Homeland Finale Recap: Mother Lode

Homeland Season 4 Finale

After a string of intense, breakneck episodes, Homeland closed out its fourth season Sunday on a comparatively muted note.

Of course, that’s not to say stuff didn’t happen.

By the end of the hour, Carrie buried her dad, came face-to-face with her estranged mother, went to first base with Quinn and, most notably, found out why Dar Adal was suddenly carpooling with terrorists.

COMING (BACK) TO AMERICA | The action begins with Carrie, back in the States, preparing to lay to rest her father Frank (played by the late, great James Rebhorn, for whom the episode was dedicated). While sorting through pop’s possessions with sister Maggie, Carrie is surprised to discover Dar — last seen bumming a ride from Haissam Haqqani in Pakistan — on her doorstep. Over the course of their relatively brief chat, two things become clear: Dar has no idea that Carrie is on to him (I incorrectly thought he had locked eyes with her from the backseat of Haqqani’s vehicle), and Quinn — who Dar is looking for — remains MIA.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO… ABOUT DAMN TIME | At her dad’s memorial service, Carrie — fresh off her moving eulogy — spots Quinn waiting for her outside the church. (The utter relief and pure joy on Carrie’s face warmed my ‘shipper heart, oh yes it did.) The two quickly get reacquainted, sorta-agree to put Islamabad behind them and head off to the repass, where Quinn bonds with both Frannie and Maggie — the latter of who can barely contain her lust. (I imagine the married mother’s inner dialogue went something like this: “If you don’t want him sis, I’ll take him!”) Later, Carrie escorts Quinn to his car, and the two finally stop being polite and start getting really into each other’s mouths. Carrie’s Brody-fueld PTSD kicks in and she pulls away. “Quinn, I’ll just f–k it up,” she warns him. “I know how this goes. It ends badly.” But Quinn isn’t buying what she’s selling. He proposes they both ditch the spy game and channel their inner Ozzie and Harriet. Carrie, clearly tempted, agrees to sleep on it. (Show of hands: How many of you feared Quinn’s pickup truck would explode into a ball of flames as it pulled away from the house?)

JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT… | Back at his apartment, Quinn is greeted by one of his special ops cronies, who informs him that there’s a new operation taking shape in the very near future. As in tomorrow. Quinn wants no part of it though. He’s done with that life. He wants the fairytale with Carrie. But the question remains — does she want the fairytale with him? Faster than you can say stalker alert, he phones his beloved and presses her for an answer. She asks for more time, which he interprets as a full-on rejection. And — just like that — the romance appears to be over before it began. Cut to a nondescript airport hangar, and we see Quinn preparing to take off for parts unknown. (Damn you and your commitment issues, Carrie. Damn you.)

FILET OF SAUL | Despite being tormented by recent events, Saul informs his beleaguered wife that he “wants back in” to make right all that he made wrong. There’s just one problem: Once the propaganda video he co-starred in with Haqqani is made public, Saul will have a hard time getting a job at the CIA gift shop, let alone succeed Lockhart as director. Enter Dar, who summons Saul to the local greasy spoon and proceeds to come clean about his unholy alliance with Haqqani. In a nutshell, Dar agreed to take the terror mastermind off the U.S.’ Kill List under the condition that he refrain from harboring terrorists in Afghanistan. And as a gesture of good faith, the evildoer gifted Dar with the only copy of a certain hotly-anticipated video. Saul is disgusted. “It’s wrong,” he fumes, “just plain wrong.” Counters Dar: “Not every choice we make is blessed with moral clarity – especially in our business.” True dat, reads Saul’s face. With the propaganda video now a non-issue, there’s nothing standing in Saul’s path to director — except Saul himself. Dar urges him to come back “and lead us.” (My brother totally called this, BTW. Way to go, Dave!)

