrie, and their fragile relationship could come crashing down in dynamite fashion should he confront the ex-agent on her consulting gig. But all we saw this week was Dar listening in, making it another tease in a season full of them.
Similar were the other two mini twists: Saul sneaking out of his guest room in Abu Dhabi and Quinn guarding Carrie’s home from a shadowy stranger across the street. Neither gave any clear indication as to what was coming next. They merely promised something was coming. Saul is under suspicion from all fronts, as he’s yet to speak with any one person during Season 6 who hasn’t cast blame or aspersions on the long-time spy. So what he’s working on could be any number of things, though we’re guessing he’ll be in talks with his Iranian friends come next week.
Quinn is more intriguing. He sensed something was wrong with Carrie, and he used that as motivation to get back to his old self: kicking ass and taking names. After paying a visit to the man who robbed him, Quinn not-so-calmly explained to his prostitute’s boyfriend who was in charge, and, in the process, reminded himself what he’s capable of as well. Now he’s got a gun to help protect Carrie from her inquisitive neighbor. We’re guessing Mama Bear Mathison won’t care for his acquisition at first, but in the coming weeks when shit hits the fan, Quinn might be the man.
Crazy Carrie Level: 1/10
2017 America needs Crazy Carrie. The times we live in are perfectly suited for a woman who has been driven mad by the patriarchy trampling over American freedoms and takes justice into her own hands. Carrie has always done this over the years, for the better and the worse, but she’s far too conservative these days.
Her risky choice last week to talk to Tyrone looked like it was going to have serious repercussions that could possibly send things spinning, but instead Carrie called in a favor from an old friend and came out ahead. It looks like Sekou will be getting out of jail a lot sooner than anyone thought, meaning Carrie did her job. Now, if one successful gamble leads to more, we could be in store for some wild rides. And the fact she’s teamed up with another woman in power, President-Elect Keane, is another signifier of good things to come.
But part of us wants to see Carrie get a little unhinged. We’re all feeling that way these days, and the catharsis of watching our hero of six years running go balls-to-the-wall while standing up for the rights of a minority could justify any repercussions that followed. So let her take a drink. Let her drop her meds. Hell, just let her kick the shit out of someone. But let Carrie off the leash. We need her.
MVP (Most Valuable Performer)
We may not have gotten much from Saul’s storyline this week — people are suspicious of his allegiance to Iran, we get it — but Mandy Patinkin getting a little extra screen time is always a good thing. From him opening and closing the episode by squatting down in the back of a car, to his not-so-veiled threat against his Iranian captive — “I’ll try to talk since you won’t be able to for a while” — Saul was in top spying form, with Patinkin ready to remind us with every inflection why Saul remains a fan favorite. We can’t wait to see where his mysterious journey takes him, even if we are very OK with waiting for his throw-down with Carrie over consulting with the President-Elect.
Quote of the Week
“You’re fucking right.” – Quinn
Quinn had quite a week. After starting with a nightmare reminiscent of when he was poisoned, Quinn thought Carrie was making a pass at him and returned the favor. He was wrong there, but a rebuke from a woman does one of two things to a man: It sends hims spinning, or it makes him want to be better. Quinn seems headed for the latter, which is great news for everyone.
Though it wasn’t entirely clear what his motivations were when he called his old “girlfriend,” Quinn’s mission to procure a weapon went off without a hitch. He got some much-needed confidence back, especially for a body that’s working a bit differently than it did the last time he beat somebody up. Moreover, he did it for the right reasons: He’s worried about Carrie and her daughter.
While Quinn still has a long way to go before he’s back to his old self (if that ever even happens), it was good to see him headed in the right direction. Hopefully the show follows suit — and soon.
Watch IndieWire’s Awards Editor Anne Thompson’s interview with “Homeland” showrunning director and executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter below. (She directed this week’s episode, too!)