The centerpiece is Quinn and Carrie in each other's arms back in the USA - but not for long. Quinn says he wants to leave the business once and for all, but can't do it without Carrie. She obviously deeply cares for him, but can't commit. We discover that she needs to see her mother to do that - to learn that bi-polar men and women are not always the ones to end or mess up relationships. But before she has a chance to tell Quinn that good news, he's off on another dangerous, deadly mission - this one to Syria.
So Quinn, who wanted to leave, is back in the thick of it. And who does Carrie have left? There's always Saul, but before the evening is over, he's back in it, too. Dar Adul gets what presumably is the only copy of the video of Saul in Haqqani's hands, which would make it impossible for Saul to ever get back in the CIA - and Dar gives it to Saul, thereby earning Saul's silence about Dar being in the back of the car with Haqqani, and Saul getting a green light to get back into the CIA.
Can Carrie count on Saul now, for anything? Hard to say - probably. But sometimes, the more things change, the more they remain the same, and not being 100% sure of Saul's support is always the way it's been for Carrie.
So here is what has changed in Homeland, as we look ahead to next year. Lockhart will be out. But everyone else is still or back in, albeit in somewhat different relationships. Carrie wants to find Quinn to tell her she wants to be with him - presumably, marry him? - yeah, I think so. That's significant and different. Carrie has gotten over Brody for sure - even if her daughter looks just like him - and she's learned, or at least thinks she's learned, that she can have a longterm relationship. Saul is older, wounded, and wiser - though he was more wise than most all along. And Dar may yet turn out to be a patriot, though he always seems too close to the other side.
This was a surprisingly low-impact season finale. But maybe that's realistic - storms followed by calms. No gunfire, no deaths, but lots of foundations for whatever story Homeland may bring to us next year.
And see also Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional
different kind of espionage