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'Homeland' recap: 'Imminent Risk' showcases Dar's dark side

'Homeland' recap: 'Imminent Risk' showcases Dar's dark side
F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal and Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in "Homeland." (JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME)

"Homeland" left us with many questions as it reached the midway point of its season last week. Is Carrie going to end up back with the CIA? Is Saul being pushed out? Will Keane adopt a more hawkish personality as she enters the White House? Where is Quinn? Why does German intelligence want him in their custody?

As the second half kicks off, some of those questions begin to be addressed. Quinn is in the middle of nowhere, according to Astrid. She tells him that she's taken him to a hospital and that he was sedated, but offers no further detail as to his health, or why she nabbed him.

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At Carrie's house, Max installs a security system and offers to stand guard at Carrie's place, but also wonders why she hasn't alerted the police to the potential terrorist living across the street and the dead FBI agent whose home she was forced to flee in fear of her life. "I don't know who these people are, but they are serous, and they're connected," Carrie explains. I see.

As if her life and the life of her daughter being in imminent danger were not enough to deal with, Carrie receives a call from Frannie's school. She is asked to come in for a conference with a social worker, who was alerted to the incident at Carrie's home, you know, since it was broadcast on cable news. "It's not safe, psychologically, for her to be there," the social worker explains, chastising Carrie for taking Frannie back to their home a day after. Couldn't someone have made a similar legal intervention when Carrie met Brody?

Carrie offers to take Frannie to a hotel, but the social worker harshly informs Carrie that Frannie has temporarily been taken away from her because the woman believed that she was in imminent danger. "She's been taken out of school and placed in a state-registered youth home," the woman explains. Carrie begins to freak out, but the social worker convinces her to continue the conversation at her office down the street.

As the president-elect does a televised interview about her son's life and death, Majid Javadi, Saul's Iranian intelligence contact, arrives in the United States. Saul enlists his new boy Nate to pass off some hockey tickets to Javadi, arranging a meeting.

In the Dar Adal camp, General McClendon visits Dar as he watches Keane's interview, informing him of Javadi's arrival. "He and Saul cannot meet. Otherwise, everything unravels," McClendon says. "They won't," Dar says, ominously.

We quickly learn what he means, as he has arranged for Saul to be debriefed on his Middle East trip at the CIA station, in the hopes that the debrief/interrogation will waylay Saul for hours and force him to miss the meeting with Javadi.

Carrie's parental debrief begins as well, and she describes the events that led to the incident at her home, giving her complex, intense take on Quinn's actions that day. Everything that Carrie does is intense, obviously, but this explanation was especially so. The social worker tells Carrie that Frannie expressed fear for her life in Quinn's care, and that a judge will decide when Carrie gets to see her again. "I can't just sit here and allow this to happen," Carrie tells Reda, who is serving as her attorney. "You have no choice," he says.

While our old buddy Quinn unsuccessfully tries to escape Astrid's custody, Javadi is being grabbed by some of Dar's operatives, or, at very least, with Dar's blessing. With Javadi's potential meeting with Saul now derailed, Dar bursts in on Saul's debrief, feigning ignorance and displeasure that Saul was being interrogated. Saul isn't buying it, though, and the schism between the two of them continues to grow.

Jivadi's captors duct tape him to a chair, accuse him of being a traitor to Iran, and demand the name of every American agent operating in Iran. Jivadi denies any knowledge, but says that he wouldn't give them up even if he did. His chief captor begins ripping off his fingernails with pliers, trying to coerce something, anything, out of him. But Jivadi is saved by a man professing to be a former soldier who served with him in the Iranian army.

The next day is Carrie's hearing, and it isn't going well. The social worker tells the court that Frannie found her mother asleep in her room with a gun earlier that week, and Carrie admits that it was loaded, which isn't going to win her any parenting awards. Things continue to spiral downward when Carrie attempts to explain why she didn't call the police for protection, rather than sleeping next to her little girl with a loaded weapon.

Whatever chance Carrie has of keeping custody of Frannie seems to die when the social worker brings up Carrie's bipolar disorder, and how her discussion of threats and mistrust of authorities points to the possibility that she's having another manic episode. The judge determines that Frannie was, in fact, in imminent risk, and Carrie won't be seeing her anytime soon. "Ms. Mathison, you'll be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation," he adds. Carrie is understandably distraught at losing her daughter, and breaks down in tears in the courtroom.

