'Homeland' S6E5: Casus Belli

Casus belli: an event or action that justifies or allegedly justifies a war or conflict. Ref: Merriam-Webster.

The explosion and its aftermath have profound implications for President-elect Keane, Carrie, Quinn, and of course, Sekou's family. Both Carrie and Keane are blamed for the bombing and are isolated, with their reputations called into question.

"No one has taken responsibility for the attack."

One of the many TV news reporters says this. Most terrorist organizations cannot wait to claim responsibility, yet none have. Who really is behind this attack? Can it all possibly be down to Dar? The huge bomb exploded well before rush hour and both Keane and Conlin's astonishment that only two people (including Sekou) were killed does set off some alarms. Perhaps the person or persons behind this bombing wanted as little bloodshed as possible? That is the exact opposite of a terrorist organization's agenda.

"I just spent two years telling the country not to overreact every time we hear a bang; I feel like a deserter."

Keane trusts the Secret Service agent who states it is standard protocol to get her to safety, despite this being completely against her wishes. Her chief of staff seems to think it'll be a short-term arrangement until they can secure the hotel where she's been staying. It does seem unusual that he is not allowed to accompany her, and even more unusual that once she arrives at her location, the large house has no television to keep her informed or any secure communications setup. Surely for emergencies such a house would have all of this to keep the person who will be president in a short time fully informed?

Homeland: S6E5

With Keane sequestered, she is unable to respond to any verbal attacks that come her way, such as the camera footage of her leaving the hotel. Who leaked the footage and why? The camera was perfectly positioned to document Keane supposedly fleeing for her life, guarded by men with guns. It weakens her image, and more importantly, these dramatic optics almost invalidate her words and principles from the campaign trail. Every minute that passes without Keane being in front of a camera, speaking to the nation she will soon govern, weakens her and she has no knowledge until later that night when the footage is being played on networks as "Escape from New York." It is being capitalized on by a seething Elliot O'Keefe, the radio broadcaster Quinn listened to in previous episodes.

"Madam President-elect, were you expecting someone else?"

Dar arrives at the house and informs Keane that Carrie was part of Sekou's defense team. Does this now mean, along with what happens at Carrie's home, that Keane will no longer be able to have Carrie as her advisor, much less in a senior advisory capacity for the CIA? As Keane tries to get in touch with her staff, the phone Dar gave her is of no use, the operator cannot put her through to anyone, and then she is cut off, supposedly by the satellite signal dropping. Keane must know that she has walked straight into Dar's trap, especially when she hears O'Keefe's voice coming from a TV that has been upstairs all day. Seeing the resolve on Keane's face as she watches this person spewing hate is a sight to behold. This is not a woman who is going to be easily fooled again, now that she knows she has been isolated in order to invalidate her principles and destabilize her presidency.

"The recording, where did you get it?"

Conlin's demand, saying he's telling everything to his superiors about how Carrie and he got Sekou released, sends Carrie to her NSA source to warn him, only for her to receive a shock. He did not send her the bouquet of flowers with the recording of Saad and Conlin. He followed protocol and reported everything Carrie had asked for. So, who saw that document and supplied Carrie with the information? Carrie tells Conlin they have to meet face to face, but he tells her that her house is on the news. For the rest of the day, until the final shot of the episode, Carrie is in the same position as Keane: blamed, isolated, unable to investigate what really happened or communicate information.

"You said Nafisi was lying?"
"He may not be the only one."
"Do you think the whole thing was a charade?"

Saul is surprised to be met by Dar. With his usual misinformation, Dar tells Saul that Keane seems chastened and more open. Saul tells Dar his theory about Nafisi's empty cigarette packet, that Mossad must have been briefing Nafisi before he arrived. Ah, so now we know why that cigarette pack was in a part of the office Nafisi had not been in when Saul was there. Saul says he's waiting on confirmation about the truth from Javadi. Dar gives a little smile when Saul tells him he met with Javani. Is it admiration or has Saul fallen into yet another of Dar's traps?

"Is Quinn safe?"

The media descends on Carrie's house very quickly. It seems that local TV stations have been called and told to expect a demonstration outside Carrie's home, as she is part of the firm defending Sekou.

Possibly hired "demonstrators" then arrive and as they are hurling rocks through the front windows, Quinn instinctively reacts and shoots one of them in the shoulder. Immediately, everyone flees. The police arrive. After taking one of the ESU officers hostage, with Quinn showing exceptional tradecraft throughout that entire scene, we realize his only mission is to protect Franny. Everything he does that day is to keep her safe. When the police finally allow Carrie into the downstairs apartment and she talks with Quinn, he doesn't realize the man is police, he thinks he's to do with the guy across the road, and Carrie yet again dismisses this as paranoia.

Homeland: S6E5

"I have proof."

Most of Quinn is still there. His damaged mind is trying so hard to put the pieces together. Unfortunately, he cannot communicate this at all, verbally. Crucially, Quinn shows Carrie the phone before the police breach the apartment.

Once everything has calmed down, Carrie is fetching the stuffed bunny when she looks at the shattered apartment door and sees Quinn's phone. The photos communicate far more than Quinn's words have been able to, sending her to the corner of her building, shrouded in shadows, watching that window. After a few seconds, Carrie sees the man lower the blind and turn away. Now she knows Quinn has been right all along.

No matter who the mastermind behind all of today's events is, they did not achieve their full purpose. All they have done is strengthen the resolve of the two women they wanted sidelined. Next week, with Carrie in full spy mode and Keane showing her power as the soon-to-be commander-in-chief, will certainly be something to watch. However, both will probably have a fight on their hands.



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Feb 23, 2017 7:25PM EST

I didn't realise quite how many parallels there were between Carrie and Keane's storylines there were this episode! Also I've no idea what Dar is up to this season, but I think he's sitting in the middle of the web pulling more strings than we know...

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Feb 24, 2017 5:33PM EST

@Lucy, hi! I know, I didn't realize the parallels either until I was reading through the notes I take when watching the episode. I think the writers are just doing amazing work, this season.

That's such a great comment about Dar, I totally agree, with your assessment of him. He's just always *there* at the right time to place doubt or scare or find out info. Also, I think it was the last scene of the premiere where he closed sliding doors, leaving him (in charge?) of a room full of at least one Senator plus all the other opponents of Keane. There may be someone behind him and the writers have us all fooled but I'm with you, I don't think so. I guess that's the fun part, trying to discover who it is that's behind all of the goings-on.

Thank you so much for your comment! Can't wait for Sunday's episode! : )

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