Homeland: Gone Girl (S5 E11 Recap)

homeland logoLast week Peter Quinn rose from the dead, but not completely. We open with the Mighty Quinn in a coma, and more tubes in his body than the last time you saw your granny. Waking him could be fatal, but lives are at stake, and we all know Quinn would die for our sins wouldn’t want it any other way, so against medical advice, the tubes are taken out. Given the scenery chewing antics of both Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin all season, the tense hospital scene threatens to spill over into parody, and isn’t helped by the dialogue, which is a combination of by the numbers medical jargon, and Carrie’s gentle admonishments to Quinn to “Wake up! It’s really important!” with Saul’s grimacing in a corner and occasionally barking commands to the doctor whom I guess he outranks.

We transplanted some medical jargon STAT from Grey's Anatomy.

We transplanted some medical jargon STAT from Grey’s Anatomy.

The doctor shoots up Quinn with epinephrine, though not into his heart the way it was done in Pulp Fiction, which would have been awesome, although Quinn’s eyes pop open in homage to Uma Thurman. He moves his lips but is unable to actually say words and then he spews out some gross gunk and goes into respiratory arrest. Carrie’s mouth quivers as has become obligatory. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be much help.

Did we win the dance contest?

Did we win the dance contest?

Meantime over in Hauptbahnhof Station where the action is, the “construction worker” leaves the gas device in the tunnel. We see the message “System Armed.”

Tick tick tick…

Was there a part we all missed where Dar got hit in the head with a brick and/or replaced by a Darbot via the SVR? How is Allison still walking around? And not only is she walking around, he’s sending her to some high level meeting. She’s accompanied by Conrad, her underling who trusts her, which we know is a BIG MISTAKE. The SVR isn’t even trying anymore. They leave a “ticket” on her car windshield, and it doesn’t occur to Conrad that it might be a message from her SVR handlers even though the audience knows it is because she’s totally a spy, who was totally busted at the SVR safe house. Seriously, did anyone actually brief Conrad? Or is he (like all men) hypnotized by Allison’s magic vagina, which sends out the lust rays and keeps men’s heads spinning?

When they get to the meeting, Allison uses the ladies’ room, where Conrad dare not follow. Why would he? This whole “treason” thing is a joke, right? Bullshit from the top brass. Once in the stall, she takes out the mini-flash drive that was included in her ticket, and listens to her instructions on the phone, which nobody thought to maybe take away from her, or monitor, or something. We don’t hear her instructions. Homeland, you are such a tease! The scene was obviously written by a man because most ladies would have multitasked and peed while listening because you always take advantage of those situations. Ladies, am I right? Allison just gets up and to wash her hands after flushing the disc.

An SVR contact, working in the German Foreign Ministry meets her in the bathroom to make sure she got the instructions. Like parking lots, bathrooms are great places for people to meet because no one ever enters them unexpectedly. She tells the contact she’s not going to do whatever it was she was asked to do, which has something to do with Dr. Aziz. We learn that the Russians have been watching Aziz since the gas went missing, and they want the attack to happen because the West needs a wake up call which the whole world knows except for our president. Did Homeland just manage to make the ISIS attack on Europe Obama’s fault for being soft on terrorism? When Allison balks at making sure that thousands die horrible deaths, her contact who apparently is not susceptible to Allison’s feminine wiles, tells her she has no choice. If she doesn’t go through with it, no dasha by the Black Sea, and she forfeits her millions. Plus, more bad news: Moscow is breaking up with her. This is her last assignment. She’s damaged goods! Allison goes into the meeting where Bald Guy is talking. Then Dar talks, and somewhere in there the SVR representative adds something, and Allison glares at him like the loyal first wife who just got served divorce papers.

Kremlin, I am SO over you!

Kremlin, I am SO over you!

Over at wherever the terrorists are now hanging out, they are experiencing technical problems with the trigger device for the gas. Apparently, they didn’t get the extended warranty and can’t just contact Chip in Bangalore, but must go directly to Dr. Aziz. Everybody is on the watch list, except for Cat Stevens, so Bibi tells him he’s going to go take care of this – or something really bad will happen to his mother.

At the hospital, Quinn is stable, but they aren’t going to try to wake him again, so Saul is going back to the office. Carrie has another idea. Someone drained Quinn’s surgical wound – someone who was better at the medical stuff than Carrie is, so she’s thinking there’s a “good Samaritan” out there and she’s going to find him. Saul gets a call from Otto who plays the Carrie-trusts-you card, and shames Saul into checking in with the BND about Marwan and allowing him to have his lawyer present. Then Otto talks to Laura who still hasn’t stopped being smug because that’s what an all vegetable diet does to people. He asks her to keep a low profile until the bomb deadline. She calls it a “gag order” but agrees. Then as soon as he’s gone she calls Numan. Guess what? When Numan was “helping” Carrie and hooked in to her computer, he managed to get all of the documents without her noticing. Laura tells him that if “anything” happens to her – like disappearing, getting arrested etc, to release all the documents. No vetting.

