Homeland: “Casus Belli” Season 6 Episode 5 Review

PHoto Credit:http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/homeland-recap-season-6-episode-5-casus-belli

Up to this point, season six had been introducing a lot of interesting ideas, but not quite connecting them in any meaningful way. But, with a single explosion, Carrie’s job, the President-elect’s war with the CIA, and Quinn’s mental illness have all come crashing together, which makes for some of the best Homeland we’ve seen in years.

Sekou is dead. The world thinks his last act was to try and kill the Preseident-elect with a car bomb. The world also knows that Carrie not only represented him, but got him out of prison just days prior. “Cassus Belli” is utter chaos, using all the carefully laid groundwork of the season to create a tense, difficult scenario escalate and escalate to the point where I honestly felt like I was watching a horror movie. Franny’s school is closed because the bomb went off in the same city, but Carrie absolutely has to go into work because that same bomb went off in Sekou’s van, which leaves Quinn as a temporary babysitter before the nanny arrives. That means our favorite unstable killing machine has to deal with all the reporters and protestors starting to gather outside of Carrie’s home. It’s a disaster that formed out of an impossible situation where every intricate details makes perfect sense and clicks the story together in a way this show hasn’t been capable of in quite some time.

It starts when Quinn gets frustrated with a reporter, and rips her into the house, interrogating her with his hand around her neck. He then drags her through the house and throws her out the front door, showing all this physical harm to army of cameras that have gathered. As protestors start throwing things at the home, Quinn just takes his gun out and shoots one. This is the type of insane moment that, had the show not taken its time showing us Quinn’s current state, would’ve felt over-the-top. Instead, it’s like watching two trains slowly inch toward each other and crash head-on in slow motion. Now there’s a situation, one the press is calling a hostage situation, as Quinn is seen with Franny and her nanny.

How Homeland justifies all this chaos, with so many of the core characters, feels miraculous. Early in “Casus Belli,” it’s heartwarming to see Carrie ask Quinn to babysit. In fact, I kind of thought that would be the cute side story while Carrie dealt with the aftermath of Sekou’s death. But that the show is capable of mining so much emotion in these incredibly tense scenes is justification for the show’s long run. Carrie having to go into her home and talk down Quinn, who’s traded up from a pistol to an assault rifle, is insane, and you can see it on Carrie’s face. She sees how this all happened, but her shock is written on her face, and she blames herself for everything. In a moment that finally allows us to breathe, Carrie subdues Quinn just as the SWAT teams enter, ensuring that they don’t fire a single round. It’s amazing how personal this situation that’s larger than any of the characters got.

But just as the episode starts to slow and let us lower our heart rates, it drops another bomb on us. As Carrie scrolls through Quinn’s phone in the aftermath of it all, she sees photos of the neighbor Quinn has been spying on visiting a lot with the exact same truck Sekou was driving when the bomb went off. Quinn was right, and someone who’s spying on Carrie is also responsible for the latest act of terrorism in New York City. But who is it, and what’s their goal? These are questions Homeland has me legitimately excited about. When the bomb went off at the end of last week’s episode, I knew the game had changed, but I didn’t expect the aftermath to result in the show harkening back to its glory days. If Homeland keeps this up, season six could be a comeback for the ages. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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