Homeland season 7, episode 9 recap: Useful Idiot slows the action down


“Useful Idiot” managed to slow down what has been an action-packed season of Homeland as new realities came into focus.

This season of Homeland has been more relevant and action-packed than it has it years. Going into Episode 9, “Useful Idiot,” Homeland had steadily built the tension, raising the stakes in the spy game and with Carrie’s family situation. This episode everything slowed down while some new realities were being revealed for Carrie and Senator Paley. While Paley can still be useful, Carrie may be going into a padded room.

Carrie has been very useful but often ignores orders and can partake in actions idiotic. Saul has played the patsy at least once, how else can he spot it so well? Even fans need to use their inner idiot to ignore one major problem scene in this episode of Homeland.

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In a team, trying to control every situation can be very toxic and lead to isolation. Insisting over every reasonable protest and believing everyone should just trust you on every big matter is terrible character. To believe someone with these traits would also be a terrible mother is not difficult.

The clash of sisters Matheson over Franny’s wellbeing was coming quickly. The country used to be in decent hands with Carrie, but Maggie has always been the best for Franny. Stability and routine is not part of Carrie’s standard procedure. For Franny it must be, especially after the traumas inflicted by Carrie’s actions.

Carrie was in such a rush to get to a cross town hospital when a phone call would have been best. In this manic rush, she exposed herself as unfit to the principal. Cursing in the school and acing skittish is one thing; almost running over your child for no reason is an action that gets filed in a report somewhere.

Exposing the security networks

Also filed in reports is who knows about the location of a federal witness. Senator Paley laid it out that only certain people knew, and did not mention himself. Paley is tangling himself up in the game and by the way Saul approaches him, one must believe there is more in Saul’s Paley file than just a note of being a patriot.

Paley knew the location of Simone, and without her going missing, no one is jammed up in this situation. When Paley tried to play both sides of the American political game, he forced President Keane’s hand. That pressure put a target on Simone’s back. Along with the target on Dante, the Russian network was coming down fast while Americans traded favors.

Keane is cutting all the corners she has been accused of, only after the fact. The pre-emptive outrage lets the President know how serious possible backlash might be to any serious offense. This vicious circle is more relevant than ever.

Just as Dante should have suspected both sides of poisoning him, Saul and his team did consider that Dante might be giving them a code to warm others, not catch Russians. Dante thought the only reason for a poisoning was to kill them. Saul knew the other side of the informational poison pill.

By the way who was head of security? He needs to report to Saul immediately. Where were the security guards around Dante? How was he not isolated on a floor or in a secured government facility? Where did that cell phone come from? How many times a season will Saul need to loudly ask “How did this happen?” This most climatic scene of the episode had fans asking exactly that.

The most important witness Saul ever has in custody has less security than the medicine cabinets? Perhaps Dante is not needed to prove Russian connections if the most wanted Russian agent ever is caught trying to silence him though now is it? Nice trap Saul, if the writers take that approach.

Dante knew he was dead as soon as he saw Yevgeny. The ace Russian spy is telling Dante the truth about not sending a lawyer, but Dante had given up information. There is always a way to trust a man, as a dead man tells no tales.

Dante’s face was similar to Carrie’s when Saul explained how complex this scene was and which pawn she was in the game. Pawns get sacrificed, and Dante was coming off the board, as he had now betrayed both sides.

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Both Yevgeny and Carrie love the job, the networking, more than anything. Yevgeny is just acting just as emotional and bipolar as Carrie. He demands a team of four to take the hospital. His bosses see that as foolish. He then shoots his only help and pulls his practiced hospital blending in trick. When at once there is no way in, now there is no way out for either Yevgeny or Carrie.

At the end, Carrie has that first flash of a dead Franny and sees all the dead men in her life. She cannot see reality and nothing in the show from her perspective can be believed.

Did Dante make it? Who ever told her he did not might have been just another hallucination. Dante was a useful idiot to both sides as well. How did he not suspect poisoning from both sides? For the weaker of intelligence players, emotions and loyalties get in the way of reason all too often.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime