Homeland recap – season seven, episode three: Standoff

The tension escalates in the backwoods impasse as Saul’s talking cure makes everything worse and Carrie just can’t stay out of trouble

‘It’s safe to say I’m not as risk-averse as I should be’

Carrie shows up at Dr Meyer’s office in a desperate state and together they make the decision to switch medications. It’s a risky, lengthy process that begins with taking Seroquel to break the manic cycle. The sedative takes her out of commission before she is roughly dragged back in by Dante who has ID’d the mystery woman from Wellington’s home. French NGO worker Simone Martin can be placed just three miles from the West Virginia prison where McClendon was held, the day before he was killed. You don’t have to be Alex Jones to think that’s significant.

It’s enough to get Carrie back in the game and, a couple of her sister’s pep pills later, she’s at Martin’s house, breaking and entering like the good old days. Unfortunately, her daylight trespass is clocked by the cops and her alibi game is feeble (“feeding my friend’s cat” indeed). It’s a struggle to explain her actions down at the police precinct, but fortunately Dante has enough sway to extract her without her card being marked. Carrie now has the contents of Simone Martin’s hard drive and more evidence that her gut feeling about David Wellington was correct.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison. Photograph: Antony Platt/Showtime

‘You want us? You’re gonna have to shoot us in the back’

Saul always thinks people can be reasoned with. It’s his biggest strength and biggest weakness. He can talk amicably with O’Keefe, discuss his terms of surrender and feel like he’s making progress. There are women and children in the compound after all. The problem is that O’Keefe’s protectors are not big on reason. They use the distraction of the negotiations to muscle up and soon there’s an ever-growing hick militia facing down an ever-more pissed off FBI. He narrowly avoids being taken hostage and the humiliating failure of his strategy pushes us closer to another Waco. All of a sudden Saul looks like he misses his prison cell. As for O’Keefe, he has the look of a man who can’t fire a gun surrounded by lunatic fringe marksmen who only take orders from God.

‘I am not gonna blow up a convoy in Syria in order to control the news cycle’

By now we’re so familiar with President Keane the tyrant, scourge of the intelligence community and serial human rights abuser that we quickly forget that she ran on a liberal anti-war ticket. Her generals certainly seem to have as they try to strong-arm her into bombing an arms shipment from Iran heading to bolster Assad’s troops in Syria. She firmly reminds them of her position. Don’t they remember what happened to the last general who played with her? The convoy will not be bombed.

David Wellington has other ideas, though. In a bizarre overreach, he phones General Rossen and lies that Elizabeth has changed her mind, giving the go-ahead for the attack. I can’t wait to see him try and mansplain that one next week. I don’t see his vacuous nonsense about “changing the conversation” cutting it.

Trying to figure out what David Wellington is up to is a tough one. He pushed for the 200 to be released and suggested that O’Keefe should be released without charge, but there’s generally a practical reason behind his stances. Undermining the president over the convoy suggests a darker motive as he’s nothing if not calculated. Factor in whatever he’s got going on with Simone Martin and you’ve got a deeply shady character at the heart of the Keane administration.

Notes and observations

  • Do people engaged in high-level political assassinations really get parking tickets?
  • Adderall, the drug Carrie uses to counteract her Seroquel haze, is an amphetamine used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The DEA rate it as having “high potential for abuse,” so strap yourself in for the inevitable “Carrie strung out on speed” storyline.
  • Dante and Carrie bond over Kabul, his bipolar ex and his drinking problem. We know she has a thing for damaged, complex men working in the intelligence community, so there’s obviously love interest potential there. Right now, though she just needs someone watching her back and on that score, he’s got her covered so far.
  • It was gratifying to see O’Keefe’s producer/girlfriend/muse Sharon finally make a break for freedom. She will finally get to sleep in her own bed again, if she avoids jail time.

What exactly is David’s game? How does the compound siege end? Should Dante and Carrie be a thing? Let me know below.


James Donaghy

The GuardianTramp

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