Saul, Quinn, and Carrie's targets might not be their true enemies after all.
The annual Homeland bloodbath has begun, with two major character deaths, a pair of close calls, and plenty of collateral damage. And it probably won’t stop there — not if Allison has her way. At least, it seems like Allison’s the one pulling the strings in this episode all about trustworthiness of the people around you, whether it’s a dogged journalist or a greedy hacker or — in Carrie’s case — a former partner-in-crime. Quinn is another ghost from two years ago, but one she’s happy to see, unlike the one she hallucinated last week.
(Speaking of which, before we move on, I do want to point out that when I called Carrie “crazy,” it wasn’t the best idea, as many of you mentioned. To be clear, I don’t use the term to diminish the severity or the state of her mental illness; rather, just as a Homeland viewer, I wasn’t happy with the way the show wedged it in as a plot device. Sure, revisiting Carrie’s demons was necessary to get her out of her comfortable Berlin life, but bringing back her mental illness at this point felt like a decision on the part of the writers to simply catalyze the action. It’s not that I want Carrie to no longer have to deal with her bipolarity, it’s that I wish the show wouldn’t use it as a “danger of the week,” a phrase a commenter used on this post deftly breaking down the issue of “unstable” Carrie by Alan Sepinwall over at Hitfix. Still, was it unfair to criticize the tonal shift and slap on the word “crazy” when that’s how frustrating manic-depressive disorder becomes in real life? Yes, and I should have been more careful. So with all that said, I do want to know more of what you think about the way the show has portrayed Carrie’s disorder. And now, back to your regular programming…)
Carrie comes to after her woodland showdown with Quinn, waking up in Quinn’s lair — the Quinncave, I’m calling it — where Quinn reveals he was sent to kill her, but obviously didn’t. He cuts himself, rubs his blood onto her face, and has her play dead for the proof of death he’ll submit at the drop box. How’s that for a reunion?
Quinn’s plans for their first date keeping Carrie alive involve replacing her with a new identity and finding her fallback, where she keeps the supplies she needs to disappear. Before they leave, he asks her to get her affairs in order, which means recording a video for Frannie, but wait — Quinn wants Carrie not just to explain why she had to send her daughter back to the States, but also to say goodbye. “If you want Frannie to be safe, you have to be dead,” he tells Carrie. And so she tries again, and speaks to the camera — and to us, almost — in what would surely be Claire Danes’ Emmy submission episode if we didn’t still have most of the season left to go. “I didn’t abandon you,” she says, holding back tears. “I know what that feels like, and I would never do that to you… You make up for every mistake that I’ve ever made, and although you don’t believe it, I love you very, very much.” It gives us our most heartbreaking Carrie cryface yet:
She’s asking Frannie — or one day, when she’s probably going as “Frances” — to trust her. (Also worth noting: The scene cuts to Quinn many times, just to drive home the point that he also abandoned his child, but Carrie’s level of remorse is exponentially greater now that she’s experienced what life would be like with Frannie.) It’s the same emotional wavelength Carrie’s working with when she persists in asking Quinn whether it really was Saul who put in the kill order. Even though Quinn tells her the operation involved only him and her former mentor, she doesn’t believe it, because deep down, she knows he wouldn’t abandon her.
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Which may be why the hour actually begins with Saul’s story, not Carrie’s, the first episode to do so this season. Saul and Allison are at a seder (hence the episode title) held by Üter, the Israeli official Saul had been talking to in last week’s episode. (Faith seems to be a core theme this season, as the premiere began similarly with that church hymn and Carrie pausing in a pew. But maybe I’m just reaching with this thought.) Üter explains why they’re there, asking those at the table to “remember the enemies we still have all over the world,” giving Saul a pointed glance.