Someone needs to tell her this is NOT a good look.

Someone needs to tell her this is NOT a good look.

After the meeting, Astrid is briefing Dar about Zaheer (the dead guy they found before they found Quinn). He’d been a university student. (The same university where Aziz taught.) Allison pops in, and volunteers to go check things out the university, despite Astrid’s looking at her like, “You? Seriously?” Bald Guy says it’s Dar’s call, as opposed to saying, “Why isn’t this woman locked up?”

Hey remember earlier in the season when Carrie went to the Hamas guy to arrange safe passage for her boss in Lebanon? Now she’s showing up at his lovely suburban home where his German wife answers the door, and there’s kids’ stuff in the hallway. He’s not happy to see her, and thinks his house is about to be raided, but she convinces him that she’s there for his help. Carrie appeals to his humanity, THINK OF THE CHILDREN. (See how being a mother has made her a better person.) All Carrie needs is some information about the good Samaritan, who of course he knows about. So the Hamas guy tells her the good doctor’s name because it turns out even Hamas is better than Allison.

Poor Marwan in his skivvies hooked up to more machines than Peter Quinn. It’s “biometrics” which is German for torture enhanced interrogation, but it isn’t working. Saul suggests to Astrid that they try it his way – get Marwan dressed and give him some tea with sugar. Then let Saul talk to him. You’d think given all the screwing up by the CIA so far this season, Astrid would not be willing to go out on a limb on this, but she agrees. What could possibly go wrong?

Look, I've learned from my mistakes. I definitely won't leave my reading glasses. there like that other time.

Look, I’ve learned from my mistakes. I definitely won’t leave my reading glasses like that other time.

Cat Stevens is now stalking Dr. Aziz at the university. He shows Aziz the note he got from the tech guy. Even though there’s a big rush on this, Cat Stevens starts to chat him up while he works on his laptop. He asks if he feels “conflicted” about what he’s doing, seeing as how nice the Germans are and all. Aziz it turns out is Lebanese, and has hated the Germans since 2006 when they supported Israelis who were bombing the shit out of Lebanon at the time. Also it turns out Aziz is an atheist, which doesn’t sit well with Cat Stevens who is all about the caliphate.

Cat Stevens really needs to work on his social skills.

Cat Stevens really needs to work on his social skills.

Marwan tells Saul he really doesn’t know anything beyond four words: “Berlin is the target.” Saul is playing classic good cop, warning Marwan he better remember something or he won’t be able to protect him from the Germans. Given that Marwan spent a year and a half in a cell because of evidence the American CIA gave to the German government, he’s going to trust Saul why? Astrid knocks on the door, and it’s the second time this season she’s telling someone they need to watch what’s on television.

What’s on television is limp-haired Laura. She’s on some talk show talking about Marwan and how he was going to help the BND with the investigation but they just took him and disappeared him, so unless they let her talk to him IMMEDIATELY she’s going to release all 1,360 documents. Then she says she’s going to release them anyway, so what difference does speaking to Marwan even make? Also she gives yet another speech about how the war on terror has only made things worse, and really she’s the Homeland version of Miss Bunting, the annoying progressive type on last season’s Downtown Abbey who was also a right wing fantasy of a left wing woman, and prone to speechifying.

Then Astrid and Saul go back to the office where they parked Marwan, but he’s jumped out the unguarded window and is dead dead, not almost dead like Peter Quinn. Astrid’s first reaction is that it’s going to be an even bigger Laura problem. Saul being the one with all the feelings, just about collapses in a chair. All us long-termers know this isn’t the first time someone’s gotten out of a Saul interrogation by killing themselves. Poor Saul, that’s gotta hurt.

Has anything gone right for Saul today?

Has anything gone right for Saul today?

Somebody knocks on Aziz’s door, so he sneaks Cat Stevens out the back, probably relieved to have an excuse to get rid of him because nobody likes a preachy drip. Aziz tells him they’ll just have to trigger it manually.

