Homeland recap: Parabiosis
Carrie nearly gives up, while Saul (finally) looks into the leaked documents. Also: Can someone please save Quinn?
What could possibly be in these MacGuffins documents?! They’ve fractured the CIA’s Dar Adal/Saul backbone, sent Carrie on a tailspin, and, worst of all, they’re killing Quinn, all because the Russians don’t want them to be read. These documents must be stopped.
Too bad everyone’s busy preventing each other from accessing them, and as a result, almost everyone in tonight’s episode fails to see things clearly. Carrie watches Jonas carry on his life without her, thinking she’s exhausted her resources after losing Quinn, Jonas, and Saul. Quinn observes his wound in the dingy bathroom, assuming he’s rescued Carrie and he’ll be fine if he leaves. Saul draws the curtains on the windows of his hotel room, finally suspicious of the agency.
Only thing is, he’s just a few hours too late. Earlier, after taking off with Carrie, he didn’t believe her theory that the Russians were the ones who put in her kill order. Even though Carrie tells him she confirmed it was the Russians behind the order and the attack in Lebanon, Saul is dismissive and refuses to help. “You want me to hand over some top secret documents to you, of all people?” he asks. “You don’t think that’s gonna cause problems?”
Of course it’ll cause problems, Saul, but just because Carrie sounds paranoid (and is still wearing the worst wig known to man) doesn’t mean she’s wrong. Sadly, he leaves after calling the rift between them “a f—ing wall” and hops into a cab, leaving her with nothing. Returning to his hotel, Saul spots the men tailing him and clearly grows concerned.
This is where the film snob in me would like to point out that we get our first reflection-heavy shot of the night. Director Alex Graves (he helmed last year’s “Halfway to a Donut” and often works on Game of Thrones) spends a noticeable amount of shots framing characters through windows, highlighting their reflections and the idea of duality — which the episode title also calls out. We see Saul in the elevator, but the camera focuses on his reflection first. Clearly, Carrie’s words got to him, even if he won’t admit it, and having people follow him only makes things worse. And the same idea comes across in several more key shots where characters confront the truth:
…Well, it’s either that, or Graves just really likes glass.
Either way, Carrie has finally returned to the Quinncave, where Jonas is frantically cleaning up, agitated to have been left on his own for a full 24 hours. Carrie’s shocked to find that Quinn’s gone and possibly dead, but Jonas has had enough. He tells her things have only gotten worse and offers to take her home. When she stalls, Jonas refuses to wait any longer for her to make up her mind. Instead of giving him a solid answer, she brings up Saul, explaining that he rejected her, and that she would really like to keep Jonas as an ally. But when she mentions the documents, Jonas becomes incensed. “Quinn walked out of that door to protect you, Carrie; does that register?!” he screams. “That’s it, I’m done.” Jonas does what he does best: He walks out and leaves Carrie on her own.
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And with that, Carrie’s left with one final friend to turn to: Otto Düring, who finds her hiding in the parking complex of the foundation. Believing she has no way to access the documents and continue to investigate the case, she asks Düring for a way out. Still pained by Saul’s words, she tells the billionaire philanthropist she can’t keep bringing the people around her down. And so, she asks him for a plane to take her to Norway, where she can disappear nowhere (thanks, guys — I could really use closed captioning on these screeners).
NEXT: Saul takes matters into his own hands
The day after his meeting with Carrie, Saul goes on a hunt for answers. He calls Allison out of the CIA Berlin Station to question why he, and not anyone else, is being followed by the agency. Allison quickly explains that Dar wanted him tailed because of the bomb they found on the plane, twisting the knife just a little more so Saul concentrates all of his anger on his dear frenemy. She plays her part well, apologizing for not telling him earlier.
Saul, realizing they have a mole, orders a sweep of the Berlin station. As the workers poke and prod through the offices, Dar strides in to confront Saul. The two argue, spouting off accusations at each other while Allison tries to listen in. It’s unclear exactly what she hears, but the muffled words “Russians” and “tipped off” can be heard. Saul tries to convince Dar of Carrie’s theory, that it’s the Russians who attacked the plane, not the Israelis, but Dar won’t hear it.
Both men turn petulant. Saul wonders if Dar’s just getting back at him over a mistake he once made three decades ago. Dar scoffs and says Saul is the problem, considering his close ties with the Israelis and his affair with a co-worker. “You know what, Dar, f— you,” Saul says. “No, f— you,” Dar replies. (Oh my GOD, f— both of you! Sorry.) “I’m bringing in a polygrapher,” Dar adds. (Man, just imagine if every disagreement between agents went like this in the CIA. Polygraphers must be in short supply.) When Dar asks him to come completely clean, Saul chooses to protect Carrie, saying nothing.
And because of that, Saul is now just as alone in his mission as Carrie. He’s restless and paranoid when he returns to his hotel room, jumping at slight noises, checking the lamps for bugs, and rummaging through a maid’s cart in search of clues the CIA’s against him. By the time he arrives for his polygraph, he realizes he’s not ready to go through with Dar’s orders. In what looks like one long take, the camera follows Saul as he stalks through the halls of the CIA station, entering a room where analysts are looking into the data. They refuse to share what they’ve found with him, closing him off because Dar, presumably, revised Saul’s clearance level.
