Homeland: “The Covenant” Season 6 Episode 3 Review

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There’s nothing like the look Claire Danes puts on Carrie when she wins a battle. This character, for all her flaws and everything up against her, tends to relish in her miseries. In a lot of ways, that makes her one of the most relatable characters on TV. Homeland always takes the time to show Carrie self-destructing, whether alone at home or by all but threatening someone she shouldn’t be. Carrie fails Sekou because she thinks she’s above the system, or at least that she knows it well enough to work around it and not get caught. “The Covenant” provides the character’s first essential lesson in season six in learning she’s not and she doesn’t. But unlike the Carrie of previous seasons, who would fall into a panic, she goes to Sekou herself and admits her failure.

While Homeland has lost some of its unpredictability, Carrie has not. So when she tells Sekou “I’m going to find a way to fix it,” it feels like Carrie grasping at straws to solve a problem she can’t, as she’s done in the past. But much to my delight, and hers, she does solve it. Calling on an old friend, Carrie gets a recording of Conlin’s phone conversation that shows malice in his attempt to detain Sekou. She brings it to Conline and threatens to release it to the Attorney General if Sekou isn’t released by morning. She walks out of the office confidently, barely able to hold back her victorious grin. Carrie’s character is defined by setbacks, some of which she brings on herself and some of which she doesn’t. Her mental illness. Her attachments to others. Her brash actions. That’s why, as long as Homeland is on the air, Carrie’s satisfaction with herself will always be essential to the show rewarding its audience. On that front, “The Covenant” succeeds.

As for Carrie’s other central conflict so far in this season, the one in which she’s now been exposed on the front lines of a soft war between President-elect Keane and Dar Adal, we’re going to need more screentime very soon to further develop it. Keane remains a difficult figure to get a grasp of, largely because it seems like the Homeland writers seem to be nervous in showcasing her similarities to either presidential candidate (even if her general demeanor is much more Clinton than Trump). But also, as our all-too-real President Trump’s executive orders quickly start to mount national security concerns, Keane is not a fictional president who can possibly mirror the presence of our new Commander in Chief, and, thus, Homeland is losing a bit of its timeliness. It’s ironic, back in season two, the series had suddenly been seen as unrealistic by many fans. Now, it can’t match the insanity of our every day. Is Homeland‘s legacy destined to be a show too bonkers for the Obama era but too tame for the Trump era?

It’s borderline awkward to have Saul in Abu Dhabi conducting business as usual. The show can’t be faulted for failing to predict one of the most significant shocks in US election history, but politics went haywire before this season went into production anyway. Even if the writers assumed things would clean themselves up by the time season six aired, the bruise left on America wouldn’t have been gone by now.

But as the country begins to scar, Homeland‘s tone this year is a little too easygoing. Take Quinn’s quick recovery in this episode. The show has occasionally treated this character like a superhero. The first two episodes pointed to the end of that, but here we are, with Quinn getting revenge in an exciting and very Quinn-like manner. A full recovery may not be possible, but he’s on a path toward becoming his old self again. What his plans are with that gun outside Carrie’s home is anyone’s guess. Quinn isn’t going to kill Carrie next week. He probably never will. But this small time character drama mixed with the episode’s cheap cliffhanger proves that Homeland isn’t sure where its going or where the US is going. Sadly, there’s a pretty good chance this problem could stick around until season seven. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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