Well, that was fast. After Carrie learned she was the target of the assassination in Lebanon, she high-tailed it back to Berlin and went into hiding with Jonas and Frannie outside the city. And then, thinking she can figure out who’s after her, she makes a reckless call to go off her meds. She spirals and spirals and spirals until, well, we see her paranoid alter ego appear.
Yet, her most volatile trait also makes her who she is, as she explains to Jonas. Just as her timeline of enemies can all be considered both potential suspects and “avenging angels,” the manic state she achieves with her bipolarity can be considered her own worst enemy and her titular “super power.” The paranoia drives Jonas and Frannie away, but it also saves her from Quinn (for a bit, anyway) at the end of the episode.
Funnily enough, Carrie’s condition makes her the most self-aware of all the players so far this season. Sure, she should have totally expected to go out of control with all that caffeine and lack of medication, but she’s also tuned into the consequences of what she’s done with her career — and the potential enemies she’s made. The same can’t be said about Numan the hacktivist or Laura the dissident journalist or Allison the desperate station chief. Or, most importantly, Saul, the company man who didn’t get the top job and may now be recklessly involved in some darker, ripped-from-world-news-headlines plans.
Let’s start there, then. Saul begins the hour at the Düring Foundation, attempting to pry intel out of Otto about Carrie’s whereabouts. He’s tracking his former protégé after the debacle with Laura last week, as he and Allison saw the photos of the two together. Otto calmly deflects the questions, despite facing a Saul who’s more aggressive than ever. “I’m not a statesman,” Saul says. “I’m out for blood.” (That thesis will come into play later in the episode, when Saul tries to turn on his “statesman” side.) After failing to glean anything from Otto, Saul corners Allison and reprimands her for trying to get him kicked out of Berlin as a sacrifice to the BND’s wrath. When he reveals he won’t be sending her back to the U.S. after all for her Hail Mary pass, she thanks him. Where did this forgiving Saul come from? Why would he renege on his original plan to put her in the BND’s crosshairs and instead send the American ambassador to Germany back to the States unless…
Oh. The two are carrying out an affair, cozily taking Xanaxes and cuddling in bed after a long, hard day at work with the agency. (Was this affair already happening, or does this mean that Allison… slept with her boss after her job went into danger? Didn’t Saul just arrive in Berlin two episodes ago? How long has this been going on? Maybe we’ll find out.) The couple have had a rough 24 hours — and boy, do showrunners Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon know how to dole out rough 24 hours — but while Allison’s been dealing with the inept CIA teams she’s been using to track Laura and Carrie (we’ll get to this in a bit), Saul’s been manipulating entire governments.
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Earlier that day, he met with an Israeli intelligence officer who’s wondering if his government should be prepared for an American coup in Syria. “Israel would be the first to know,” Saul assures him, adding that there’s no chance the CIA wants to replace Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or go anywhere near Damascus, because the CIA is done overthrowing Arab leaders. And yet, hours later, Saul talks to Dar Adal, who reveals they’ve gotten the green light (the “operational balls,” if you will) to make their move. That move: the coup in Syria Saul had just said wouldn’t happen. According to the intelligence they have, Assad is already in danger of being overthrown, and they have just the candidate to replace him. Whatever happens, something’s brewing in the Middle East and being manipulated by two men several time zones away.
Also being manipulated by two men: Laura Sutton. Just when she thinks she’s gotten the documents from the tech-savvy Numan — he triggers the fire alarm inside the Foundation to get Laura outside so he can contact her and set up a rendez-vous — it’s
Not Dane Dehaan Karsten (at least I think that’s what Numan called him; if anyone caught the spelling on closed captioning, let me know?) who’s actually pulling the strings. The baby-faced prankster corners a Russian embassy officer back at Club King George and tells him he’d like to do business with some documents he has for sale, just as Laura discovers the USB drive Numan gave her is utterly worthless. At least she and Numan got to meet and, from one idealist to the other, tell each other they’re fans of each other’s work…
NEXT: Carrie constructs her Wall of Crazy, Version 2.0