Like last season’s House of Cards, this season of Homeland defied believability, not because the various nefarious plot twists seemed too outlandish, but because they didn’t seem outlandish enough.

The CIA is corrupt and filled with double-crossing agents? Check.

Outside governments influencing the election? Check.

An outsider President-Elect that’s uncontrollable by the Washington elite? Check.

An internet talk show host who uses fake bots to change public opinion en masse? Check.

A coup d’etat? Check, if you believe Charles Mudede.

Of course, many of these plot developments are borrowing liberally from reality, but unfortunately for the rest of us, truth is still stranger the fiction.

This season of Homeland wasn’t its greatest—those honors might belong to last season, set in Berlin, with so many eerie parallels to reality that you started to wonder if the Homeland writers are psychic. This year’s slate was uneven and spent a long time spinning its wheels, punishing its lead characters, and killing the two best characters, and letting the worst motherfucker live.

F. Murray Abraham’s portrayal of Dar Adal became so glaringly evil, he might as well have been called Darth Vader. At one point, I swear I saw horns started coming out of his head. The duality of Homeland has always been part of its charm—you never know who to trust and when and that is ultimately what sunk both Quinn and the other love of his life, Astrid. Right down to the end, you still didn’t know: is Dar Adal a basic motherfucker, or a really evil motherfucker?

His quote to Saul in prison where he is going to rot forever, is perfect, though:

“Believe me, it was never my intention for things to turn so dark. Ultimately, I lost control of what I put in motion,” he says.

“What I did was unforgiveable, Saul, but I’m not sure it was wrong. There’s something off about her.”

The arc of the season paralleled real life—incoming unhinged President (with the gender flipped)—but it wasn’t clear what the end game was until the last few episodes. A truck driven by a Muslim guy who posted rabble rousing videos to the internet blew up in Manhattan, and set off a terrorism plotline that seemed pretty mundane. That eventually turned into a shadow government plotline.

Several other storylines seemed to be there just to be a nuisance—Franny is taken away by child services after Quinn stages a standoff in Carrie’s apartment (and, of course, because Quinn is a ninja, he somehow manages to escape despite being at less than full capacity both mentally and physically).

Probably the worst thing the writers did is to give Carrie a child; every season they’ve had to do so many stupid plot gymnastics to figure out how to handle the child problem, and this year it was maybe the most believable: take the damn kid away from her. Look it’s true, she is the worst mother: she’s never home, putting herself in harm’s way, is constantly engaging with possible terrorists and killers, and lets spies and hackers sleep downstairs. Let’s just forget she ever had a child.

Franny looks like she will be back as a background problem again next season, but that’s not what we care about. It seems like Dar was right after all (so that means he was…. good?)

By the end of the episode, we see how the new president (Elizabeth Marvel) isn’t to be trusted. She uses Carrie and stabs her in the back in a mass arrest of top level government officials, including Saul, so all of that scrambling to save her was all for naught, and Quinn died for no goddamn reason at all. Peter Quinn, a ruthless, efficient sniper with a heart of gold, died protecting the President and Carrie, ferrying them to safety in an assassination attempt. But Rupert Friend’s nuanced work should be recognized during awards season. Quinn and Carrie are the soul and center of Homeland; without Quinn, she—and the show—might be nothing.