MOM’S THE WORD | Carrie returns from a jaunt in the park with Frannie to find a surprise waiting for her in the driveway: an SUV with Missouri plates belonging to her estranged mother (Broadway vet Victoria Clark). The deadbeat matriarch saw the obituary for Frank and decided to pay her kids a visit. Carrie, not surprisingly, is in no mood for a family reunion. “You have a lot of nerve,” she roars. “You haven’t been here for 15 years. You don’t get to play grieving wife all of a sudden!” Carrie orders her mother to leave (she wouldn’t even let her mom sneak a peek at Frannie!), and she reluctantly complies. Carrie eventually simmers down now and decides to take an impromptu road trip to Missouri to hash things out with mom. But, upon reaching her destination, the first person she encounters is not her mother, but her 15-year-old half-brother Tim! Turns out, her mom vanished all those years ago because she was pregnant with another man’s baby. “You left your children to go have more children?” a stupefied Carrie (rightly) dings her. Her mom explains that she was tired of hurting those that she loved — namely Carrie’s dad, who had apparently put up with her serial cheating for years — and vanished so that she could “do one right thing… focus on Tim.” That triggers quite the a-ha moment in Carrie, who assumed it was her dad’s fragile mental state that drove her mother away. “I always thought that being bipolar meant that you could’t be with people,” she cries. “At least not for the long haul.” Translation: There’s hope for her and Quinn!

LOVE, ACTUALLY | Armed with this new information, Carrie calls Quinn presumably to inform him that she’s in on the whole white-picket-fence thing, only to discover that his phone has been disconnected. She (correctly) deduces that Dar sent him off on one of his signature suicide open-ended missions, and promptly shows up at his house to confront him. She threatens to blab to the press that she saw him rubbing elbows with Haqqani if he doesn’t put her in touch with Quinn. He, in turn, urges her to check with Saul before doing anything rash — and, as luck would have it, she can do so right now because he’s chilling out on the back porch. Upon making visual confirmation of this, Carrie puts the pieces together in her head. Heartbroken, hurt and defeated, she storms off. Cue Homeland‘s haunting jazz score. Bring on Season 5.

What did you think of the finale — and the season as a whole? Predictions for Season 5? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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95 Comments
  1. David says:

    This was the worst episode of Homeland ever.

    • 777 says:

      It wasn’t the worst of the series but definitly the worst of the season. A terrible ending for an amazing season

      • Lauren says:

        Disagree. I have been waiting for an episode that focused on some of the family and personal issues going on instead of the terrorism/CIA. And, the Quinn/Carrie tension finally came to a head. It was a good episode. I could have maybe used a more dramatic ending, but other than that, it was good.

        • Mamma Mia says:

          I liked this episode because it set things up for next season. It started with good things then gradually shifted to show the dark underbelly. With none of the excitement of previous episodes I was left with a foreboding pit in my stomach when the curtain went down on the season. I too related to “Homeland’s haunting jazz score” and felt chills.

    • Daniel Gonzalez says:

      I agree. Terrible. Wasted time.

  2. L says:

    Kind of a dull season finale… no resolution to the season long pakistan storyline at all…

  3. Jake says:

    I enjoyed this episode, great set up for Season 5. Dar/Saul vs Carrie/Quinn. Also, I’ve really taken a shining to Carrie & Quinn, they’re dynamic is great– great chemistry between them. I enjoy character driven episode rather than the action packed, terror stuff. Good work!

  4. Michelle says:

    What a let down. Doesn’t make me excited about next season at all. Horrible episode

  5. polarbears16 says:

    This is the kind of episode you do BEFORE the end of the season. It’s a more contemplative, character driven episode that has some big moments for Carrie–finding out why her mother actually left, which influences her approach to relationships–but don’t throw that at us in the finale.

    • drhenning says:

      There was no way they would toss this episode in the middle of this great season because it would disrupt the terrific flow.. I think if Carrie’s father hadn’t died because of the death of the actor, they could have finished without Carrie coming home.. But they had to deal with her father’s death back in the US and her daughter etc.. Bringing in her mother completes her family history which explains a lot to her.. I also think for budget reasons, they had to have a cheap episode as well… All the firepower of the previous episodes costs a great deal… Viewers need to chill out as it did set up a 5th season that will roll on… I figured it would get a negative review from many based on what twitter was saying while it was running.

