Homeland: Just When You Thought She Was Out (S5:E1 RECAP)
Last season ended with Carrie Mathison being SO OVER the CIA. The final straw was seeing Saul, her moral compass, hanging out with Dar Adal (which must be an anagram for something bad) after Dar made a deal with Haquanni, who’d kidnapped Saul and made him his bitch, as well as killed his own nephew – the barely shaving boy what Carrie made fall in love with her and do the sexytimes so that she could send him to his death – but his death was supposed to have meaning, damn it!
Did Saul ever have a chance to explain to Carrie that Dar’s deal had been safety for Haquanni in return for the video of Saul’s degradation? Did Saul tell her that once he was in charge, they’d bomb the shit out of those motherfuckers? Would his explanation even have mattered? Probably not, because something snapped inside Carrie, and she had to get out. Now it’s two years later – and OUT she is.
We open in a church in Berlin, with Carrie taking communion. This appears to not be a rendezvous spot for an exchange of secrets, but something she is doing for realzies because Catholicism is the new Buddhism thanks to New Pope.
While Carrie is being all churchy, some swarthy type goes into a den of inequity that appears to be a porn-making factory. Why a porn-making factory? Gratuitous lady parts, probably.
Is this bearded dark-haired man a terrorist? No, so stop racially profiling him. He’s a hacker, and he managed to get onto an Islamist website and download some angry mullah’s recruitment video so now he’s put on snarky captions and subtitles on it because if Jon Stewart has taught us anything, it’s that the best way to destroy Islamist recruiting efforts is by ridicule. He’s showing them to his German hipster partner in crime, who works as digital editor at the porno factory. They are going to reinsert the altered video onto the recruitment site for FREEDOM.
But someone else is also hacking into the digital caliphate, and there’s a ping-back when they upload. Homeland has just lost tens of thousands of viewers because no matter how they try to do it – and they’ve been trying since War Games – people keyboarding is never exciting to watch, which is why CSI Cyber is DOOMED.
The swarthy type and his friend speak English to each other although we are in Berlin – because EVERYONE really speaks English all the time, and those snooty Europeans are just faking it with their “languages.” Before you can say eins, zwei, drei, these slackers have somehow hacked in and downloaded the files of the pingers, who just happen to be the CIA Berlin station, because yeah sure why not, and it’s not like this stuff is encrypted apparently. So uh oh. Let’s hope the CIA isn’t doing any top-secret stuff in Germany that might be embarrassing.
Carrie meantime is riding a bicycle with a child seat, and the Brodiette – now an active toddler – is sitting in it, which means Carrie hasn’t drowned her yet.
A smiling Carrie – something we’ve rarely seen before – drops the Brodiette off at daycare and goes to her job as head of security for some do-gooder billionaire – Otto Düring (which I first heard as “durian,” like the smelly fruit, so that’s how I will refer to him from this point on). Herr Smelly-Fruit explains to Carrie they’ll be going to a refugee camp by the Lebanon/Syria border area to drop off a big fat check. Carrie is all, “That sounds dangerous, sir. Couldn’t you just mail them the check?” But Herr Smelly-Fruit explains that if he goes there himself to write the check, then other billionaires will also write checks and the only way to keep millions of people from starvation is by having billionaires throw money at the problem. So it’s her job to make it safe – or millions of people will starve to death!
Then we move to Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA, where Dar has just called Peter Quinn into a meeting. Saul’s there too, as are a bunch of military people and some guy asking questions that make everyone impatient, indicating he must be one of those “political” types who in this show are always idiots and/or evil. He may be Mike Higgins, the recurring character that set Saul up in the duck-hunting episode. But who remembers. The important part is politicians are always wrong.
What’s Quinn been doing since last seen? Leading a Special Ops team in Syria, and he’s at the meeting to ask that the program be continued. The politician wants to know if “our strategy” is working. This leads Quinn to go “off book,” telling him we don’t have a strategy, but the enemy does and it’s all in their book, by which he means the Quran because Peter Quinn is NOT there to be politically correct.
