If there’s one thing we learned tonight — other than the fact that Otto Düring’s super-secure WiFi password is “Pope Francis” — is that this season is not about hacktivism or the post-Snowden era, it’s not about ISIS and its terrifying impact on the Western world, and it’s not even about the slowly healing rift between Carrie and Saul.
It’s about Carrie and Allison (and Carrie versus Allison, except Carrie doesn’t know yet), whose stories dovetail nicely together at the end of tonight’s hour. Miranda Otto has been knocking her performance out of the park, but Allison, as a character, has also proved a fascinating foil to Carrie. She’s straddling two worlds and trying to keep her head straight, just as Carrie continues to think she can eventually have a nice life with her daughter. Both women not only share close ties with Saul (though Allison obviously has more of an, uh, intimate connection there), but also share a penchant for danger. As Krupin points out to Allison, she may hate the risks, but she loves being a double agent. Like Otto tells Carrie, some people are better at being “Earth-bound,” and as much as Carrie can half-hope the entire fiasco with the documents is a misunderstanding, she’s not one of those Earth-bound people. She and Allison will continue working in this agonizing world of secrets and spies because both, for better worse, like it.
Even if it means looking over their shoulders every other step, as Allison does when she goes to meet Krupin. She’s more worried than ever when she reports Saul’s rogue mission to take the documents out of the CIA Berlin Station. Krupin, as usual, thinks she’s overreacting and jumping to conclusions. But he entertains the idea that Saul took the files to give to a still-alive Carrie when Allison raises her voice, so he instructs her to talk to Saul and get more intel first.
To do this, Allison has to get close enough to Saul without raising suspicion from Dar Adal. This proves a bit tricky: She transfers all of the documents in question onto a USB and tries to fool Dar into believing that the thumb drive must be the one Saul had tried to smuggle out. Dar doesn’t believe a word of it, though, and is too preoccupied with insulting Saul to care. “He’s being completely uncooperative,” he says, watching a detained Saul on the monitor. “It’s all too stupid and theatrical for words.” Luckily for Allison, she convinces Dar she’ll get Saul to talk, as long as she takes him back to the hotel so he feels comfortable. Dar reluctantly allows it.
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With that accomplished, all Allison has to do is get Saul to spill — a step that turns out to be easier than she thought. Saul’s already furious at Dar, and he’s ready to burst. When Allison asks him why he needs to stay in Berlin for 72 more hours instead of getting shipped back to Langley, he can’t keep the secret any longer. After masking their voices from any hidden mics, he tells her what’s really going on: Carrie’s alive, and he brought the documents to Otto to give to her, so he’s hoping Carrie reaches out before he leaves Berlin.
At this, Allison looks like she’s about to vomit, and Saul notices. Instead of wondering why the CIA Berlin Station chief is getting awfully sick at the news of Carrie seeing the documents, Saul figures she just needs a minute to take in his rebellion. Alone in the bathroom, Allison crouches, presses her forehead, and breaks down. Eventually, she composes herself — and quickly makes her way to Krupin to report her findings.
Krupin is surprised Carrie is alive, but again, he’s not too worried, a reaction that sets Allison off. “Will you stop underestimating her?” she shouts at him. “I don’t care how f—ing brilliant she is,” Krupin dismisses. “She’s not a magician.” Allison isn’t comforted by this comparison. She tells Krupin the world is about to end, but Krupin reminds her of how good of a spy she is, as she represents “the greatest penetration in f—ing history” of the CIA by Russian intelligence. He also tells her to stop protesting — after all, she loves this job, and without it, she’d be “beached fish.” (Krupin is a master at colorful language, isn’t he?) But because she’s still worried, Krupin assures her they’ll be ready for Carrie when she figures out that she needs to follow what she finds in the documents to Amsterdam.
NEXT: Carrie follows the paper trail all the way to Amsterdam