  6. This whole season was just bad. The worst parts of Homeland bubbled to the surface, and the problems Season 3 created just became even worse. No way in hell Carrie survived that missile attack either. Whole season was a stupid mess.

    • L says:

      I liked most of the season, just wish they had some sort of resolution to it.

    • Julie says:

      I completely disagree. I thought this was the best season since season 1 and 100% improved from S3. Was everything believable? Of course not – it’s TV. Was the finale a bit of a letdown? Yes. Because we’re so used to every season finale of every show to have these huge cliffhangers which I feel like only started in the past decade, probably with Lost. Before that, I can’t remember every single show having a cliffhanger that you had to wait for the next season which would quickly be wrapped up with a nice little bow by the end of the 1st episode. But ultimately I thought this season was great and nicely moved on from the whole Brody storyline. I didn’t miss that family at all.

  7. I am not quite sure what to think about the finale. Considering the breakneck speed of the previous several episodes, this one definitely was muted. I was expecting balls to the wall action, but instead got a more meditative tone poem. I am not exactly sure how this is supposed to set up season five. I did cheer when I saw Carrie and Quinn kissing, but that was about it. There was nothing really WRONG with the episode for me, but there wasn’t as much for me to get excited about either. Considering the rest of the season was set overseas, it was sort of weird to see an episode set on American soil. I just hope the show doesn’t kill off Quinn (because yes, part of me thought his truck was going to explode as he left the funeral), though with this open ended mission, it gives them an out if Rupert Friend doesn’t return to Homeland for season five. But realistically speaking, I can’t see Carrie and Quinn in a relationship while both are still active in the CIA. That sounds more like series finale material (assuming they both live long enough to make the finale).

    • Alichat says:

      I thought the same thing when Quinn drove off from Carrie’s sister’s house. I was braced for the truck to explode.

      • Drewer says:

        I was worried he a sniper might just take him out while they made out, after that happend I was worried he might be in a car accident, I worried the guy at him apartment was there to kill him, I worried Quinn would get on the plane and it would crash, I was worried the episode was going to jump ahead a month and end with Carrie receiving that letter. Basically the moment Quinn and Carrie kissed I just kept saying, “he’s going to die, no I can’t, no don’t die.” I was so relieved/shocked he made it out alive that I forgave the episode all it’s sins and was like best finale ever. Now if Quinn dies next season I’m out.

    • Julie says:

      Also thought we were either going to hear an explosion or at least a crash when Quinn drove away. Also thought that Dar was intentionally sending Quinn off on a suicide mission and Quinn isn’t making it back home. Especially since it seemed like Carrie was going to let her guard down and pursue the relationship. He’s either not coming back or he’s going to come back different, jaded, whatever and push her away, just like she’s always done.

  8. Alichat says:

    The ending was rather anti-climactic. And seriously, Quinn is just as flighty and impatient as Carrie.

    • Marc says:

      I was taken aback by Quinn’s sulky attitude during the phone call with Carrie. I think everyone knows that he’s had feelings for her for more than two years yet, after that kiss and her promise to talk, he would be so pushy, knowing how patient he’s been so far. Plus, to think he wouldn’t understand her hesitation knowing how much she’s going through. That did not ring true to his character at all.

      • Alichat says:

        I wasn’t totally taken aback by the impatience, but the pushiness was odd. I think he was wanting to go on the mission….drawn to it like an addict, and he was wanting Carrie to be his reason not to go. That’s why he asked if he should fly out and meet her.

  9. dave says:

    Utter drivel.

  10. Iris Goland says:

    Great finale even though low key. Sets things up nicely for next season.

  11. Lisa Jones says:

    Why should there have been resolution. There is no resolution in reality- in the Middle East.

  12. Tran says:

    The season finale of Homeland was a disappointment but overall Season Four was the one of the best since the very first season and let’s hope that Season Five can topped that. Italian food anyone?

