Carrie Mathison got two proposals during the season 5 finale of HOMELAND, “A False Glimmer”. She offered one of her own and lingered over what looked to be her goodbye to Peter Quinn.
Unlike what we might have thought going into the finale of this very different season 5, the sarin gas attack at Berlin’s train station did not dominate. In fact, it was merely the set up for the personal fallout to follow.
Carrie ran down the train tunnel towards Qasim and found him when he jumped out and restrained her. Their conversation wasn’t long since time was of the essence.
She saw in his face and heard in his voice that he wasn’t the most willing of participants, particularly when he learned she knew both his name and that of his cousin, plus why he was there.
Qasim needed her prompting to get the courage to thwart his cousin, who shot Qasim when he made his pitch to stop the madness. The moment the shots rang out, Carrie ran towards the two men and unloaded the ammunition in her gun, killing Bibi as the train roared into the station.
Cradling the dying Qasim she thanked him for his courage and for saving her beloved Quinn. She was dazed and confused as she was debriefed after the troops and law enforcement swarmed in, and then Saul showed up.
His admiration and awe for what she did was mixed with his concern for her physical condition. It wasn’t bad considering what she’d just done. The old master informed Carrie about Allison’s escape and of course, the entire season turned on its head.
He was no longer dallying with a duplicitous and traitorous Allison, rejecting Carrie and deluding himself that he was the “man”. Oh, he wasn’t the Big Man, since he didn’t get the Director of Central Intelligence hat, but he was pretty damn foxy, running Europe and hitting on the lovely redhead who fed his ego.
That world crumbled and he faced his student/ daughter-substitute who towered over him, not in stature but in competence, even though she’s always one brainstorm away from going off her meds.
Carrie and Jonas
Carrie asked to go home and you weren’t alone if you wondered if that meant the U.S. or her place with Jonas. She tentatively entered her German home and fondled items that reminded her of a life that was hers, not that many weeks prior before she collapsed in bed.
Jonas returned and woke her gently. They had the kind of sex couples engage in when they can’t speak but have a lot to say, but there was no after glow for Carrie Mathison. She wanted to begin as a couple again once she went back and spent some time with Franny, only to return to Jonas and resume life.
Resume life? Of course, she explained, while it might not be without hiccups, she had sacrificed the most for Jonas, allowing herself to be vulnerable for the first time since Brody.
“I actually opened myself up to you and really let you in,” she says. “I’m talking about loving you, about being loved.”
Little does she know the true love that surrounded her from another man in her life.
Jonas put a swift end to it, but as he’s been throughout the season, calm, reasoned and sweet while bringing the hammer down. One of them was smart enough to realize it will never be over for Carrie and even if by some slight chance she manages to avoid all disaster, it finds her as it did with the kill order.
She was using the argument made to her in the previous season’s finale when Quinn told her he couldn’t be alone and not return to that life, but he could see him doing it if Carrie joined him.
That was echoed later when Carrie learned that Quinn named her his beneficiary in case of his death and left a letter, the same one he handed to the agent who he bumped off the mission to Syria some two years prior.
Would there ever be a life for Carrie in which she was “normal”, happy and out of danger? For the sake of HOMELAND, we certainly hope not, but we’ve come to feel close to the character whose vulnerability is as striking as her feel for the work of spycraft.
Saul and Allison
Saul Berenson made a beeline to see Ivan, still in custody and informed him that his own people allowed the attack to go on, only to be thwarted by Carrie. He explained that Allison had been extracted from the hospital, leaving Ivan hanging. Why not cooperate and help Saul catch her, assuring himself of a life under U.S. witness protection, but not the typical offer mere mortals get from federal prosecutors.
Oh no, Ivan would be escorted out to Colorado where he could ski to his heart’s content and be compensated handsomely. Turns out he he loved the Olympic style in the Alps and somehow, it seemed out of character.
Although what do we really know about Ivan other than that he worked the long con with Allison, ensnaring Saul all too easily. Middle-aged, lonely, feeling less than confident in his employment and getting divorced. Allison played him like a fiddle at Ivan’s insistence.
The two men danced around each other, but ultimately it was Ivan who struck the strongest blow. It’s unclear if Ivan gave in and gave Saul a clue about what the extraction plan was, but someone did. More on that later.
