Homeland Recap: 5×05 “Better Call Saul”

I like to think that this is the face of, "Sure, Carrie. Take my sister's medical supplies to treat the smoldering hitman. I'll just be waiting right here when you get back."

I like to think that this is the face of, “Sure, Carrie. Take my sister’s medical supplies to treat the smoldering hitman. I’ll just be waiting right here when you get back.”

Previously on Homeland: Saul put Carrie on a kill list; Quinn helped Carrie fake her death so he could have proof he’d done it; Carrie told Quinn she’d never stopped thinking about him, andJanes basically fainted with happiness; Carrie put on a brown wig; Dumb Hacker sold the stolen files to the Russians and Gabechoud/Numan was mad; Dumb Hacker and his girlfriend got brutally murdered by said Russians; Carrie followed Quinn to the post office and someone shot him, but Carrie shot the guy a thousand times and took a picture of him and stole his cell phone; Saul and Allison tried to replace Assad; Assad’s plane exploded in the night sky; Carrie called the assassin’s phone’s only stored number and Allison answered with, “Da?”

It’s light on the tarmac now; Dar Adal has joined Saul and Allison. Allison says she’s kept the police away as long as she could, and all they know is that it was an intelligence operation, and there was an accident – but they don’t know who was on the plane. Yet. Saul says they (the police) will probably be patient about finding out. “Frankly, my main concern is what went down here,” Allison says, trying to emphasize that she’s all business and is definitely not the traitor. Dar Adal asks about her theories, and she announces soberly, “Somebody betrayed us.” Dar Adal sneers what we’re all thinking: “You think?” That strikes me as a subtle, psychologically true symptom of the fact that she’s lying: she already knows the fake theory she’s going to set up, but she’s pretending to get there slowly, and she pretends to be a little too slow. Luckily for her, no one notices, possibly because she wasn’t all that sharp to begin with, or because she’s been using her frail-lady demeanor to trick the sixty-year-old white guys she works with—and me, I guess—into underestimating her.

"If I frown really hard, everyone will know I'm trying to think of what possibly could have happened. Definitely not that I sold Youssef out to my Russian boyfriend."

“If I frown really hard, everyone will know I’m trying to think of what possibly could have happened. Definitely not that I sold Youssef out to my Russian boyfriend.”

Anyway, Allison recovers fairly quickly, saying that she is questioning all of the surgeons who worked with Youssef’s daughter. Dar Adal asks to give him and Saul a minute, so Allison does that thing that TV villains do where they walk away and look over their shoulder at the good guys. That Saul and Dar Adal don’t figure out from this that she’s a baddie means they definitely don’t watch enough TV.

Astrid is SO not impressed.

Astrid is SO not impressed.

Astrid is trying to bike to work, because of course. (Next thing you know we’ll have Germans graffiti-ing “Homeland ist Wassermelone” in the background of Berlin shots because they’re offended that we think all Europeans are socialist bike riders.) She curses to herself and goes to her car in a darkened parking lot, only to find Carrie waiting for her. “Nice wig, very retro,” Astrid says, and then calls her paranoid when she asks to talk in the car. “But you trust me.” “Peter Quinn does,” Carrie says, playing her trump card. Astrid promptly gets in the car, and Carrie says her favorite four words: “I need your help.” “I’m not sure slashing my tires is the best way to ask,” Astrid says crisply. Carrie reveals that she was the target of the assassination attempt in Lebanon, which I had already basically forgotten happened. She shows her a picture of the attempted assassin, and Astrid says she doesn’t know the man. “He tried to kill Quinn,” Carrie says, thinking this will set Astrid afire to help. Astrid coolly says she’s not surprised, that Carrie would only be doing Peter’s legwork (nice touch, having Astrid call him Peter and Carrie call him Quinn—Astrid’s professional interest in Quinn is openly tied to their personal relationship, while Carrie is still first and foremost thinking of him as an ally in her life’s work [sorry Janes]). Anyway, Astrid asks—looking nervous—if he’s OK, and says she wants to see him. “Now is not a good time,” Carrie says cruelly. Astrid is pissed, and resigned—but offers to help Carrie find out who the assassin was. “I’m not doing this for you.” “Yeah, I think I’m clear on that,” Carrie says. I thought this scene was quite funny, but also a bit unrealistic; Jonas and Quinn, both much more emotional than Astrid and Carrie, somehow manage to keep their rivalry simmering at least nominally under the surface, so why are Astrid and Carrie openly sniping?

