Homeland: "Long Time Coming"
December 22, 2014 4:53 AM - Season 4, Episode 12 - Subscribe

This episode is full of surprises. We see Carrie with Franny in the park, meet Carrie's mom, see Quinn and Carrie kiss, and have to wonder if the newly invigorated Saul abandoned his ethics. Overall, it's a season finale that leaves more questions than answers.
posted by travelwithcats (12 comments total)
Oof, I dunno about this one. I'm on board with the idea of an anticlimactic finishing to a show like this, a quieter calmer episode where not much action happens. But having the whole thing back in DC, so slow and plaintive and family soap opera, it was a bit jarring. OTOH the scene of the old CIA hands drinking whisky together at the wake was lovely. Also loved the transformation of Quinn from Murder Death Robot to Cute Puppydog Who Likes your Baby, I really wanted to believe that would all work out.

It was a smart, adult ending to a smart and nuanced season. Also we're nicely set up for another season, something I'd enjoy seeing.
posted by Nelson at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2014

F. Murray Abraham does sinister really well.
posted by homunculus at 5:38 PM on December 22, 2014

This season was amazing, but I was a bit iffy on this last episode. The long ending scene of Carrie pulling out of the driveway and driving down the road was so extended I half-expected her SUV to blow up, or for her to hit someone. It seemed quite random and pointless.

Especially when compared to Quinn's ending, which felt frustrating but in character and left us with lots of possibilities.
posted by misha at 6:11 PM on December 22, 2014

Poor Carrie. Seeing Saul at Dar's place was such a gut-punch to her, on top of everything else.

I loved the whole episode, although there definitely were parts where I expected something sudden and awful to happen. Pleasantly pleased that nothing did.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:34 PM on December 22, 2014

After "13 hours in Islamabad" it was tough to go bigger, louder and more violent. So they opted for a character study instead. Now we've gotten a bit of a back story which makes it easier to understand Carrie's choices. She grew up in the belief that it was impossible for her to have a healthy relationship, even if she tried her hardest. Her desire to be in the field is a form of self protection, by going on those assignments she is running away from herself.

The moments before Carrie and Quinn kissed were so odd to watch, I don't think we've ever seen those two characters smile so much at each other. Quinn tossing the cellphone after that brief call to Carrie and his subsequent decision to go on that dangerous mission expose his fragility. He has black-op chops, but seems to lack real-life coping skills. Getting out of the CIA is tempting for both, but it sure as hell is scary and overwhelming at the same time. Neither of them can do it alone.

That dude with the letters - what a mindfuck. And apparently Quinn has mentally build up Carrie to the most important person in his life.

Dar Adal is the dark horse of the season. He seems to be oh so well connected, in both directions. Is Saul really going to go against his ethics? Or is this some sort of ploy between Carrie and Saul to expose Dar Adal for who he is? I have to say I was surprised to see Saul regain his strength and, more importantly, passion for the job. I thought Carrie would be considered for the position of director of the CIA, but sadly the show didn't make it look that way. At least in Pakistan women can rise to the top. o_O
posted by travelwithcats at 12:22 AM on December 23, 2014

I thought Carrie would be considered for the position of director of the CIA

That's a public and part-political job. She would have to learn to remain 'diplomatic' at all times, which doesn't seem to be her forte. Also, an insider could torpedo her chances by leaking to the press that in last season's opener, Saul was referring to her in his Senate testimony.
posted by Gyan at 7:48 AM on December 23, 2014

This rather subdued finale was a rather bold choice. Still, let's hope that next season will keep the political/spy stuff in front and not linger too much on the Carrie family drama since nobody wants little Timmy to turn into Dana 2: The Revenge.
The previous episode had some similarities with the recent spy movie A most wanted man, but it turns out that this movie and the Homeland finale both end with a strikingly similar scene: betrayal happens and the main character spends his/her last and very long minute of screen time driving in despair, with sad music playing in the background. Coincidence, homage or plagiarism?
posted by elgilito at 9:43 AM on December 23, 2014

"That's a public and part-political job."

