Post Mortems
Homeland Premiere Recap

Homeland Premiere: EP Talks Carefree Carrie, Angry Saul, Unhinged Quinn

Homeland returned Sunday with its biggest twist yet: During the nearly-three year time jump that preceded the Season 5 premiere, Carrie Mathison transitioned into a… happy human being.

When we first see her, Claire Danes’ tortured terrorist hunter is enjoying a virtually drama-free life in Germany, one that includes a new (smart and stable!) boyfriend, a daughter she no longer wants to drown in a bathtub, and a civilian job that is both fulfilling and, most importantly, safe.

But as the premiere reached the midway point, dark clouds started closing in on her idyllic fresh start. Specifically, an escalating international crisis found Carrie caught between her new employer and her old friends at the CIA. (Speaking of the latter, Carrie and Saul are barely on speaking terms after she essentially derailed his CIA directorship.)

Below, executive producer Alex Gansa tackles burning questions about the setup-heavy premiere, including Carrie and Quinn’s fragile mental states, Saul’s ill-fated CIA directorship and… a possible new love triangle?!

TVLINE | You had a lot of groundwork to cover in this episode. You were planting as lot of seeds.
We’re doing a couple of things [in the premiere]. First of all, you’re locating your character emotionally in a new place. And I don’t mean geographically. I mean what’s going on in their heads. And you’re also explaining to the audience what happened in the intervening years. And then third, you are introducing a new cast of characters. And, lastly, you set the stage for the narrative. What is going to be the story this season? The first episode is among the most difficult to do every season, because you want to be compelling and exciting; Homeland is a thriller at its core. But you do have all of these other missions to accomplish at the same time. And the trick is to find the balance.

TVLINE | Carrie seems so personally content in this episode. Is it fair to say this is the happiest we’ve ever seen her?
I think that’s fair to say. She’s made some big choices in her life and they worked out. She’s content in her job. She’s stable and content in her home life. She has her daughter with her. And, sadly, all of that stuff is not going to last very long.

TVLINE | You’d think she’d learn not to get involved with a colleague.
That’s probably true, but it’s more that here she is in a foreign country and she’s working in this intensely passionate environment and all of these people are committed and passionate people. And she meets a handsome guy [Alexander Fehling] and they hit it off. I don’t think she is making a mistake on that front. I think she has chosen wisely. This guy is a really good guy.

HomelandTVLINE | Why did Carrie impede Saul’s appointment for CIA director?
In the vetting process, the committee asked Carrie to testify on behalf of Saul. She was asked what happened to Saul while he was a prisoner. And Carrie was concerned that Saul, something snapped. That Saul might not be the best person to lead the agency at this time. She didn’t tank his bid necessarily, but she didn’t help him along the way.

TVLINE | He told her he’s not mad at her — was he lying? 
Two years have gone by. I think he’s put that behind him. Saul has a very senior job at the agency. He’s the European division chief. He’s got plenty of responsibility. And he’s continuing to do the work that he’s always done, and in the process becoming much more of a company man then when we first introduced him.

TVLINE | I didn’t think Quinn could get any darker. Why take this brooding character and make him even more tortured?
Quinn was doing everything he could to get out, to escape the gravitational pull of that rabbit hole. And he failed. He and Carrie missed each other. The timing was wrong. And since then Quinn has been down in Syria and Iraq leading the special ops team for the past two years, fighting these militias, and you can only imagine the s–t he has seen down there. And that can’t help but affect somebody. And it certainly affected him.

TVLINE | Carrie has a new adversary in colleague Laura (Sarah Sokolovic). I may be reading too much into this, but does Laura have a thing for Carrie’s new man? Is that partly what’s fueling all the hate?
I think you’re reading too much into it. What’s interesting about Laura’s view of Carrie is as he doesn’t trust Carrie. Carrie was an intelligence office that worked for the CIA. And all of a sudden now she’s the head of security of the Düring Foundation. She suspects Carrie of being eyes and ears for the CIA at the Foundation. And, of course, the CIA thinks Carrie is a traitor to her former job. So Carrie’s caught in no-man’s land. And Laura represents that space Carrie is living in now.

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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  1. m3rcnate says:

    I will eventually catch up and judge for myself but…i can’t help but think: “This show is still on? Didn’t it end when Brody (Damian Lewis) died?”.
    I know it’s HBO, but is there a clue out there on the shows viewership numbers since he left? Honestly my interest to watch since Damian Lewis left it is like 3 out of 100.

    • Pete Johnson says:

      So you haven’t watched the show in so long you thought it already ended, but you felt the need to read this article and post a comment? And it’s Showtime, not HBO.

