May 1, 2018
Homeland: Da Reveals Everything
This week’s Homeland begins with four questions and ends with one big answer.
Saul is attending a Seder in the home of the Israeli ambassador or spymaster or whatever he is, whose name I can’t find in the credits, so codename him Sabra. Some tyke is reciting the four questions. Isn’t Sabra a little old to have such a young son? No, because even Israeli men get to dump their first wives and marry younger ones. Speaking of which, guess whom Saul brought to the shindig? It’s Allison, which means they are not only a couple, but a not-entirely-clandestine one, so while we don’t know details, it looks like Mira is no longer in the picture – unless what happens in Berlin stays in Berlin. We’re hoping Mira’s enjoying her new life on the Upper West Side, working in an NGO and shtupping some strapping younger man who is not a Mossad agent. In fact, I think I ran into her at Fairway last week.
For those of you who don’t live in areas overrun with rootless cosmopolitans, after the four questions, we usually open our hagaddahs and begin reciting the story of Passover. Sabra goes off book and starts with a lecture that references the holocaust and how the Jews have a lot of enemies and must be eternally vigilant against them. Bon appetit, everybody!
Carrie wakes up in Peter’s lair, which means that in a shocking twist Peter hasn’t killed her yet, but he has zip-tied her wrists because she’s a wild one that Carrie Mathison and you have to tie her down just to get her attention. He tells her she’s on a kill a list, and for a second she seems to believe what the audience never does – that he might go through with it – and starts begging for her life. Peter cuts himself and anoints her face with a schmear of his blood, because Passover is a theme tonight. He tells her to hold still and play dead so he can get her photograph, which he needs to leave on the burner phone and put into the PO Box. He’s not planning to wank to it later so please wipe your brain out with soap. Peter may be a coldblooded killing machine, but he’s not Bill Cosby.
Carrie, who now seems to have recovered from the crazy but not the overwrought, then makes a video telling Franny how much she loves her and if she has any weird nightmares about mommy trying to drown her, that totally didn’t happen sweetie, or it was just a game they used to play, or the CIA method of swimming instruction. Carrie also tells Fanny she will be back someday, at which point Peter yells cut and makes her do it again because she has to tell Franny she’s not coming back and is DEAD, otherwise whoever wants to kill her will use Franny to lure her, so the only way to keep Franny safe is to be dead.
But wait a second….
When would Carrie have made this video? Would whoever paid Peter Quinn been cool with his allowing her to send a video to her daughter before her assassination? Are we supposed to believe Carrie made the video at some earlier point in case anything should happen to her? Then who would send it? And how would they know to send it?
But if there were no video, we wouldn’t have a chance to get more Grade A emoting from Claire Danes to lock in that Emmy nod in case last week’s crazy Carrie shtick seemed old.
Back at the Seder, while Allison is chatting with Mrs. Sabra and the kid is off looking for the afikomen, Saul and Mr. Sabra have some man-to-man talk about this whole “replacing Assad” thing from last week. Sabra tells him that if Saul (who seems to set the policy for the entire United States) was going to replace Assad, then General Yussef would be the way to go. However, Israel would prefer letting Assad stay in power because Arabs killing Arabs works for them. Saul points out that this might not be the best long-term strategy. Sabra gets a little prickly and tells Saul he used to be a better friend to Israel. Note to Israel: Sometimes your friends tell you stuff you need to hear. Also, friends don’t send spies to sex up other friends’ wives.
Limp-haired Laura is bugging Jonas, who still isn’t sleeping with her but they are annoying each other, which on television precedes sexytimes. Laura wants Jonas to hook her up (professionally) with Sabine, some infamous hacker he lawyered. Laura believes she got burned by her hacker and Sabine would know how to get in touch with him. Jonas doesn’t want to help, but when their mutual boss, Düring, shows up, Jonas is like, “Yavol, mein fuehrer,” because working for the billionaire is a pretty sweet gig.
So Jonas gives Laura Elisabeth Salandar’s Sabine’s address, and Laura shows up at the doorstep of a hacker who has tats and piercings because if Steig Larrson’s life had a purpose, it was to tell us that all lady hackers are hawt. She’s under house arrest and is being watched but still has access to the internets and knows that Laura’s hacker is Gabe H. Cuod – douchebag spelled backwards, because sure he would have been boasting about this all over the web. Sabine’s able to reach him immediately, which is a good thing because all scenes involving anyone looking at a screen are like dead air on the radio. She’s like: “Dude, whassup? You totally trolled that reporter.” And he’s like: “?????”
Then Gabe, a.k.a. Numan, gets off the internets to interrupt one of the young ladies who works at the porno factory and is in the middle of an important work-related video chat. She’s his partner’s girlfriend, and when he asks her where the idiot is, she tells him the Russians sent a car and they are all going to be rich. Then he phones the idiot, Kurzenik, who is in that car with some Russian dudes and about to get his big payoff. We know that payoff is death, and so does Numan, but Kurzenik is clueless, though a brief look of doubt passes over his childlike visage after the call. Poor baby, he even wore a suit and tie to look all growed up for the occasion. He’s taken to the backroom of a restaurant because that’s where the gangsters like to meet up on the television. After being shown the moneez, which is always a part of this ritual, he thinks it’s all good, but it isn’t. He gets tortured until he admits there’s an additional copy. A henchman is sent to retrieve the copy, which is in his residence. The girlfriend is shot, and Kurzenik is garroted. Let that be a lesson to all of us: Mitt Romney was right about those Russkies.
