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Sarita Choudhury (#110 of 8)

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 4, Episode 9, "There’s Something Else Going On"

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Homeland Recap: Season 4, Episode 9, “There’s Something Else Going On”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 4, Episode 9, “There’s Something Else Going On”

What the fucking fuck?

So exclaims C.I.A. director Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) as the shit hits the fan in the riveting “There’s Something Else Going On,” an hour of looming catastrophe that counts among Homeland’s finest. Sanding down the narrative detritus accumulated over the course of four seasons until all that remains is the lonely image of Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) stranded on an airfield’s tarmac, the episode returns the series to the relationship with which it began, between the old hand and his brilliant protégé. In this sense, Lockhart’s words express not only the shock of seeing Haissam Haqqani’s (Numan Acar) conspiracy come to fruition, but also the understanding to which Homeland has been building all season. On the ground and at the U.S. embassy, in offices, interrogation rooms, operations centers, and prison cells, “There’s Something Else Going On” confronts the terror of fighting a war with no victor.

Homeland Recap Season 4, Episode 1, "The Drone Queen"

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Homeland Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, “The Drone Queen”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, “The Drone Queen”

A night in Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes) nondescript Kabul apartment is a routine affair. After washing down her Ambien with a few glugs of white wine and being chastised over video chat by her sister (Amy Hargreaves) for missing a chance to see her infant daughter, Carrie curls up in bed with earplugs and an eye mask, enveloped by the haze of isolation. The sequence recalls Homeland’s debut season, in which Carrie’s anodyne, whitewashed home reflected the barrenness of her life beyond the confines of “the company.” In the fourth-season premiere she is, as she once was, a lone wolf, closing herself off to all but the surveillance footage, social-media chatter, unconfirmed sources, hunches, and lies that compose the war we’re living through right now. So, too, with “The Drone Queen,” signaling Homeland’s return to its roots as a multivalent story of imperial blowback: a portrait of the “War on Terror” as “Alice in Wonderland,” to quote beleaguered U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Martha Boyd (Laila Robins), sending Carrie through the looking glass once more.

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 9, “One Last Time”

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 9, “One Last Time”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 9, “One Last Time”

“One Last Time” is narratively unsatisfying, a retread of past episodes, more a matter of what Homeland needs to move forward than what viewers might actually want, but it’s a necessary evil. This season’s endgame has hinged on Saul’s (Mandy Patinkin) plan to flip Shaun Toub’s Majid Javadi—accomplished several episodes ago—and for him to then assassinate Javadi’s boss, the director of Iranian intelligence, in the hopes not only of creating the C.I.A.’s most highly placed operative, but of actually effecting change in the Middle East. This is the episode that bridges the two parts of Saul’s plan, then—and while a hinge is useful to a door, what’s interesting is what’s on the other side of the door. We’ll see Brody (Damian Lewis) pretend to be the 12/12 bomber as he infiltrates Tehran in next week’s episode; this episode has to show his rehabilitation from heroin addict to combat-ready veteran.

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 8, "A Red Wheelbarrow"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 8, “A Red Wheelbarrow”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 8, “A Red Wheelbarrow”

Of all the surprises on Homeland this season, the one that’s given the most new context to earlier scenes isn’t the revelation that C.I.A. agent Carrie (Claire Danes) was secretly working with her boss, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), when she allowed him to drag her name through the mud and commit her to a psychiatric institution. It’s the fact that as she depressively drank in order to maintain her cover as a fallen-from-grace agent, she was pregnant—worse, that she knew she was pregnant. “What I’m doing, it has to do with the father,” says Carrie to her OB/GYN in this week’s episode, checking for lasting damage to her fetus and attempting, as always, to justify her rasher decisions. “I need to make some things right,” she continues. “It matters to a lot of people.” The doctor cuts her excuses down immediately: “But this is different, Carrie. You’re not on your own anymore.”

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 7, "Gerontion"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Gerontion”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 7, “Gerontion”

At the conclusion of last week’s episode of Homeland, the acting head of the C.I.A., Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), had successfully captured Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub), the man that was essentially his counterpart in the Iranian intelligence agency. The operation left behind two bodies in its wake, and it’s there that “Gerontion” picks up, with police officers investigating the brutal murder of the two innocent women. “You think I’m just some dick, jacking you up because I can, because you were unlucky enough to get caught on camera,” says the lead detective, interviewing his only suspect, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend). “But actually, I’m just trying to understand this shit that you people do. This shit that we’re party to because we pay taxes. This shit.” This exchange offers a bit of editorializing on par with the contextual critiques offered by The Wire, and serves as a cogent reminder of how a constant state of subterfuge can have negative emotional and societal effects not only on agents like Quinn, but on the ordinary citizens swept up in the wake of all these lies.

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 6, "Still Positive"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Still Positive”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Still Positive”

Based on the title of this week’s episode of Homeland, “Still Positive,” the question seems to be how much anyone can actually know, or be “positive” about. Senator Andrew Lockhart (Tracy Letts) is preparing to move into his new role as Director of Central Intelligence, but before that, he wants to know all of the skeletons that Saul (Mandy Patinkin) has left behind. No more surprises like Damian Lewis’s Sergeant Brody, he cautions, and no more bipolar operatives like Carrie (Claire Danes). And so he enlists Saul’s number two, Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), to feed him information, inspiring him with a jingoistic pep talk that promises a new direction for the C.I.A.: “What happens next is that we reclaim the respect and the fear that the world used to have for this agency’s hard punch.” (Adal swiftly reports this to Saul, but it remains to be seen if this is out of loyalty or if he’s playing both sides.)

Homeland Recap Season 3, Episode 1, "Tin Man Is Down"

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Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 1, “Tin Man Is Down”

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 3, Episode 1, “Tin Man Is Down”

On one level, the title of Homeland’s season-three premiere, “Tin Man Is Down,” directly references the point at which C.I.A. black-ops agent Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) narrowly executes his portion of a thrilling, six-target, three-continent operation, killing one of the men complicit in the 12/12 Langley bombing and helping to slightly redeem the C.I.A.’s tarnished reputation. But it also refers to the death of one’s emotions—the Tin Man’s absent heart, so to speak.

Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), reluctant temporary director of the C.I.A., could very well be that Tin Man, weighted as he is with responsibility he never wanted, expected by the president to take revenge (“We’re spies, not killers,” he feebly protests), pressured by advisor Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) to use counterintelligence to throw Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) under the bus, or at least to “jump up and down on her really hard,” after she tanks her Senate hearing, and unable to sleep in the same bedroom as his wife, Mira (Sarita Choudhury), lest he once again drive her away by getting too close. “I’m just waiting for the right answer to present itself,” he tells Mira, but if he’s not paralyzed with indecision, he’s at least rusted over by it.