Homeland season 8, episode 8: Observations on Threnody(s)

Homeland

Homeland has only four episodes left, so it’s no surprise that Sunday’s episode “Threnody(s)” was dangling some potential resolutions for the Showtime thriller. It also posed a couple of interesting questions. Here are a few observations and takeaways from Homeland season 8, episode 8.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the most recent episode of Homeland.

1. Could Carrie turn into Brody in the end?

This episode ended with Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) abandoning her plans to return to the United States when she saw that the soldiers assigned to bring her back wanted to do it with guns and restraints! Convinced that her former mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) was lying when he said he had no idea (he wasn’t, though), Carrie turned tail and ran, giving her vital information to enemy-turned-ally Yevgeny Gromov (Costa Ronin) rather than the U.S. government.

Homeland has always been about twisting loyalty, discussing what it means and when it’s needed; that was the original conceit of the show back when Carrie was investigating Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) as a possible double agent. Now she seems to be in that exact position. In an earlier scene, Mike Dunne (Cliff Chamberlain) refers to Carrie as a “defector” and a “collaborator.” And this season isn’t the first time that Carrie’s loyalty has been questioned during the series.

How ironic would it be if the show that started with Carrie pursuing Brody as a traitor ended with her being considered one and potentially a fugitive from justice? She would have started the season bullish on protecting her country, and ultimately ended up being ostracized and having lost everything because of her country. That would be a downer of an ending, but also ironic and bittersweet, and perfectly in line with the cynical worldview that Homeland often paints.

Homeland
(L-R): Hugh Dancy as John Zabel and Linus Roache as David Wellington in HOMELAND, “Threnody(s)”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.

2. Should Wellington and Zabel just fight it out already?

“Threnody(s)” included some juicy scenes between White House Chief of Staff David Wellington (Linus Roache) and political operative John Zabel (recurring guest star Hugh Dancy). With the way the two of them bickered about what approach the President should adopt after the execution of Haissam Haqqani (Numan Acar), this episode felt like the two should either take it outside already, or President Hayes should put them both in time-out. (Indeed, Sam Trammell’s performance in several scenes felt like an exasperated father.)

Wellington and Zabel are on totally different sides of the spectrum, and Zabel is a huge threat that Wellington needs to neutralize as quickly as possible. He certainly made a big effort by finding that speech, but came up short this time. (And Zabel can’t even do his own dirty work; he’s got to call someone else to do it for him?) But it has been fun already watching the push and pull between Roache and Dancy as their characters try to get Hayes on their side.

The one smart thing Zabel said this week is that the President doesn’t have any idea what he wants. That’s true, and it’s incredibly dangerous; no one should have that much authority and that little sense. Let’s hope that Wellington has a Plan B or gets some kind of help next week, because otherwise his only option would be to sneak up behind Zabel and hit him upside the head with a folding chair.

Read More: Linus Roache tells why he was surprised to return in Homeland season 8

3. Does Yevgeny have an agenda?

Fans are already speculating that Yevgeny will ultimately betray Carrie before the season ends, and has been manipulating her throughout the last few episodes for the GRU. While you can’t rule out anything on Homeland, it’s a little premature to jump on the evil Yevgeny bandwagon.

As mentioned above, loyalty is almost always changing on this show. It’s more likely, and certainly more interesting, that Yevgeny and Carrie are in the same place in their lives. We see both of them are loyal to their country but not to the way their countries are doing things. They believe that what’s best for their country is to go against the current modus operandi and make their own way. There doesn’t have to be a hidden agenda, or any kind of romantic entanglement, or anything more complicated than that. It’s just two people trying to do the right thing, and that requires them to set aside their complicated history and work together.

Now will they continue to have philosophical differences? Almost certainly. They’re not best friends (remember when Yevgeny told Carrie that if she got into trouble, he was leaving her?). There will still be issues between them even if they’re allied together. But right now, they’re all each other can truly count on, and there are a lot bigger concerns for both of them than trying to one-up each other.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Article content is (c)2020 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr.

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