Allison and SVR
Prickly and in pain we found her at a safe house as she verbally savaged a doctor who popped up all talkative and in awe of her importance. Hard to think Allison was not concerned she was being set up for something, particularly when she was faced with getting into the trunk of a car that would get her across the border to Russia.
First of all, this is a woman with champagne tastes who is staring into the face of the officer who forced her to choose prison or worse if she didn’t facilitate Bibi’s attack. She really had no choice, after being assured it would be quick three and a half hours in that vehicle’s trunk.
Allison did not survive ’til the border. The car was stopped and forced to detour from its path by what looked like police and then we got into the Sopranos part of the program.
It might as well have been the swampland of south Jersey as the car was met with multiple men shooting automatic weapons, riddling the car as if it were a mob hit. The driver, passenger and Allison did not survive, and who came out of the dark in his camo clothing and stocking cap but Saul Berenson.
Couple of questions here: 1) Was this on authority of Dar or a rogue act on Berenson’s part? 2) Who was he working for? Echoes returned of the talk about a mole/double agent in the Agency that wasn’t Brody. 3) Was he that much in need of revenge for being played like an old fool or was he carrying out this hit with help or orders from another entity besides the CIA?
Carrie got to the hospital only to find that Quinn was in surgery after a cerebral hemorrhage that was so severe it looked like chances of survival or meaningful brain activity once he awoke were slim to none.
Carrie took up residence at his bedside, lovingly moistening his lips and using lotion on his arms and hands. She sought the refuge of the church chapel which harkened back to the early part of the season when we saw her in church with Franny. Ah, happier times. But as she looked at a woman with a little girl praying she seemed to go into a trance, pressing the wrist wound she got in the tunnel as if she needed to experience pain of a physical kind.
Was it to take away from the emotional tidal wave of grief, or did she think she was hallucinating the scene in the chapel? At the conclusion of the episode the same kind of lighting technique was used as she stood over Quinn in his hospital bed.
One day she arrived at Peter’s room and Dar Adal was asleep in a chair at the bedside, asking for the prognosis. Ever the realist, Dar assumed the worst and told Carrie in no uncertain terms that Quinn wouldn’t want to remain in some vegetative state. He also finally spilled the beans on Quinn’s time in the spy business.
Unlike what Peter told everyone, he didn’t come from a privileged background in Philadelphia.
He was orphaned and Dar took into the program in his mid-teens as an angry and brilliant young man. He was personally sponsored by Dar into the agency, a first he claimed. He was a prodigy. Then Carrie got handed the sealed envelope with the letter and learned about being Quinn’s choice for beneficiary.
Saul’s last stand
The letter was poignant, with Quinn’s voice in our ears as Carrie read it, but she was interrupted soon after she began by Saul. He needed an answer to a proposition he made sometime between finding her dazed at the train station and that moment.
Why not come back to work? She could be a freelancer, no more political crap for her at a station somewhere reporting to Langley. She would only work with him and could the whole paradigm of how they attempted to foil terror. Dhe rejected business as usual. He fought hard as Carrie told him, “I’m not that person any longer.”
Saul got angry and finally spit out that he needed her to continue for his sake, playing on her guilt of all he’d done for her as her mentor and saving her bacon many times when she’d go off the rails. We’ve heard Saul excoriate Carrie before, calling into question her judgement, forging her own path.
He was desperate, refusing to go quietly into retirement and working his magic once again to rehabilitate himself. You’ve got to wonder how many times our intelligence services would allow a guy like Saul to return again after his embarrassment in Pakistan and being compromised by Allison.
She refused without anger, but felt pangs of guilt which she revealed to Otto During when they met shortly thereafter. She didn’t know what she wanted to do other than to rest and spend time with Franny in the U.S. now that her dream of life with Jonas was over.
Carrie and Otto
Didn’t the foundation master have a nasty opinion of Carrie, looking for ways to get her off his payroll because of her instability? Yeah, that wasn’t that long ago, but something had occurred during the time he said those things to Jonas and the present.
It had always been an odd situation with Otto, who showed respect as well as disdain for her. Carrie allowed herself to be as vulnerable as she’d ever been with the wealthy do-gooder. He helped her more than once, flying Franny home and providing Carrie with assistance as she went to Amsterdam and back. He’d risked a lot by giving Carrie the CIA files that were leaked by Allison and hacked by Numan.
Now as the two were together talking about what was next for her, Otto During made a move. Yes, that kind of move. Touching her hand and coming close he offered her a true partnership that appeared to include him as well as a role to set the future for the foundation.
