Homeland is holding up a funhouse mirror to real-world scandals about fake news, Russian collusion, and information warfare, but perhaps the most remarkable thing about this season is how deftly it allows several political viewpoints to have a place in its narrative. When Russian operative Yevgeny denies the photographic evidence placed in front of him and says, “Everything you think you know is fake, built on fallacy,” it’s easy to read that as an iteration of President Trump’s war on the media. When Senator Paley’s chief of staff says that they must continue in their quest to defeat their political enemy at all costs, Trump supporters might recognize the refrain of politicians trying to take down their hated rival no matter what. And then, there’s the stunning final act that doubles as a classic Homeland move, in which Saul Berenson and Carrie Mathison decide that the time for politics is over, blackmail a world leader, and essentially start a riot. What might that say about 2018?
“All In” begins as Carrie and Saul arrive in Moscow, and the villainous Yevgeny knows they’re there. How are they going to extricate Simone and/or Yevgeny with everyone watching? They hatch a plan that involves distracting Yevgeny by giving him a chance to monologue: Under the guise of a diplomatic meeting about U.S-Russia relations, they accuse Yevgeny of being involved in the death of General McLendon, the false news reports that led to bloodshed in Lucasville, and the murder of Dante Allen. Yevgeny denies it and then goes off on a rant about U.S. involvement in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.
It’s all really a distraction for the real operation, which is Anson and his team trying to get to Simone. As Yevgeny talks and talks, we see the team arrive at the safe house … only to be ambushed! A member of Anson’s team is killed, and they don’t get away with Simone. Carrie and Saul are going to need another plan.
While this mayhem is happening, the political fire under President Keane is reaching a boiling point in Washington. The episode’s most surprising turn happens early, when Paley goes to meet with a familiar face: Dar Adal! In what looks like a very lonely prison yard, Dar tells Paley that he has no idea why Saul is in Russia, but advises the senator to find a Russian expert. There’s also an interesting aside about a new administration possibly being kinder to the imprisoned Dar. We almost certainly haven’t seen the last of him.
Even after learning that the Russian theory of what’s happening to Keane is correct, Paley and his chief of staff work harder than ever to get her out of office, basically sabotaging the Russian mission by pressuring on an ambassador and continuing their attempt to oust Keane. The bad news for POTUS is about to get much, much worse: David informs Keane that the court ruled against her firing of the Cabinet members who tried to invoke the 25th amendment. With that ruling, Vice-President Warner marches in and relieves President Keane of her command. She doesn’t say a word. She just walks out of the White House.
In Russia, Saul tries to get Carrie to leave after the failed operation, but she comes up with a new play. They decide to play the political differences on the Russian side of the table, just like Yevgeny did to them. Sensing the dislike between Yevgeny and a superior named Yakushin, they drain the American assets of the latter, and Saul informs Yakushin that he’ll get his money back when the Americans get Simone. It’s definitely a strong-arm tactic, but it appears to work. Until things get really ugly.
Yakushin gets back to his base after meeting with Saul and yells at a couple of guys, who then basically amass a small army. Men in masks and with weapons pile into car and speed off. They’re headed to the headquarters of another Russian leader, Mirov, and it seems that this is where Simone and Yevgeny are being protected. It’s at the GRU headquarters — the military branch of the KGB —and Simone is in a room near the top floor. Yevgeny tries to tell her she’s safe, and orders her to stay in her room. “Don’t let anyone in but me,” he tells her.
Watching all of this unfold back in the States, Max has a good idea: Why not put all of the Russian chaos on the internet? That’s what Yevgeny would do, and it shows the world how chaotic things have become. As the chaos intensifies, Anson and his team slide right in with the other armed guards, much like Yevgeny slid in as things went bad in the American heartland.
As Paley urges Warner to disown the Russian operation, Carrie is working her way to Simone. With Max’s guidance, Carrie goes out a window on to a ledge and reaches the balcony outside Simone’s room. She turns a corner with her gun drawn, but Simone gets a jump on her. Carrie drops her gun, though she takes the chance to monologue herself, basically reminding Simone how expendable and dangerous she is to the Russians. She’ll actually be much safer if she goes with Carrie back to the States. And with that — and the handy use of some wigs that fool Yevgeny’s team — Simone makes it into a car with one of Anson’s men. Will she make it back to the States in time to save Keane’s presidency?
• The reveal that Carrie, not Paley, was the “useful idiot” of the Russian plan is an interesting one. Still, Paley is pretty idiotic and useful to the Russians too.
• It’s all but official: Next season will be the last season of Homeland.
• What do you want from the season finale? What do you expect to happen? And where would you like to see Homeland go next year?