Homeland: Useful idiot
April 9, 2018 3:31 PM - Season 7, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Carrie has problems at home. Saul and Wellington work on Paley.

Alternate recap: Carrie allows herself several goes of that smug grin that you know presages utter disaster. Even Saul has a momentary smirk under all that beard, so clearly the shit has barely even begun its trajectory towards the fan. Dante goes from Russian spook to sickly pawn and convenient symbol of all the other men Carrie has led to their deaths in the pursuit of The Mission. Carrie's shot at Mom of the Month might be just a teensy bit on the rocks. Mandy Patinkin makes another brave but ultimately doomed stab at making Saul sound like he knows about Twitter.
posted by penguin pie (8 comments total)
Another cracking episode, I thought.

Why did Yevgeny not delete the tweet and at least try to limit the damage? I'm guessing he figured that if they could post it once, they'd just post it again. But it seemed weird he didn't even try.

And why did Carrie not video her conversation with Dante in the hospital, or at least try and get him to say some of what he told her on tape? Presumably there was still some danger he might take a turn for the worse, it seemed crazily neglectful to just have a nice little chat about some nation-saving intel and then walk away and leave the hospital bed of a pretty sick man without any concrete evidence in your hand.

And why was there no marshall on Dante's door when Yevgeny arrived? I know everyone was scrambled to the gunshot wound, but where did the marshal go?

So many questions. Sorry, I know the answer to all of them is just "Because that wouldn't have worked for the story" but I can't help wondering them aloud. I still thought it was great.

Paley did a superb "being pissed off" turn at his desk. Though his aide is clearly going to be a serious pain in the ass down the line.

I really love how Carrie gets to make terrible parenting decisions with alacrity in Homeland. So often, female characters, especially mothers, are tempted to do Bad Stuff but sooner or later this saintly sense of motherhood seems to descend on them and they behave themselves. SUCH a refreshing change to see a woman being allowed to make these outrageously poor decisions wrt her child and pursue something other than her role as a mother with single-minded determination.*

*not a real-world approval of Carrie's mothering style. Statement made on the strict basis that she is, after all, fictional.
posted by penguin pie at 3:51 PM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

What I don't understand is why they didn't have Dante better secured. He's just hanging out in a civilian hospital with one dude at the door? The Russians have already proven they can get to witnesses (Simone), and that they can infiltrate hospitals (the kid with the Alex Jones tattoo). Put two and two together. I get that Dante needs medical attention, but he should be at a military base, at least.

These last two episodes have been a little weak, but I'm ok with them. They seem to be building toward something, and I'll be patient. The beginning of the season was terrible, but this is watchable.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:37 PM on April 9, 2018

OMG that ending.
posted by Nelson at 10:07 PM on April 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

The security has been weirdly lax all over the place this season - there were also apparently only two men guarding Simone...
Surely they’re capable of writing something a bit more convincing - having more guards but finding a way for the Russians to overpower them so it doesn’t stand out quite so much as being odd.
posted by penguin pie at 1:56 AM on April 10, 2018

I've noticed these increasingly absurd or incongruous plot turns in recent seasons of Homeland and learnt to ignore them but when they start piling up, it does get annoying.

The basic setup in this one is weak. The USG NSA is a big-picture role, worrying about China's moves in South China Sea, political events in Brazil, Iran-Hezbollah dealings..etc. Even if they were interested in a domestic counter intel operation, they wouldn't be away from the WH, personally directing it. That would be the FBI. At most, they would request regular updates. But this is Homeland...
posted by Gyan at 2:22 AM on April 10, 2018

Literally any way that Yevgeny could have gotten into Dante's hospital room would have been more convincing than the one they showed.

My wife works in a hospital. When they have a patient charged with a crime/arrested/in jail, they have two guards at the door at all times.

Homeland exists in an alternate universe where high profile witnesses for the federal government and under direct threat in a civilian hospital are not guarded 24/7.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:18 AM on April 10, 2018

So ordinarily when Homeland does something stupid like show Yevgeny just strolling into the hospital, I give the writer license and figure they just didn't have time to show all the boring details about how the guard got distracted, or was lured away, or whatever. But this specific case.. They spent so much time establishing Yevgeny was on his own, no backup. And then he shot his only partner, his only backup! In a brutal but brilliant quick thinking action, but also shit, there it is, he's really and truly alone. And then he just slips in so easily? Agree it strained credulity far too far.

OTOH I loved the scene with Claire going to demand her daughter back, and getting her way, only to have it all undone by the badly timed phone call from Dante. Poor woman just can't catch a break.

I'm a little confused about the airport. The sign is for "Broadridge Airfield. Pennsylvania State Polite Aviation Unit Headquarters". There's also a "Volkov Retail Group" listed, which could be the Russian connection. But operating your secret spy exfiltration flight out of a police airfield? That seems foolhardy. In real life there's no such named airport. The only PA fixed wing airfield is KCXY near Harrisburg, PA. That's about a 2.5 hour drive in real life, not the neverending montage we got on screen.

Also confused about the secret code to roll up the network and have everyone go to ground. As Saul and Sandy both said, that's terrible opsec and was obviously a fake. Only it turns out to be real? I guess they got lucky and we're meant to conclude Yevgeny is sloppy.

The reveal of the phrase "useful idiot" was great. Paley in general was great, and well acted, and boy I wish I could buy into this "principled but partisan patriot" thing in Trump's 2018.
posted by Nelson at 3:02 PM on April 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I rewatched the sequence from when she leaves the school through to the ending, and watching it again, suddenly thought "So is Dante definitely dead, or was that part of the hallucination?"

I think he probably is, but it was just enough to give me a moment for pause. Seems a waste to create such an interesting character and do away with him so quickly. But then they did the same to Conlin last season, so is plenty likely.

Either that, or we're building to discovering the past (however many) seasons have been one long psychotic break and Brody is at home raising Franny, Quinn is still off killing bad guys for Dar and Conlin and Dante are both live and kicking and blissfully uninvolved with Carrie.
posted by penguin pie at 6:14 AM on April 12, 2018

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