Time to breathe a sigh of relief: Quinn is alive and gets to spend at least another episode in a hospital bed (thankfully, it’s not inside the headquarters of a terrorist cell). And though it would be great to see Homeland pull back on trying to off its one consistently tolerable lead character — no, really, the whole is-Quinn-going-to-die cliffhanger device is getting old — the results of having Quinn gassed led to an exciting hour: When Bibi releases the video of Quinn being gassed, it sets off a chain of events that involves every major player this season, pushes Carrie and Astrid to combine forces, and exposes a threat that puts the Allison situation on the back burner.
Not that they were getting anywhere with her, anyway. Carrie scoffs at the idea that Allison could be telling the truth about using Krupin as an asset, but Dar says he can’t ignore Allison’s sterling record at the CIA or the “scandal” the agency would be mired in if she did turn out to be a double agent all along. He tells Carrie about Allison’s “carefully curated intel” and then asks her to leave. “Your part in this play is over,” Dar says. The man’s a fan of theater metaphors — remember when he told Saul he was an aging actor?
Speaking of Saul, he and Etai are finally off the hook for the general’s plane exploding, as Krupin confirmed the SVR did it. He doesn’t look relieved at the news, however: When Dar talks to him about Allison, Saul’s on Carrie’s side. Instead of handing her over to counterintelligence, Saul asks to talk to her alone to get her to confess.
He tries, but Allison knows how to provoke him. As soon as Saul enters the room, she acts annoyed, saying he shouldn’t be the one who seems angry — even if his anger is something she found “curious” about him during their time together. “I’m the aggrieved party here,” she pouts. Allison explains that she had reported her recruitment of Krupin to David Estes, who, as Saul points out, is “conveniently” dead. (No, he’s just on Supergirl, Saul!) The he-said, she-said banter from there gets them nowhere: He says she should have gone up the chain past Estes. She says she kept the circle small because of Krupin’s importance. He says it’s strange she didn’t tell anyone else after Estes’ death. She says she was protecting a paranoid Krupin. When Saul gets up, she remarks that if that was all he wanted to ask, then the interrogation was too easy.
But Saul’s not done. “I guarantee you this: Not one thing about your life from this moment forward will be easy,” he says. “I will personally see to that.” And as he begins to question her about the innocent people she’s hurt — including Carrie — that rage Allison found so fascinating boils over. Saul pins her against the wall, throttling her neck and shouting at her until Dar has him taken away.
Before Dar and Saul get a chance to go over what happened, a new threat emerges: The video Bibi recorded of Quinn has been released. In it Bibi demands recognition for the Islamic State by the U.N. Security Council and threatens “a European city” with sarin gas if this isn’t achieved in 24 hours. The pair help the BND identify Bibi by revealing Quinn’s connection, but with so little time to contain the threat, Dar ends up bringing Allison out of her interrogation room and into the fold. She says she and Krupin can offer SVR intel, and Krupin abides, informing the CIA and BND that Syria does have enough chemical weapons to annihilate Berlin.
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Meanwhile, Carrie, who had just asked Astrid for help tracking Quinn down nine whole days after his disappearance — and was rightly reprimanded for waiting so long by her BND counterpart — and visited the Quinncave for clues, is horrified by the video. She pleads with Saul to let her see the entire video, in case Quinn tried to signal her, and Astrid allows her inside. The two women watch as Quinn foams at the mouth, falls to the ground, and shakes. Carrie cries, and Astrid holds her hand, before telling her the floor tiles in the corner of the screen could be a clue.
Yet, despite not getting a concrete clue from the video, this scene leads to more scenes between Carrie and Astrid, who have for so long been painted as mirrors of each other without ever sharing extended screen time together. As Sonia Saraiya over at Salon pointed out, Homeland has surrounded Carrie with Carrie-like women this season, with Astrid, Laura, and Allison representing different sides of Carrie. All are intensely good at their jobs (yes, even Laura), and all have been painted in opposition to Carrie — until now, which is why I find Carrie and Astrid’s scenes in this episode particularly fascinating. Not only do they both have histories with Quinn, but also the dynamics the two bring emotionally to their mission makes their interactions pop. I may be wrong, but Carrie’s headed into an assignment with a female equal: Fara was a protege, Martha was a superior, and, well, Jessica Brody was never Carrie-like to begin with.
Anyway, this is all to say that it’s refreshing to see Carrie and Astrid working together and talking about Quinn. (Does it pass the Bechdel test? Of course not. But it was necessary.) And so, having Astrid and Carrie team up is a clever, long overdue move. Plus, they’re the ones saving Quinn, the damsel in distress.
NEXT: Can Quinn be saved by…a floor tile?