Meantime, Allison and Saul are now in Switzerland playing spy games. The very General Yussef of whom we were just speaking has arrived at a most peculiar clinic with his wife and his daughter who is badly in need of a new kidney. Allison with her hair piled on top her head in homage to Frau Blucher is going by the nom de spy Denise Keller, the clinic director. As his daughter is being wheeled into surgery, she invites the General away from his guards and into her office to sign some papers. She then drops the accent and tells him that everyone – except medical staff – is CIA and he better play along.
Peter must have retrieved Carrie’s secret fallback plan bag o’ goodies because she puts on a short dark wig that looks like it came from the Elizabeth Jennings collection. Then she starts asking Peter a lot of questions about his “operation.” Carrie’s certain that Saul would not have sent Peter to kill her because he knows that Peter lurves her. Therefore, Peter’s mission has been compromised, and Carrie must help crack this case because she’s gotta, so she wants to go with him to his drop. Peter thinks that’s a terrible idea, but as we all know, NOBODY SAYS NO TO CARRIE MATHISON, so guess who’s coming to the post office?
General Yussef is in the waiting area with his wife, and they are speaking English to each other because the producers were afraid they’d go “improv” like those graffiti artists if they let them speak Arabic. The General goes out for a smoke. Who is waiting in the garden for him? Why it’s Saul Berenson, there to offer Yussef a great new gig: Go back to Syria, overthrow Assad, and lead your people to a Western-style democracy. Yussef points out that Assad has a lot of friends and relatives in powerful positions who might not be down with that plan. Saul tells him there’s ten MILLION dollars to spread around being loaded on to his plane and that kind of money buys a lot of loyalty – a line which is actually kinda racist and a good example of why some people find the show, uh, culturally insensitive.
Yussef asks if there are also going to be troops and weapons to support this regime change plan. Saul will say anything to close the deal, so he says, “whatever it takes,” but tells him to “act quickly” because this great offer won’t last forever! Strangely, Yussef doesn’t seem entirely convinced. He thinks “the world” will come around and support Assad as an alternative to ISIL, and he isn’t committing.
Over at the post office, it looks like Peter and Carrie have no actual plan. She’s going to wait in the car while he makes the drop. Then what? Who knows? But stuff happens. A woman bumps into Peter, and gentleman that he is, he helps her pick up her things. Was she a plant? Some man who works there signals someone with a phone call. That someone is in a car. He might be one of those Russkies we saw earlier. He drives from the corner onto the street in front of the post office. Carrie sees schoolchildren heading out of a building, and her spidey-sense kicks in. Peter sees the driver point a gun. Carrie sees Peter going for his gun and slams the hitman’s car. The shooter still wounds Peter, but Peter is able to shoot back and kills the guy.
Carrie manages to help Peter into the car. Somehow, despite all the people on the street, Carrie is able to run up and pat down the dead hitman. She finds his phone and snaps his picture, then runs back and gets in with Peter. She tells him she’s going to take him to the hospital, but he insists he’s okay because that’s our Peter. Carrie takes him back to his lair, where she finds it’s nothing she can’t take care of with his med kit. She shoots him up with morphine and puts pressure on the bleeding. When she’s wrapping the bandage, the morphine kicks in, and his head falls on her shoulder. He’s even cuter when he’s vulnerable, but if she wasn’t there, he probably could have taken care of it himself like Matt Damon in The Martian.
In other medical news: The transplant surgery was a success, although maybe not for whatever sap woke up in a hotel bathtub without a kidney. But now it’s time for Yussef and family to head home to Syria. Allison is with him on the tarmac as his daughter – still on a stretcher – is put on the plane. You pay a gazillion dollars to a fancy Swiss clinic and they can’t keep you around for a few days recovery time and shopping?
Yussef still hasn’t said a definite yes to the dress and asks Allison if maybe his wife and daughter could stay in Europe and away from the war. She tells him nope. He gets on board. She goes over to Saul, who’s in the back of a car right there, which seems a little chancy given that he’s on a very secret mission and Yussef’s security would have recognized him if they’d seen him, but I’m sure there’s a good reason why he had to be there. Allison tells Saul how she just said no to the family request. Saul thinks it’s a good sign that Yussef asked because it means he knows he’s “fucked.” I’d almost forgotten how all the spies on Homeland curse like HBO mobsters. Then Allison and Saul hang out to watch the plane take off because watching a plane take off is the top thing to do on a date for spies since Casablanca.
Meantime, Carrie calls the one number in the dead guy’s phone. Allison’s phone rings. Even though she’s only a few feet from Saul, she answers it by saying, “Da?” and then a few more words in Russkie. Carrie hangs up.
A couple of seconds later, Yussef’s plane blows up. Saul looks surprised. Allison doesn’t.
So is this the Homeland/The Americans crossover we’ve all been dreaming of? Is Allison really Paige Jennings all growed up? (Do the math, peoples!) Does she hate Carrie for stealing her mother’s wig? And is Saul sleeping with her because he’s a man, or because he really knows she’s a double agent and it’s part of his long game? Here’s what suddenly makes sense: Allison is not the CIA’s most incompetent station chief since Carrie last season. The leak was on purpose, so the Russians could get the documents through the hackers and not blow Allison’s cover. But why did they want Carrie dead? Was the play for Carrie to suddenly disappear, so it would look like she had been working for them and had something to do with the leak? That would explain why Peter had to go before anyone found out he’d killed Carrie.
And what do we think of the Allison reveal? Clever or ridiculous? Does every CIA operative sooner or later wind up sleeping with the enemy? But more importantly, did Carrie recognize Allison’s voice? Guess we’ll have to tune in next week to find out. Meantime, comments and theories welcome, and anyone claiming to have “known” it was Allison, please share the clues. Also, next week we finally get the “Better Call Saul” entitled episode we’ve been hoping for.
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