Homeland Season 6 Episode 3 Review: “The Covenant”

Homeland Season 6

We’re three episodes into Homeland Season 6, and while the show’s stories are certainly engrossing and the characters remain entertaining, I’m struggling to see what the “big picture” of this season is going to be. Now, after only three episodes, I get why I don’t have a completely clear idea of where Season 6 is heading; I still want this series to retain some of its mystery and suspense, and if I was able to predict exactly how things were going to play out over the next nine episodes, I would be disappointed. However, there’s a distinct lack of direction and urgency in Homeland Season 6 that I find troubling–things keep happening and characters keep making decisions that barely feel connected at all. It’s as if there’s three different television shows inside one, and while I enjoy each of Carrie, Saul, and Quinn’s storylines on their own, the disparate nature of them makes Homeland feel more scattered than it typically does and it leaves me wanting more from the series.

The one major link between Carrie and Saul’s storylines at least is President-elect Keane, who is still too thinly sketched to make any real impression as a character. Elizabeth Marvel delivers a fine performance as the soon-to-be president, but she’s not able to truly breathe life into the character since Keane’s sole role so far this season is to receive briefings and political advice, whether that be from Dar, Saul, or Carrie. The fact that Dar is not only feeding Keane misleading information but also listening in on her conversations with Carrie is certainly an exciting developing that possesses some very real opportunities for high-stakes drama down the line in Season 6. But in “The Covenant,” those moments just feel perfunctory, another small, quiet move in Dar’s chess game against the President-elect. We already know that Dar is shady and that Carrie’s work with Keane could majorly damage her relationship with Saul, and this week’s episode just reiterates those story points without ever moving them forward.

Speaking of Saul, though, his work in Abu Dhabi is the most interesting part of “The Covenant” for two reasons. First, there’s the mystery of it all, as we see him begin to follow up on leads of his own at episode’s end after he’s unable to get Farhad to break. What exactly is Saul investigating, and what will he discover, as it appears that he is working alongside Iranian police? Are the allies he trusted working with Farhad to keep the parallel program in North Korea a secret, or is this all part of some bigger, more elaborate plan? I’m very excited to see how this investigation unfolds in the coming episodes.

Furthermore, the second reason Saul’s story works the best in “The Covenant” is because it features the most emotion, as we meet Saul’s sister for the first time and witness the pair’s strained relationship. Homeland reveals that Saul and his sister had a falling out after she married a man that Saul didn’t approve of, a person he refers to as a “fanatic”; Saul claims that his sister’s marriage changed her and that, because of her husband, she turned her back on her family and everything she knew and loved. However, she responds with much more cutting comments, saying, “I have a family, a community, a life with filled with faith and purpose. Saul, what do you have?” It’s not as big of a gut punch as last week’s powerful conversation between Carrie and Quinn, but thanks in large part to Many Patinkin’s wonderful work , we can see just how much these words hurt Saul and cause him to reflect on how his life got to be how it it currently is.

Although Saul provides most of the episode’s best moments, Carrie and Quinn still make an impact in a couple of their scenes during “The Covenant.” For Carrie, it’s utilizing the recording she (very conveniently) obtains to blackmail Conlin into seemingly dropping all the charges against Saiku. On its own, it’s a great scene, but overall, how this storyline plays out is disappointing, as Carrie gets away with screwing up at her job yet again because of the connections she has. While it’s Saiku who would have really been punished in this instance by going to trial, I do hope that Homeland doesn’t shy away from having Carrie face the consequences of her actions this season; she’s gotten away with too many things in the past, and I would like to see this trend change.

Meanwhile, Quinn’s visions and paranoia begin to feel repetitive throughout most of “The Covenant,” until he finally takes action by paying a visit to the guy who robbed him back in this season’s first episode. Using his condition as a smokescreen of sorts, Quinn not only gets vengeance on the criminal by smacking him across the head, but he also steals his gun, a weapon that the he believes he needs in order to keep himself and Carrie safe from the people he thinks are watching them. Is anyone actually spying on the two of them, or is this just Quinn’s mental state playing tricks on him? It’s not clear just yet, but now that Quinn is fighting back against those who harm him and making more choices for himself, his storyline, and hopefully the rest of Season 6 as a whole, has a lot more to offer than it did originally.

Other thoughts:

  • Quinn mistakes Carrie comforting him after a nightmare for something more near the beginning of “The Covenant,” but she quickly rejects his advances. I’m curious if Homeland will ever try to reunite Carrie and Quinn again, or if their love story, much like Carrie and Brody’s, is doomed.
  • While I wish Keane had more to do than just listen to briefings, I do find every conversation that she has with Dar incredibly fascinating, and that’s probably due to the fact that there’s just so much tension between the two of them, to the point that certain comments he makes (like the ones in this episode) can be easily taken as back-handed shots against her. I love that Keane doesn’t back down, though; she knows that Dar is out to get her, but it won’t stop her from challenging him.

What did everyone else think about this week’s Homeland? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Didier Baverel/Showtime]

Homeland Season 6 Episode 3 Review: "The Covenant"
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Summary

Carrie tries to fix a major mistake, and Saul investigates in Abu Dhabi in an unremarkable episode of Homeland.

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