Peter, in the warehouse where he and Carrie are staying, is checking himself out shirtless in the mirror, confirming that his wound is getting way more disgusting. When the door of the warehouse opens, he picks up a gun, pointing it at the open door till he figures out it’s Carrie. She complains that Astrid “likes to sleep in” (she had to wait almost an hour!) but did agree to help. “She likes me, what can I say,” Quinn says smugly. Carrie notices that he’s burning up (calling him Quinn again) and gives him her shoulder as she brings him back to his sickbed. “Let me see,” she demands. “No,” he groans. She looks at his wound, which is, if that’s possible, even more nauseating than it was thirty seconds ago, and he says something about being septic. Uh-oh. “How do you feel about armed robbery?” Quinn says. Carrie thinks it would be better to take advantage of her loving boyfriend, whose sister is a doctor.

Over at the Hacker Sex Club, Numan wanders around looking sketchy till he finds a woman with hipster bangs smoking, apparently on a break from her topless dancing gig. She asks where he’s been. He says Katja’s dead, and she almost cries when she says she knows. Has Korzenik been in today, Numan asks, and she says no. He asks about Katja’s regular, who worked at the Russian embassy. Hipster Bangs only knows that his name was “Boris,” but it probably wasn’t his real name. “A real pig,” she adds.

Numan films a video.

Numan films a video.

Numan brings her to the back of the club. Cue a few superfluous boob shots. Hey, we are paying for this channel, right? Numan starts playing security tapes for Hipster Bangs until she identifies Boris. We have to watch a pretty gross tape of him going into a room with two women, but luckily it’s way zoomed out. Numan has Hipster Bangs string a white sheet over some lockers, so that “they” can’t use any clues to try to find him. She wants to know why he would take this risk. “I owe it to Katja, and Korzenik,” he says. He puts on a mask and says:

Hello, citizens of the world. I am Gabechoud. The following video shows a man, a pig, who works at the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany, who murdered Katja Keller, an innocent person, and who disappeared her partner, Arman Korzenik. This is a call to arms. Meeting place is the Russian embassy, tomorrow at noon, to demand answers. It is only when our voices are united that we become too loud to ignore.

Hipster bangs is watching, looking rather inspired. “How was that?” he asks. She grins and says it was good.

Quinn’s napping off his little sepsis issue. Carrie slaps him and he still doesn’t wake. Jonas knocks, and is surprised to discover that Carrie isn’t wounded, since that’s who he thought the medical supplies are for. “You said this was real,” he says, wounded. “Well, it’s not.” Hmm, I think that exchange had a few different layers, eh? That’s such a slap in the face, though, for real: please come risk your life to take care of this other guy who’s much more bad-ass than you are. Poor Jonas. He feebly snatches the supplies away when she tries to grab them. “The last time I saw you,” he says tremulously, “you were running into the woods with a rifle, screaming about assassins, and and and avenging angels, and then… nothing. Three days nothing, and then you call and tell me you’re injured. Seriously injured. What the fuck, Carrie.” She tells him she has a friend who’s been seriously hurt and she’ll explain later. (No she won’t.) “Why should I do anything for you,” he says in a low voice. “I don’t know. You have the antibiotics?” Well, at least she’s owning her shamelessness. At her command, Jonas gives her the meds and even goes to wash his hands to help. Oh, Jonas. I still think you might be secretly evil because that would make your existence on this show much more interesting, but if you’re not, I just want to pat you on the head and say, “Don’t worry, I’m sure your next girlfriend won’t turn out to be secretly kind of maybe in love with a paid assassin.”

Allison and Saul are driving around, brainstorming about possibilities—well, Saul is brainstorming, and Allison’s brain is doing whatever the brains of evil double-crossing liars do. Saul thinks it wasn’t the Syrians. “Who then? The Iranians, the Russians,” Allison muses. She suggests Israel, but Saul doesn’t buy it, because of Occam’s Razor. “Are we going to your place?” Saul asks. Allison gives him a story about going into work, kisses him, and says coolly, “Don’t forget your bag.”

Jonas and Carrie are working over the insensate Quinn. Jonas wants to know what will happen if Quinn doesn’t get better: will she take him to a hospital? Carrie asks if his sister will help. “She might if I asked her to, but I won’t involve my family in this anymore.” Carrie says she gets it (I doubt that). Jonas says he also won’t be involved anymore. Carries ays he’s done more than enough (I doubt that too) and thanks him. He tells her that “no one should have to live like this.” But she believes she doesn’t have a choice. He thinks that’s false, because he still isn’t really willing to see her as someone who leads an extraordinary life where assassination attempts and gun battles in the streets are pretty much just in a day’s work, and believes that she could just choose another life. “I can’t lose you,” he says passionately. Carrie’s not really moved by this, although I’m sure she’s excited that he still has feelings she can manipulate so she gets what she wants.

