Sara: I believe what Gansa said was that Quinn would color Carrie’s every thought, and I think given her sharp decline and downward spiral this year, without him, that is what happened. She was utterly alone, fell into a relationship (with Dante) where she was used and manipulated, suffered a complete psychotic breakdown, and then had to pull herself up out of it.
I was never expecting a flashback or a funeral or even a graveside scene, so the fact that (thus far) there hasn’t been that… it doesn’t bother me (then again, I never watched the show for him, so I didn’t need to see those things). I think his presence in how he “colored Carrie’s thoughts” was felt in more subtle ways (the show’s treatment of his absence this year feels similar to me to how they treated Brody’s in season four).
Quinn was Carrie’s safety net–subconsciously, at least–for many years and IMO she needed to make shitty decisions and feel the consequences in order to learn to live without his constant offer to save her from herself. That’s growth.
Frangi: I don’t think there‘s anything they could do that would feel enough after all they did and didn’t do in season 6, so I didn’t have high expectations. Carrie always internalized most of her feelings, and so it’s up to us to ponder whether we think she is grieving or not, and if she is, if it’s for a friend or for someone she loved. There’s the shrink scene and that gave some insight into Carrie’s state of mind and I found that well done.
What really does bother me is that it comes down to Christine Lonas out of all people to mention Quinn‘s name–so unrelated to the question of whether Carrie is grieving or not (I think she is), I don’t think the show in general did do enough to honor Quinn’s importance in Carrie‘s life. But honestly, I didn’t expect them to after the clusterfuck of how they handled Quinn‘s departure all year long. Using Quinn footage in the opening credits feels rather cheap to me, especially after how they handled his absence during the first eleven episodes of the season. The subtle presence of–or, rather, the gaping void left by–his absence was once again only told via its effect on Carrie, so once more he wasn’t remembered for who he was but only for who Carrie is or isn’t when he‘s not around. But coming back to your question: I think they showed the impact his absence has. Most of what kicked off the events of season 7 wouldn’t have been possible with him being around, because he would always go to great lengths to keep Carrie safe. No car trunk drugs, no bankruptcy to finance an off-book operation, no sex pawn for the troll, and maybe even not all the courtroom drama that led to Carrie giving up Franny last week.
ETA after 7.12: And now I want Quinn to come back from wherever and kick Yevgeny to hell.