May 1, 2018
Homeland: Mission to Moscow: Wigstock Edition
Like every season’s penultimate episode of Homeland, “All In” was action-packed and showed Carrie at her most ingenious and determined. Plausibility, however, was lower than on a Saturday morning cartoon version of the A-Team.
Saul, Carrie, her crew, and assorted diplomatic types who have “no idea” what’s really going on arrive in Moscow. Yevgeny watches them get off the plane from a monitor, and tells his boss Mirov that letting them in was “crazy.” Moscow wants to know how much they know, but what they don’t know is that that Sandra the All Seeing works for Saul and figured out that Simone is not dead, but only resting comfortably at Yevgeny’s dacha.
Senator Paley, heretofore referred to as the Weasel because he deserves it, visits special guest Dar Adal in the pokey to ask if he can shed some light. Dar is like, “I have a new life now in the hoosegow where I will be forever for treason, and I don’t keep up on current events,” but then Paley tells him they’re invoking the 25th amendment and Dar might be getting out.
Dar tells him that the presence of Carrie and her old team indicates a covert operation, and Saul would be going outside known government agencies, using retirees and recent grads, and thank god Dar doesn’t mention Max, because nobody ever thinks about him. Thank you, Dar, for giving up Saul, the one person who visited you in the pokey! Could this please be the season where it’s finally confirmed that Dar has been working for the Russians for years, which would explain so much, especially about season five, when he let Allison “help” even after they knew she was a double agent?
The Moscow Station Chief, who looks like but is not Michael’s boss in The Good Place (which would have been awesome casting) is skeptical, but willing to go along with Saul’s bold exfiltration plan for Simone, which is basically using the delegation as an excuse to separate Simone from Yevgeny, steal Simone from Yevgeny’s dacha of love, and get everyone (but especially Simone) out of Russia alive.
Janet finds Clint in his mom’s basement because somebody thought the hacker in the panelled basement trope was funny and/or it was meant to be ironic. Janet threatens Clint with jail and stares him down, and he folds, telling her about the plan to retrieve Simone. Janet gasps at the news that Simone is still alive. She clearly realizes that if those meddling kids get her then the whole dastardly plan will be ruined. Ruh-roh!
In Moscow, the “delegation” meets with some Russian counterparts, but Saul demands to see Yvegeny, so they adjourn. The main negotiator assures him that Yevgeny is basically Clint, a guy who sits in a basement staring at a computer screen, so yeah irony! Yevgeny who is enjoying an idyllic moment at the dacha, watching Simone swim in the private lake, takes a call from Mirov who tells him he has to show up, and they’ll make his appearance quick. Once he’s on his way, Carrie instructs her team to grab Simone.
Weasel meets Janet, and he is not happy to hear that Simone really is a Russian spy, alive in Russia, and that there really is a vast conspiracy, but Janet tells him that stopping Simone from testifying is the only way to topple President Elizabeth I, so she’s “taken the liberty” of arranging for him to meet with the Russian ambassador and snitch. Weasel can’t quite bring himself to commit outright treason, so Janet goes to talk to the ambassador herself. Does she speak to him in her native Russian? We don’t know, but at this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Yevgeny is at the table. How do Carrie and Saul intend to keep him there? Mostly, by yelling at him about all the stuff he’s been doing. He denies everything, insisting photos of him are fake, and he’s been in Moscow the entire time. Then he gives them a lecture about all the ways the United States has disrespected Russia and continued the Cold War. It’s one of those history lectures that Saul usually gives, but Yvegeny does a good job.
Carrie raises her voice to yell at him for using her to inflict damage on her country, because with Carrie it’s always personal. Mirov gets a message in the midst of this, which we can only assume is from the Russian Ambassador, and there’s a break.
Carrie checks in with
Barney Collier the team member who’s remotely monitoring the operation from some cone of silence-like device they’ve built into their allegedly “swept clean of bugs” hotel suite.
She tells him to check in because something weird happened at the meeting. The team has landed their raft, which I’m sure won’t attract attention. The make it inside the house where they get ambushed and one member of the team (not Anson) is killed. The surviving team members get away by stealing a car and driving through a gate after the back windshield gets shot out, but they’ll get back to Moscow just fine because they’re resourceful and also because the plot needs them to.
Meantime in America, the Supreme Court has ruled against the legality of Elizabeth firing her cabinet, which means she’s been 25th Amendment-ed, and the VP is taking over, at least temporarily. (She still needs to be impeached.)
Saul tells Carrie they need to get out, as their authorization has vanished with the presidency, and the mission is blown. Carrie insists it’s not over until she decides it’s over, because narcissism. The strategy? Play the Russians against each other since Yevgeny is the only one who cares about Simone. Sandra is actually with Carrie on this, and suggests getting to Yashukin, the Russian who hates Yevgeny the most, who also happens to have a lot of cash in US banks, so all they have to do is disappear it, which Max can do immediately with his super-computer skills. Saul goes along, because against his better judgement, he usually defers to Carrie’s genius.
It’s time for Saul’s annual meeting in a fancy foreign restaurant, the kind with fine china, cloth napkins, and leisurely service. Yashukin yells about “American hackers” who stole his $300 million, which probably cracked the writing room up. But when Saul tells him he wants Simone, Yushikin tells him to go fuck himself, so it’s not clear this is going to work.
Saul goes back to the negotiating table, where it’s mostly just him and Mirov, as everyone else is on some kind of mission. Back in the US of A, Max and Sandra are monitoring everything because they have access to all the cameras in Moscow. Clint walks in, and they update him that “someone tipped off” somebody, and they lost a man. How could Sandra the Oracle not realize who the obvious weak link in this chain is?
What are they watching on their many screens? They’re watching Yashukin call out his troops, who are many men in large black vehicles wearing balaclavas. Looks like they’re coming for Simone, who’s been taken to the top floor of the military intelligence (GRU) building for safekeeping. Sure, because a random needle in a haystack safe house or flying her to a location out of Moscow wouldn’t have been secure enough.
Cell phones start buzzing at the conference. Yevgeny calls Mirov to tell him they’re under attack by Yashukin and have to get the Kremlin to intervene, and they have to keep Simone safe. Yevgeny tells Simone she is safe, but to keep the door bolted and not to let anyone who isn’t him inside. He goes off to fix things, even though she begs him not to leave her.
How does Max, the irritant, save the world this week? Max tells Clint to put out the footage of the attack on GRU headquarters over Yvegeny’s Twitter network. Clint delays, but does it. Senator Weasel tells the Vice President/Acting President to check out what’s on television, because that’s the only way a president would know. He tells him Keane started this Russia mess by sending over a covert team to stir up trouble with the Russkies, and he needs to declare Saul a rogue operator to stop it. Let’s hope the VP is smart enough not to take Senator Weasel too seriously. Casting Beau Bridges has got to be signal the guy’s steady, doesn’t it?
Carrie and her remaining team have put on balaclavas to blend in, and gone into the GRU headquarters. How exactly are they outracing Yashukin’s guys? Or are Yashukin’s guys there to provide cover for them and not racing? In any case, Carrie almost makes it to Simone, guided remotely by Max and Sandra who have a complete blueprint, because of course they do. But then the security card she stole off a random victim won’t get her in, so she makes like Spider-Woman and climbs around a ledge, because ledge crawling is a skill all spies are taught and we’ve seen Carrie on the treadmill keeping up her routine.
Carrie makes it to the balcony, and into the office where Simone meets her with the pistol Yevgeny left for her.
Carrie doesn’t care about the gun because she has a bigger weapon: her mouth. She tells Simone that Yvegeny is totally going to kill her like he killed Ivan, Clayton, and Dante, because Simone is a big problem for the Kremlin, and Yevgeny is always going to be more loyal to the mission than to her. This rings true with Simone, which is a good thing, because soon Yevgeny is at the door like the big bad wolf, demanding to get in before he shoots it down.
But Carrie and Simone have fled down some secret back stairs, and he goes to the balcony, where he watches a dark haired woman wearing Simone’s stylish red scarf get into a gray Mercedes, only we see it’s not Simone but Carrie in a wig. Meanwhile, Simone is in another car wearing a Carrie wig. Quick question: Were the wigs part of the original plan? If not, where the hell did they get them? Also, where was Carrie carrying the wig when she was out on the ledge?
But never mind that. Wigs! In a season where Homeland has been paralleling The Americans in oh so many ways, including casting, this was possibly the best homage ever.