Blowing the smoke of evil all over her car.

Blowing the smoke of evil all over her car.

Allison pulls into a darkened meeting place in her car and has a smoke. That’s sign one of being evil. Sign two, arguably more definitive, is that she’s having a secret meeting with the Russian guy who killed Korzenik, Ivan. When he asks her how she is, she gets all hostile, saying, “How the hell do you think I am?” She also reveals that she got a call from Vasily and that it wasn’t Vasily. He calmly says that it’s not her problem, that it was probably just Saul’s hitman. Allison’s like, YUH-HUH, and that’s a problem: “And what happens when he and Saul compare notes and figure out it was me that put Carrie Mathison’s name in the hitbox?” she demands, her voice increasingly gravelly. He calmly says that she’ll never get caught, the worst that could happen is it’s his problem. “You’d better be fucking right,” she says. “You better fucking relax, Allison,” he retorts.

Meanwhile, he hands her a phone with the picture of “dead” Carrie: “This was your problem. As you can see that problem was solved.” Allison is a little upset; she says, “Jesus Christ,” and starts to cry; and holds hands with her Russian friend from car window to car window. He gives her a little pep talk: Don’t be scared of Dar Adal, “he’s a poo-ssy-cat.” The Russian accent makes that line soo much funnier. We learn that their plan is to distract Dar Adal with Saul, and Israel. She’s supposed to go to Saul with the passenger manifest. Oh man, if she couldn’t even handle a picture of dead Carrie, how is she going to handle framing a person she’s sleeping with? She has to ask Ivan to sit with her for a bit while she calms herself.

Allison is in her office, typing away and sipping a diet Coke. Dar Adal comes in and says something’s come up and closes the door. He asks her about the Passover Seder from last week, and confirms that she was Saul’s guest, and that the conversation was casual and friendly. He reveals the bomb on the plane was identical to what Israel is using against Iran’s nuclear scientists (it was “magnetic,” which I have no idea what that means, and if I google it the real-life Carrie Mathison might start stalking me, so). Dar mused that he and Saul were young and idealistic together. “Surely you don’t think Saul…” Astrid says coyly. “I don’t know what to think!” he bellows, and asks for a team to watch “him.” Allison, again coyly, pretends she’s reluctant: “You mean a team on Etai, right?” Dar Adal confirms it’s Saul. Allison tries to hide her evil plotting as she sits back down to her laptop and bites her thumb. Some color mugshots fly out of her printer.

Taking the mugshots, she shows them to Saul. This part turns out to be pretty crafty; then again, the Russian dude was in on it, so let’s not give Allison too much credit. Saul’s trying to reconstruct a list of people at Langley who had operational clearance, but Allison wants him to look at the passenger manifest from a flight into Switzerland on Saturday, where Michael Petrich was on the flight. That’s a pseudonym of Etai, it turns out, from a photo of him at security. Allison kindly summarizes just in case you missed it: “He was there, Saul. In Switzerland. The day General Youssef’s plane went down.” Yup, we got it. Saul sighs deeply. Has she told Dar? “No, I came to you first,” Allison says. Saul, sealing his own doom, tells her to keep it between them for the time being. She pretends not to know where he’s going when he rushes out, but stares after him with a pretty satisfied-looking smile.

Falling for it hook line and sinker.

Falling for it hook line and sinker.

Astrid scrolls through profiles, looking for the assassin. Her boss comes in, and she has to say she’s looking for an identification. He immediately realizes it was the man found shot outside the post office. But why is she working on this? They’re in counterterrorism. Astrid has to come up with a cover story about why she’s asking. In case this is important later, it’s for a friend named “Annabel Freiburg.” He immediately pulls up a profile of the assassin and reveals his name: Vasily Kovas. Before leaving, he tells her to stop doing this on work time.

