1. How is Quinn still alive?
Serious question. The last time we saw the man, he was unresponsive in a hospital bed with Carrie looming in front of him, disconnecting the machines that were keeping him alive. The logical assumption was that she would euthanise him, sparing Quinn a life he would have hated to live. It appears she changed her mind and we find the former agent (played by Rupert Friend) in a military hospital shrugging off any efforts from others to rehabilitate him. For a man with a death wish from the moment we met him, it seemed a logical conclusion that a crippling dose of Sarin gas would finish him off. Which leads us to wonder: why did Homeland bring him back?
2. Will he ever get better?
Homeland is not a show that offers the sort of click-your-fingers fix we see in James Bond or Jason Bourne films. The opening episode shows Quinn in a bad way – his cognitive function impaired, his movement reduced to a shuffling limp. This isn’t a man who’s going to pick up a gun and return to the CIA’s centre fold to fight terrorists anytime soon. Will he ever? It seems unlikely – and I’d wager Homeland fans would feel a little cheated if he did. But if he’s not fighting the bad guys, what exactly do showrunners have planned for Quinn this season? Will he end up a mere plot device used to manoeuvre Carrie into a heightened emotional state? Hopefully not.
3. What is Sekou Bah actually up to?
The young American was arrested in the series opener for inciting terrorism. We’ve seen this sort of character in Homeland before – Aayan in series four served a similar function, as did Numan in series five. The young innocent caught up in the dark web Carrie & co exist within.
Sekou crosses paths with Mathison thanks to her new career protecting the rights of Muslims on home soil. He’s caught the eye of intelligence thanks to a series of videos he’s been posting criticising America and profiling terrorist acts – but he maintains he’s done nothing more than exercise his right to free speech.
Carrie believes him – until she finds out he has flights booked to Nigeria (the breeding ground of Boko Haram) and $5,000 in cash stashed under his bed. Is Sekou simply visiting his dad (who was kicked out of the US 14 years previously) or does he have something more sinister planned? As always, Homeland asks the uncomfortable questions, forcing viewers to weigh up his intentions and their own prejudices.
4. Who was Meir Kahane?
Sekou made a big deal of Meir Kahane – the Orthodox Jewish minister who was shot and killed by El Sayyid Nosair. He even told his fictional audience to “Google it” so on the assumption you have, here are a few more details:
An American Orthodox rabbi, Kahane was seriously right-wing, advocating defence squads and patrols in Jewish neighbourhoods and even going as far as supporting violence against enemies of the Jewish people. He founded the Jewish Defence League in the US as well as Israeli political party Kach which was eventually banned for being “racist” and “anti-democratic”.
Meir Kahane pictures in New York in 1971
But it was Kahane’s death that was highlighted in the Homeland series opener. Giving a speech in front of mostly Orthodox Jews in the second-floor lecture hall of Manhattan’s Marriott East Side Hotel in 1990, the rabbi was assassinated by Nosair – an Egyptian-born American.
Nosair was charged with murder but then acquitted, until he found himself in court again on trial for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing where he was convicted of both acts of terrorism. He was sentenced to life in prison and later confessed to federal agents.
The reason his death was significant to Homeland was Sekou’s memorialising of arguably the very first American victim of Al Qaeda – a New York cell of Osama bin Laden’s organisation is believed to have had ties with Kahane’s assassin.
5. Has Otto really met someone else?
Billionaire philanthropist During arrives at Carrie’s new place of work presumably with a view to announcing he’s “met someone”. But first he implores her to have dinner with him. Remember last series when he awkwardly proposed a romantic partnership to exist alongside their professional one? While Carrie rebuffed his offer and seems rather ‘over it’, it appears that Otto hasn’t given up hope. Is that other half he mentioned real – or simply a tactic to try and win over his former employee? And if this mysterious new partner really does exist, who is she?
6. Who is General Jamie McClendon?
Episode one afforded us not one but two sightings of General McClendon (played by Prison Break’s Robert Knepper) – first spotted emerging from a defence briefing with the new president, looking rather wounded by the experience, he was then seen shutting himself away with Dar Adal and a senator to plot a strategy ahead of the White House handover. I have a feeling we’re going to see more of him as the series’ plot unspools…
7. What is President-elect Elizabeth Keane planning?
That final scene of the new president – where she inspects something in her locket – was loaded with significance and even if we couldn’t see the picture inside, we can as good as guess it’s of her dead son. Will his death in the Middle East affect her foreign policy as Dar Adal fears? What exactly does she have up her sleeve? And will her upcoming inauguration be as awkward as Donald Trump’s?