Warning: Spoiler Alert
The Seventies were a “learning decade” for the American people, as a President and Vice President resigned their posts, in a year’s time. We also found out about clandestine missions undertaken by the FBI and the CIA and that these missions occurred with very little oversight. New laws and bills got passed, making United States Intelligence Agencies, more accountable, limiting their abilities to do things our citizens would disapprove of. However after 9/11, many of the restraints got lifted and some say the Agency operates as it did in the Sixties.
How must it feel, for an idealistic CIA Agent in the field, risking their lives fighting corrupt governments around the globe, to find out that your Agency’s run through back-door deals, that undo all the good that you accomplished? In the fourth season finale of the Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” former Islamabad CIA Station Chief Carrie Mathison, dealt with that realization in the episode’s closing minutes. Even the one man she trusted, now seems to have feet of clay.
There was very little action or excitement in the season finale, but this season’s had plenty of both in previous episodes. This was an episode, that gave it’s audience some deep background information about the characters, revealing things about the Mathison family, that had never even been hinted at. We also watched as Carrie blew what might have turned out as her “Happy Ending,” by her indecision and fear of commitment.
Carrie’s back in the States and in the first scene we see her looking at a man’s belongings, his shoes, his ties, an extensive matchbook collection, souvenirs of trips throughout his lifetime. Suddenly Carrie’s sister Maggie walks into the room holding an old razor, their dad’s who just passed away and we realize they’re sorting through his belongings. Suddenly the doorbell rings, she looks out the window and sees a Government staff car and a chauffeur in her driveway, she tells Maggie she’ll handle it.
She answers the front door, to find Agency official Dar Adal waiting for her, he tells her he’s sorry about her dad and asks if she’s going to invite him into her home. She tells him that Frannie’s asleep, and they sit down on some furniture on her front porch. Adal, dispenses with social graces and gets right to the point of his visit, he asks Mathison where Peter Quinn’s at. Carrie tells him she’s not sure if he’s returned from Islamabad, he’s on a mission to kill Taliban leader Haissam Haqqani, Dar tells her Haqqani’s back in the tribal areas and out of Quinn’s reach. He leaves, but asks her to contact him if she hears from Peter.
Saul Berenson’s sitting on his bed watching ISI leader and ally of Haqqani, Nasneem speaking to the press about the United States cutting off diplomatic relations with Pakistan. She insults the USA, says that her country’s been under the United States thumb for too long and says if they want to leave, let them. Saul’s wife Mira shuts off the set with the remote control and tells her husband he’s got to get his mind off Pakistan. He got terminated by the contractor he worked for, he wants to return to the Agency, but she tells him he realizes that’s not possible. He says he has to get dressed for his meeting.
Carrie takes Frannie to the park in her stroller and an older gentleman walks up to them and asks if that’s Frannie, he’s a friend of Carries father and has yet to hear of his passing. He tells her that Frank loved her daughter so much, then asks if she’s Carrie. Mathison’s taken aback, but the man tells her that Frank bragged about her all the time, that she had problems adjusting to motherhood, but she’d be back to raise the baby. He said Carrie’s made of tough stuff. She thanks the man for telling her that and heads home.
Carrie and daughter return from the park and she notices a strange car in the driveway with Missouri plates. After she hands off Frannie to the nanny, she walks into the kitchen, shocked at whose with Maggie. It’s the girl’s mother Ellen, a character never mentioned during the series until this point. Turns out Ellen went out to get some milk 15-years earlier and never came home. Carrie’s enraged to see her, asking if she thinks she can pull off the grieving wife routine after all this time?
Carrie tells her to leave the house, when Maggie reminds her that the house belongs to her and she wants Ellen to stay. Mathison says then she and the baby will go elsewhere, which prompts Ellen to leave the house, Maggie hesitates a minute than runs after her but Ellen’s driven away.
Saul meets with a top Government official Joe Crocker, about the possibilities of regaining his position as CIA Chief, with Lockhart’s resignation pending. Crocker tells him there’s nobody he’d rather run the Agency, but once Haqqani releases the tape of Saul as a prisoner, his nomination would go down in flames. Saul then asked about getting a bureau or even become Chief of Station, but Crocker tells Saul it’s not in the cards.
