Homeland started its sixth season on Sunday night, and immediately rectified the biggest cliffhanger from the fifth season finale — and not in a good way.
In that finale, Carrie Mathieson stood over a comatose Peter Quinn, with Quinn seemingly destined for a vegetative lifestyle if he did manage to survive. After closing and barring the door, it seemed like Carrie was going to pull the plug on Quinn. Roughly two minutes into the premiere, we find out that Carrie didn’t in fact put Quinn out of his misery, and he’s at a VA hospital. Carrie is showing up at the facility every so often, and when she does, Quinn gets upset.
Saul Berensen and Dal Adal brief President-elect Elizabeth Keane (my god, you couldn’t have chosen a more original name? The main character on The Blacklist is named… Elizabeth Keen) on affairs in the Middle East. We don’t learn much of anything, aside from the fact that the US is still there, meddling in affairs and the President elect wouldn’t object to pulling troops out.
Later, Dar and Saul discuss the President elect’s “naive and dangerous” ideas for the Middle East. Dar reveals their the President elect’s son was killed during his third tour of Iraq, and assumes that she intends to hold the CIA accountable for his death all these years later. Dar meets with a woman named Tovah Rivlin to complain about the President elect’s views on the Middle East, and vows to implement a plan within the next eight weeks.
Saul meets with Senator named Soto about the President elect’s policies, and the two have differing opinions and what the best course is going forward. Soto then shows up to a clandestine meeting to meet with Dar Adal and others…and Saul wasn’t invited. Aw. Poor Saul.
A Muslim named Sekou Bah stands outside of a Marriott in New York while being recorded by a friend, and takes viewers into the hotel, where he talks about the assassination of Meir Kahane in 1990. They then walk to Times Square and record another video. Upon returning home, Bah’s friend needs Bah to talk to someone about something or other. He doesn’t want to, over fear it would attract too much attention. The FBI busts into his family’s apartment and takes him away. His mother and sister refuse to answer the FBI’s questions, and they search the apartment.
Carrie goes to a briefing, where she’s surprised to see her old boss Otto During. Otto criticizes Carrie’s current efforts in New York, implores her to return to his foundation in Germany, tells her he met someone, gives her a gift for Carrie’s daughter Franny (hey, remember when Carrie’s pregnancy via Brody mattered?) and leaves.
Quinn gets smuggled out of his rehab facility and meets a lady friend. He has trouble getting it up, and doesn’t know what a windshield is called. Quinn’s adventures continue, as he cashes a check and drives off with his lover. They end up in her whorehouse, where Quinn smokes crack. I liked this storyline better when it involved Jack Bauer, heroin, and actual action.
One hooker is giving Quinn a blowjob while the other watches. A guy named Tommy decides to rob him, but the hooker that initially picked Quinn up talks him out of it (and then presumably has sex with him). He then decides to go through with it anyway, and after Quinn takes too long getting his money out, pistol whips him.
Carrie and a colleague meet with Bah and sympathize with his situation. Carrie tries to plead his case to the FBI agent (Ray Conlin) in charge of his case, which goes about as well as you’d expect.
Carrie then goes to the VA to check on Quinn, and finds that he’s missing. She learns where he went the night before, collects him, and takes him back to the VA. Quinn has an outburst directed towards her and is restrained by security guards… and then Carrie pleads for the guards to let him go, and takes him back to her place to take care of him. I see no way in which this situation goes wrong at all.
Out of all of the season premieres of Homeland, this was probably my least favorite. The storylines set up seem to be very paint by numbers, and lack much passion right now. Quinn’s alive (which, why???), has PTSD, and his life a complete disaster. Carrie’s a bleeding heart, and will try to take care of Quinn while also taking care of Franny and her job.
Meanwhile, Sekou Bah’s storyline is already bringing up memories of Aayan from Season 4. God help us all if it turns out that he’s not radicalized, but people close to him are, and the FBI uses him to get close to them.
The Saul/Dar drama is also ridiculous — “Hey, the President elect has opinions about our foreign policy partially motivated by a personal tragedy and are totally counter to our country’s policies over the past 40 years. Let’s potentially stage a coup!” Needless to say, I’m not optimistic about how this is going to go over the coming weeks.
Homeland has been renewed by Showtime through season eight, which will apparently be the show’s final season. After reaching a low point in season three, the series bounced back in season four before falling off (though not to season three’s level) in season five. Season six is setting up to be the season with the least action and most bureaucracy yet — and that’s not a good thing. Taking the best character in the series and turning him into a junkie who can barely hold a beer can upright was a terrible idea. Further pushing Saul to the back burner is an awful idea, but I’m optimistic that he won’t just play second fiddle to Dar all season.
And then there’s Carrie, and I don’t know what you can even say about her anymore. Her character has become entirely predictable and, as a result, completely boring. It’s sad to see, because she was once written so strongly, but now, she can be summed up as “Well, she has a heart of gold!”
Here’s hoping this was the low point for the season, and that storylines continue to develop and tensions start building. I’ll sum up the premiere with two words: “bleak” and “boring.”