Homeland 4.11: Krieg Nicht Lieb

 Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 12:12 am  Homeland
Dec 152014

Homeland Title Watch has not always been a rewarding game, but this week it’s Krieg Nicht Lieb: War, Not Love.

Previously On has Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) saying that “It’s a sentimental idea… that our people come before the mission.” That’s from the Season 3 finale, and is pure foreshadowing for a devastating final three seconds.

War, Not Love.

Dar Adal, what have you done? How long have you been in bed with Haqqani? Do we really understand, now, that you helped arranged the slaughter of an innocent Pakistani wedding party? Saul’s kidnapping? The slaughter of most of the population of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad? This is devastating!

We are still grieving Fara. We are grieving John Redmond. We are reeling from the extraordinary violence visited upon these people, the callous and wholesale disregard for human life. We, with Carrie, are rocked to the ground by the understanding that “we lost.” While Quinn engineers a singular revenge, Carrie just wants the death to stop.

And it does not. We are also now grieving Frank Mathison (R.I.P. James Rebhorn). Claire Danes has her Emmy episode here, struggling to hold her shit together, to simply not break, at the news that her father has died, at that most natural and human longing, to see life (her daughter) in the face of death. This was subtle and complicated acting. We’re so used to mocking Carrie-Crazy-Face that we forget how good Danes really is. This week, she reminded us.

But that’s not my point. My point is…all this. ALL. THIS. How deeply involved was Dar Adal? How much blood is on his hands? How is any of this bearable?

Professor Spouse asks that we pause for a moment in our outrage and shock and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING TO HAPPEN and all of that, and contemplate the breadth of the sexism of this show. Sometimes Homeland manages to be about sexism, allowing us to look almost dispassionately at the way women are treated. Other times, though, that’s a pale excuse for what is, after all, just plain ol’ sexism. Exhibit A: Martha Boyd, wife first, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan second. Exhibit B: German ex-girlfriend. Someone in the ambassadorial corps in Islamabad–surely a small community–doesn’t know that Carrie Mathison is the Station Chief of the CIA? Knows only that she is a pretty woman to resent, snidely referring to her as Quinn’s “girlfriend”? Are there no woman with motives that don’t revolve around men? Even Doctor Kiran is political only because she loved Aayan. It’s starting to be embarrassing.

Despite that complaint, these past two or three episodes, Homeland has gotten amazingly good. It’s done so without relying on cheese or romance or annoying teenagers. It’s done it purely with espionage action/adventure/mystery, and, despite an unreality the James Bond fans among us can readily accept, it’s done it straightforwardly. This is no-frills espionage, even if it’s overblown. Frankly, it’s terrific.


  17 Responses to “Homeland 4.11: Krieg Nicht Lieb”

  1. I don’t think that Adal is necessarily responsible for everything going sideways that went sideways, though he may be responsible for the wedding drone fuckup and Sandy getting betrayed/iced. If so, Carrie via Lockhart has been in his way all season, and, for Dar Adal, he has shown remarkable restraint. Switching out Carrie’s meds to precipitate a psychotic break to get her sent home (and either move Quinn back stateside or cleanly back into Adal’s operational pull) wouldn’t be out of line for Adal, however.

    Tasmeen may have been working for Adal all along/Adal may have bee playing Tasmeen all along. Remember when she asks whether Lockhart is going to be at the prisoner exchange? And remember the CIA station guy who got sent home from Islamabad and buried in the archives.. that sort of smells of Adal.

    The German agent’s revelation that Quinn has been “quitting” every 6-18 months ever since she has known him — at least 8 years, right? — means that Adal knows Quinn’s emotional pattern and is used to forgiving/absolving him of his transgressions and playing him back in. It’s the darkside father/son version of the Saul/Carrie father/daughter dynamic. I think that Adal let Quinn twist in the wind in this case to teach him a lesson… or trusted him enough to let him twist to provide unwitting cover for Adal to move in. For Khan to know who Adal is, it would seem that Adal would have had to approached Khan, likely on the advice of Saul.

    (That scene with Khan interrupting Carrie’s shot at Haqquani … oh, yeah, right. That could happen.)

    I hope that the Saul getting himself kidnapped move wasn’t a suicide run because the character of Saul has received notice of a terminal health situation. One can hear Adal: “You’re dying Saul?! So sorry, old friend, but here’s how we can use that.”

    After the preview, I am curious to see the rest of the scene between Adal and Carrie. It’s unusual for a female character to put it in terms of “the getting what I fucking want” game. Go, Carrie!

  2. Think back to early in this episode, when Carrie and Khan are walking and talking. “It was a goddamned coup,” he said to her.

    Now remember the scene shortly thereafter, when a bewildered Lockhart asks Carrie if something is going on that he hasn’t been told about, when he tells her “they’re shopping for my replacement”. He’s about to go down in metaphorical flames that will rival the real ones his drone program delivered.

    Dar Adal is there to help install Haqqani as the next leader. It IS a coup. A coup led and managed by one faction of the CIA, with lots of lives–American and Pakistani and Afghan–sacrificed in the process, the goal being that the US will give Haqqani (like Saddam) what he wants: the glory of power, the ego-stroking of being able to ride through the streets and hear people shout your name, and he will in turn supply them with something (most likely oil rights, pipeline rights, and/or mining rights). It will last until he gets too big for his boots, at which point the US will remove him by whatever means necessary.

    Shocking to watch, yes, but it has happened in real life. More than once. And not just in the Middle East.

    This time (and only on TV) the Carrie and Quinn show are going to mess it up.

