Homeland The Covenant Review
Showtime‘s Homeland: Season 6, Episode 3: The Covenant began to bring into focus how this season of Homeland will shape up. The Covenant also showed the viewer that the first two episodes of Homeland: Season 6 were mere building blocks. The calm before the coming storm. During various scenes within The Covenant, the storm clouds began rolling in.
Ex-CIA Special Operations Group Operative Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend)’s segments in The Covenant contained moments that Homeland fans had been waiting for since the season began. Many bemoaned Quinn’s new state, that they wanted the old Quinn back (the a*s-kicker) instead of the partially paralyzed version. The old Quinn began to re-emerge in The Covenant, in mind and in brutal tactics.
When Quinn’s old instincts were activated, what followed was one of the most satisfying aspects of the episode. Quinn not only had to conquer his physical handicaps, he had to conquer a lack of resources. Quinn’s spy mind was still keen even though it and his body were not the optimal machines that they had been pre-poisoning. Neither of those limitations got in his way during The Covenant.
The question still remained though: was what Quinn saw and sensed a real threat or was he just projecting onto someone suspicious? If real, I calculate that it was one of CIA Director Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham)’s retainers at play, surveilling Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).
Adal had every reason to do so, before and after what he overheard during The Covenant. Adal playing fast and loose with United States of America President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) regarding the facts of operations was dangerous and asinine. She will confirm or not confirm what Adal told her by reading the contents of CIA European Division Chief Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin)’s written report (unless Adal doctors the report – he probably will to cover himself with her). Adal was pushing his own agenda in The Covenant at the eventual expense of his credibility with the soon-to-be president. In Adal’s mind, his agenda was worth it.
Saul Berenson had the best segments in The Covenant. No other scenes came close in terms of substance and implications outside of what was shown in the episode. Like Adal’s Carrie surveillance, Saul’s sequences featured real trade craft at work. Farhad Nafisi (Bernard White) interrogation and Saul’s conversation with his sister were the highlights of Saul’s segments. Nafisi’s interrogation was the most entertaining while the sister conversation was the most edifying.
Saul had Nafisi cold. Both men knew it by the time the interrogation had concluded or did they? What did that clue mean? To me it meant that Nafisi had recently been in the Mossad offices that oversaw the interrogation. He could only have gained access and known where it was through Mossad. That provoked tantalizing questions: Was Mossad playing both sides of the situation? Had Nafisi simply been putting on a performance during the interrogation? If so, what was the deeper play? All of these queries must have occurred to Saul as he held that golden cigarette wrapper.
The conversation Saul had with his sister about Israel and Palestine was fascinating. Listening to Saul, a Jew, taking the side of Palestine was something that the viewer would never have expected to hear but they should have. Saul was a trained analyst. When looking at the Israel / Palestine situation, he completely divorced emotion, religion, and the past from his assessment. Whether his assessment was correct or not was irrelevant. It was what it said about him, his character, and his assessment regime that was important.
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