'Homeland' S6E12: America First

"Believe me, it was never my intention for things to turn so dark. Ultimately, I lost control of what I set in motion. What I did was unforgivable, but I'm not sure it was wrong. There's something off about her — the president, I mean. I know, I've said it before, but there's something dogmatic and dangerous, something distinctly un-American."

Much as I've loathed him this season, after watching the entire finale, I was taking no satisfaction in seeing Dar in a military jumpsuit, one of the 16 people already detained in a military facility. Dar's instinct is correct.

Saul: "Carrie, are you gettin' this? Cracker and Cross were detained this morning. They're making arrests all over Washington. You gotta talk to her, Carrie. Tell her to stop this insanity."

Newsreader: "...dozens of arrests made in connection with the attempted assassination of the president earlier this month. According to the president's chief of staff, those arrested include officials from all departments of government, including State, the Department of Defense, and the CIA."

With these key senior officials arrested, Keane has effectively hobbled the entire government, not just its main agencies.

"Everyone detained today was connected to the conspiracy," Carrie is told by Keane's new chief of staff. Carrie's reply: "You used me. I didn't know we were going to go full Joseph Stalin. This has nothing to do with conspiracy, this is political housecleaning — payback, pure and simple."

Homeland: S6E12

As usual, her analysis is correct. The end shot of her looking back at the Capitol after being escorted from the White House shows her, the one free spy, out in the cold, up against an entire government. It's a grim shot and by the look in Carrie's eyes, she realizes she helped bring about this totalitarian regime, albeit unknowingly. I have to wonder if this is why, six weeks on, Franny has yet to be returned to her. That's at least two months Franny has been gone and only now a home visit has been arranged. It's all very strange and makes me think that Franny has been kept away from her mother simply to keep Carrie quiet.

"What we do know is that everything she said she would do was a lieā€¦ she has expanded the Patriot Act, ignored court orders."

I admire Homeland for leaving it to Brett O'Keefe to tell us what's happening. Keane has had 16 government officials, including a senator, sitting in a military prison with no explanation. He also says she is ignoring court orders. Of course, this broadcast is before Saul has a gun pointed at him in his car and most everyone else seated around the "Carrie table" was arrested.

"Did she even put her hand on a Bible?"

There should at least have been a video made available to the press. It is troubling that not even one photograph was made public. Why?

Brett O'Keefe, Dar Adal, et al. played straight into Keane's plan to dismantle the government agencies, not just the CIA. It's curious that he has yet to be arrested. His egregious behavior and his domestic propaganda machine at "900" is all well known, announced on his show to the world. Surely he's being investigated by both the media and government agencies. Yet, he goes free as government officials with no complicity are arrested? Weird. Suspicious.

Keane's chief of staff mentions to Carrie that they're listening to conversations gathered by the NSA? Is "900" perhaps part of that information gathering? There was no mention of that organization in the finale.

For me, the strangest thing about O'Keefe's "black box" operation at "900" is: why wasn't it up and running before the election? Why was "900" only hiring like crazy after Keane had been elected? Surely the mere fact that she was in the running for a very close presidential race would have made "900" indispensable to invalidate her long before anyone got near a ballot box?

They should have hit her with her son's "cowardice" before the election, made her unelectable. Why would someone like O'Keefe wait till after Keane was elected to start with the fibre optic cables and the hiring of all those government officials? We still don't know who was really in charge of "900." Something about all of this just does not feel right.

Could Keane and/or (more probably) her billionaire financial backers be the real puppet masters behind "900"? Was it all cleverly strategized to undermine the government from before she began her campaign? Going on O'Keefe's show gave her millions in free advertising that would reach not just his supporters but people on the fence about her. Remember, she said, "Half the country hates me." Could she have been involved?

The assassination attempt reminded me of something I read over 20 years ago: "The one thing that will bring popularity to an unpopular head of state is a failed assassination attempt. Their ratings go through the roof as citizens are outraged at the attack on their democracy." Yes, of course, McLendon and O'Keefe were part of it all, but how much input did Keane have? It is strange that her car was last to leave, almost as though McLendon's people had been left out of the loop. Still, McLendon stuck to the narrative that Quinn was the assassin throughout. It's all too suspicious and doesn't add up.

