All good things come to an end. I suppose bittersweet things too, and there is little as bittersweet as the exploits of Carrie Mathison, Saul Berenson, and their few remaining CIA friends. Thus their story will also reach its final debrief in Homeland Season 8.
At the end of Homeland‘s seventh season, Claire Danes’s Carrie Mathison went from chasing terrorists to pursuing Russian spies who were hoping to destabilize the U.S. government. Instead they mostly achieved destabilizing Carrie, torturing her by denying the medication she so desperately needed. Seven months later she didn’t even recognize Saul. Some time has passed since then as we go into season 8, but is it enough? Relying on Carrie’s old contacts to bail them out of a tough spot during peace talks with the Taliban, Saul begins season 8 by sending her back into the field before her doctors think she’s ready. What will happen to our favorite CIA analyst? Well… that’s the season. Here is what you need to know.
Homeland Season 8 Episode 12 Return Date
The next episode of Homeland is titled “Prisoners of War.” The episode airs on Showtime on Sunday, April 26. You can find the promo below.
Homeland Season 8 Episodes
Below is our guide to the episodes that have so far aired from Homeland Season 8, and the ones still to come.
Homeland Episode 1: Deception Indicated
Perhaps that is a credit though to showrunners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon then. For all of Homeland’s missteps over the years, and there have been many, the series was initially conceived to be a more plausible melodrama about intelligence gathering in the post-9/11 War on Terror years than the pair’s far more ridiculous and jingoistic 24. After years of reactionary fiction, Homeland arrived in the middle of the Obama presidency with a slightly more reflective cadence as it looked back at the world wrought by the 21st century’s patriots and war hawks. In the series’ very pilot, the psychic wounds of Sept. 11, 2001 were still fresh on characters and audiences alike when Carrie pleads, “I just want to make sure we don’t get hit again.” She says this just minutes after the series opened during Carrie’s last days in Iraq.
Airdate: Feb. 9, 2020
Homeland Episode 2: Catch and Release
Mohammad Bakri does sterling work of oozing arrogance and doting contempt as G’ulom. Forced to suggest an entire relationship in a single scene, the transactional level of respect he has for Carrie is underlined by his insults: The Carrie he knew wouldn’t have come into his office begging for him to do the right thing—she’d have a gift or a proverbial gun to his head. When he scoffs “what happened to you?” he all but outright states she’s damaged goods in his eyes, undoubtedly due to what Yevgeny told him just moments ago. Claire Danes responds with her patented ability to simultaneously rally and crumble in a single stare. Fine then, if he only responds to bribery or menace, Carrie will find that gun.
Airdate: Feb. 16, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 3: False Friends
I of course didn’t doubt that Homeland would play Saul’s fall into the grasp of Haqqani differently than the past, but I did not predict it would become tonight’s lead story. Yet here we are with the beleaguered but strangely regal warlord taking Saul in as first a prisoner and then, perhaps a little incredulously, a trusted advisor of a sort. Representing two voices from the old guard that helped define the last 20 years in the War on Terrorism—CIA intelligence and religious extremism—they made for an odd pair that also smoothly played the “enemy so old they become a friend” trope.
Airdate: Feb. 25, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 4: Chalk One Down
At the American embassy, we’re teased that Tanseem, the woman who helped invite the Taliban into attacking a different American embassy during season 4, gets the whisper of a presidential visit from Afghan Vice President G’ulom. She’s been the fly in the ointment everywhere else (and may yet prove to be indirectly responsible for tonight’s tragedy), but she is thwarted here when she demands to have back her cell phone back that was confiscated by American security. Instead, Saul gets to stand imperiously over her and deliver this verbal smackdown: “Go ahead, yell, scream, I don’t give a shit. Let them know you’re doing everything in your power to stop this day from happening.” One can almost see this becoming a meme around Foggy Bottom for the incompetence of foreign “allies” or our own current White House. It’s delicious.
Airdate: March 1, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 5: Chalk Two Down
Last week I made an assumption that President Warner and the Afghan president’s chopper was shot down by Taliban forces loyal to Haqqani’s wayward son. After all, we did see the Taliban obliterate the second helicopter. However, the danger of assumptions turns out to be crucial in “Chalk Two Up,” an episode that brings to mind current debates about false information, fake news, and how presumptive policy can just result in more tragedy. Are we really any better in 2020 than we were in 2001 and 2002 when American policymakers used 9/11 attacks as an on-ramp toward generational Middle East conflict?
Airdate: March 8, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 6: Two Minutes
Saul and Carrie have always had the most interesting relationship in the series. While fans loved Carrie and Brody’s ambiguous frenemy romance, and liked the equally tragic one between her and Quinn, it has been Saul and Carrie’s familial connection which has not only lasted the longest, but remained the most nuanced. Ostensibly a mentor and once-intended protégé, the pair have all the markings of great allies who should be on the same team. But from the very first episode of the series where Carrie crudely (and mistakenly) tried to seduce her boss, there’s been a constant negotiation of power and trust between the pair that remains eternally in flux.
Airdate: March 15, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 7: Fucker Shot Me
Of course what he actually does is first take Carrie to an Afghan village she’d previously only seen from the god’s eye view of a drone surveillance camera. In fact, it’s the fateful village where Carrie dropped a bomb intended for Taliban fighters like Haqqani. It wound up slaughtering a wedding party instead. This makes just as much for a powerful scene as it does a chance to reiterate the theme of the whole season, if not perhaps series: We need to take a sober account of the totality of our foreign policy decisions.
