The poison that killed McClendon: a real life …


It was a painful death–and it was a moment in which Homeland made me question my own principles and ethics. How can I, as an opponent of capital punishment, feel such a grim satisfaction during such horrible, drawn-out suffering? Because it felt deserved? Because it felt like retribution for Quinn and his endless suffering? Because I somehow can’t get it out of my head that McClendon may be was one of Dar’s cronies mentioned in this interview with Rupert Friend, when he talks about Quinn’s sexual abuse?

The end of “Enemy of the State” is what I love about watching Homeland. It challenges me and makes me think.

And then there is this: in February 2017, Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was killed in Kuala Lumpur Airport from the highly toxic liquid nerve agent VX. Two women, who later claimed they thought they were protagonists in a harmless hidden camera prank–sprayed a small amount of the liquid in his face and touched his cheek with a contaminated handkerchief. He experienced a seizure instantly and died minutes later.

VX works by penetrating the skin and disrupting the transmission of nerve impulses. Exposure to VX may result in convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis, and fatal respiratory failure–sound familiar? It’s 100 times more deadly than sarin gas. VX nerve agent works so quickly that a victim would have to be treated immediately to stand any chance of survival.

The US and Russia are the only countries that have admitted owning VX stockpiles, but more countries are believed to hold it, Syria and North Korea included. (Nerve agents like sarin gas and VX are thought to be the focus of North Korean chemical weapon production.)

I followed the news about the case and the following trial closely, always joking that I’d love Homeland to use it. Because it was just so bizarre and such a shocking glimpse into the reality of how certain regimes deal with unwanted individuals.

And because I’ve always believed that moments when Homeland used bits of reality like this–instead of striving for season-long prescience in a constantly shifting current events landscape–were the show at its best. Think of the embassy attack in season four that was modeled after Benghazi, the real-life Tower of David, or the CIA’s involvement in Venezuela.

Watching “Enemy of the State” and realizing that they may have drawn from that same kind of inspiration for McClendon’s death made me oddly excited. 

What did you all think?