An amusingly slow-talking British dude is filming a news story about the Gabechoud protest outside the Russian Embassy. Apparently Numan also hacked a site and put up the video of “Boris” sleeping with the women at the sex club. Jonas watches and calls Carrie’s attention to it, so Carrie calls Astrid to ask if the classified documents are the same ones Laura was writing about last week. Astrid calmly says she assumes so, and gives Carrie the lowdown on the killer: Vasily Kovas, formerly a hitman for Russian organized crime, now out on his own. He’s done a bunch of freelance jobs for the SVR lately, so he might be connected to what’s been going on at the Embassy. Ominous music tells me this is important (and I know Ivan mentioned the SVR to Allison) but since a) I have no idea what it stands for and b) I am in fact one of those viewers who needs Homeland characters to explain their epiphanies carefully and in detail right after having them, apparently, I’m pretty happy when Carrie does exactly this. After melodramatically announcing that she’s “such a fool” and “it’s been staring me right in the face,” of course. She wakes up Quinn so he can hear this. “That guy who tried to kill you worked for Russian intelligence… Saul didn’t put my name in the mailbox, the Russians did.” There must have been something in the hacked documents that the SVR didn’t want public. Quinn tries to get up, saying it’s too dangerous for her to look into it, but Carrie pushes him down: “No one’s looking for me right now, thanks to you.”

A tender moment.

A tender moment.

Jonas agrees to call his sister, leaving Carrie and Quinn alone. Quinn says he’d “be better if you’d get the hell out of Dodge.” She runs her fingers through his hair right before she gets up to talk to Jonas. And no, it definitely isn’t a  tousle. When Jonas agrees to watch over Quinn, Carrie gives him a big long hug that I’m sure he thinks is romantic. Still, I do not feel good about Jonas’s romantic future.

A super ominous chord plays as Jonas watches Carrie go. Once again I expect Jonas to whip out a gun and kill Quinn or something. But Quinn stays safe, just examining the gore spilling out of his increasingly gross wound. (I’m running out of synonyms for disgusting here.)

Saul, as Allison expected, has toddled straight over to Etai to try to figure out if he was involved with Youssef’s death. Etai immediately surmises Saul thinks they had something to do with bringing down the plane, and invites Saul to go fuck himself. Saul asks what he was doing in Switzerland, but Etai can’t tell him. Saul sighs deeply. Immediately Etai breaks and admits he was recruiting someone. (I think Mandy Patinkin just has a face that reminds everyone of disappointing their father as a child. No one can handle it. Not even Mr. Frothing Pro-Israel here.) Etai insists, “We didn’t murder the general that you never met to discuss the coup that you weren’t planning.” And in the background, a camera snaps away. Saul’s toast.

Laura is interviewing be-masked protesters. I like the guy who has a mask that basically blurs his eyes as if he’s being censored by the TV. Everyone starts yelling “Je suis Gabechoud,” and it catches on. Laura smugly waves at the camera. Meanwhile Carrie arrives, looking both disheveled and very conspicuous in her brunette mask, and buys someone’s mask for 50 Euro. She ends up with a very creepy khaki sculptural mask. And she drops a cell phone in Laura’s pocket. Laura, thinking she’s being groped, yells “Hey!” but then hears her own pocket ringing. Carrie’s warning her that the police are getting ready to come in and break out the protest. “How do you know that?” Laura asks. Carrie’s like, because I’m watching them, duh! Spycraft 101. She tells Laura to meet her and tear gas starts going off just as Laura escapes, holding a sweatshirt over her mouth.

Allison is showing Dar Adal the photos, and blathering that “there was no way to get a parabolic mic close enough, plus the water feature in the garden.” First rule of lying: don’t give two reasons. This lady is such an amateur. But she does neatly manipulate him into thinking she’s making excuses for Saul, protesting: “This could be about something completely unrelated.” He gives her a furrowed-brow look, very, you ladies need to be thinking with something other than your left ring fingers. She looks down, convincingly embarrassed about her soft-heartedness.

Laura is the least stealth person EVER.

Laura is the least stealth person EVER.

Laura takes the escalator up to meet Carrie. “You don’t know me, sit down and take out your phone,” she says intensely. Laura, because she’s the worst, stands there staring directly at Carrie and asks, “What’s going on?” Carrie asks to see the rest of the material from the CIA. “Not gonna happen,” says Laura. Carrie starts to argue with her, and then Laura explains that she doens’t have them. Sorry, but who says “not gonna happen” in a situation like this? Hi, Laura. If you were in any way non-obnoxious, you would simply say, “I wish I could help, but I can’t.” Anyway, Laura suggests Carrie ask the CIA, and Carrie, frustrated, reminds Laura again that she’s poison to the CIA.

Jonas is trying to hydrate Quinn, who has bled right through his bandages. It’s… gross. He wants to call 911, and Quinn says, “then you’re sentencing her to death.” Jonas says he can’t watch Quinn die. But Quinn insists that whether he’s found in a hospital or a morgue, “Carrie will never be free.” Quinn thinks Jonas would do the same for her, but Jonas dodges the question: “I would never put myself in that situation.” Then he gets a call and leaves Quinn alone. Bad move, bro.

