Spoilers for Homeland Season 6
Last December, Showtime’s Homeland ended its Emmy-nominated fifth season, and its best season since the Emmy-winning first season, in heartbreaking fashion. After Quinn (Rubert Friend) inhales sarin gas and nearly dies, he is hospitalized, suffers a cerebral hemorrhage, and is left in a vegetative state on life support. Carrie (Claire Danes) reads his farewell love letter and ultimately seems to decide that she can’t let him live on like that. She seems to pull the plug, and the room is bathed in a white light.
Quinn, we all assume, is dead.
Here’s how Rachel Handler put it in our review of the finale:
And as much as I want Quinn to live — that letter! that heartbreaking story from Dar! that entire face! — it would be totally f*cking insane if Quinn lived. In the interest of keeping Homeland honest, Quinn’s gotta go.
It was a fitting end for Quinn, and for Carrie, it meant the two people on the show who loved her most, Brody and Quinn, had met grisly ends. In both cases, those grisly ends were Carrie’s fault. Surely, Homeland wouldn’t make the mistake it made with Damien Lewis’ Brody after the first season and fail to follow through on his death. Surely, Showtime wouldn’t deprive us of Quinn’s felicitous passing, would it?
People magazine is reporting today that an injury to Rupert Friend has delayed production on the sixth season of Homeland (although it is still expected to debut in January, as originally scheduled). Some might have wondered, as I did, why the injury to an actor whose character died on the show might delay production. The answer obviously is that Quinn is not dead. Somehow, he survived the sarin gas, and the cerebral hemorrhage, and either Carrie didn’t pull the plug or she did and he survived it anyway.
Quinn is not only back next season, he continues to be a series regular.
There are a few possibilities here. The easiest and normally the most likely explanation might be spontaneous recovery from a vegetative state. A miracle! However, showrunner Alex Gansa seemed to rule that out in comments he made to TVLine. “How [Quinn] is gonna be dramatized this year is going to surprise people, and it may not be what you think.” A spontaneous recovery is the least surprising development, so that explanation is disqualified.
Will Quinn spend the entire season in another coma? Maybe. “If he should live, it will not be — in any way, shape or form — the way he has lived to date,” Showtime programming chief Gary Levine told reporters at the TCA’s earlier this year. But if he’s in a coma, how did he break a bone while filming the first and second episodes?
Maybe Homeland will borrow from daytime soap operas and introduce a twin brother? Or maybe Quinn wargs into a direwolf? Maybe writers will turn him into Robocop? Or maybe he inhabits the memories of his ancestor and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, like Michael Fassbender in Assassin’s Creed?
“What he endured last year is different from what he’ll go through this year. This year will be fused with his daily relationship with Claire [Danes’] character,” Ganza told critics just last month. Maybe Quinn gives up the spy game — as he’s hinted at before — and devotes himself to Carrie and to being a stay-at-home Dad to her child? That would be … disappointing.
I don’t know what will happen to Quinn when Homeland returns in January, but I do know that it will undo what was an otherwise beautifully tragic season five finale, and whatever it is, it’s going to feel like a cheat.