November 21, 2017

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‘Homeland’ Recap: The ‘Man in the Basement’ Isn’t Carrie’s Only Problem

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Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watched episode two of Season 6 of “Homeland,” titled “The Man in the Basement.”

Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is about to have a very bad day — and it starts and ends heartbreakingly with the man living in her basement apartment, Quinn (Rupert Friend).

He’s not the only one who’ll cross paths with her over the course of this taut hour (written by Chip Johannessen, and directed by Keith Gordon). By episode’s end, her relationship with the other man in her life she once loved, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), will also be forever changed.

Let’s start with Saul. Their ever-complicated bond has had its ups and downs, to be sure — but when they’re first reunited here, they’re cautiously friendly. Past grudges seem to have been put aside as they greet each other in Carrie’s law office, where Saul has arrived for a surprise visit.

But Saul has an agenda: He’s come to probe whether his former protegee is pulling strings behind his back with the new presidential administration.

“I was thinking how long it had been since I heard your voice…And then I thought I did, when I briefed the president-elect on our covert action programs,” he tells her. “I think her entire national security platform came out of that head of yours.”

Carrie acts shocked at his accusations. She claims to be busy with her cases. Do we believe her? Does he? Hard to tell in that moment. But then he goes too far: “It would be a huge embarrassment to everyone if it got out you were a secret adviser to the president. That would not play well at all.”

Oh, Saul. Do you know nothing about Carrie? With that, she’s had enough: She kicks him out of her office with an angry flare of righteous indignation. That probably was her tell. Yet he believes her, as we’ll later learn. But he’s never been good at reading the women in his life. (See Allison Carr, Season 5.) When he meets up with Dar Adal later, he tells the spymaster confidently Carrie is not advising the PEOTUS. “She’s a menace,” snaps Adal about Carrie. Counters Saul: “Just not at the moment to us.”

But Adal knows better: He’s just seen the photo evidence of Carrie being screened by the Secret Service. Yet he, too, has his own agenda — securing his own position in the new administration, perhaps? — and he doesn’t reveal the truth to Saul. Saul won’t take kindly to being lied to, but more to come on that, I’m sure. Everyone’s lying to him: Adal, Carrie. Wonder which betrayal will sting more deeply.

Prescient as ever, this season of “Homeland” echoes the bitter distrust between the president-elect and the intelligence

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