He’s curious about Saul’s true intentions: Üter already knows Saul was bluffing about the CIA’s role in Syria. He calls him out for wanting to replace President Assad with General Youssef, a man Saul agrees would be a good choice. When Saul pushes back on the questioning by wondering why Israel would rather not have peace, Üter almost laughs. “You used to be a good friend to Israel,” he says. Too bad, Üter: Saul’s got a new friend he’s about to visit all the way in Switzerland…
NEXT: Saul makes an offer a war criminal can’t refuse
Saul and Allison have set up shop in Switzerland, where Allison puts up her hair and puts on a German accent to dupe General Youssef into believing she’s the director of the clinic that will give his daughter a new kidney. Allison is keenly observant; just watch her as she leads the general and his wife from room to room before the surgery.
When she enters the CIA’s surveillance room in another corner of the facility, she drops the act. Allison reports to Saul that the general’s nervous about the officers around him, because he violated international sanctions to enter the country and, more importantly, because he can be arrested at any time to stand trial for his war crimes. It’s the fodder the CIA needs to make their move.
And so Allison gets the general alone and tells him she’s from the CIA. She asks him to go outside for a cigarette later, and there, he finds Saul, a man he recognizes but clearly trusts very little.
Saul warns the general the Syrian crisis is getting worse, and then launches into his pitch: He needs the general to become the new president, because he has the right connections to raise the required money and will have the support of the United States — as long as he agrees to push their ideals. Saul cryptically reminds him the U.S. will do “what it takes” to end the turmoil in Syria. “I know you’re a patriot,” Saul says. “Show them the way forward. Lead them to the light.” Spoken like a true statesman, Saul, not a spy.
Meanwhile, all the way back in Berlin, hell hath no fury like a grandstanding journalist scorned.
Because Laura’s rendezvous with Numan only got her a blank USB and a rude cartoon, she pressures Jonas into getting her a meeting with another hacker who can track Numan down. With a little push from Otto, Jonas connects Laura with Sabine, a woman under house arrest for, um, doing something or other that pissed off the BND. Look, she’s got a poster that says, “Read the Constitution, Not My Emails,” in her humongous apartment, along with this gem…
…so that’s all you need to know. After some silly switcheroo with her roommate about who’s actually Sabine, the real Sabine allows Laura to make her request, because Laura also pissed off the BND. (So that’s what you need to gain a hacker’s trust: Get a target painted on your back, too!)
Laura is more than happy to reveal that she’s a “person of interest” and that she needs Sabine’s help tracking down “gabehcoud” — “douchebag” backwards, remember? — and find out why he didn’t give her the rest of the documents. Of course, once Sabine finds Numan, Mr. Backwards Douchebag himself, he has no idea she didn’t actually get them. He realizes it was Not Dane Dehaan Karsten Korzenik (thanks, everyone with closed captioning!) who must have pranked Laura.
Upset, Numan strides through Club King George and corners Korzenik’s girlfriend, who reluctantly calls the wily hacker on Numan’s behalf. Korzenik Korzie picks up, but he’s not fazed by Numan’s anger. Settled in the back seat of a town car, he’s more confident than ever: His hair is slicked back, his tie is straight, and he’s got a glint in his eye that, well, bodes poorly for him. Could his recklessness make him Homeland‘s first significant casualty of the season?
Yup. Too idiotic to act on Numan’s warnings, Korzie follows his driver into the back of a dingy restaurant, where he meets a man who definitely isn’t the Russian embassy officer he bribed back in Club King George. Instead, he’s meeting with Krupin, who’s absolutely delighted to meet the young hacker — so delighted that he hands over the money before getting the sensitive documents in return.
And then he asks Korzie if what he just handed over is the only copy. Korzie says it is, trying his best to look convincing. It doesn’t work. (Oh no.) “You see, I want to trust you, Mr. Korzenik,” Krupin purrs, threatening him. (Oh nooo.) By the time we return to the saga of Krupin and Korzenik, Krupin’s men have found another copy of the documents, Korzie’s hapless girlfriend is held at gunpoint, and Korzie himself has been beaten so badly he can barely open his eyes. As he pleads, another man approaches him from behind and strangles him to death. Soon after, Numan heads to Korzie’s apartment, only to find a bashed-in door frame, a kitchen in disarray, and the dead, shot-in-the-head girlfriend. He leaves, horrified.
