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Homeland: Does the Incoming President Have a Hidden Agenda?

Plus: Quinn hits rock bottom

Liz Raftery

The president-elect may be operating under a secret agenda that could put millions of American lives at risk.

We're talking, of course, about the Season 6 premiere of Homeland, which revealed that President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) has a somewhat radical approach when it comes to foreign policy. Namely, she's incredibly skeptical of U.S. intelligence agencies and wants to scale back American efforts in the Middle East, especially Syria. Her proposals are met with shock and horror from Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) -- who's convinced she's trying to exact revenge on military agencies after her 28-year-old son was killed on his third tour of duty in Iraq.

Dar's opinion of the incoming president is that she's "naive and dangerous," while Saul has a more optimistic view. Dar's not taking any chances, however, and once again goes behind Saul's back to hold secret meetings about American operations.

The show's transition to New York is marked by smooth jazz, in contrast to the frenetic theme music we've been used to for the past five seasons. Perhaps it's symbolic of Carrie's (Claire Danes) new, far less chaotic life in Brooklyn, where she lives with her 4-year-old daughter Frannie in a brownstone and uses the downstairs apartment to make a little money on the side via Airbnb. Carrie's daily routine consists of going to her job at a nonprofit organization that offers legal aid to Muslims and going to the VA hospital to visit Quinn (Rupert Friend), who is not doing very well, to put it mildly, after his saran gas episode last season. But more on him later.

Homeland continues to mirror real-life politics in Season 6

When we pick up in the premiere, Carrie gets a surprise visit at work, from Otto (Sebastian Koch), who's apparently spent the better part of three months trying to convince her to be his life partner. She's clearly annoyed at having to reiterate her denial, especially after he pokes fun at her new job and asks why she's wasting her time with these "small potatoes." But as it turns out, that ship has sailed. Otto says he's met someone, and begs Carrie to let someone into her life, even if it's not him. Which brings us to Quinn!

Patrick Sabongui, Claire Danes, Homeland
JoJo Whilden, JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME

Except maybe not. Turns out Quinn and his nursing staff are less than thrilled about Carrie's daily visits. Frustrated with the progress (or lack thereof) that he's making in therapy, Quinn prefers to expend his money and energy elsewhere. He gets one of his therapists to sneak him out of the hospital so he can meet up with prostitutes, who take him to a drug den where he gets wined and dined, so to speak, and also robbed at gunpoint. Let's just say Otto is looking like a better option for Carrie at this point.

For now, though, she's too consumed with work to think about dating. Her latest assignment is the case of Sekou Bah (J. Mallory McCree), a young Muslim man who's arrested on suspicion of having terrorist ties after authorities flag his website, which includes inflammatory YouTube videos where Sekou appears to express sympathy for terrorists. (Did anyone else pick up on the fact that Sekou's friend's "phone battery was low," so they had to record the videos on Sekou's phone? Hmm.)

Carrie and her colleague Reda (Patrick Sabongui) visit Sekou in custody, and Carrie tells the FBI director she believes he's just an angry kid exercising his right to free speech. The FBI's case? That Sekou is going to Nigeria not to visit his father, but to join an ISIS cell.

Before she can delve too deep into the evidence, however, Carrie gets a call that Quinn's gone missing. She tracks him down at the whorehouse and, after he has an episode when she tries to bring him back to the VA, decides to let him live in the apartment downstairs with her and Frannie for the time being. Here's hoping that Carrie doesn't find herself yet again in a situation where the biggest threat to her safety is right under her nose.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company.)