Mar 30, 2021
Homeland: Carrie's Road Trip (S5 E7 RECAP)
Allison is walking down a deserted corridor. Is she channeling the opening of Get Smart (original brand)? Is she heading back to the parking garage where everybody is meeting this season? Looks like it, but she somehow goes from a subterranean level to Ivan’s deluxe apartment in the sky, and why we couldn’t have just started there is another mystery.
She tells Ivan how Saul stole a thumb drive with this year’s MacGuffin and delivered it to Düring, and there’s only one person Saul would do something like that for. Ivan reminds her Carrie is dead. “But what if she’s not?” Allison asks. Then she asks some other “what if” questions, but not “What if it wasn’t?” which is a tagline from The Grinder, a show that gently satirizes exactly this kind of overblown drama. In television heaven there’d be a Homeland/Grinder crossover.
We still don’t know all about Allison. That’s next week’s episode, but the hints are intriguing. Ivan calls her “Alitzkah” and mentions she’s “played these men for years.” She needs to use her feminine wiles to talk to Saul, who’s currently being held at the US Embassy.
Carrie is in the study of Düring’s estate. Given the size of the place, it probably isn’t the study, but part of the university wing. She tells the concerned billionaire she’s only about a quarter of the way through the files and still hasn’t found whatever it is she’s looking for. He’s brought her a cup of coffee, probably organic from his own shade-tree plantation. She drinks the brew rather than snorting or mainlining it because she’s totally sane now. She tells him how she’s “half-hoping” it’s all just a big misunderstanding and she could be reunited with Jonas and Franny. They’d go off to the cottage (which must be at least referenced every season). She’d sit by the lake at twilight with Jonas. With the lights dim, she could squint and convince herself that Jonas was Brody, but alas it’s not to be because Jonas has dumped her.
Düring tells her she was “born with wings” and maybe not meant to be with a feet-on-the-ground type. Is he trying to seduce her? Or is there a Mrs. Düring in another wing of the house? And would that stop Carrie? (Maybe not last season or before that, but new improved Carrie with motherhood and religion is kind of dull.)
Allison convinces Dar to let her take Saul back to his hotel because you can catch more flies with honey. Dar says yes, which is just wacky given he has no reason to trust her – save blind ambition. Or could it be another clue that Saul and Dar are working together to trap her?
Peter’s jihadi protector (not the good Samaritan guy) tells him they’re taking his advice and not attacking Berlin. They’ll go to Lebanon instead, and he’s invited to join them. They’ll even pay him cash money, and not chump change either – 10 grand a week plus benefits! Shouldn’t they ask for a resume first? Maybe check references? Sure, they saw him kill Hajek with his bare hands, but don’t they do background checks? Jihadi Joe even drops the name of his uncle who’s a big muckety-muck in the ransom collection biz. Like everybody, he has a big crush on Peter Quinn and will name-drop to impress him.
Carrie reads something in a document about “oriole’s pariah status.” It’s enough to get her to try to reach out to an old contact in Iraq. Then she finds Düring in the chapel because it’s time for the show to beat us over the head with the religion thing once again, and whose dream home doesn’t include a church? She compliments Düring on his “virtuousness,” but he says he’s really not such a good man. We’ll find out more about that later. Carrie wants him to get Laura in to help her find somebody because, sure, why not get the person who hates you and clearly wants to sleep with and/or used to sleep with your mostly ex-boyfriend.
She gets a call back from the contact she tried to reach earlier. He refers to her as oriole and tells her that he tried to contact her months ago with information that some “information-peddling” corrupt no-goodnik lawyer what was supposed to be dead was walking around alive. He’s still annoyed that they didn’t tell him that Carrie had “flown the coop.” Instead they’d sent some other person to talk to him.
Dar and Peter are meeting in some public place. Peter calls Dar and Saul’s breakup the end of the perfect marriage. When he tells Dar how he fell in with some jihadis whom he talked into going to Lebanon instead of blowing things up in Berlin, Dar is impressed. He’s even more impressed when Peter drops the name of Jihadi Joe’s uncle and says he’ll be happy to kill him. Dar may have been married to Saul, but Peter is the hot young underling he really wants to be with.
Saul and Allison are in his hotel room, which Saul is convinced is bugged. So after turning on some music, and then going into the bathroom and running the tap, he starts talking. How much does he trust her? Enough to tell her that yes, he did pass the documents to Düring and yes, he did it for Carrie. At that point, Allison suddenly gets ill, and Saul leaves her in the bathroom. She seems to authentically collapse, but still manages to make a quick call. Then she pulls herself together and heads out.
Does his telling her Carrie is alive mean that he trusts her? Probably, but I’m sticking with the idea that he and Dar both suspect her. What if he figured out that by now she would assume that Carrie is still alive, so he was just telling her what she already suspected?
Laura has stopped by Düringland, and she’s brought Numan. Poor Numan. He still thinks Korzenik is alive and the Russians sent him to live on a farm in the country.