    • Just wanted to add: Haqqani riding through the streets of Islamabad, poking out of the sunroof of his SUV calls to mind–sharply–the footage of Muammar Gaddafi riding through the streets of Tripoli, back in the day. There was another leader who had an on-again/off-again relationship with the CIA, who was brutal (the CIA used to rendition prisoners to Libya when they wanted them tortured in the extreme), who ruled over a volatile nation largely dependent on its oil revenue, who would ultimately get too big for his boots and threaten Big Oil…the rest is history.

      • Agreed re sharp reading. Huh. I hadn’t considered that. So Adal is in the car representing the interests of the Northern States Foundation (or whatever the name of that group with which he is affiliated and via which he is able to access the Javadi’s American lawyer in S3)?

        • I don’t know if the writers are as attentive to that kind of detail (Adal being part of the Northern States Foundation). But maybe!

          Certainly, he is representing that part of the CIA that, to quote Carrie, “No-one likes to talk about.” The off-the-books, black ops stuff that, in real life as seemingly in Homeland, is involved with “regime change”.

          • We need more Adal backstory!

            • This show provides very little back story for anyone.

            • Yes, just tantalizing teases and weirdly effective (Duck) intertextualities. The real story arc of Homeland is the mingling of the light and the dark sides of the CIA. I would be fine with a next series of Homeland that was all backstory while the characters sit in DC on a relative breather while administering/running stuff in the field.

        • Northern American states or global?

          • That detail is in the scene in S3 which Dar Adal meets with Javadi’s American lawyer. Both are involved in some sort of extra-governmental organization called the Northern Hemisphere Foundation (…or maybe Organization).

    • Very sharp reading!

    • I find it hard to believe that the CIA would make a Taliban leader the dictator of Pakistan (which incidentally has nuclear weapons, of course). I may be naive, but I think the policy of changing foreign governments by subterfuge and subversion as opposed to invasion was largely confined to the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations (aside from Nixon and Kissinger’s covert funding of the opposition press in Chile before the right-wing military coup). The same is true of assassination attempts..

      • The CIA not be in bed with distasteful factions in Afghanistan? Oh dear. You’re probably a lot younger than I am, but in the late 1970s, the CIA spent billions of dollars supporting the Afghan mujahideen militants so they could defeat the Soviets. It wound up being one the agency’s most expensive covert operations ever. They actually ran most of that–funding the insurgents–using ISI intermediaries, too. (Which makes one wonder if that is part of what’s going on in Homeland. It would explain Tasneen’s caginess–she may be reporting to both Haqqani and Dar Adal.)

        There were, and are, plenty of others. The United States has actually exerted varying degrees of “influence” and spent varying sums of money–often (usually) covertly–in a number of regime changes since the Kennedy administration. For example, in Tibet, when the CIA sought to destabilize communist Chinese rule there (not very successfully, I’d add), starting during the ’50s and continuing through the ’70s.

        There was also the Argentinian coup (1976) that overthrew Perón and installed a military junta trained by the School of the Americas (a sort of training camp run by the CIA, for dictators and their armies, wherein the subjects taught are all pretty brutal).

        And the coup in Turkey, in 1980 (the US conveniently had a few thousand troops in country to give support).

        And the Solidarity Movement in Poland in 1980–again, the CIA’s intelligence and public relations efforts were more about destabilizing eastern-bloc communist power structures than caring about the people of the country and forging “solidarity” with them.

        And of course the CIA, in the early 80s, were instrumental in destabilizing Nicaragua. Then they illegally funded the Contras (breaking US law that prohibited doing just that), using money they got by selling arms to Iran (also prohibited by US law). They got slapped on the wrist for that one.

        And Iraq, in the early 90s, after the end of the first Gulf War: the CIA had already begun a covert campaign to get rid of Saddam Hussein. There were various Ba’ath operatives and military officers involved and some failed bombing attempts and, eventually, leaks that wound up compromising the whole thing, getting a lot of the Iraqi officers captured and executed (undoubtedly tortured, too, which Hussein was famous for).

        There was the failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s government (Chavez) in 2002. And of course the Iraq invasion and war–“Operation Iraqi Freedom”–in 2003.

        And Honduras, where I lived as a kid–the CIA was, I am certain, very much hands-on in the ousting of populist president Zelaya and installation of a military junta in 2009, though that was recent enough that little documentation of said involvement exists yet. Usually it takes several years to surface. That said, it is a known fact that key players General Velásquez (head of the military) and General Suazo (head of the air force) are both graduates of the aforementioned CIA-run School of the Americas. I remember when the Wikileaks stuff came out, there was one cable in which the US ambassador reviewed the legality of the coup and determined that it was illegal–apparently he was kept out of the loop.

        Anyway…I’ve probably left out a few other countries–those are the ones I paid the most attention to, for various reasons–but you get the idea. There are no sentimental allegiances, just as there is no distaste for ideologies. It’s only, and always, about achieving an end.

        • I meant very specifically putting a Taliban leader in control. In general thinking that ideology doesn’t matter or is a mere smokescreen for interests is a great illusion. As to the more definitely established of your examples, Nicaragua is the clearest case I think. I should have been less definitive. “You’re probably a lot younger than I am.” I rather doubt it.

  3. On another forum that I read, a few people think Dar could have been sent by the CIA. And maybe is trying to negotiate the black book in exchange for something.

    • Maybe Haqquani wanted the asset list/book because he’s on/in it.

      Maybe the wedding drone strike deal was intended to *allow* Haqquani to disappear. If Farah had not spotted him, he would have gotten away with it. Sandy was the loose end, and he was set up to be pinched off. It all went sideways after Carrie and Quinn saw Sandy on the tee vee and rode to the rescue. Grabbing Saul was a pivot for renegotiation.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.