Well, as I always say, this isn't a realistic show. That disclaimer out of the way, yeah, Director of the CIA is an extremely political position, it's a presidential nomination requiring a Senate confirmation and it's rarely someone who's been in the agency. The Deputy Directors are currently chosen by the Director and don't require confirmation and their history has been mixed -- some were career officers, others were political.

The CIA is pretty much like the other big agencies in that at the highest levels they are all political appointees or those appointees' personal picks (who are usually also political).

The way that all these federal agencies work is that that the career bureaucrats who are the rank-and-file and middle-management are very, very much different kinds of people than the career political types at the top. I think this distinction is usually lost on most people, but it's an important one. The FBI is less like this than some other agencies, but that has a lot to do with its peculiar history. And some of the other more obscure intelligence agencies, like the National Reconnaissance Office, are a little less this way, too. But the CIA isn't an exception to this rule and the highest offices are all political in one sense or another and there's churn in them directly related to Presidential elections. As with other agencies, but especially those which are more politicized, this creates a big cultural and functional chasm between the career folk and their politically-oriented masters.

So in reality someone like Saul could have been the director of the analysis division and then maybe Deputy Director and then made acting Director after the explosion. And in this respect Lockhart is pretty realistic, what with him being a politician and taking Saul's place. It's not realistic that Saul would be nominated by the President to be Director permanently, and certainly not given all that's happened. Well, I'll qualify that -- Saul could actually look pretty heroic and be a popular public figure after being kidnapped in Pakistan. From an intelligence perspective, It would be crazy to place such a person back at the head of the CIA, but it makes some political sense.

With regard to the episode, I understood the family and funeral stuff a lot more when I realized that the actor who played Carrie's dad had actually died. I kind of wish I'd known that before I'd seen the episode because most of those scenes didn't really have the weight (for me, anyway) that I think was intended, but they would have had some poignancy had I known that James Rebhorn had died.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:30 PM on December 23, 2014

Same here; I see Homeland for what it is, entertainment. So I have no expectation of accuracy. The show is unrealistic, starting with its lead role, Carrie. In real life, Carrie's neurotic personality surely would have raised red flags. On the show she started out as a mid-ranking case officer and became station chief despite numerous problematic incidents. I’m not negating that there is some kernel of truth, just saying that there already are so many factual blunders that within the Homeland-world Carrie could mature more than you’d expect in reality.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:39 AM on December 25, 2014

Are we supposed to know what was on the recording they were referring to?
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:41 PM on December 27, 2014

I took the recording Adal had to be a tape that Haqqani's terrorists forced Saul to make when it captivity. We can assume he kept a copy. He and Saul may be BFFs but someone like Adal doesn't ever give up useful blackmail material.

Speaking of Carrie and whether she should be the next CIA director, wasn't she publicly humiliated in the press in Season 2 (3?) because of her involvement with Brodie and her mental health problems? I thought there was a whole thing where the CIA threw her under the bus. Or maybe they cleared her name? The larger plot has taken too many twists and turns to keep straight.
posted by Nelson at 7:11 PM on December 27, 2014

I read that this season was almost a mea culpa for everything people hate about the show. You hate seeing Carrie cry? Very little crying. You hate seeing her with a long term love interest? We'll blow up the kid from Pakistan and send Quinn to Syria. Sick of explosive season finales? Here's one where very little happens. You think Saul is a good guy? Think again. I appreciate that they showed they could do more with the show. Though I definitely thought Carrie's car might blow up at the end. And the scene where everyone was hanging out drinking whiskey felt surreal. I feel like Lockhart's character development this season has been really interesting - it will be sad to see him go.

I don't think Carrie can ever be CIA director, even in Homeland world, and I don't think that's what she wants.
posted by kat518 at 11:03 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

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