  13. Kate says:

    Season 4 was my favorite season and I’m cool with the final. I like reflective character episodes, plus Carrie & quinn were a lot of fun to watch. I love those two.

  14. It was very, VERY quiet, and I was a bit disappointed when I saw it was coming to an end. I love the Carrie/Quinn dynamic, Dar Adal has always had the villain neon sign above his head, and we needed new tension between Carrie and Saul. I for sure thought Quinn’s truck was going to blow when he pulled away. Then I thought the dude by the pool was going to cap him. Everything seemed too quiet. I suppose it’s a good way to end a season, rather than start the next season slow. I could barely handle the previous two episodes in term of my heart exploding, so I guess I owe them thanks for some relaxation.

  15. Blake says:

    The finale turned into a soap opera. Brady/Carrie part 2.

  16. steph says:

    They should have ended it with last week’s episode. Other that tonight’s episode, its been a great season.

  17. DavidSask says:

    What a snoozefest for a finale!!!

  18. Cara says:

    I was glad to finally have some “good” moments…the lasagna/whiskey, Frannie and Quinn and yes ‘the kiss.’ Mother stuff i didn’t need but maybe Carrie needed to learn so she can have a relationship… And I am intrigued by the moral ambiguity w Saul and Dal. Slow but still satisfying…

  19. Blake says:

    Kind of odd how Carrie kinda ignore Quinn when Brody was alive and was obsessed with him and “in love” – yet now the writers might be pushing them on us. Shouldnt Quinn seem second fiddle? Wants to play house with a chick who has another mans baby? *sigh*

  20. samaelsmile says:

    “Show of hands: How many of you feared Quinn’s pickup truck would explode into a ball of flames as it pulled away from the house?”

    Guilty as charged. I was 100% sure it was gonna happen.

    • Blake says:

      Doubt they’d kill off another main character so soon.

    • lkh says:

      I agree–just waiting for it to happen.

    • redjane12 says:

      So true… I kept thinking no no no…

      The way Quinn left at the end of the episode for a seemingly near-suicidal mission (they are to work out their own get away from Syria/Iraq???) mission, was kinda smart so that the show could come back with or without Quinn… I will be pretty mad if he doesn’t come back for reals (no flashbacks/ghostly/dreamy appearances) but it could go either way… Though the producers must know that Quinn is one of the most popular characters the show has ever had…

  21. matt says:

    boring!! worst season finale ever.

  22. Pati says:

    it was a slow episode but it was still very good, I was so nervous that Quinn was going to get killed after the kiss, what a relief. They finally kissed yay I can’t wait for next season. This season was amazing

  23. Tara says:

    Honk-shu finale. Felt like no resolution, no cliffhanger.
    And TOTALLY re Quinn’s truck!!

  24. Jan says:

    Everyone was expecting an action-packed intense driven ending eith the terrorists taken out.

    This episode was dedicated to James Rebhorn so the slower pace and reflection honored Carrie and Maggie’s father and the gifted actor who portrayed him. It set up the storyline for the next season.

    Be patient, folks.

    On an end note, I hope Quinn makes it home safely. Kudos to the cast and crew for a superb season.

  25. Exhomelandwatcher says:

    This finale was the worst I’ve ever seen. A total letdown. How could the writers waste all the tension they built up this season with such a terrible ending. What a waste. No more for me …..

  26. Derek117 says:

    First off, you incorrectly wrote that Dar was taking Haqqani OFF of the No-Kill list. In fact, Dar took Haqqani off the KILL List.

    Now to the episode. Yes, a real let-down. After four or five tension-filled episodes, the finale feels like it’s a re-edit of what could have been a two-hour finale, that was veto’d at the last minute.