Carrie and Maggie are sitting on the front door step, as Carrie somewhat apologizes for the way she treated their mother. She says to Maggie that she thought she hated Ellen and Maggie responded, she thought so too until she showed up. She says that now she’ll be out of contact for another 15-years, but Carrie tells her she got the tag numbers and can find out where she lives in an hour.
The funeral’s the following morning and Carrie gives the eulogy for her dad. She mentions the things he cherished, like the Baltimore Orioles and he’d yell at the TV for his team to stop stinking up the diamond. She then says he had his demons, but he learned how to control them, then he taught her how to control hers when she developed the same illness. She thanks him for taking care of Frannie, but tells him she’s ready to take over now.
Outside the church mourners come to embrace her and wish her condolences, when she sees Quinn standing 50-yards away, she excuses herself, runs over and embraces him telling him she’d been worried sick. He drives her back to the house in his truck and he got out of Pakistan due to his friends in German Intelligence. Carrie then tells her she had Haqqani in her sights, ready to shoot, when Aasar Khan stopped her, she omitted that Dar Adal was in the vehicle with Haqqani.
Maggie asks Carrie who Peter is and she tells her he’s a friend from work, Maggie says that he’s getting along famously with Frannie. Mathison seeks out Saul and asks Mira if she can steal him for a bit and she smiles and says of course. She asks what he learned in his meeting with Crocker and Saul says not a whole lot. Carrie asks what his explanation of Adal being with Haqqani and Berenson says he left names out of the conversation. He says that right now that information stays with them and don’t share it with Quinn and she wholeheartedly agrees.
Peter comes over right at that moment and asks if he’s interrupting and they tell him not in the least. the three sit down at a table that looks like it’s in a screened in porch. Peter asks if Carrie’s dad liked Irish Whiskey and she says sure, as Quinn pulls three glasses. After they’ve talked for a while Lockhart, arrives to pay his respects and apologizes for being so late but he got tied up with his lawyers. Peter pours him a glass and they toast.
Quinn stays to help clean up and then Carrie walks him to his truck, Maggie smiles when they leave, showing that she thinks he and Carrie belong together. The couple make small-talk ass they walk back to the truck and Peter has that look on his face like he wants to kiss her but he’s afraid, she looks back looking very frightened. But suddenly they pull together and fall into a deep and passionate kiss.
As soon as they stop, Mathison says she’s going to screw this up and Peter says she’s silly. He tells her he’s seen her at her worst and she says he should’ve run for the hills. Quinn then tells her he wants out of the Agency, but he can’t do it alone, he needs her by his side making the move with him. He asks her to consider it and drives home.
She can’t sleep, so she gets out of bed and heads into her dad’s room, sits down at his desk and goes through the drawers. She finds a bunch of pictures of her parents when they first got married and sees how happy they looked. The first thing in the morning she’s loaded her suitcase and tells Maggie they’re going on a road-trip to see her mother. Maggie convinces Carrie to leave Frannie with her and Carrie drives to Missouri.
Later that day an old friend and fellow operative Dale shows up at Peter’s apartment and tells him they’re going on a mission to Syria, but Quinn says he’s not going and he’s quitting the Agency. Dale thinks he’s joking at first, but Peter makes it clear he’s serious. Dale pulls out all the stops, but fails to convince his friend, so he hands Quinn the possible last letters from the agents heading over.
Carrie drives straight through the night and arrives at Ellen’s home in the morning. She rings the bell and a teenage boy, answers it and asks if he can help her. She asks if Ellen’s home and he tells her she went to work, Carrie asks teaching and the boy confirms it and says Jefferson. He asks who she is and she replies just a friend and then just stands there. The boy tells her he’s going to school, Carrie apologizes and gets in her car. We watch the boy ride off on his bike and Mathison drives to Ellen’s school.
Ellen’s surprised to see her and Carrie tells her she drove all night. Carrie asks whom the boy is and Ellen tells her it’s her brother, Tim. Carrie blurts out that’s why you left to have more children and apologizes, but Ellen says she deserves it. She can’t talk now, but asks her daughter to come to her home at 3:30 that afternoon.
