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Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 12, "America First"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “America First”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “America First”

For 11 episodes, Homeland has been burying its lede in plain sight, making us believe that its sixth season was little more than a traditional spy thriller. Many pains were taken to establish a “deep state” conspiracy, led by Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and General Jamie McClendon (Robert Knepper), and shamelessly abetted by the right-wing propaganda machine of talk show host Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber). “America First” plays along with that ruse for much of its running time, sending Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) on a last-ditch mission to save President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) from some sort of half-baked military coup.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 11, "R for Romeo"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, “R for Romeo”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, “R for Romeo”

Tonight’s episode of Homeland, “R for Romeo,” divides its characters into three factions. First there are those who dwell in the light, like President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) and Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), and believe that truth is generally the best policy. Then there are those, like Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), who insist on working from the shadows, distrustful and sneering of the common people. Finally, and most dangerously, there are those, like Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber), the zealous producer and host of the alt-right talk show Real Truth, who genuinely believe themselves to be doing good, even as they descend into the blackest depths of hatred.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 10, "The Flag House"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, “The Flag House”

Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, “The Flag House”

In “The Flag House,” our heroes finally approach the evil that’s been hiding in plain sight, and each time they must choose how to prioritize their devotion either to the American flag or to a more personal desire to get their house in order. In the first of two literal interpretations of the episode’s title, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) tracks the Watch-Cap-Wearing Man (C.J. Wilson) to a suburban home, while Max (Maury Sterling), undercover in the belly of a false-flag operation, makes the connection between Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber). And then there’s President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) and Dar, who meet in a metaphorical flag house, a stand-in for the White House to which Keane has been elected by 60 million voters (“Who the hell voted for you?” she brusquely asks of him), but also for the shadow constituency that opposes her (“Don’t go to war with your own national security establishment,” he says, smugly).

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 9, "Sock Puppets"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, “Sock Puppets”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, “Sock Puppets”

The real world is filled with differing ideas, opinions, and agendas, and to someone who wishes to control that world, this can be frustratingly inconvenient. Just look at how cheerful the usually gloomy Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) seems in the latest episode of Homeland, “Sock Puppets,” as he’s called into a meeting with President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel), a former adversary who seems far more amenable to the man’s policy proposals now that she’s been fed false intelligence about the Iranians. Dar practically glows as he stops by the hotel room of Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub), the Iranian defector who lied to Keane at Dar’s behest, so much so that Javadi even calls him out on it. Dar’s downfall—and perhaps Homeland’s—is in the way “Sock Puppets” sacrifices character development for the sake of scoring a few more points in that game, insisting on the accuracy of a single viewpoint instead of the ambiguity of differently motivated agents.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 8, "Alt.Truth"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Alt.Truth”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, “Alt.Truth”

On his third tour overseas, Andrew Keane’s (Ryan Shibley) unit was overrun by a barrage of sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades. This soldier died a hero, a fact that’s been inconvenient to Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and his cabal of war hawks, because it’s given President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) a righteous, audience-pleasing “gold-star mother” narrative in the media. Tonight’s episode of Homeland, “Alt.Truth,” eerily and effectively depicts how such stories can be readily orchestrated and flipped on a dime, and rarely for the better good. It’s in Real Truth host Brett O’Keefe (Jake Weber) manipulating the reality of Andrew’s demise, running a sort of retcon game for his right-wing audience; in Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) shamelessly turning on his country, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), and the truth for personal gain; and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) again suffering the consequences of taking stock of the wrong truth behind his paranoia.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 7, "Imminent Risk"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Imminent Risk”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Imminent Risk”

From the moment Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) first met President-elect Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) in Homeland’s season-six premiere episode, “Fair Game,” he’s been convinced that she poses a threat to American sovereignty. It’s appropriate, then, that when he tunes into Keane’s latest interview with ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, she’s opening up about her soldier son and their differing opinions on the war that would later claim his life: “He was doing what he believed was right, and I was doing what I believed was right.”

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 6, "The Return"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 6, “The Return”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 6, “The Return”

The first words spoken in the opening credits for Homeland’s sixth season are from Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”: “The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things and see that there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown.” This is the central conceit of tonight’s episode, “The Return,” in which almost every protagonist challenges the convenient narratives being fed to them and comes to accept a new and radical point of view.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 5, "Casus Belli"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 5, “Casus Belli”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 5, “Casus Belli”

In a perfectly logical and reasonable world, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) would immediately make the connection between the footage of the exploded Medina Medley van at the epicenter of an explosion in New York City and the photos he’d taken the night before, of the man across the street who he believes has been surveilling Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes). But how much room is left for logic in the wake of a major terrorist attack?

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 4, "A Flash of Light"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 4, “A Flash of Light”

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 4, “A Flash of Light”

Up until the literally explosive final two minutes of “A Flash of Light,” Homeland’s sixth season has taken a radically different approach to its narrative. Rather than dealing with an immediate threat, the series has revolved around the hypothetical threat of a nuclear attack, one that’s at worst still several years down the road. Instead of establishing an obvious villain, the series has criticized the F.B.I. for essentially inventing homegrown terrorists like Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree) and suggested that Mossad might also be fabricating threats with the use of false-flag operatives like Iranian moneyman Farhad Nafisi (Bernard White). The people doing all the threatening in this episode are the ones who’re supposed to be the good guys: the C.I.A.’s Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), casually accosting Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) as she picks her daughter up from school, and the Israeli government’s Etai Luskin (Allan Corduner), politely detaining Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) on his way back to America from the West Bank.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 3, "The Covenant"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 3, “The Covenant”

Didier Baverel/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 3, “The Covenant”

In “The Covenant,” when Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) uses the word “conclusive” to describe the findings of his Abu Dhabi operative, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Carrie (Claire Danes) knows that something isn’t right. A true intelligence officer would never speak so decisively; they prefer to hedge their bets, as Carrie explains to President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel). Only those with an agenda to push would act so bluntly, and at its best, Homeland describes such dealings with subtle ambiguity.