To get around his roadblock, Saul uses his spy wiles and distracts Mills (the specialist who first realized Numan had accessed their servers) to get onto the system. By the time Mills returns, Saul has gotten the files he needed and bolted through the door. It’s an exciting scene, watching Saul wordlessly get what he needs by eluding everyone in the station. He’s at the top of his game — even if he still hasn’t caught on to Allison’s manipulations.
Later, Mills runs off to report Saul’s breach to Allison, who gets cornered by Dar. She calls Saul, and Saul, surprisingly, responds. Allison keeps him on the phone just long enough so Dar and the team can trace the call, but Saul knows what he’s doing: He speaks to Dar directly, telling him it’s the Russians, before dumping his phone in a trash bin. It turns out he’s following Otto Düring, who’s just arrived at his fancy club. There, he spills almost everything to Düring and asks him to give something to Carrie when he sees her, because he now trusts her word.
The CIA arrive to take Saul away, and Düring even takes a stand for Saul, showboating and commanding the CIA officers to apologize to everyone in his club if they don’t find what they’re looking for. They don’t, but as Düring leaves later, he discovers a package Saul had dropped in his jacket much earlier. (Yes, Saul!) Düring gives the package to Carrie when she arrives to take his plane. She had just finished erasing her time in Berlin — she removes all photos of her cozy life from the past two years off her phone — and taken a detour to spy on Jonas going about his day in their apartment. Now, having left that life behind, she can take the next step. “From Saul Berenson,” Düring says, passing along the files. “He said you’d know what to do with it.” Carrie’s obviously relieved; she has her next step.
NEXT: Where in the world is Peter Quinn?
Meanwhile, Quinn is having a rough day healing after being picked up by the good Samaritan who had followed him after his botched suicide attempt. He’s ended up inside a dangerous building full of men loyal to Zayd, one of a dozen convicted jihadists released after Laura Sutton published the documents exposing how those men were illegally spied on and jailed. (Laura has indirectly caused Quinn to be in more danger, which makes me dislike her even more.) Although she had a hand in his release, Zayd brushes her off after he’s released, strolling past Laura and her cameraman when she asks for a comment.
Zayd, after arriving to an enthusiastic homecoming party, spots Quinn inside a makeshift infirmary. He immediately argues with the good Samaritan, asking if Quinn’s an American spy. The doc says he’s just a dying man he’s now transfusing his own blood into and that he’s a guest. “He wasn’t a guest until you brought him here,” Zayd snarls, signaling that this won’t end well for Quinn.
Hours later, Quinn finally manages to get out of bed and down the hall to, well, relieve himself. There, he overhears Zayd planning an attack with his men, but when the doc finds him, Zayd and his men hear him, too. This leads to an uncomfortable confrontation: Quinn is taken, despite the doc’s protests, to see Zayd. Pale but seemingly unconcerned with being in grave danger, Quinn reveals he only heard a few words about attacking Berlin, and when one of the henchmen suggests killing Quinn there, Quinn saves himself by explaining how their plan would never work. Zayd just got out of prison, he points out. Do they really think they’re not being watched by the BND? If they go through with the plan, Zayd might just get thrown into prison again — which, after all, may be what the criminal wants, so he can’t be sent back to war-torn Syria.
That Sherlock-level deconstruction of the plan only gets Quinn punched in the face. But Quinn gets back up to say that he knows what Syria is like and that, at this point, he has nothing to lose, considering how he’s a walking staph infection (no, Quinn, you’re a walking dreamboat terrorism janitor! ahem, please excuse me) and so he would be fine with dying right then and there. Zayd only stares.
Eventually, Quinn is allowed to leave. He thanks the doc who earlier told him why he’s involved with dangerous jihadists (his wife died in Iraq, and he couldn’t get a job as a doctor in Berlin; so he ended up in this building, helping people like Quinn who can’t go to hospitals) and is about to take off, when one man in the hallway asks what he had been doing in Syria. Quinn responds that he was there doing jobs for whoever could pay the most, and the man seems impressed. “A mercenary,” he says, before revealing he doesn’t trust Zayd — and neither do a lot of the other men.
When Quinn finally takes off, the threat Zayd posed finally comes to fruition when he whips out a knife and tries to kill Quinn. But this is Peter Quinn, mercenary extraordinaire, we’re talking about, so Quinn manages to get the upper hand, delivering blows to Zayd until he strikes him in his throat. The men who had welcomed Zayd home so heartily now cart off his remains and turn to Quinn. The man in the hallway asks him to stay one more night and promises he’ll be safe. Quinn looks worried, but what exactly has he gotten himself involved in? If these are jihadists like the man he had blown up in the premiere, will Quinn find a way out or go on this new path? Maybe he’ll discover some insider information that’ll help expose what the Russians are after? I’m not sure where this story is going, but at the very least, Quinn is safe for now.
Other than introducing Quinn’s questionable situation, this episode as a whole was Homeland taking a step back from the exploding plane and hacktivism plots (Numan didn’t appear at all, and Laura took a back seat) to establish where Saul, Dar, and Allison stand. There’s been a line drawn in the sand there, and I’m hoping we get to see Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes in the same frame soon. Düring also re-entered the picture after taking a week off, and it seems the show wants to continue exploring whether he has some secret that’ll surface later in the season and shake things up. And maybe, just maybe, the Russians will find out Carrie is alive and for whatever reason rescind the kill order, so we won’t have to deal with that wig ever again. Hey, it might be wishful thinking, but Claire Danes can’t possibly keep that wig on forever, right?…right?!