Carrie returns home and stares at all of Frannie's belongings and artwork that fill their living space. She spies a bottle in the fridge, and thinks better of it. But the urge is too powerful to resist in the end, and Carrie breaks her sobriety.

Jivadi's savior makes contact with Saul, and after some coercion, convinces Saul that Jivadi is fine; Saul agrees to go with the man to meet him. Jivadi pulls a gun on Saul on his arrival, demanding to know who might have turned him in to his own intelligence service. Saul says that only one other man knew for sure that Jivadi would be coming to New York: Dar Adal.

"The same Dar Adal who has been trying to undermine the nuclear deal every step of the way?" Jivadi asks. Yes, that would be the guy, but I appreciate the writers reminding us of everyone's motives here.

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Jivadi tells Saul that Iran isn't cheating on the nuclear deal, and that the banker, now dead, was working for Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency. Jivadi agrees to tell Keane as much, in exchange for political asylum and access to his personal fortune. Saul agrees to set up that meeting.

Just so I am clear on motive, the proverbial tag team match here pits The Hawks (Dar Adal, General McClendon, and Israel) against The Doves (Saul, almost-President Keane, and Iran).

Elsewhere, Dar pays Astrid and Quinn a visit, and we learn that Dar was the one who arranged for Astrid to take Quinn into custody, while brokering a deal with the government to keep Quinn free from prosecution. Dar lectures Quinn on not feeling sorry for himself, while Quinn makes a reference to Dar having a perverse attraction to him as a young man, when he took him out of school. "[Expletive] dirty old man," Quinn says. I'd never picked up on that subtext in their relationship before. Has this always been implied?

"I'm not staying here." Quinn says. "Yes you are," Dar insists, suggesting that Astrid will be Quinn's keeper until he can look after himself. Dar might have an ulterior motive for this visit, as he mentions that Quinn had been ranting to Astrid about the bombing and how he needed to return to New York. Dar makes the connection between Carrie's foundation and Sekou, but thinks that Quinn wants to get back to support Carrie, not because he might have information about the bomber.

Dar seems intent on destroying Carrie, and asks Quinn if he knows what actually happened to him during his medical ordeal. "Not exactly," Dar says, after Quinn explains what Carrie told him. "Carrie ordered the doctors to wake you up. She did this despite repeated warnings about the risks of the procedure," he says. Well, he's not lying.

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"You think she's been taking care of you all these months out of love?" Dar spits. "Sounds a lot more like guilt if you ask me. I bought you this one chance. There won't be another," he finishes, leaving Quinn to contemplate his lot in life.

Still distraught, and a few glasses of wine into her evening, Carrie calls President-elect Keane and tells her about what happened with Frannie, sobbing and begging her to intervene. "To vouch for me, to tell them how wrong this is," Carrie says. She had been doing a decent job of not seeming drunk until that sentence. "I can't use the office of the president to solve a personal problem," Keane says. "It's unethical."

When she doesn't get her desired outcome, Carrie becomes belligerent, and Keane asks whether Carrie has been drinking. Carrie denies it, and says that she thoughtKeane would be able to empathize with her. "You lost a child," Carrie says, as if Keane needed to be reminded. Keane quickly ends the call, and Carrie is left sobbing.

We see the social worker ending her work day, explaining to someone on the other end of the phone that taking Frannie away from Carrie was hard, but ultimately the right thing to do. "That's why I contacted you," the voice says — and the big reveal is that Dar was the one who orchestrated Frannie's move to foster care.

Final Thoughts

I'm beginning to think that Dar Adal is a bit of a jerk.

Actually, I've been saying that he's a snake for as long as I've been writing about "Homeland," and I'd like to thank everyone that works on the show for making that so abundantly clear to anyone watching for the last several years.

Interrogation was a major theme this week. I should expect more of this from a show that shares DNA with the original "24," but I could do without ever seeing a torture porn interrogation scene on television again.

There seems to be a concerted effort to emphasize the espionage elements of the show this year. I am in favor of this in theory, but I have found it to be a little too deep for my liking in practice. I don't want or need a bunch of action or violence, but I would also enjoy not needing to do an internet search to remember the names of characters like Jivadi, who has suddenly become a key to the entire season's plot.

All of this is nitpicking what was an above-average episode, and another solid effort after last week's action-packed outing.

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