It’s Carrie on the other end, telling him Laura was a dead end. He says that Quinn’s in bad shape, and Carrie asks to call his sister. “Carrie, he is dying,” Jonas says. Carrie hesitates and then says to call an ambulance. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to read this as the kind of magnificent sacrifice that, say, Quinn would make for Carrie. Yes, Carrie looks hesitant, and she knows she’ll be in danger if Quinn is found—but knowing Carrie and her superb arrogance, I bet she doesn’t think for a second that she’ll really get caught or killed over this. I think Quinn is much more afraid for Carrie, and cares much more about her future quality of life, than Carrie is constitutionally capable of being for herself.

But when Jonas gets back to the room, he finds only a pool of blood where once there was a dying Quinn. He storms out to the alley behind the building, yelling “Quinn” at the top of his lungs. Oh, this guy could never be a spy.

Meanwhile, of course Quinn is totally still inside the garage, going for Carrie’s special escape kit from last week—and the gun inside it.

No one who sees a stick of allusively named gum in an unmarked envelope under Saul's door will EVER suspect that it's a secret message.

No one who sees a stick of allusively named gum in an unmarked envelope under Saul’s door will EVER suspect that it’s a secret message.

Carrie passes Saul in the lobby of a hotel. Unlike when Saul passed Quinn and kept a totally straight face, I think Saul literally doesn’t notice. But as he gets into the elevator, the ominous clanking begins again. Under his hotel suite’s door is an unmarked envelope with a single stick of gum: “Black Jack,” because of course. I feel like if you want a really subtle signal, you would slip each other sticks of something really innocuous. You know, like “Juicy Fruit.” “Big Red.” “Bubble Yum.” (Although, just imagine your older male handler suggesting you leave him a stick of Juicy Fruit whenever you want to talk, and I guess we have the answer to why they picked Black Jack.)

Quinn’s sitting by a river, panting and sweating and trying to fasten himself in one of those plastic handcuff straps that they seem to sell by the dozen at stores for criminals. A man comes by and starts Good Samaritaning away, asking to take Quinn to a hospital, and taking away the handcuffs that Quinn’s too weak to fasten anyway. As the kind man watches, Quinn sort of hauls himself away from the ledge—although hauling is, perhaps, too vertical an adverb. More like, he scrapes himself away from the ledge.

The passion of the Quinn.

The passion of the Quinn.

Saul dashes through a kitchen in the hotel and out to the back alley, where Carrie picks him up in a circling cab just as he emerges. He got all that from a stick of gum? That’s impressive. Maybe a stick of Trident means “Go to the roof, click your heels three times, and on the third click I’ll appear in a blimp to take you for a little ride.” They make small talk about how Saul runs now, and is divorced. Carrie loses interest and tells the cab to drive.

Quinn staggers around, almost sobbing from the pain, and falls against a dumpster. This inspires him; he tries to push it open, coughing and heaving from the effort. But he can’t do it; he falls to the ground, and the good Samaritan leans over him, and his vision fades away.

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2 Comments

  1. […] Previously on Homeland: The Germans were concerned about the knowledge of their “working relationship” with the FBI leaking, but prosecutions are impossible because the evidence was illegally obtained; Carrie figured out that the guy who tried to kill Quinn was with the Russians; Carrie put on a brown wig and sucked up to Laura to get the hacked material, but Laura didn’t have them; Youssef’s plane exploded before he could go back and take over Syria because someone betrayed the CIA, which turned out to be Allison, who is secretly holding hands (and probably more) of a very scary Russian man; Dar Adal had Saul followed and Allison set him up to look like he’d colluded with Israel to kill Youssef; and Jonas warned Carrie that Quinn was dying, but before they could call an ambulance Quinn staggered into the street, only to get rescued by a kind passersby; and Carrie and Saul got into a cab together. […]

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  2. […] Scarlett’s in her room picking out stuff for the tour. Caleb has brought her flowers as an apology for being overly sensitive about the tour. I’m sorry, but how many episodes do we have to watch where Caleb tries to make up for the utterly lackluster nature of this relationship by offering Scarlett cliched man-to-woman gifts like flowers and jewelry? SHE HAS HOBBIES, CALEB. Get her something that you didn’t read about in Heterosexual Dating Advice for Weenies. And I don’t feel like this in any way makes him a more interesting “opposite” to Gunnar in the little love triangle. Just because he does nice things for Scarlett doesn’t make us care about him in the same way we would if he were a character in his own right. (Take note, Jonas.) […]

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