      • m3rcnate says:

        1) I said I feel like seeing this article and being reminded the show is still on that my brain thinks: “Really? This show is still on? Didn’t it end when Brody died?” because not only did i stop watching when Brody died, I suspect a lot of people did.
        The show went from a big time pop culture hit that the president was saying he loved and was winning awards (etc), to a show i hear nothing about anymore since Brody died aka Damien left.
        Showtime, HBO, basically the same thing…paid cable therefore they don’t have commercials therefore they don’t have ratings, hence my curiosity on if they ever put out viewership numbers.

        • Ellinas1978 says:

          Yes viewership numbers are released. They can’t compare to broadcast TV, or even The Walking Dead. But you can compare different shows on those channels to each other and get an idea of popularity.

    • Carter says:

      In my opinion the show got better after Brody. Season 4 in my opinion was the best season they had so far. I recommend it if you stopped watching. Come on back to Homeland buddy.

  2. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give it an A. Don’t know if fans of the show are going to start hating on Saul Berenson now that he’s realigning with Dar Adal and Peter Quinn continues to be more badass than ever. After last season’s bounce back, Season 5 may do the same.

  3. peterwdawson says:

    I gotta get this out of me: who the hell cares, still? Last two seasons sucked.

    Okay, done.

  4. justsomeguy says:

    I actually thought this show got cancelled after they killed off Brody. Really surprised this is still going..

    • Coach Taylor says:

      Really? Find it hard to believe that if you are on this website that you’ve gone what has now been two years essentially in believing this show was canceled. Either your new to the website or blind has to be one. Really no need to comment on something like this if you don’t care for the show. Or at least have an intelligent bone in your body and comment with something logical and meaningful. Okay so you haven’t watched the show great nobody cares only people who watch the show should comment. If they love it great. If they hate it fine. But not trolls who just want to comment for the sake of commenting. Rant over

  5. Hazel says:

    I that the premiere was good. Nice lead up for the season, I can’t wait till Carrie & Quinn bump into each other!!! I love those two.

  6. Stanislava says:

    Loved the premiere!I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season!

  7. trainwreck says:

    Solid Premiere! I like how the world has turned upside down since the end of season 4.

    I see a lot of comments/tweets like “Why is this show still on? I never watched after Brody died”.. People, it is TV and it’s not 2013 – it’s 2015! Season 4 was one of (if not THE) most exciting and nail biting season of Homeland yet… and guess what no Brody! I get that people get associted with the chemistry of staring couples (Carrie & Brody in Homeland, Meredith and Derek in Grey’s Anatomy) but these are characters which die to create more drama and emotionally gripping material for the show to go on. My advice: Don’t whine and enjoy the show as it goes on! If not, there are gazillion more shows for you to watch and comment on, why waste time whining about a show you apparently now hate?

  8. Hola says:

    Agree with everyone else saying season 4 was the best – I absolutely loved it. I should re-watch it because I forgot a few bits for this season opener. It was like warm for me but I’m sure it’ll get better.

    • Bonnie W says:

      I watched the season 4 marathon yesterday….stayed up way past my bedtime. I couldn’t turn it off. I agree it was the best.

  9. Sabrina says:

    Great episode. I’m looking forward to seeing how this season plays out.

  10. HAP says:

    I felt that last night’s episode was a little slow. I do realize, however, that they are setting he stage for the rest of this season.

  11. Britta Unfiltered says:

    This has always been one of my favorite shows, and I have defended it in its darker times, but I was a little bored by the premiere. I think I need to watch it again, because it was definitely a set-up episode, and I probably wasn’t paying very close attention. I kind of like that they brought back Quinn’s German girlfriend. She seemed like she could be an interesting character, much like Aileen Morgan and Lynne Reed of olden times. I hope she’ll be back for more episodes. I found myself uninterested in Carrie’s new boyfriend though. He’s a bit vanilla.

  12. doug burnett says:

    Quinns venting in the conference room at CIA headquarters was awesome, and very possibly hits the nail squarely on the head.

  13. Trigger13 says:

    I hope that they end up pairing up Carrie and Quinn because you can feel and sense the sexual tension and actually the love they feel for each other. They have good chemistry. Why can’t they pair them together and still keep them in the CIA? Why is that so foreign? But I’m honestly tired of seeing her moving from guy to guy and poor Quinn is just waiting around. Maybe, Carrie deserves to be on the other side and be jealous and Quinn and another woman for a while so she can figure out what she’s going to lose if she doesn’t fight for him? Either way, they are totally great together!

  14. Trigger13 says:

    I don’t trust Carrie’s new boyfriend and the reporter. Carrie and Quinn have better chemistry together than she’s had with any other man on the show and that’s because they haven’t slept together. I bet that would be very hot and sensual. He’s cared for her from the beginning and now, she truly cares for him. I believe she cares for Quinn even if she’s with this double crossing new boyfriend. Quinn will be the only one and has been the only one who hasn’t let her down!

  15. jen hurd says:

    The last we knew Carrie & Quinn appeared to be getting together. The show left a lot of things unresolved w/it’s 3 year jump ahead. I’ll be surprised if it gets renewed