Who’s at the door? Why it’s Allison and Conrad, and they have some questions about a former student of his by the name of Zaheer. She comes on tough as nails and talking fast. In the middle of it all she asks Conrad for his gun, and the mope gives it to her. She acts like she’s threatening to shoot Aziz if he doesn’t reveal the location of the attack. She does a countdown from five and when she gets to one she turns and shoots poor Conrad in the head. Then after Aziz pees himself AND blurts out that it’s the 5:15 to Potsdam from the Hauptbahnhof station, she shoots Aziz in the head – clearly her SVR assignment. Next she stages the scene, calls Astrid, tells her she’s been shot, hangs up, and shoots herself, managing to get the gun over to Aziz before she falls to the floor. We get an icky view of the back of Conrad’s head, and his brains falling out, in case we thought he was only Peter Quinn dead. How exactly will she explain how they were all shot with the same gun? Maybe she’ll do it while sitting in a chair with no underwear and uncrossing her legs like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct because that’s how totally bad ass Allison is. Nothing comes between that woman and her Italian handbag budget – not even thousands of innocents. Astrid arrives with her team, and Allison whispers to her that the target is the airport.

Carrie is over at Dr Hussein’s free clinic, and even though she using the During Foundation name, they make her wait her turn like any patient. Finally, she gets to talk with the Albert Schweitzer of the Arab ghetto. She finds out about the jihaddis who used to meet downstairs where one of them had an apartment. Carrie goes to check it out and finds lots of information about Hauptbahnhof Station – which Cat Stevens seemed to be totally obsessed with. She calls Saul to report this, but he tells her it’s the airport which is already being cleared. She says, “Are you sure?”

Saul apparently is not sure and is considering the source because he goes to talk to Allison, but before he can start beating her up again, a doctor comes in to drain her wound, so Saul gives them ten minute.

Carrie, following her instincts goes to the station. Bibi and Cat Stevens are also heading there. She spots Cat Stevens on an escalator and tries to text Saul, but there’s no signal. She needs to get to security STAT so she tries to get a stranger to go upstairs and text for her, but the first person she approaches calls her a crazy person. Then she gets some nice lady to do it. Why isn’t the nice panicking given that Carrie has just told her there’s an imminent attack coming? Probably she’s happy to get the free phone from the crazy person and doesn’t think sending a text for her is a big deal.

Meantime, Bibi is using a bike lock to block off an exit. Cat Stevens is supposed to be blocking off an exit too, but a young woman in a hijab is staring at him and he lets her through. Then a European man with a toddler says something, and he lets him through, and then he just gives up on the whole enterprise, and lets everyone through. But what I don’t get is why the crowds are letting Bibi and Cat Stevens put up the locks in the first place. They aren’t in any kind of official uniform. Given the whole “imminent attack” thing, wouldn’t people be avoiding places like train stations? Wouldn’t they be actively trying to stop these guys?

Carrie winds up at a platform where everyone is staring down the tracks. She asks in English of course, what’s going on and a woman tells her they saw a man going down the tracks, so Carrie jumps on the tracks in hot pursuit.

Because the only thing that can stop a terrorist with poison gas is a good woman with a gun.

Because the only thing that can stop a terrorist with poison gas is a good woman with a gun.

Saul gets the text, and runs into Allison’s room, but SHE’S GONE and probably not out a window.

She's gone.

She’s gone.

There’s been a theme to the whole season involving people making sacrifices for the greater good: Carrie sends her daughter away to keep her safe. Peter is willing to die to keep Carrie safe. Carrie is willing to go crazy if being off her meds will help her find the answers. The Good Samaritan helps a stranger at risk of his own life. Saul tries to make good on his promise to Otto. Even the Hamas leader is willing to do the right thing. Confused Cat Stevens helps Peter and in the end can’t go through with it. Only Allison when confronted with what should be a simple choice – the death of thousands, or ignoring Moscow’s order and stopping the attack, chooses expediency over sacrifice. Will we have the satisfaction of watching her fall in the finale? Let’s hope so! Meantime, thoughts, theories, and speculation are welcome in the comments below

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Homeland

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  • My feeling is the Conrad is a lower-level guy without security clearance, and maybe a new hire. I think nobody bothered to brief him about the whole ‘treason’ thing, and just told him to keep an eye on the redhead. I had the same reaction as you to that Saul interrogation thing. Didn’t Saul watch seasons one and two? The Germans let the bad guys lock all the gates because Germans always follow orders from authoritative looking people. My big mystery is why Allison had to shoot herself (her aim is true!). Since she was going to escape to Russia, couldn’t she have just escaped? Also, she didn’t bother wiping her fingerprints off the guns..Also, I think you forgot to mention that this was the BEST EPISODE OF THE SEASON and totes worth all the buildup.

    • I think she needed to be around to tell them the wrong target. No way would any explanation hold up, so the prints didn’t matter. She was going to leave. I can’t say it was the best episode of the season. The idea of Allison walking around was just too ridiculous. I actually found last week’s absurd but fascinating, if for no other reason, the link to current events.