The season six premiere of Homeland shed light on Peter Quinn’s (Rupert Friend) current condition after his exposure to sarin gas last season.

HOMELAND SEASON SIX PREMIERE: THE NEW PETER QUINN

We find out that Quinn is indeed alive, but not doing physically well. Carrie (Claire Danes) is unhappy to hear he has been skipping his physical therapy sessions but when she presses him, he admits he doesn’t want to, and says, “I’m not getting any better.” With the advice of the nurses, Carrie decided to stop visiting Quinn for a time.

In an even worse twist, it turns out Quinn is a drug addict, and a hospital staffer helps get him to a drug den where he smokes meth and gets beaten and robbed by another druggie there. Carrie finds him, but he still refuses to return to the hospital. “I’m fine on my own,” he insists. “I’ll figure something out.”

Carrie, of course, forces him back to the hospital, but after he attempts to leave and has to be subdued, she decided to take him in. She lets him live in the apartment beneath her and Franny’s in Brooklyn, as long as he showers and doesn’t invite druggies over.

“The Homeland [script writing] style is very sparse, it’s pretty much just the words that actors say and not a lot more, which I happen to really like because there’s a huge amount of freedom afforded. So I saw this as an opportunity to explore something that’s under-explored in our popular narratives — which is a modern returning soldier,” explained Friend in an Entertainment Weekly interview on his character’s new personality. “Veterans are coming home to us with diseases, ailments, and inabilities that we’re not even really qualified to deal with. PTSD is an obvious one, but chemical warfare being the other one.”

It seems that with this dramatic change in Quinn, Friend even changed his voice pitch and eye movements. “It’s a weird thing to try and imagine your entire neurological pathway has been short-circuited and re-wired badly,” he said. “Having that as an obstacle, the storyline gets into very extreme places very quickly and overcoming those obstacles would be hard enough for somebody who is firing on all cylinders. But I think the hardest thing for Quinn is his confusion — Is this really what I’m seeing?

“It’s been nine months, he’s done all the counseling and the tests and the physical [therapy], he’s come to terms with himself. The place where we shot the Veterans Administration was beyond depressing,” Friend describes as Quinn’s new way of life in the hospital and back from war. “This is your life. If you’re Quinn, you collect your check, you blow it all on one night to have one night away from it all, then you’re back in prison, effectively. There’s a genuine thing he’s saying to Carrie, Will you just give up on me because I have.”

As for the rest of the season, Friend was able to give a little insight into what to look for with Quinn’s character, and if the old Quinn will return. “The altered perception of reality that Quinn has, which is fascinating and scary, his misreading of normal and simple situations, is going to be a huge problem for him and going to cause him to entangle himself into complicated and dangerous situations,” Friend started. “We’ve seen Quinn get out of dangerous situations but they’re not of his own making due to his inability to comprehend reality. We’re in this weird Fear and Loathing place where reality is a scary place … What’s really interesting is that Homeland is doing something I don’t think any TV show has done before, where you have a character in season 6 and he’s basically unrecognizable from the previous seasons. We’ve seen shows run and run with characters who come back season after season, but the idea that one of those characters comes back after they’ve changed … I think it’s risky and I like that. Some will say, ‘But where’s my old friend?’ But that’s not the way the world works and I applaud Homeland for its bravery.”

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