Homeland recap: season six, episode five – Casus Belli

In a frantic episode, Quinn goes full Die Hard, Keane gets sidelined – and Carrie realises how deep the rabbit hole goes

Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Homeland airs in the US. Only read on if you’ve watched series six episode five, which airs in the UK on Sundays.

I don’t think anybody was expecting a siege situation tonight but that’s what we got. It led indirectly to Carrie discovering that Sekou Bah was victim not perpetrator. With her legal advocacy likely shut down for the time being, we can look forward to Carrie back where she does her best work – out on a limb, flouting authority and seeing who the real enemy is.

“What did you expect would happen if you let down your guard?”

Those 5AM deliveries Sekou Bah lamented last week turned out to be a good thing. The light traffic at that time means only one other person was killed in the blast with half a dozen injured. Still, the resonance of an attack on Manhattan is lost on no one. Security protocols kick into gear with ruthless efficiency – the entire city is on lockdown.

The permanently furious Conlin is predictably incandescent when Carrie arrives to represent Simone and Mrs Bah. She strong-armed him into releasing a terrorist suspect who hours later blew himself up in New York and now she refuses to name the source of her incriminating recording. He orders her out of his sight before his rage reaches fatal levels.

From there she goes to Roger, her NSA contact, to warn him he may have committed one of the lighter treasons. He throws her a curve ball though when he tells her that he never sent the recording. It came from someone else, but who?

“Are you aware of what’s going on at your house?”

Franny, Latisha and Hop the rabbit.
Franny, Latisha and Hop the rabbit as Quinn turns Carrie’s home into a full-blown hostage situation. Photograph: Fox

The episode that establishes Peter Quinn as the world’s worst babysitter starts very positively. He bonds with Franny over Hop the rabbit, then she shows him how to shuffle up the stairs like a pro. You can see how Carrie could leave her daughter in Peter’s care given the extraordinary circumstances of the day. The 24-hour news cycle is an unforgiving beast, though, and when the press stake out Carrie’s home things go rapidly downhill.

Quinn first launches a reporter down the steps then forces Franny and Latisha the nanny into the bathroom. When angry locals start stoning the place Quinn licks off a shot, dropping a rock-throwing imbecile who tragically survives. In no time at all Quinn has turned it into a full-blown hostage situation.

Armed police mobilise but when they try to storm the building, Quinn grabs a member of the SWAT team and sends the rest packing. Fortunately, the incident ends without further bloodshed. Quinn is taken into custody and Franny, Latisha and Hop are safe and well.

As Carrie walks through the trashed living room, she discovers Quinn’s phone, and on it the photos of the man in the flat opposite and the Medina Medley van. Carrie knows this one all too well. Yes, Quinn is paranoid but yes, they are also out to get her.

“Ma’am, the fact is the blast happened less than 20 blocks from your hotel”

Any terrorist attack that happens as a president-elect with dovish tendencies awaits power will see a predictable response. She has signed no executive orders yet her very rhetoric about not rushing to judgment will now be used against her. Stuck in the weird hinterland of presidential transition and separated from her staff, she lacks the clout to get her people around her. As she’s bustled from one location to the next, it is almost as if she is being made to look weak. It takes her the entire day to get in front of a TV and when she does, she watches a general who was in the Pentagon on 9/11, placed in stark contrast to her and everything she stands for.

She does of course get a visit from Dar Adal who delivers a satellite phone along with a few “unfortunate facts”. She does a good job of muffling her reaction when Carrie’s name is mentioned, but she must be questioning her secret adviser’s judgment right now.

“He’s up in arms – says you’ve been less than candid”

I’m always happy to see the Saul and Dar double act reunited – the Statler and Waldorf of the intelligence community. Dar picks his boy up from the airport and they discuss his trip to the West Bank. Conversations between these two always have layers of affection, mistrust and misdirection. It’s like watching two chess grandmasters go at it. Dar concedes that he already knows about Etai grilling Saul but the Bear tells him a couple of things he doesn’t know. The pack of Nafisi’s cigarettes he glimpsed in a room used only for surveillance suggests that the whole Iranian nukes scandal could be a Mossad setup. When he says that he is awaiting Javadi’s word on the issue Dar’s reaction is not to react. If there is foul play afoot, it seems inconceivable that the black ops master would know nothing about it.

Notes and observations

Peter Quinn, the world’s worst babysitter.
Peter Quinn, the world’s worst babysitter. Photograph: 20th Century Fox

I have a theory that Otto sent Carrie the recording of Conlin pressurising his informant. It isn’t obvious how, but the billionaire friend of the next president has resources only few have. He loves Carrie, wants them to change the world together and perhaps needed to demonstrate his reach and influence, having disparaged her “small potatoes” gig at The Fair Trial Project.

Like Carrie, I enjoyed watching Franny and Quinn play together. Quinn’s childlike qualities made him a great companion before all that unfortunate siege business.

The Real Truth, the show the president-elect watches, is hosted by Brett O’Keeffe, an alt-right media personality who we’ll likely be hearing more from.

The episode title Casus belli is an act that provokes or is used to justify war.

It will be interesting to discover the connection, if there is one, between the Sekou Bah saga and the Iranian nukes.

Has the change in pace in the last couple of episodes pleased you? Who leaked the recording to Carrie? What are your thoughts on Farhad Nafisi and his connection to Mossad? Please let me know your theories below.


James Donaghy

The GuardianTramp

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