“Homeland” delivered its strongest episode of season six to date last week with the paranoia-fueled romp “Alt.Truth.” This week’s installment, “Sock Puppets,” falls on the other end of the quality spectrum thanks to plot developments that are too hokey to be believed.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not seen the March 19 episode of “Homeland.”
Claire Danes’ performance in the opening sequence is the best thing that “Sock Puppets,” written by Chip Johannessen and Evan Wright and directed by Dan Attias, has to offer.
Danes’ Carrie Mathison is meeting with a psychiatrist-type, an evaluation that is necessary before she can schedule a supervised visit with her daughter, Franny, who was taken away by a New York City child welfare agency a few episodes back.
The scene opens as if it’s an interrogation room, with Carrie shot from the shoulders up against a dismal-gray background. Eventually the camera pulls back and we see her sitting in a classic shrink-office setting, talking to a man with a salt-and-pepper beard about her “intense” relationships with both Franny’s father and Peter Quinn. It’s a remarkably candid moment for Carrie, especially with a stranger. She’s open about the fact that at first Franny’s red hair was a painful reminder that her daughter’s father, Nicholas Brody, is gone in part because Carrie pushed him into a doomed mission in Iran. It’s impossible to watch that scene and not think of the shocking moment from season four when Carrie was bathing infant Franny.
After this, sad to say the episode goes downhill. Fast.
Dar Adal pulls a double-cross on the Iranian major-general Majid Javadi who pulled a double-cross on Carrie and Saul last week, making them look like fools in front of President-elect Keane. Javadi thinks Adal is going to help him get a wad of cash and safe passage out of the United States so he can get lost somewhere now that he’s been outed in his native land as a…