    Last week, I made the correct call that Dar was on a sanctioned mission for the U.S. government when he was in Pakistan. I also figured Saul would somehow be “in play” for the CIA Director’s job; but didn’t anticipate the very Homeland-like ethical issue coming into play. Because the issue being raised (and maybe troubling Carrie) is “do you collaborate with Terrorists in order to get the top CIA job.” Indeed, this is the exact issue we started the season with: Sandy (and Lockhart) were trading secrets with the enemy in order to get targeting info to kill even worst enemies. How is that different from the deal Dar (and the U.S. govt) just made with Haqqani–to not “harbor” terrorist. And, why oh why, would anyone believe Haqqani–after he reneged on the deal to trade Saul for his Terrorists/Lieutenants . Plus, Haqqani killed several helpless CIA agents in the Embassy (remember Farah???). So, we reward him for this by taking him off the Kill List. Damn: he should be at the Top of the List!

    Finally, my guess is that Quinn will die early next season–and possibly is already dead. But the Homeland producers didn’t want to follow in the dubious footsteps of Game of Thrones, by killing off a major character at the end of each season. Instead they’ll wait until the first episode of two of Season 5.

  27. I enjoyed the episode and still felt tension as I anticipated something bad about to happen…which didn’t really. I’m happy it didn’t end with a huge drastic cliffhanger like season 2, or the devastation that ended season 3…. however, I was really disappointed that the episode started with them now home in the US…. what about Pakistan?! What about Khan?? I know it’s a lot for a girl to dream… but the budding chemistry between Khan and Carrie was almost Brody/Carrie esque. I was really hoping they would explore that further, and carry on that mission, so seeing that they just sort of gave up for now, felt a little flat. Overall though, it was an amazing season…. Claire is unbelievable as Carrie. And that moment with Brody/Khan/Carrie still gives me the chills.

  28. Pauljohn says:

    Great finale but could have been way better. Nothing to hook you on for the next season. Can’t really blame the writers though the storyline has been quite faulty and then drastically after the brody incident which is where the show kind of got a rebuttal but….. nice season, good finale. Waiting till semptember.

  29. The season was great up to the season finale. It ruin the season. One of the word finale ever in any show. Very disappointed

  30. Jm says:

    Hand raised! I actually covered my eyes when Quinn was driving away from Carrie because I was so sure his vehicle was about to explode.

    I’ve really loved the season of Homeland because of its focus on action versus personal life. Unfortunately, this season finale was exactly the opposite. Quite frankly, I could care less about Carrie’s mother or father. I feel cheated by the whole finale.

  31. azu says:

    I’m not digging this carrie/quinn affair. It’s nonsense. Must tv writers include romance between the main characters?

  32. lkh says:

    Honestly, I was more on edge in this episode than I have been most of the season. I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs, kept waiting for something jarring to happen. It was a quiet finale, but I’m still a little unsettled by the whole thing, we’re so used to something violent happening…maybe this is what was intended. Carrie just doesn’t seem to fit in suburbia–I guess neither do we as viewers.

    • Quibs says:

      I didn’t feel on edge the entire episode but I felt the same at times. There was the anticipation that something crazy might happen like an attack or abduction at Carrie’s sisters place even though this wouldn’t make any sense story wise that didn’t stop me from feeling it in theoment. I remember feeling that way when Carrie walked Quinn to his car and the camera stayed with her sister inside and then again at 3:00 in the morning when Carrie woke up.

  33. Quibs says:

    This finale was quiet, character driven and did a fairly good job of setting up something for the 5th season but the episode felt disconnected for me overall. Moving from one major life event to the next as quickly as Carrie did through the 50+ minute episode felt rushed. I agree with other comments that some of this storyline needed to happen but didn’t feel a full 50 minute finale was the right choice. Coming off such a great series of high energy episodes following up to the finale left me with a natural sense of incompleteness with how the season ended. This season now feels like a part 1 of what’s to come next season which may very well be what Homeland was going for. I’m not upset as a fan, just disappointed I didn’t get the rush of excitement and intensity I’ve been anticipating all week.

  34. Data1001 says:

    That would have been a decent episode of Desperate Housewives… but not so much Homeland.

  35. John says:

    Have they ran out of ideas?

  36. Charissa29 says:

    My problem with this finale is that the show runners are setting up a season 5 full of issues I don’t give a crap about! New found mommy? Don’t care. Carrie as mommy with Baby Brody? Care less. This show is dreadful at representing family life. Forget it all, get Carrie back in the field with Quinn and the others. Sigh.