Carrie has to set him straight. Korzenik was the type of loose end they’d never allow to get away. Numan has to help her find the people responsible for his murder. She asks him to locate Achmed Naziri and/or his wife Jamilla, who is allegedly in Jordan. But first, Carrie has to give the greatest hacker in the world the password for the wifi. Can you guess what it is? Person, two words, hippest Catholic ever. No, it’s not Stephen Colbert. It’s the other one. That’s right. Düring’s wifi password is Pope Francis.
Did anyone else just experience a big pain like someone hit them over the head with a gigantic crucifix?
Allison has another meeting with Ivan. She’s still feeling shaky about Carrie’s being not dead, but Ivan assures her this means Carrie will be heading to Amsterdam to see Achmed (who is ironically also not dead) and they’ll head her off. He gives Allison a pep talk, reminding her that she’s “represents the greatest FUCKING penetration of US intelligence in history.” He has to say “fucking” because some form of the word must be said at least once in every episode of every show on Showtime. He also tells her that Moscow expects her to be the CIA director someday, so she needs to stop acting all scared because this is what she lives for.
Okay, so she didn’t just start double-agenting for love or money. This wasn’t a mid-career, been-passed-over-one-too-many-times decision. Do the math, peoples! She literally is Paige Jennings!
But if she’s such a great spy, then why didn’t she destroy the document that would lead to outing her?
Back in Düringland, Numan found a Jamilla Nazari in Amsterdam, but he hasn’t gotten an address yet. That’s good enough for Carrie. She has a contact in the Iraqi ex-pat community. Düring tells Carrie to pick any car from his fleet. This guy is too good to be true, isn’t he? Laura, meantime, is being pissy about this whole not getting the documents even though she helped Carrie thing, but nobody likes Laura and freedom of the press is SOOO stupid.
Carrie, back in the wig she borrowed from Allison’s mother, parks the late model black luxury sedan by a canal. It’s an iconic Amsterdam scene that makes me want to stop by a coffee shop and smoke some opium, which is why I’d be a terrible spy. Carrie is much more focused. She gets into a taxi. Her contact, Issam, is the driver, and he’s very happy to see her. He immediately tells her (and us) about the “second chance” she gave him when she got him out of Iraq. He’s going to night school and getting an MBA. Life is great. This isn’t going to end well for him, is it?
And now it’s time for the evening’s biggest betrayal. Jonas doesn’t really understand the concept of dumping your crazy, narcissistic, war criminal girlfriend who tells you that you are a “lousy lay.” This sad sack glutton for punishment shows up at Düringland looking for her. Düring tells him she left, but that’s not all he says. He tells him they made a mistake hiring her, and he’s worried about her mental state. What game is Düring playing, and why? We should have seen it coming (and many of us no doubt did). Do-gooding billionaire always doing the good! Saul never liked him. Didn’t Düring warn Carrie he wasn’t so virtuous? Shouldn’t she be better at reading people given her superpowers and all?
Issam has gotten Jamilla’s address, and they head over. Turns out her dead husband is living with her. She’s at work, and he takes out the dog. Carrie has Issam tail him while she breaks into the house to look for who knows what because for sure whatever the mysterious key to all this is will be lying around somewhere.
Dar comes to see Saul before they put him on a plane and/or kill or disappear him or whatever they do to rogue agents. They have a stagey, weird conversation in front of the guy that’s guarding Saul. This is why I’m still not giving up my “in this together theory.” Every time they talk ugly to each other, there’s either somebody in the room or they are using their outdoor voices so they can be heard. Dar, the jealous type, brings up Carrie and how he always knew that little vixen would bring Saul down someday. Saul gets into an elevator with several escorts. Is there a little gleam in his eye as he watches the floors countdown from five to one? There should be. When the door opens, masked men are waiting to nab him, leaving his keepers stuck in the closed elevator.
Who took Saul? Not hard to guess. It was the Israelis, his old friend Etai. Saul mentions defecting, but hey Saul, it’s not defecting if you’re a member of the tribe!
Carrie shatters a glass pane on the backdoor of Achmed’s house. She finds a safe but doesn’t have a chance to crack it. She’s distracted by children across the street. Who’s counting the number of times Carrie has spotted children laughing or playing this season? Then she hears voices, speaking Russian, downstairs. Uh oh. She hides and watches them grab something from the safe. Then one of them discovers the shattered glass. She makes it out a second floor window and slides down the roof. They shoot at her but only see the back of her head, so she takes off the wig and finds her way back to Issam’s cab. But of course he’s in the driver’s seat with his throat slashed. Just another poor schlub who died helping Carrie.
Carrie calls (of all people) Allison. She thinks Allison might know something about Baghdad and wants to see her when she gets back to town. Doesn’t Carrie remember the last time she reached out to Allison? That was when Allison accused her of having something to do with the leaked documents and made her take the back stairs to avoid running into Saul.
How hard could it be for Carrie’s big brain to put this together? (Unless she already has.) Wouldn’t she realize by this point that the Russians – who are trying to kill her – are also trying to protect somebody in the CIA? Wouldn’t Allison look like a likely suspect? Even if Carrie didn’t recognize the voice that picked up the call from the hitman, she recognized it was a woman’s voice. Wouldn’t that narrow things down? Maybe it’ll come to her on the drive, after she hangs up the phone. In keeping with the religious nature of the season, Carrie will have an epiphany.