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'Homeland' recap: 'The Covenant'

There's a dangerous man in Carrie's basement, and he's having a nightmare in the opening scene of "Homeland" this week.

Quinn flashes back to being doused with nerve gas, and wakes up in fear. Carrie comforts him, and Quinn gets the wrong idea and tries to take her shirt off. No, no, no, no, no. Nope. This is a bad idea. Quinn apologizes after Carrie stops him, and she runs out of the room when she hears Frannie calling for her.

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After shooing Frannie back upstairs, Carrie heads back to talk to Quinn. She starts to lay down some ground rules for what Quinn must do if he wants to stay at her house, and tells him that she'll be out for most of the day. She wonders if she should call Max over to keep an eye on him. "I don't need a babysitter," Quinn mutters, which is good enough for Carrie.

Carrie fields a call from her office, where her associate Reda informs her of the fallout of Carrie harassing the government informant in last week's episode. He tells her to get to the office as soon as she can.

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Meanwhile, Saul is in Abu Dhabi on his new assignment, moved there as if he were a piece on a chess board manipulated by Carrie. Saul has his driver lose a car tailing them, then sets off on foot through the streets, where a woman picks him up on a moped.

At Carrie's office, Reda tells her that her actions have caused the prosecutor to pull Sekou's plea deal off the table, and that they are now looking at a trial for their client, where he will face 15 years in prison. Carrie insists on delivering the news to Sekou herself, and Reda makes his displeasure toward Carrie clear.

In Abu Dhabi, Saul leads a team in capturing an operative of the Iranian government, in town to orchestrate an illegal arms deal on behalf of his country. Saul threatens to blackmail the man and shows him some compromising photos of him to drive the point home. Saul offers the man some time to consider his response, but it appears that the CIA's operation is up and running.

"It's no longer an option. I defied a court order. ... I am so, so, so sorry," Carrie tells Sekou, delivering the news that his plea deal is off the table because she acted rashly. "You're sorry? I could be 40 years old before I get out of here," Sekou says. "How could you do this to me?"

Back in UAE, Saul interrogates the Iranian official and accesses the man's bank account. He learns that the Iranians have used the man as a conduit to purchase arms from Russia, and goes on to accuse him of traveling to North Korea to pursue a nuclear arms program — counter to Iran's agreement with the Untied Nations. The man denies the claim, and Saul lets him go, but promises to release the incriminating photos should he do anything to upset Saul.

Before he leaves, the man tells Saul that Iran doesn't want, and never wanted, a nuclear weapon, and that the country only made it appear that way to negotiate its way out of the UN sanctions. This leaves Saul to ponder what their endgame is. Meanwhile, at Carrie's house, there's a real "Rear Window" vibe as Quinn looks into the building across the street, suspicious of a man entering an apartment there.

Saul calls back to Washington to brief Dar on his interrogation. He tells Dar that he couldn't break the man he questioned given the time he had, but that he didn't get much out of him. He says that the last time the CIA went about trying to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction, they were wrong — and he doesn't want to go down that road again. "Are we wrong here?" Dar asks. Saul doesn't think so.

As his team cleans up their office in preparation for leaving, Saul notices an empty pack of cigarettes that his interrogation subject left behind. This strikes Saul as odd, and he recalls the man putting a full pack back into his jacket. Did the man intentionally leave this as a clue for Saul? Just in case, Saul pockets the pack, but keeps the information to himself.

Saul decides to stay in the field to pursue his new lead, and makes up an excuse about visiting his sister to cover his tracks. He calls Dar and tells him he's staying in the field, but not why. In Washington, Dar briefs the new president, and tells her that Saul has uncovered conclusive evidence that Iran is violating the nuclear deal. Really? That's not what I got from what Saul said. Just the opposite, in fact. Dar is still a snake in the grass, it seems.

Back in the U.S., Carrie is going to some extreme lengths to help Sekou. She tracks down an old colleague who might have access to wiretapping records, as she tries to track down phone calls between the FBI and the informant whom she tampered with. Her contact refuses to help her, but Carrie insists she will send him details of what she's looking for anyway.

Carrie's contact comes through for her and she visits the FBI office, confronting the agent with the recording of a phone call with the informant in question. "All charges dropped by tomorrow morning, or this goes to the attorney general," Carrie says, threatening the agent. She leaves his office without an answer, but with a smile on her face.

Saul visits his sister, and she asks what happened with his marriage to Mira. "What happens between people," Saul explains. "I made promises and didn't keep them. She did the same." The conversation turns to their upbringing, and then to how Saul didn't get along with his sister's husband, who convinced her to move to the Middle East. Saul questions how she can feel at peace in the region, knowing that her presence there "makes peace less possible." "I have a life filled with faith and purpose," his sister explains. "What do you have?"

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In New York, Quinn meets up with his prostitute friend and insists that she take him to the man who robbed him in the drug den. Against her better judgment, she agrees, and Quinn goes to confront him. Quinn invents a story about wanting to buy drugs from the guy to gain entry to his place, and once inside, he beats him up and takes his gun from him. I despise this version of Quinn, even though I think this scene was designed to show us that he's on his way back to being tough, or something?

We see Carrie advising the president, who briefs her on Dar's report from Saul. Carrie seems surprised that Saul was so certain Iran was violating their agreement. She suggests that President Keane ask to see Saul's report for herself, and the president thanks her for her counsel and friendship. While the ladies talk, we see Dar in a nearby car, eavesdropping on their conversation. Like I said — he's a snake, but he's also one of the best characters in this series.

Back in the Middle East, we see Saul sneaking away from his sister's house under the cover of darkness and climbing into the back of a police car. The officers inside order him to get down, and they seem to be taking him to rendezvous with the man he interrogated earlier.

Carrie arrives home after her eventful day, and Quinn takes note of her arrival. He also takes note of the man in the apartment across the way, who he suspects of watching Carrie. Quinn brandishes his new gun, while looking menacingly at the apartment window.

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Final Thoughts

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Saul's operation is the most interesting thing going on here, and probably the only storyline I don't hate so far this season. An unbalanced, armed Quinn lurking in Carrie's basement, protecting her from a threat that may be a complete figment of his imagination, is really uncomfortable.

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