The fifth season of Homeland ended last night, and by my count, we left our girl Carrie Mathison as she was being yanked in at least five separate directions. Will she return to America, retrieve Frannie from her sister, and live whatever a “normal” life might look like for an ex-CIA agent who spent the last several months running from hitmen and tearing down terrorist plots? Will she take Otto Düring up on his offer to be his “partner,” which, by the way, was perhaps the least-romantic pseudo-marriage proposal the world may ever know? Will she change her mind and join Saul back in the field? Will she try, yet again, to make things work with the good ginger Jonas? And, most significantly, what is she going to do about Quinn, whose life hangs in the balance? Of course, these aren’t the only questions the episode — and the entire season — raised and has yet to answer. Let’s review what else we still don’t know as we head into this dark, barren, Homeland-less winter.
Is Carrie going to kill Quinn?
That was clearly the plan, as she walked into his hospital room, barricaded the door, pulled the curtains closed, and patiently waited for him to finish his dramatic VO. But what was the meaning of that light on Quinn’s face that gave her pause? Was Quinn, as he put it in his letter, popping up from his barely-conscious state to act as the “beacon steering you clear of the rocks?” If so, what are the rocks? Killing Quinn, or letting Quinn live? Either way, it’s obvious that as we await season six, Quinn will be our new Jon Snow, our new Glenn Rhee.
And as much as I want Quinn to live — that letter! that heartbreaking story from Dar! that entire face! — it would be totally fucking insane if Quinn lived. In the interest of keeping Homeland honest, Quinn’s gotta go. If it’s by Carrie’s hand, so be it; these two have always had a twisted relationship, and somehow it feels right that she put him out of his vegetative misery. Not to mention the entire thing is essentially Carrie’s fault, what with her standing by as he risked his life for her and then pulling him out of his coma before he was ready. This really is so sad, you guys. A Romeo-and-Juliet story for the millennial generation. What, I’m not crying, you’re crying.
What the fresh hell, Otto Düring?
Düring, the Daddy Warbucks of Homeland‘s fifth season, has spent the last several episodes calmly (always so calmly) explaining to Jonas that Carrie is batshit nuts and he needs to get rid of her. Which is why it was utterly shocking when he told Carrie, during (ha) (…sorry) a discussion about her future career, to be his “partner in life,” and to “consider the scope and scale of what I’m proposing.” Corporate buzzwords = the height of romance. What’s Düring’s long game here? Was he trying to put Jonas off Carrie all season so that he, Otto, might get a swing at her? Did he swiftly change his mind about Carrie’s mental health after he realized Carrie wasn’t just a rambling mess, but actually a brilliant spy capable of saving the world? Or is something more sinister going on? Düring’s always been an enigma; it’s possible he’s got some weird/dark intentions for our fair Ms. Mathison. Or maybe he really does just want to wife her up. Which seems like a terrible idea for Carrie. She’d never be happy as Daddy Warbucks’ trophy wife.
What was up with that church sequence?
We’ve never known Carrie to be religious or spiritual; her faith has always been rooted in the facts and/or found at the bottom of a very large glass of white wine. But in the midst of Quinn’s surgery, Carrie visited the hospital chapel, where a vaguely creepy little girl stared at her and where Carrie pushed violently on her recent hand wound, purposefully causing herself pain. Who was that little girl? Did she represent Frannie, Carrie herself, or was she meant to make Carrie feel guilty for abandoning her post, where she might save thousands of such anonymous children? Also, is Carrie cutting herself now? Oy. And what was that light in the chapel? Was it God? Was it Quinn? Was Carrie entering a dream sequence, Grease-style? Or was it merely an indication of time passing? The fact that it showed up again in the hospital room leads me to believe it was either God or Quinn, which means the entire thing was sort of a cheesy, basic plot device that feels beneath Homeland. So, it’s probably better if we never get an explanation.
Why did Saul kill Allison?
And why does he look so great in a skull cap? I digress. In particularly badass fashion, Saul and Co. apprehended Allison and her massive Russian drivers in the middle of a dark forest. But rather than take them into the station for questioning, they shot them approximately one million times. It’s possible that Saul was doing damage control for the CIA — as several characters have mentioned before, Allison’s exposure as a double agent would be a huge PR and logistical nightmare for the agency. But it’s also possible that Saul had something of a personal agenda. Allison made a fool of him on a sexual level, an emotional level, and a professional level. Even Saul’s not above seeking revenge. (Also: We never found out what happened between Saul and Mira, which might be helpful in figuring out why Saul acted like such a moron all season with Allison. Will we ever find out?)
What will happen to Laura?
Oh, Laura. You dissident American journalist, you. Your motives are relatively admirable; your behavior so, so irritating. Which is why it was something of a mixed bag to watch you undo your years of obsessive truth-telling with a single, horrible lie on German television. It was admirable of you to save Numan, though, and incredibly messed up of Astrid to completely destroy the reputation of a presumably innocent man just to cover up her own mistakes. The real question is whether Astrid is done with you, Laura. Will she continue to use you as a mouthpiece, a puppet? Will you let her? Will you teach me how to do that fishtail braid?
And what of Numan?
All we know about Numan is that he’s an awesome hacker with a sense of justice. What did he do in Turkey that forced him to seek asylum in Berlin? Does he have deeper ties to an organization — terrorist or otherwise — that we don’t know about yet? Is he going to let Laura go so easily? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that fabulous beard.
ARE CARRIE AND SAUL GOING TO BE OKAY?
The relationship between Carrie and Saul — platonic as it is — has always been the central romance of Homeland. I’m not just hallucinating this because I’m in love with Mandy Patinkin. They argue, they swear each other off, they make amends, they have the greatest hugs in the universe — they’re a team. They’re soulmates. Even Saul himself knows it, telling Carrie at the end of the episode, “I need you.” But Carrie, goddamn stubborn as always, tells him, “I’m not that person anymore.” Of course you’re that person, Carrie. You’re Saul’s person, too. Don’t fuck this up! Saul’s right: You are being selfish. What are you gonna do if you’re not using your wacky genius brain to hunt down the bad guys? Go back to the suburbs and knit umbrellas for Frannie, who is very pale and should not be in the sun for more than a few minutes at a time without protection?
More importantly: What will Homeland look like if Carrie really and truly gets out of the game?