NEXT: What do a shootout, a phone call, and an exploding plane have in common?
Quinn has driven Carrie to the drop site in hopes that they’ll find out who, if not Saul, put in her kill order. They’re well-prepared for this mini-op: The pair searched through Carrie’s fall-back supplies shortly after leaving the Quinncave, gathering supplies and a ratty brown wig to cover up Carrie’s signature blonde locks. While rifling through the boxes, Quinn wonders why Carrie kept a fall-back plan if she really thought her new life with Jonas and Frannie would work out; in response, Carrie wonders where Quinn has been. “I tried to find you,” she says. “I never stopped thinking about you.” “It doesn’t matter now,” he tells her. (Every Carrie and Quinn shipper’s heart just shattered at those words.)
At the post office, Quinn looks nervous heading inside. He asks Carrie to switch to the driver’s seat in case they have to make a break for it, and he’s right to be concerned: As soon as he drops off “proof” of Carrie’s death, the man at the front desk texts a message to a man waiting in an alley nearby, parked in a demure sedan. That man takes out a gun and drives toward the post office, just as Quinn nervously stumbles into an innocent bystander. Quinn’s distracted, and so is Carrie, who’s watching a mother lead her children away from a school. As she glances back, she notices the slow-moving sedan.
And then all hell breaks loose. Quinn has stepped outside, and the man in the sedan pulls the trigger just as Carrie backs Quinn’s car into the shooter’s. The bullet hits Quinn, but he’s able to whip out his own gun and fire back, killing the shooter. Carrie, thinking fast, grabs the dead man’s phone and snaps his picture.
The pair drive back to the Quinncave, where Carrie stitches him up. In pain, he moans and pleads for morphine, and then finally drifts off, resting his head on her shoulder (and healing every Carrie/Quinn shipper’s heart). Carrie then browses the dead man’s phone, discovering that he only had one number recorded. Quinn urges her to call. She does, and the phone rings and rings and rings, until it gets picked up by…
Allison. That’s right: Allison. Was Allison trying to kill Quinn and Carrie? Are we supposed to believe that there’s another redheaded traitor in our midst?! Maybe it’s even more sinister than that: Right before she picked up Carrie’s call, Allison had been walking General Youssef back to his private plane and telling him he can’t leave his family behind in safety. She gives him a pack of cigarettes, saying they’re a gift from Saul.
And then just as Saul says they might have snagged the general into their plan to overthrow Assad, Allison takes the call. When Carrie hangs up, Allison looks perturbed, until — BOOM — the plane blows up in smithereens:
As usual, we’re left with several questions for next week: Did Allison have anything to do with the plane? Did Saul, even though he reacted with shock at the explosion? Were those cigarettes Allison gave the general a… bomb trigger, a Chekhov’s cigarette box? Did Carrie recognize Allison’s voice when she answered the call? Did Allison find out about Saul and Quinn’s operation by sleeping with Saul? Is there someone above Allison carrying all this out? (Though I’d love it if it all just comes down to Allison, because Miranda Otto has so far been excellent in the role.) Was the in-flight explosion the craziest death scene in Homeland so far, or does that title still belong to the killer pacemaker? Where even is the Quinncave located?!
Between the two major deaths this episode, the general’s death will have a larger impact on the geopolitical issues of the show (Dar won’t be happy, at the very least), but Korzie’s just jump-started a plot that was starting to feel separate from those of Carrie, Saul, and Quinn. Numan will want to figure out what happened to his friend, and that will only cause more dominoes to fall, including Laura and the Düring Foundation and eventually Allison (remember how curious she had been about Otto Düring’s business?). And besides, Homeland has now effectively turned Carrie Mathison into a fugitive from a shadowy enemy, which means we’ll see if what Otto tells Jonas about Carrie — that she can live like this — is right. Good thing she’s got Quinn on her side.