What the hell was that?
The Homeland season 4 finale, Long Time Coming, was a sharp left turn into deep dissatisfaction. It had excellent character moments, but after a season full of action and espionage, an episode of virtually nothing but character moments was, in my view, a big mistake.
It wasn’t purely character work; the political machinations involving Dar Adal and Saul Berenson influenced every moment, but what are we to make of them? First, there’s the video. I presume this is the video shown in “Previously On”—Saul a prisoner of Haqqani. Why is this a career-destroying piece of evidence? Everyone takes it as a given and no one explains. Doesn’t the fact that Saul was kidnapped by the Taliban and then freed make him, I dunno, an American hero? Rah, rah, we got our guy back? Yes, the trade for him was heinous, but the information that it occurred will never be released. All the American people will ever be told is that “negotiations” happened. What am I missing?
So, Carrie’s dad (the late James Rebhorn) has a funeral, and a friend at the park, and an ex-wife who is sad. But not granddaughters, except Frannie, because whatshername, Carrie’s sister, has two daughters who weren’t important enough to show grieving, even though this episode was ALL ABOUT character.
And Quinn shows up, and does that tiny, tight, fatalistic thing he does that resembles smiling, and then he kisses Carrie, and immediately, without discussion, they both know they’re talking about a relationship and not hot monkey sex in the back of the SUV.
I can even accept that. They’ve known each other for a while, and maybe the unspoken knowledge is fine, except we all have to remember that the character of Quinn was introduced as Dar Adal’s Black Ops man who was sent to kill Brody, and Carrie if necessary. Because that seems important.
Funerals are hard to film. The pacing is sometimes glacial and sometimes herky-jerky. Witness the lasagna scene. I have an important question about that scene. Who cares? We are forgiving Lockhart for being a huge dick because…why exactly? Because his dickishness was bumbling enough to destroy his own career? Because he brought lasagna? That he didn’t even make himself?
Then Carrie goes in search of her mother. At first she rejects her, but later she seeks her out. In the end, we’re meant to understand that the key factor changing her mind is that magic kiss from Quinn in between. She thinks she cannot be loved, just as her father couldn’t be loved, because of her disorder. When the possibility of love appears, she goes on a “crazy road trip” to find out exactly why her father couldn’t be loved.
This is some weird motivation, if you ask me. Real psychology involves the horror of abandonment when your mother leaves you, and how that affects your future ability to attach. It’s not a careful dissection of your father’s love life. Which, ew.
But she wants to find out if a real relationship is possible. As hot as the chemistry was between her and Brody (way hotter than Carrie and Quinn), there was never a chance of anything substantive there, what with him being married and a traitor and all. So this is a real question for her.
She asks Quinn to give her time to decide. After 24 hours, he’s tired of waiting. This is completely reasonable, given her history, given their recent exit from Islamabad, and given these are the 24 hours after her father’s memorial service. What an asshole.
Sorry, I’ve had a lot of sympathy for Quinn all season long, but this is him treating Carrie no better than he treated his poor nameless landlady. Quinn loves to wallow in his own feelings, but pushed against having real respect for the emotions of someone else, he retreats into his next murderous/suicidal mission. There he can be flooded with his own feelings while killing off, literally, the possibility of someone else having them. Carrie, who feels deeply, is too much for him.
Of course, that’s not how it’ll play out in Season 5. There will! Be! Feelings! The ‘shippers demand it.
And the season ends with Carrie betrayed by Saul. Oh well.
This is such a huge let down, because the season has been so well-done. Some of the dangling loose ends are clearly on purpose: Saul, Quinn, Carrie’s abilities as a driver. And I guess Haqqani remains Big Bad next season, and Handsome Pakistani Colonel comes back, because all of that is unresolved. But what was the point of building all those components to a fever pitch, and then wasting the denouement on a lot of thinking and opening doors and driving around?
I expected better.