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Homeland Finale Recap: "Not Every Choice We Make Is Blessed with Moral Clarity"

Who's working with whom?

Liz Raftery

After an exceptional fourth season that was quite literally explosive at several points, Homeland went out with a relative whimper on Sunday night.

"Long Time Coming" provided viewers with a few answers (some of which were to questions we didn't even know we had), but also many other larger, looming questions about who's working with whom.

The episode, somewhat jarringly and disappointingly, focused less on the terrorist Haqqani (who wasn't even seen in the hour), and more on Carrie's (Claire Danes) personal life. (This was due in part to necessity -- James Rebhorn, the actor who played Carrie's father, died earlier this year, and the show clearly wanted to pay a fitting tribute to him. But other subplots about Carrie's mother (Victoria Clark), half-brother (!) and potentially budding romance with Quinn (Rupert Friend) felt out of place at the end of a season that has been focused so heavily on the action.)

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And, the answer to the big mystery on everyone's mind -- what the hell Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) was doing in the car with Haqqani at the end of last week's episode -- was left murky at best.

To recap:

As Carrie and Maggie (Amy Hargreaves) are going through their father's belongings, Dar Adal shows up at their door looking for Quinn and telling her that Haqqani, for now, is under protection of the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Also arriving unexpectedly is Carrie's mother, who hasn't seen either of her daughters for 15 years (and hasn't even sent a single Christmas card). Carrie promptly kicks her out of the house, much to Maggie's annoyance. "She walked out on us. What kind of a person does that?" spits Carrie, who has seen her daughter for approximately four hours this entire season, including that time when she considered drowning her.

However, there are plenty of Carrie/Frannie moments this episode -- more than we've seen all season, in fact. (I still can't get over how much this baby really looks like Damian Lewis, nor how anxious I get whenever Carrie is alone with her daughter. My anxiety levels when Carrie went to check on her after the funeral seriously matched those during Saul's hostage negotiation a few weeks ago.)

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On what appears to be the next day, Carrie delivers the eulogy at her father's funeral, but gets more emotional upon seeing Quinn show up after the Mass than she ever does during the speech itself. She tells him Dar Adal is looking for him, but doesn't mention seeing Dar in the car with Haqqani. Later, Quinn adorably cuddles Frannie during the funeral reception and later toasts Carrie's dad with Irish whiskey. All aboard the Carrie-Quinn relation-ship!!!

After they share some laughs and a lasagna with Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Lockhart (Tracy Letts) at the house, Carrie confesses to Quinn that she feels terrible about having a good time at her father's funeral. Then the two make out (pretty hotly, if I do say so ...), but Carrie puts a stop to it, saying these things always end terribly for her. Fair point, Carrie, but Quinn's not a POW-turned-terrorist. He responds by making a pretty convincing argument to her that they leave the service and start a peaceful, civilian life together.

After seeing an old photograph of her parents while poking around the house at 3 a.m., Carrie experiences a change of heart and decides to road trip to find her mother rather than pondering Quinn's proposal, leaving Frannie with her sister. Upon making it to her mother's house, she finds a young man living there. (Did anyone else, at this point, wonder if Carrie's mom was a cougar, or was that just me?) Turns out Carrie has a 15-year-old half-brother named Tim, which she learns after tracking her mom down at the school where she works.

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Meanwhile, a former associate guilt-trips Quinn into joining a covert assignment and Saul, desperate to get his job back -- or any agency job, really -- meets with Dar Adal in a diner. Dar offers to put Saul's name on a shortlist to replace Lockhart (who will apparently be resigning the following week) and tells Saul he's made a deal with Haqqani to take his name off the kill list if Haqqani agrees to not harbor terrorists in Afghanistan after he inevitably takes control of the country. "He's the f---ing terrorist," Saul hisses. There are worse men in the grand scheme of things, Dar argues, and says Haqqani has given him the only copy of the video of him with Saul as a show of good faith. "Not every choice we make is blessed with moral clarity," he adds.

While pondering her new family dynamic, Carrie gets a call from Quinn, who's checking in for an update on his "let's live happily-ever-after" proposition. "It's just been a whirlwind," deflects Carrie, who was seen lying supine on her motel bed staring off into space seconds before Quinn called. "If it's a no, just say," counters Quinn. Carrie assures him it's not, but then fires a "It's not you, it's me" pre-emptive warning shot before hanging up.

When Carrie and her mother finally have their heart-to-heart, her mother confesses that she was to blame for her marriage to Carrie's father falling apart -- she cheated on him multiple times, with multiple men. Carrie, however, always assumed that it was her father's bipolar disorder that broke up their marriage, and thus believed that she, too, would never be able to be with someone long-term. Cut to Carrie frantically packing and making a phone call to Quinn -- whose phone has been disconnected because he's already gone dark for his mystery assignment.

Carrie goes to Dar's house to find out where Quinn is. The answer? He's headed into Syria, via Turkey, with a group that will eventually end up in Iraq and be responsible for their own extraction. She then confronts Dar about his association with Haqqani -- and learns, to her horror, that Saul is at the house too, apparently having been convinced by Dar to go along with his plan. Cue Carrie driving away to a jazz score, and we're out.

Major loose threads: Will evil Tasneem (Nimrat Kaur) ever get her comeuppance? Will there be any fallout from Dennis Boyd (Mark Moses) and his ties to the government? How much does Aasar Khan (Raza Jeffrey) know, and where do his true loyalties lie? And is Quinn's mission essentially a death sentence?

What did you think of the Homeland Season 4 finale? Sound off in the comments!