Thoughts and observations

Yes, there probably was, at the last moment, by McLendon and others, a coup planned. But not just one. Keane always planned to take down all the main government agencies, directly accusing them of being complicit in her fake/failed assassination. It feels like a long-term plan of Keane's.

My heart broke quite a bit as Quinn, an expert field agent, assessed the available exits and came to the conclusion that the only way out was to sacrifice himself for Carrie and Keane. Had he lowered his body, then the bullets might have hit Carrie and/or Keane. He couldn't take that risk.

Quinn's cherished photos (including one of John Jr.), his only personal belongings, were kept in an old envelope. He had, unknown to Carrie, a smiling photo of her. What made me crumble was that the photos in the envelope were hidden in Dickens' book Great Expectations. Quinn did at some point have hope; this was not the ending we wished for him.

Past is prologue. It feels like McCarthyism all over again, only this time the senior officials from all branches of government are being accused of plotting to assassinate the president. There will be many hearings. People will inform on others just to get themselves out of trouble. Then, all the alliances that have been built up over years, decades, will be lost. No one will trust anyone, not even someone they've worked with closely.

We're going to have to wait until Season 7 to find out any answers. Was Keane involved? Was everything a set-up to get an unpopular leader fully in charge? What will happen to Saul? Will Carrie ever get Franny back?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, not just about the finale but also about the season. Did you enjoy it? Hate it? Are you looking forward to seeing Carrie analyze everything in Season 7?

Comments

3 comments

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Apr 15, 2017 7:10AM EDT

@Scotwot you have managed to brilliantly put into words many of my thoughts about Keane, 900 and O'Keefe during this episode! I too thought it was very weird that O'Keefe was still broadcasting, but his insight into the situation this time felt far more truthful and less exaggerated in the final episode.

I agree with you about Keane, it feels like she was very much behind/involved in her failed assassination and dismantling of government agencies. A powerful play by her but also incredibly crafty - it must have taken her a lot of planning (and I wonder whether that's why she was always insistent on having her staff with her at all times during the series, were they the only ones in on the true plan?) The power hunger Keane that emerged in this final episode sets up the next season for quite a different tone to ones we have had previously. It's certainly going to be a dark time for the CIA, and I can see Carrie going abroad with Franny for a while...

I didn't think I could ever find it in my heart to feel sorry for Dar again, but his eerie prediction about Keane coming from a prison cell really hit home. I hope he gets out for season 7, but it will take quite some writing to get Saul, Dar and Carrie back working together!

Speaking of the gang getting back together, I had an inkling that Quinn might not survive the finale but watching him go the way he did was startingly abrupt. I was really hoping for some glimpse of his memorial or at least some of the characters discussing it more but alas they're scenes we won't ever get - his passing felt a little brushed over considering he's been a series regular since season 2. However his photos hidden inside Great Expectations was a nice touch :)

I've definitely enjoyed this more political season of Homeland, lots of well knitted together story lines and a tight plot definitely helped when all the action took place in the final episodes. However, I would definitely like a bit more focus on the CIA and the intelligence community next season as I did miss Carrie and co. doing all their covert intelligence operations abroad! I'm sure Carrie will analyse and strategise the best way to get things back on track next season - if there's anyone I have faith in to make things better it's her!

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Apr 16, 2017 12:28AM EDT

Wow what an amazingly thoughtful and intelligent review @scotwot The highlight of this Homeland season has been your reviews keeping me up to date. Its been a very sporadic viewing schedule and your reviewers really helped me keep up with what Carrie has going on. :)

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Apr 16, 2017 5:07PM EDT

Yes I thoroughly enjoyed the season though I was honestly unprepared for the ending. It will be interesting next season to learn more about who may be "pulling the strings" in a "trust no one" government that seems anti-CIA. I suppose Keane might be more wise than we were lead to believe, but my gut says there's a very good chance she is also being emotionally motivated & manipulated on multiple levels. It was a bittersweet end for Quinn. He survived so many horrible things it was hard not to feel he was bulletproof, but his selfless end seemed a noble & fitting goodbye. I guess Carrie will only have Max and Saul to lean on for now. I also wonder if we will see more of Jake Weber in the role of Brett O'Keefe. When I look at him I still see Joe Dubois (Patricia Arquette's amazingly patient down to earth spouse from the tv series Medium) and marvel at Weber's acting range. Whatever the case the creator's of Homeland always deliver a well-crafted, intelligent story that makes one truly think about the world we live in.

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