Berenson and Adal meet in a restaurant booth for a breakfast meeting. Dar asks Saul how his meeting went with Crocker and Berenson says he’s out of the running for CIA Director. Adal asks him, what he’d say if Dar could guarantee to get him back on the very short list to become Director and Berenson, replies he’d tell Adal he’s having a major senior moment.
Adal puts a tiny plastic container on the table and Saul asks what’s that, Dar replies it’s the tape from Haqqani, it’s supposedly the only copy, but Haqqani promised he’d never release it publicly. Saul asks what Dar gave in return and the longtime Agency employee, told Saul he took him off the kill list and gave him free rein in Pakistan in return for keeping terrorists out of Afghanistan. Saul replies Haqqani’s the terrorist and though Adal agrees, he says Haqqani will take over Kabul in the next few months.
Adal then explains the world according to him, which brought no great revelations for viewers. We met Dar Adal in season two of the series and we’ve witnessed him conveniently switch sides, according to the situation. Adal originally pushed for Berenson to become the permanent Director of the Agency last season, but quickly sidled up to former Senator Andrew Lockhart, when he got the position.
Saul tells Adal that he’s uncomfortable with the situation and making deals with enemies, Dar reminds Berenson, that there’s plenty of precedent in the global community. Then he says to Saul to come back to his home and lead them, the Agency awaits him with open arms.
Carrie’s in her hotel room, when Peter calls and says there’s a rumor she’s in Missouri and she tells him she drove there to talk to her mother. Peter asks if she’s given any thought to his proposal and she basically tells him she’s too wrapped up with her mother, to give it any thought. Quinn says that if the answers, a no, that’s okay.
Carrie assures him she’s not saying no, but she just found out she’s got a teenage brother. Then she says, she’s off making crazy trips, just like her dad did, how will things work out between them and Quinn says, so this is the no. She once again assures him, that it’s just the opposite, she just can’t handle pressure right now. She says she’ll call him when she gets home, he says sure, then throws his phone to the floor.
Mathison heads to Ellen’s house and she asks her mother if there’s any chance she’ll confront Tim’s father and her mother tells her the father took off before she gave birth. Carrie asks her why didn’t she just say she got pregnant and come home. Ellen replies she couldn’t bring herself to admit it, she had hurt too many people. She then admits to Carrie she had numerous affairs and Frank always forgave her and took her back, but she crossed the line in her own mind this time.
Carrie says that Frank always said she just couldn’t live with him being bi-polar, but she said her father was loyal. Carrie says she always thought she couldn’t have a long-term relationship because of her condition. Ellen says that’s not the case and Carrie leaves. Mathison heads back to her motel room and packs her bags, then calls Quinn, but his number’s disconnected as is his e-mail account. She gets Adal’s voice mail and asks where’s Quinn then drives home.
The four-man unit that’s heading for Syria makes it’s final preparations, when Quinn arrives asking who’s the new guy, he steps up and Peter says he’s taking his spot. The rookie’s unhappy, but Dale’s extremely pleased that Peter decided to join the mission.
Mathison drives to Adal’s house and rings the bell until he gets to the door, she thanks him for returning her message and he replies she’d supposed to contact him when she saw Peter. She asks where he is and he tells her to get in the house. He tells her that he’s most likely in Syria at this moment, she says she needs to speak to him and he replies they went dark an hour before. He says it’s an open-ended mission, and they’ll most likely head home from Iraq. She says she needs to talk to him and Adal says she can’t.
She then looks him dead in the eye and tells him she saw him with Haqqani in Islamabad. He asks her what game she’s playing and she says getting what I want. She says if she doesn’t get her to speak to Peter, she’s heading to the Washington Post and telling them what she saw. He says she’s crazy and perhaps she’d like to talk to Saul first, she replies she knows what Berenson will say. Adal says, well ask him yourself, opens the door to his patio and she sees Saul sitting there. Her face shows her shock and disillusionment, she silently leaves, gets into her car and drives away, ending the season.