More often than not, Carrie’s family life has been the bane of Homeland, an ill-advised attempt at humanizing the character through numbing repetition. This is tiresome and unnecessary because, seven seasons into this show, we know very well who Carrie Mathison is. (Notice how Saul’s private life has become a complete non-issue lately? Does anyone miss it?) “Andante” features more of the same, with Carrie getting so wrapped up in her mission she neglects to even notify her sister that she’ll be gone all night, and the confrontation that ensues between them feels as obligatory to the characters as it does to the viewer. This time, at least, it serves a narrative purpose, pushing Carrie out the door with Franny in tow and nowhere else to go...until Dante offers up his home. That’s right, the very apartment Carrie and her team stayed up all night ransacking.

The hour begins exactly where the last one left off, with Carrie and company still combing the place for evidence. There’s an odd moment where the drugged Dante awakens and appears to see one of the team members before collapsing back to sleep, but even by episode’s end it’s not clear whether he remembers that or not. (His suspicions are clearly aroused given his snooping around Carrie’s bedroom while ostensibly picking up toys and clothes for Franny, but given that he leaves Carrie unsupervised in his apartment while doing this, he can’t be too worried about her finding anything incriminating...unless he left the wedding album out on purpose? Knowing that Carrie would go to his ex-wife and he’d hear about their conversation afterward? I dunno. Reviewing a spy show definitely breeds paranoia.)

It was a foregone conclusion that Dante and Carrie would tumble into bed together at some point, but the way it happens here isn’t as straightforward as I would have guessed. From her interview with the ex-wife, Carrie knows that Dante wasn’t drinking too heavily, as he claimed. Instead he was obsessed with a CIA station chief—a crazy woman who called up a drone strike on a wedding party and got a promotion anyway. (Well, when you put it that way, it does sound a little odd.) Drawing Carrie into this mission was a decision fueled by resentment, and yet by episode’s end they’re naked and hungrily hate-fucking each other, at least until they are so rudely interrupted. Mandy Patinkin probably earned an Emmy nomination with the look on his face at the end of this episode alone.

Mandy Patinkin, Maury Sterling
Photo: Antony Platt (Showtime)

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Saul isn’t surprised, he’s just disappointed—and maybe not even that. He’s the one who told Carrie to break off all contact with Dante, but of course he knew that would never happen. It’s not the way she operates, as he tells his team, which increases by one when Max is forcibly recruited. Saul has gathered intel on Simone from Wellington, blindsided by the news that the woman he’s been seeing is a Russian asset. He doesn’t have the evidence to prove this, however, as a judge is only too happy to let him know when Saul tries to get an order allowing him to question Simone before she testifies. Thanks to Max, however, he knows Simone and Dante were working together; by charting their respective travel, Max is able to find five points of congruence. All of this is a little unorthodox for a sitting National Security Advisor to be undertaking, but it shows once again that he and Carrie are more alike then he’d be willing to admit. At least he keeps the president in the loop on his task force, without spilling too many gory details.

As for President Keane, she makes the mistake of reading Wellington’s resignation letter immediately before pinning medals on the soldiers who took part in the air strike she never approved. Judging from the emphasis given to the parts of the letter about a “relationship of convenience” and Simone never meaning anything to him, I gather we’re meant to deduce that his relationship with the president has been more than simply professional. That would certainly make sense, given the fact that she should have fired him a half-dozen times by now. She doesn’t accept his resignation either, but whatever has gone on between them, it isn’t spelled out tonight.

“Andante” is an odd episode. The title refers to “a moderately slow tempo” (while also serving as a pun on one of the characters’ names), and in comparison to the last several weeks, this hour does feel a bit more subdued. And yet by the end of it, a lot has happened in terms of the overall arc of the season. I just wish we could have gotten there without yet another blowout between Carrie and her sister, a few more nuggets of precocious wisdom from Franny, and a couple more reasons to rescind Carrie’s nomination for Mother of the Year. (Huddling naked in the dark clutching your child after a strike team has forcibly removed the man you were just having sex with...I think that’s generally frowned upon by CPS.) We know by now that Carrie is always going to put the mission first, but the collateral damage to her daughter only gets harder to stomach.

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Stray observations

  • It could have worse, of course. I kept waiting for the motel clerk to call the cops after Carrie tried to use two credit cards bearing two different names.
  • Hey look, it’s Beau Bridges as Vice President Marlin, eyeing the Oval Office like he knows he’ll be measuring it for drapes sooner than later.
  • “What’s his skill set?” “Irritant.”

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