He told her that he’d been looking for “…someone who knows the world for what it is and also knows it must be made better.” Really? He reminded her of how she got her job at the foundation within moments of her interview beginning. A man like During isn’t impulse driven, yet admitted he was smitten from the moment he devoured her resume.
He was traveling back in time himself, remembering how impressed and taken with her he became, before it all got to be business and she found Jonas.
Just think about it, he told her as she stood speechless in front of him. I’m sure I speak for most when I say we will ALL think about it. It had that feel of an arranged marriage, which Carrie might come to appreciate and enjoy.
Otto said he would be in DC the following month and asked to meet up with her there as she tended to her emotional wounds and took time with Franny. It was her second proposal from important men in her life. One she rejected out of hand, the other she pondered like the rest of us as coming out of the blue.
But, hey, maybe the way Carrie will look at it is that if she can carve out the personal from the business side of During’s offer, maybe she can stay in Germany and hope to win back Jonas. Carrie’s like that, you know.
Astrid and Laura
Astrid swooped in to Laura’s cell and informed her the caper was over for her. She had found Numan and he was in custody, next to her. The documents were secure as well, so she had no more leverage. Astrid also told her about poor Faisal who killed himself while in her custody, after Saul had read tried to scare him.
The women traded accusations of who was responsible and then Astrid got down to the real business at hand.
If she didn’t care about how she ended up, as a martyr for her free-speech cause then she should care about what would happen to Numan. Avoid your Super Max prison fate in the U.S. and come over to the other side.
If she didn’t cooperate with the German authorities Numan would be returned to his home country of Turkey, where Astrid said he would tortured indefinitely or put him to death, and not in an efficient manner. Laura buckled, knowing that Numan had risked everything for her.
Her punishment was to go back on that TV news show and recant all she said about Faisal being an innocent bystander, mistreated by the intel services of the German government.
She apologized to the country and the BND, praising Germany for allowing her the freedom to ply her craft, which she abused.
She took the scorn that came from the news show host and wasn’t even able to take the thanks or praise for what she did when Numan called to ask how the heck he was let go. As a BNC snitch, is there a place for her with During, or has he thrown his lot in with Carrie, leaving Laura out in the cold?
The white light
Carrie got back to the hospital and locked Quinn’s door, putting a chair in front of it, keeping it from being opened and then stood over his bed, looking at him as his voice intoned the message in his letter. She pulled the shades closed and took his O-2 level monitor from his finger and put it on hers.
You had to assume that she heard Dar Adal’s words and was ready to help Quinn leave this vale of tears, so to speak, and release his spirit. As difficult as that would be for those of us who were on Team Quinn for years, it was time to let him go.
It was a fitting end to Peter Quinn’s time on HOMELAND, if in fact it is to be. We heard everything we ever wanted from him about his love for Carrie and his hope she would find something better, with some inspiration from him.
I always felt there was something kind of pulling me back to darkness. Does that make sense? But I wasn’t allowed a real life or a real love. That was for normal people. With you, I thought, well, maybe, just maybe. But I know now that was a false glimmer. I’m used to those. They happen all the time in the desert, but this one got to me. And here’s the thing: This death, this end of me, is exactly what should have happened. I wanted the darkness. I f—ing asked for it. It has me now.
So don’t put a star on the wall for me. Don’t say some dumb speech. Just think of me as a light on the headlands, a beacon steering you clear of the rocks.
I loved you.
Yours, forever now….Quinn
As she bent over him, the room got strangely bright and that same light as in the chapel bathed the scene. Another hallucination for Carrie, as Quinn’s words of “…a beacon steering you clear of the rock,” rang in her head? She looked back at the window and down at Quinn, seeming to be at peace.
Fade to black.
Was Quinn going into that light with his soul leaving his body? Was Carrie getting the clarity she needed to help him go down that road? Is it really possible that Quinn will survive?
I am thinking that is the least probable of all possibilities. The letter was the perfect way to end the character’s four seasons on the show. These two were ill-fated to say the least. They brought out the best and the worst in each other, but there was love. There was love, and while she tried to manufacture it with others, Quinn’s was pure. He always put her first and gave his life to keep her safe.
What’s your guess at what we’ll see when season 6 rolls around? How was the season overall, in your opinion?
Photo credit: HOMELAND/Showtime, used with permission