Airdate: March 22, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 8: Threnody(s)
There is one scene that elevates tonight’s Homeland above its otherwise labored and overwrought plot machinations. You already know what I’m talking about. For the first time in the whole series, Carrie appears to give Max Piotrowski more than a passing minute’s consideration. Okay, to be fair she’s been obsessed with getting him back for the last two or three episodes, but that only came as a result of her asking him to stay longer by a crash site than he should to retrieve the black box.
Airdate: March 29, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 9: In Full Flight
The penny finally dropped, like a presidential chopper plummeting out of the sky. Yes, I am partially referring to physical evidence that proves President Warner and his unnamed Afghan counterpart died in a purely accidental helicopter crash. However, it also applies to Yevgeny and Carrie’s relationship developing (or devolving?) in the only direction it could: manipulation and betrayal.
Airdate: April 5, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 10: Designated Driver
Everything has a price. But when do you know its full cost? That’s a question that explicitly comes up in tonight’s Homeland when Saul Berenson sits down with a Russian ambassador to ask for the flight recorder that proves President Warner died in a freak accident. “There’s got to be a price,” Saul insists. Yet when the episode ends, he doesn’t know what it is—nor does Carrie, even as she thinks she’s paying it.
Airdate: April 12, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 11: The English Teacher
The character of Carrie Mathison is on trial in the final hours of Homeland. Yes, I am speaking about the arraignment wherein she is being thrown under the bus via ludicrous charges. But there’s also a second trial that the ending of Homeland is more acutely pivoting on: Do her good intentions and self-sacrifice cultivate more harm than good? And is the system she represents so heroically on television actually succeeding at anything beyond spinning deadly spy games to their natural, isolating outcome?
Airdate: April 19, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Episode 12: Prisoners of War
Airdate: April 26, 2020
Homeland Season 8 Cast
Of course the major returning cast members and surviving characters are in place. Both Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin are leading the final season as Saul and Carrie. Additionally, Maury Sterling is returning as Carrie’s much overlooked and put-upon tech sidekick, Max. Linus Roache is likewise returning as former White House Chief of Staff David Wellington, as is Beau Bridges as now President Ralph Warner.
Sam Trammell (The Order, True Blood) is set to recur throughout the eighth season of Homeland. He will plays Vice President Benjamin Hayes, described as “a political survivor with an aptitude for optics who crosses the aisle to serve alongside the series’ new president… Bridges’ character believes tapping Hayes is an innocuous choice, one that could help heal the partisan divide, but the politico proves to be more dangerous than anticipated.” The actor is of course best known for his series-spanning role on HBO’s 2008-2014 series, True Blood, as shapeshifter/bar-owner Sam Merlotte.
Nimrat Kaur and Numan Acar are reprising their pivotal roles that had taken center stage during season 4, the year Carrie went to Pakistan. The two previously played Tasneem Qureshi and Haissam Haqqani, resptively. The former is a member of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence who had infiltrated the American embassy by turning the ambassador’s feckless husband into an asset. The latter was a Taliban leader who, with information from Qureshi, staged a violent attack on the embassy.
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal, The Big C) has meanwhile been cast as John Zabel, a D.C. beltway insider who is part of a new White House administration. There he is a foreign policy advisor for the president and a foe for political power against Mandy Patinkin’s Saul Berenson. It is unclear if Saul is still an advisor or might be directly back at the CIA, or even if this is still part of Beau Bridges’ President Ralph Warner administration.
Homeland Season 8 Trailer
For those nostalgic about marketing, here is a collection of Homeland Season 8 trailers, beginning with the final one.
Here is the first full trailer.
And now the teaser focused on how fuzzy Carrie feels.
Homeland Season 8 Release Date
Homeland returned on Feb. 9, 2020. Brace yourself for one last ride.
Homeland Season 8 Plot Details
Here is the original synopsis for season 8.
The final season of Homeland finds Carrie Mathison (Danes) recovering from months of brutal confinement in a Russian gulag. Her body is healing, but her memory remains fractured – which is a problem for Saul (Patinkin), now National Security Advisor to the newly ascendant President Warner (Emmy and Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges). The top priority of Warner’s young administration is an end to the “forever war” in Afghanistan, and Saul has been dispatched to engage the Taliban in peace negotiations. But Kabul teems with warlords and mercenaries, zealots and spies – and Saul needs the relationships and expertise that only his protégé can provide. Against medical advice, Saul asks Carrie to walk with him into the lion’s den – one last time. Along with Danes and Patinkin, the final season stars Maury Sterling, Linus Roache and Costa Ronin, with Nimrat Kaur and Numan Acar also returning from season four in series regular roles.
This is again intended to be the ending, and showrunner Alex Gansa has been teasing some major details in the past. Gansa told EW in April that the last hurrah will be set in Europe.
“[Season 7 arranges] all the pieces on the chessboard to make that a proper finale for the story we’ve been telling,” Gansa said. “We get to play this last season in D.C with the intention of taking us overseas for one last chapter. Season 8 will be overseas somewhere. We get to play a story with larger national stakes in season 7 and we’ll go back to a smaller intelligence-based season in 8.”