There’s no longer any question as to who’s the bad guy of Homeland this season. The fear of losing his autonomous power as CIA director has turned Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) into an alarmingly sinister figure. He’s a home-grown domestic terrorist, and the amount of power and access he wields in the White House makes him even more of a threat. On Sunday night’s episode, “Alt. Truth,” his grand plan is working out perfectly.
Adal seems close to calling “checkmate;” he's manipulating the other characters like pawns. Madame Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) no longer trusts Carrie (Claire Danes). And Saul (Mandy Patinkin), no longer has Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) as an asset. In a covert power move, Adal offered the double agent money and freedom to perpetuate the rumor that Iran is breaking the nuclear arms deal by running a secret parallel plan with North Korea.
Javadi is only looking out for number one. He doesn’t care about anything but $45 million and political asylum. This scene is frustrating to watch for many reasons. Aside from shuffling American troops into a pointless war, risking thousands of lives so that Adal can keep running his CIA black ops team, it was so exciting to see Saul and Carrie back together, fighting the good fight. The newly reunited dream team's quick fall from grace was infuriating.
Honestly, we didn’t even think the President-elect would take Carrie’s call after her embarrassing drunk dial. But she does. And it gives us hope. Now, Carrie and Saul can make things right in the world. So, when Javadi starts spewing Adal’s nonsense, it’s the last straw for Keane. Carrie’s insistence that Saul would never lie about such a thing falls on deaf ears. She’s officially fired from her advisor post. Saul’s reputation is demolished in the eyes of the incoming administration.
This situation is classic Homeland. Everyone believing in the wrong person and ideas. Naturally, Carrie and Saul are left to battle “alternative truths.” On a side note, this plot hits nauseatingly close to hom.
Over at the lake house, Quinn (Rupert Friend) is so paranoid after Ada’s visit, he lays into Astrid (Nina Hoss). He demands to know her exact involvement in the long game. While there is more to Dar’s plan, it actually doesn’t involve Astrid. Her only bargain was that after she helped Quinn escape from the prison’s psych ward, that he’d be left alone. Safe. But after hearing that Carrie omitted a few important details of what happened after his capture, he’s questioning everything and everyone.
However, after tracking down a man in the grocery store that he is so positive was Carrie’s suspicious neighbor, Quinn swallows a pill of humility. He had the wrong guy. Maybe he’s forcing himself to see things that aren’t there. And maybe, Astrid isn’t lying to him.
Quinn returns to the lake house and apologizes to Astrid. But before the German intelligence agent can explain to Quinn why calling her “a good friend,” in his apology hurts even more than when he punched her a few hours prior, the real suspicious neighbor shows up shooting. Quinn threw out the ammo in Astrid’s gun during his paranoia breakdown. She's gunned down when she runs out to grab it, and can't shoot back.
Adal is now responsible for killing Astrid, murdering Conlin (Dominic Fumusa), attempting to murder Quinn, the bomb in Sekou’s (J. Mallory McCree) truck, and putting Franny in foster care. Naturally, his next step is to take down the President-elect. He's desperate to sway public’s support for the gold star mom. He’s now going to drag her deceased son’s military reputation through the mud.
There’s a video that shows when Keane’s son was killed, he was shot while running away from a threat. It looks like when pressure was on the line, Andrew’s (Ryan Shibley) gut reaction was to leave his fellow soldiers in the lurch and save himself. But this was Keane’s son’s third tour in Iraq. He was not a privileged kid who begrudgingly went to war in order to boost his mother’s campaign. So we’d like to give this soldier the benefit of the doubt. There might be more to the story than what this video appears to show.
Moving forward with such a smear campaign is low, even by Adal’s standards. He's already reached the point for which redemption may not be possible. He’s been a longtime familiar face on this Showtime series, but it’s hard to imagine any sort of situation in which he deserves to live. He’s transformed into one of the worst villains we’ve seen on Homeland. We’re still scarred from last week’s discovery that he molested Quinn as teenager, and his demise would serve as perfect ending for season six.
Photo: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME.