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Review: ‘Homeland’ Season 4 Episode 3 ‘Shalwar Khameez’ Heads Down a Bad Road

Review: 'Homeland' Season 4 Episode 3 'Shalwar Khameez' Heads Down a Bad Road

Immediate Reaction:

Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. Quinn and Carrie? Really? Are you serious? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. 

While I understand why a panicked writers’ room would resort to a romantic subplot — like it or not, the new pace of this show is sluggish compared to what fans were used to — matching up Carrie and Quinn is a terrible idea. First of all, the two were set up as polar opposites in last week’s two-hour season premiere. Carrie is coldly committed to the cause, and Quinn is emotionally unstable and ready to quit the spy life altogether. Also, Quinn saw Carrie’s true colors after Sandy was murdered in front of their eyes, and she couldn’t have cared less (other than to wonder the consequences to her station). 

What makes the pairing worse structurally is the ending to “Shalwar Khameez.” Quinn spots the Pakistani agent in the crowd, realizing it was a setup and telling his old boss as much. Yet he can’t connect the dots between Dar Adal’s (F. Murray Abraham) trickery and his own feelings. Considering Quinn actually did do all he could to save Sandy, why would he still believe Adal’s claims that he prioritized Carrie during the conflict? He doesn’t have feelings for her — he’s a pawn in Adal’s chess game, except he knows exactly why his former-and-now-current boss is moving him. 

Finally, from a critical standpoint, any kind of Quinn and Carrie relationship is bound to be infuriating for viewers. It can never compare to the complexities of Carrie and Brody and somehow manages to make less sense than a CIA Agent falling in love with a known terrorist. The duo has very little chemistry, undoubtedly in part due to Carrie’s obvious lack of interest. Unrequited love can certainly be dramatic, but I’m not willing to sacrifice Quinn’s dynamic character for tragic drama when something original could be constructed instead.

Best Classic “Homeland” Twist:

Was anyone surprised when Carrie made Aayan her contact after Fara failed? While it certainly wasn’t a twist, it was the most “Homeland”-like thing to happen in a pretty dull hour 45 minutes of television (only two minutes longer than the broadcast networks). I touched on this last week as well, but Aayan is a compelling new addition to a show stuck in the past. Now, his storyline has brought Carrie back into the field, even if she was the one to force it (when is she not?). 

Though I’m excited to see Farrah in action this season, putting Carrie into direct contact with the asset was the best decision made yet this season. She’s at her best when she’s in the middle of it. Seeing her dig herself in even deeper should make her inevitable call home even harder on the emotionally turbulent agent. (She has to go take care of that baby at some point, right? You can interpret “take care of” however you please). Maybe then, we’ll finally see the return of…

Crazy Carrie Level: 1/10

Other than the above-mentioned gamble with Aayan — which isn’t “Crazy Carrie” so much as it is “Classic Carrie” — CIA Agent Mathison kept things pretty calm in Episode 3. She’s running. She’s listening to jazz. She’s incessantly prodding her superiors into getting what she wants. If anyone’s crazy, it’s Quinn, and — no offense — he’s not as fun to watch go nuts. 

MVP (Most Valuable Performer): 

F. Murray Abraham — and whoever wrote his character’s scenes — nabs this week’s trophy for at least trying to keep the spy tactics of old alive today. One of the better elements of “Homeland’s” first three seasons (less so in Season 3) was the mental manipulation going on within the agency. Sure, anyone can lie, cheat, and con their contacts or enemies, but the good bad people of “Homeland” prefer fucking with each other. 

Though I may not have agreed with Quinn’s interpretation of Adal’s advances — do I have too much respect for Quinn? — the hounding itself was magnificent. Refusing to let Quinn drop out of the spy game as easily as he would prefer, Adal got into his protege’s head as easily as he walked in the door. Sure, Quinn’s a bit unstable, but Adal has always been a master of subtle trickery. He didn’t so much threaten Quinn physically as he challenged him to readdress his desires. Does he really want to quit? Are his reasons good enough? Are his reasons even what he thinks they are? Eventually, Quinn answered “no” to each question, resulting with him back under Adal’s powerful thumb.

Quote of the Night:

“I fucking love you, Quinn. You know that don’t you?”

Again I say “ugh!” Yes, this is very much something Carrie would say. Yes, the devastating double entendre made for a superficially satisfactory kicker. Yes, I feel Quinn’s pain. But don’t you also suspect he knows Carrie well enough to realize she in no way means what she’s telling him, on any level? She’s proven herself incapable of romantic, motherly, and friendly love in her current state. Quinn’s seen it with his own eyes, yet we’re supposed to believe he’s so stupidly enamored with Carrie he’ll ignore direct evidence? He’s a freaking spy! He bases his life on hunches and intuition, so imagine what he should do when given truthful testimony? 

He should give up on her and save himself, an ironic statement given that’s exactly the opposite of what the writers have accused him of doing. He’s giving up on himself for Carrie. Somehow, Quinn hasn’t just flipped on his dedication to the mission, he’s going to save Carrie from her own ill-fated ambitions. Good luck with that.

Grade: C+

READ MORE: Review: ‘Homeland’ Season 4 Episode 1 ‘The Drone Queen’ & Episode 2 ‘Trylon and Perisphere’

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