A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
“The Return” is an episode of Homeland content with the further espousal of John le Carré, leaving behind the explosives and the hostage gunfights. “The Return” settles into a visually striking hour with a significant focus on how the myriad puzzle pieces fit into the overall puzzle, whatever that in and of itself may be. The episode in a real sense is one that is content with being a placeholder but one in which there is an attempt at reckoning with the constant return of warfare in a so-called “time of peace” after the 9/11 attacks. That peace is ephemeral but the constant return to that concept underlies a seeming necessity to believe that the world has become a better place than what the reality seems to be noting. Saul notes as much to his Russian colleague Viktor, a man he reaches out to in order to cover the tracks of Mossad agent Tovah Rivlin. Saul, as he noted himself to Javadi in the West Bank, is a man concerned with the truth. Javadi rightfully notes that the perception of truth is arguably more powerful than what the truth is and that theme hits Saul once more as he is sitting down with Viktor and looking at the pictures of Tovah and Dar Adal having a not-so-secret meeting in New York. The perception that Saul has of the truth, of looking at the crumbles in the world through an ephemeral lens of peace, is murky but inadvertently lends to the perception that Saul isn’t as powerful or useful as some of his contacts may have assumed in the past. It’s a logical set of assumptions to make and it is especially difficult to disagree with Viktor’s assertion that it seems that Saul is at this juncture looking into the annals of power from the outside. At the very least, he is somewhere outside of the circle of power Dar Adal is crafting.
President-elect Keane is still being kept within a remarkably austere set of security measures, ones that make sense to a certain degree but lose a bit of that logic in consideration that she isn’t allowed access to her chief of staff. She manages to escape with the help of the safe house keeper. Their drive back to New York is the best part of the quiet hour, reminiscent in all the best ways of Saul’s drive with Aileen way back in the first season. There’s a thoughtfulness in the conversation between Keane and Marjorie, a conversation whose complexities are rarely displayed. Marjorie didn’t vote for Keane for reasons that weren’t connected to her gender, which is key to why the conversation hits the notes of thoughtfulness it aims for (that’s key primarily because when conversations start at bigotry at one end, it is difficult to carry through with them with any degree of intelligence). She didn’t vote for Keane because she thought the Senator wasn’t trustworthy, that she didn’t bring up her son who had died in the war because she was ashamed of him. Keane is taken aback. She avoided bringing her son son forth into the political conversation because she didn’t want to use his death as a political maneuver. She breaks that trend upon her return to New York and there’s a tinge of understated darkness as Keane talks about her son’s death publicly, tying that into the strength of New Yorkers, a strength that doesn’t require a strengthening of the Patriot Act. The warmer reception she receives is noteworthy.
Carrie spends the episode on a bit of a backburner, which is a bit disappointing considering that she would likely have been much more effective at investigating than Conlin proved to be. A more complex creature than he seemed at the onset, Conlin is pushed by Carrie’s insistences and evidence that Sekou ultimately wasn’t the culprit. He begins investigating by going into what appears to be a massive data center, but considering that he lacks Carrie’s sleuthing abilities, the search goes about as well as one would expect. He asks Carrie to meet him at his house, but by the time Carrie arrives at Conlin’s residence, the man Quinn photographed has already gotten to him. He lies there, dead from a gun wound made to look like a suicide. Carrie narrowly escapes, which may come as a surprise from the character knowing her past, but it makes sense that after taking care of Franny, she would be less hesitant to immediately put her own life in danger. As Carrie narrowly escapes with her life intact, Quinn finds a different sort of route. Going through the ringer once more, Quinn in his delusional state literally bites Carrie when she is questioning him about the man across the street he had photographed. He presumes that she is one of “them” before he is hauled off once more. But as one would have expected, Dar Adal wouldn’t have let his star black-ops assassin languish by himself for too long. He is careened out of the hospital and for a moment I was getting concerned about yet another kidnapping on Homeland. The opening credits had implied yet another kidnapping for Saul and while that thankfully played out in a considerably different fashion, Quinn didn’t need more torture heaped upon him. There was a sigh of relief as Quinn wearily opened his eyes and Astrid’s face swam before him.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“More witch hunts. Great.”
+“You cover the Israelis like paint.”
+I really liked how Carrie ran, slipped, and fell before getting into her car. It gives the scene a grounding a lot of running scenes lack
-“He looks like government, man. He looks like you.” That was a poorly scripted line.
Episode Title: The Return
Written by: Charlotte Stoudt
Directed by: Alex Graves
Image Courtesy: EW
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