The politician asks him what he would do. Quinn suggests 200,000 troops on the ground to protect schoolteachers and doctors, but since that’s not going to happen, we should just “press reset,” by which he means pounding the whole place into “a parking lot.” Remember how Peter Quinn was the assassin who was torn up and suffering because he had a moral code? Remember when he couldn’t kill Brody because of puppy dogs and not wanting to break Carrie’s heart? These days Peter Quinn is not much for the kumbayah. He walks out, and Dar calls a break, which is something you do at work when your meeting has just gone totally off the rails.
In the hallway, Dar admits to Saul, “I’m worried about Quinn.” Before Saul has a chance to commiserate, he gets a phone call about the data breach in Berlin.
Back in Berlin, Carrie is having a birthday party for the Brodiette, a.k.a. Franny. Carrie now has a ginger-haired boyfriend (who looks enough like Brody that he could reasonably be Franny’s bio-dad). He’s a German lawyer named Jonas, but like everyone else, he speaks perfect, almost-unaccented English. There’s a knock on the door, which should have been accompanied by ominous music because the annoying woman on the other side is sure to be as much of a thorn on Carrie’s side as her last season Pakistani counterpart. If you are very much missing those glamorous Pakistanis with their perfect hair, British accents, and beautifully tailored suits, you are not alone.
This year’s anti-Carrie is a limp-haired American who is called Laura in the credits, but no one calls her by name in the show. Do she and Jonas have a history? I’m going out on a limb here to say yes, they do, because that would make everything more tense, and what would Homeland be without tension? Laura is a journalist, who like Carrie and Jonas – a lawyer – also works for Herr Smelly-Fruit. She’s there because the anonymous hackers have given her the files and she wants confirmation from Carrie that the CIA is doing an end run around Germany’s privacy laws and totally spying on the Muslims in Germany. Carrie explains she can’t even look at the documents because it would violate her exit agreement with the CIA and they’d pull her security clearance. Limp-Hair is another one of those obviously wrongheaded commie types who believes the public needs to know this shit. She makes a snooty comment about how you can take the woman out of the CIA but you know the rest, and then having ruined a child’s birthday, she leaves in a snit.
Later, Carrie says “guten nacht” to Franny, which exhausts her German. Jonas apologizes for letting a vampire (or his former girlfriend) into their sacred living space. Carrie tells Jonas that she doesn’t want to vet documents or go to Lebanon. She’d rather be with him and Franny, preferably in a not-too-well-lit apartment where if he doesn’t speak, she can pretend he’s Brody. She doesn’t say that last thing out loud, but there doesn’t seem to be any other basis for their relationship.
The next day she goes to see Allison, the Berlin station chief. They know each other from Baghdad. Carrie is there to find out more about what her boss will be heading into. Allison won’t tell her anything because she left the spy club, but Allison would like to know about “what’s going on” with the Foundation, which has “burned” them before. She mentions something about the hacked documents Limp-Hair brought up. Carrie is like, “Huh? What? I don’t know anything about that. I just came in for a friendly chat about your top secret intel, and now you want me to spy for you?” Then Alison tells her they are done and to please take the back stairs because Saul is coming and it would be awkward.
Carrie runs into Saul accidentally on purpose on her way out, and it is beyond awkward. The first thing she says is that she didn’t “tank” his bid for the directorship. He says, “Yeah, you did” (a for real quote). Then he refers to the Foundation as “the other side” and brings up Herr Smelly-Fruit’s family record of getting rich by the use of slave labor in the Second World War. He tells Carrie that she’s become “naive and stupid.” He ends the conversation by walking past her before she says a chance to say, “Same to you!”
Back at her office, Carrie tells Herr Smelly-Fruit that she really can’t make his trip “safe.” He’s determined to go anyway. Then Limp-Hair comes in to say more snotty things about the CIA. In trying to persuade Limp-Hair to NOT go public with the documents, Carrie tells her that this could have repercussions and mentions Saul’s presence in Berlin. Limp-Hair is all, “Ha ha! You idiot. You just vetted them by telling me that. Saul was totally right about your losing your brains.”
Carrie goes to chat with an Sheik Hafaz, a local well connected imam. His mosque has a new gym thanks to the Foundation, so he agrees to see Carrie, thinking she’s some nice philanthropist lady just dropping in to check the equipment, but then he’s insulted when she suggests he can get a message to some Hezbollah higher up who’s underground in Berlin that she needs to talk to about Herr Smelly-Fruit’s upcoming trip. Could Carrie’s day get any worse? (The answer would be YES.)
