On one hand, 'Gerontion' gave the main characters a series of victories. Saul and Carrie won the day with their Javadi operation, successfully turning the deputy Iranian intelligence chief against his own government. Quinn cleaned up Javadi's collateral damage, sweeping two murders under the rug.
Carrie found out that her man Brody probably had nothing to do with the attack on the CIA. Lockhart got his comeuppance, locked in a dark room. Heck, Saul even got Mira back.
But as is always the case with Homeland, the show left us to ponder the cost of those victories, whether or not the juice was worth the squeeze, and whether or not any of these short-term successes will lead to any lasting change in the world.
Even as Saul and the delightfully slithery Dar Adal enjoyed a celebratory toast, their new prized asset was reminding Carrie of the price she had payed for their victory. Even as Quinn, in the interest of national security, was confessing to a crime that he didn't commit, he was reminded again by the police officers interrogating him that all he and his comrades seem to do is make things worse.
That reminder was the latest in a series of events that have pushed Quinn to a breaking point. He's done. He's done with his job, and seeing innocent people killed, all in the name of some greater good that never seems to manifest itself. He told Carrie as much, but she was able to talk him into helping her clear Brody's name. Out of his loyalty to, and perhaps feelings for her, he agreed to help. But he doesn't want his legacy to be a trail of dead bodies.
Carrie believes that her legacy is tied to Brody. She is the only one who was right about him before, and she wants to be proven right about him again. Whether or not she will be seems to be the direction that the final five episodes of this season will take.
Though it was a minor plot point, we saw that Fara was thinking long-term as well. She wasn't comfortable with being the person that helped bring Javadi down, only to see him set back out into the field as an operative. She wanted the man to pay for his crimes, and in a delightful little red herring that went nowhere, even considered taking a pair of scissors to him. I can appreciate her position, but I'm really glad that there wasn't yet another vicious, graphic stabbing depicted. I have a hard time stomaching scenes like that, and there seems to be one in every episode of every show I write about.
Saul held the key to not only his legacy, but likely how history would define Dar Adal, Javadi and Lockhart. Adal seems to be content with making nice with whoever is in power at the time, whether it be Saul or Lockhart. Lockhart wants to be remembered as the man that reformed the CIA, and perhaps he will be, if he ever finds his way out of that conference room.
Javadi and Saul's legacies seem as intertwined as their delicate and complicated history together. With Saul's help, Javadi might be able to ascend to an even higher rank in his government. The misdeeds that lined his pockets, but ultimately led to his downfall, might never see the light of day, if he can give Saul what he wants.
And Saul? Saul can be remembered as the man that affected real change in the intelligence field, turning the number two intelligence man of an enemy, and jettisoning the terrorist organization that killed hundreds of his friends and colleagues. He might also be able to salvage his marriage.
But in all of these plots and schemes, Saul seems to have forgotten the sage observation that he made to Jivadi. "...in the end, we control nothing," he said. It seems that Saul might be wise to temper his victory celebrations, being mindful of those words, especially since Lockhart, the man that he just humiliated, is going to be his boss in ten days.
'Gerontion' was a solid outing for Homeland, hitting on some of the themes and questions that the show raises when I like it the most. We'll see if it can continue on that path as it delves back into Brody and that world in the coming weeks.
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