  37. mollytanner says:

    When Quinn and Carrie were in the street at night having their moment, I had a momentary flashback to the final scene of MSCL, where Angela and Brian are in the street at night and she realizes he has an unspoken love for her.

    • Mo says:

      I really wanted Carrie to spin around in circles like after Angela’s kiss with Jordan in his car! But that’s not Carrie at all, just my so-called day dream ;)

  38. john says:

    this has got to be the worst piece of garbage episode ive ever seen. very underwhelming. this shows spose to be about hunting down terrorists and dealing with them. if i wanted a soap opera id tune in to days of our lives or some other mindless drivel.

  39. Deborah says:

    Yes, I also thought Quinn’s truck was going to explode!

    When I watched the season finale last year, I told myself that there was no way they can survive another season with Brody gone. I was wrong.

    This season finale had some good parts, a bit slow but still interesting how they left it.

    Rest in peace James Rebhorn..

  40. Hege says:

    I stopped watching after episode 4. Seems like I didn’t miss much…

  41. Ted says:

    Season 4 again proved that there is life after Brody. Carrie Mathison’s character is wonderfully complex, and totally screwed-up. And this season was authentic to Carrie’s state of mind (such as it is). I enjoyed the creative and bold writing this season. But it seemed that for the finale the writers were lost, and just wanted to give us a setup for season #5 – poor choice I thought. Sadly for Quinn, getting involved with Carrie will likely result in his death – like anything else would make sense. Episode #1 of season 5 could easily set the stage for Saul returning to head the CIA, delve deeper into Carrie’s past with Mom, and a better finale could have been created, much better. But, I will be there for season 5. Overall Homeland is maybe the most engrossing drama on TV, and if it had not been so darn good thus far then I would not have been as disappointed in last nights finale. Also, I don’t know what to watch now :-((

  42. agnes says:

    Disappointing finale and I missed Khan… I hope, I want Khan back for next season!

  43. Mary Starr says:

    Totally thought Quinn’s truck was going to explode!

  44. Joe Miscione says:

    Lousy end to great season. Two much sentiment for a one hour episode.

  45. Mel says:

    I’m surprised at all the negative comments. This has been a stellar season, and I admit I’ve loved all the action and tension and twists. But, to me, this show is outstanding because of the great character exploration as well, and no one does that better than Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Rupert Friend. I was fine with a quieter finale, and think after everything that’s played out this season, they needed a little pause for the principle players to process everything, and set up the direction for next season. On this show, so much is said in the quieter episodes, and I thought the finale was beautifully layerd and brilliantly acted.

  46. TL says:

    Talk about a snoozefest of a finale. WOW!

  47. chiclit says:

    Its just tv finale 101 that you do NOT have a brand new character introduced after an intense season unless said character has been a major mystery and much discussed so that the appearance is shocking. The whole back story with Mom could have been unearthed in a cache of letters discovered among Dad’s old things, right? I fear Mom or even the new little brother may show up next season in some way. Clearly some of the Homeland writers want to work on a domestic drama. That all being said, the rest of the episode was fine, although I think the suggestion that the return to the states stuff might have originally been conceived as part of a two hour finale sounds plausible.

  48. Susan A. says:

    This season hasn’t shown in my part of the world yet but as far as I’m concerned the series ended with Brody’s death. The Carrie-Brody dynamic was the main point of the show. Maybe now it’s a different show. I don’t know if I’ll bother watching it. Too many hours watching TV ain’t healthy and I’ve actually got a life!

  49. agent86 says:

    When the opening credits showed Meredith S. As the writer I knew I was in for a let down. When Q&C closed in on each other I kept saying No No No! And I’m still not sure why Dar was in Haquanni’s ride. It’s certainly not because he gives credence to Haq’s assurances.

  50. Willis says:

    I will never object to a character driven episode on Homeland. These people are not one-dimensional action heroes. Take Saul, for example… in many ways a ‘good man’, whose moral compass is permanently tuned to CIA.