Saul and Alison meet with a couple of German counterparts in a fancy restaurant. Restaurants are good for these kinds of meetings about top-secret spy stuff where someone screwed up and doesn’t want the other person (or country) to make a big embarrassing scene or declare war. Saul tells them what happened, admits responsibility, and begs for another chance. One of the Germans says, “Trusting you was a mistake. We’re done,” and walks away before they’ve even ordered. Fool me once!
Saul definitely didn’t handle this well. He should have brought flowers and chocolate. The other German tells Saul that whatever he’s going to do, he better not leave any tracks, and then she walks away too.
As they leave, Allison says to Saul that she really doesn’t understand “these new Germans,” and Saul agrees that they used to “fight like hell” – as though that was a good thing. If this was meant to be ironic, it lost something in the delivery.
Allison gets in a cab, but Saul has an “errand.” He sticks a red handkerchief or maybe a stolen napkin from the restaurant into his suit pocket and walks across the square. There’s a musician playing the saxophone and then there’s moar music – the ominous dark Homeland jazz plays as Saul passes Peter Quinn with no acknowledgment on either’s part because this is the way of the spy. Clearly, a message has been received.
Carrie goes back to church, which is something she does these days when stressed instead of drinking to excess and picking up random gingers. And by the way, remember how Carrie had a major mental illness? There have been zero references to that so far. As she leaves the church, she sees a woman in hijab walk away from the bicycle rack after having locked Carrie’s bike to her own. Carrie tries to call after her. The woman keeps going, and then men grab Carrie and get her into a van because there is a seasonal minimal kidnapping quota and we need to start getting those numbers.
Cut to Peter Quinn, who climbs up into some second story apartment, where he finds the secret hidden ingredients for a pipe bomb (like the kind he was going to blow up Haquanni with last season) and then bonks the tenant over the head with the pipe when he comes home. The tenant wakes up bound and gagged. Quinn is putting together the bomb and tells the hapless wannabe bomber he has two minutes to prepare for paradise. Quinn leaves, and we see the apartment go boom. Good thing Quinn cleared that building in advance, which must have happened off camera we hope.
Carrie’s been brought to some parking garage or other type lair. Her hands are bound, but she’s not gagged. She’s meeting with Al Amin, the Hezbollah guy she was trying to contact through the imam. He’s not happy to see her and doesn’t take well to her offer of a massive bribe in return for giving Herr Smelly-Fruit safe passage. Or maybe he does, because he doesn’t kill Carrie, but he does tell her, “I will fight you forever.” Then he walks away, leaving her to yell that she asked him “RESPECTFULLY.”
Limp-Hair is on the phone with Jonas, who appears to be doing housey things because he is the perfect boyfriend, which means he’ll either be dead or have left Carrie before the season’s over. Limp-Hair wants to run the hacking story by him because he’s “legal.” He suggests that maybe she should hold off on this. She’s all, “Is that your girlfriend talking? Is she there?” (THEY TOTALLY HAVE A PAST.) Then he sees a car pull up outside, and Carrie is dumped out of it. He leaves the phone and runs downstairs. Carrie doesn’t want to talk about it.
Over at the all-night post office, Saul pushes a box key to Quinn. Then, when the only other customer is gone, they chat. Saul explains that the Germans are done with the whole CIA-assassin-on-their-soil business now that it’s been exposed, and from this point on the CIA will disavow any knowledge of Quinn’s mission and Saul will self-destruct in ten seconds. BUT they will continue to provide him with names – left in the post office box – and money upon “proof of death.” Quinn is cool with this new arrangement, and just so we know what a coldhearted bastard he is, his next assignment is a woman.
Carrie is in bed with Franny and Jonas, and is awakened by her buzzing phone. There’s no caller ID. It’s Al Amin saying that Herr Smelly-Fruit now has safe passage to the camp – because apparently even in Berlin, even out of the CIA, NOBODY SAYS NO TO CARRIE MATHISON.
So what’s the speculation? Will Saul leave Carrie’s picture in Peter Quinn’s post office box? Will Jonas eventually realize that Carrie only likes him because he reminds her of Brody? And is Carrie really over the CIA or will they pull her back in? Tune in next week for your next installment of The Days and Nights of Carrie Mathison.
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