Homeland: “Krieg Nicht Lieb” Season 4 Episode 11 Review

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A return to Homeland‘s slow-burning suspense is held back by one major flaw.

Translated from German, this week’s episode is titled “War, Not Love.” It’s fitting, given the fact that since Carrie’s inception into this Pakistani conflict zone, there has been nothing but relentless battle. Yet, every action she takes in this episode has some connection to love. By the time we reach the thrilling conclusion, it’s completely clear just how much she’s following her heart.

I very much appreciated the show’s return to slow-building tension; allowing the characters to work themselves around every inch of the plot until they all reach a point of dangerous—and exciting—uncertainty. There’s a lot of great drama in the aftermath of Haqqani’s attack, and it’s all played off in a way that’s heartbreaking without being overly sentimental.

Quinn and Carrie’s feelings for each other are brought up again, and once more I’m impressed by how subtly they’re dealt with. Considering the majority of the episode deals with Carrie attempting to stop Quinn from bombing Haqqani, I was almost surprised that there wasn’t a moment where she shouted out, “Quinn, please! I love you, okay?!”

Instead, we got some far more compelling material. Carrie spars with a member of the German Embassy with whom Quinn used to have a relationship. They never outwardly admit their distaste for each other, but the animosity is there, and it’s not just because she’s keeping secrets for Quinn. When Quinn and Carrie finally do meet up, it’s heated. I like that their characters are at the point where their feelings are so clearly at the forefront of every conversation, yet nothing is ever explicitly stated.

The subtlety goes out the window the window during the heart-pounding final sequence, but it’s to be expected considering a bomb was involved. Several moving parts come into play as Quinn uses Aayan’s ex-girlfriend to start a protest against Haqqani. Again, the unpredictability here was excellent. I was so sure the bomb was going to end up killing innocent bystanders. When Carrie revealed herself in the crowd—and especially after she tells Quinn she can’t lose him—I knew the bomb wasn’t going to go off, but that didn’t mean anyone was safe.

Then something rather strange happened. Carrie sees Haqqani emerge in his car and looks around to see supporters instead of naysayers. They’re all chanting his name and holding posters with his face on it like he’s some kind of rockstar. She suddenly flashes back to Aayan’s murder and, in a moment of vengefulness, pulls out a gun and begins walking toward him.

It’s not that I don’t believe Carrie would do this. Yes, she did just tell Quinn not to set off a bomb, but we’re all aware of the risky moves she makes in the face of extreme emotion. What’s confusing to me is why the writers chose to have a flashback to Aayan as her breaking point. Why not Fara, who was brought up earlier during a poignant scene with Max? Why not Carrie’s father, who we previously learned had died from a stroke? Yes, Aayan’s death was traumatic for her, but it doesn’t have near enough of the same immediacy at the other two people she lost.

Her father’s death is the most troubling. When it first occurred, I thought it would immediately ignite a spark in Carrie to drop what she was doing and join Quinn’s side. The point seemed to be, people die no matter what, even if they’re thousands of miles away from a war zone. Why not do everything you can to stop more people from dying too soon?

But I guess it really was just a way for the show to bring back Franny before the season finale. I don’t really know how I feel about this, especially since Carrie seems to have made her peace with the fact that her baby is better off left in the care of others. Homeland has been on such a hot streak lately, that I’m hesitant to say they’ll screw things up, but there’s a chance they might screw things up with this subplot.

There’s also the matter of that game-changing twist at the end. Dar Adal was in the car with Haqqani. With only one episode to go, this seems to be more of a set up for next season, but what could it mean for next week? There has to be some sort of resolution besides, “we lost, better luck next time.” I think the idea of a double cross is very exciting, so we’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.

Homeland has made such an upswing this season, that even with these moments that give me pause, I’m still enjoying every minute of the action. How it all will end is anyone’s guess, which is exactly how I like my espionage shows to be. Grade: B+

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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