Homeland Recap: 5×06 “Parabiosis”

After the events of this past weekend, it seems a little strange, and frivolous even, to recap a soap opera about CIA agents chasing down terrorists in Europe. I thought for awhile about what to write here—but in the end, this seems like the wrong venue to say anything other than that our thoughts are with the people of Paris and Beirut.

Because the episode wasn’t particularly violent or scary, I am comfortable posting about it today, with the side note that this recap will attempt (as we always try to attempt) to highlight any ways in which this episode might encourage assumptions that we should instead be questioning. And with that, on to the recap.

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.

At an industrial jail, prisoners step out of their cell in formation. The jackets say “Justiz” on them – which I have to confess I have no idea what language that is. But then we hear a newscaster explaining (in English, for some reason) that the men are being released because of the news of illegal spying, which vacated the convictions. Laura tries to interview one of the men, “Herr Zyid,” but he says he has nothing to say and walks away, telling a friend that they have “a lot of work to do.” Even terrorists find Laura annoying.

Saul and Carrie get out of the cab to talk on some sort of empty public plaza, because that doesn’t attract attention. She reveals that someone put her name in the kill box. When he doesn’t react she starts trying to get him to. “Fuck, Saul, don’t look at me like I’m speaking Martian… Quinn was hit, he nearly died.” But Saul is completely unruffled. She says it was the Russians, and that the bomb at During was also meant for her. “Want to tell me why the Russians give a shit whether you’re alive or dead?” Saul asks calmly. Carrie says it’s about the documents, and that she needs him to get the documents for her. Saul makes this face, like, oh, this again. “You want me to hand over a bunch of top-secret documents. To you, of all people.” Carrie tries to convince Saul that they’re both in trouble, that he’s being followed by his own people, but he says that she only went through this whole shenanigan with the gum because she knew he wouldn’t speak to her otherwise. He says pityingly, “There’s a line between us that you drew. Forget that, it’s a fuckin’ wall. Let’s stay on our own sides of it, OK? I gotta go.” Carrie tries to guilt him, saying she risked her life for this, but he gets in a cab and casually drives away.

Leaving Carrie high and dry.

Leaving Carrie high and dry.

As shows go on, they have to shake up relationships in order to keep things interesting. And having Saul and Carrie on opposite sides, having Saul interact with her with such contempt and distrust, is certainly a shake-up. But it’s so dramatic a switch, and we didn’t get to see it happen, that it’s almost hard to buy. Sadder, even Carrie doesn’t buy it; she keeps acting like if she just says the magic word, she’ll have her loyal mentor back again in a flash.

The released prisoners are all greeting their families, and some of them go into a decrepit apartment building where, as it turns out, a man who lives in one of the apartments is taking care of an unconscious, sweaty Quinn. Interesting.

Saul gets out of the cab and gives some car across the way a significant look, I guess wondering if Carrie is right. Of course she’s right; as soon as he steps in the lobby yet another man watches him go. He hesitates before entering his suite.

Allison comes down from a whole different building in the morning to meet Saul. He asks if she’s being followed and says he is. Allison sighs and says it was Dar. “We have a plane explode in our faces, crashes and burns along with our plans in Syria, his response is to tail me?” Allison explains about the Israel-like bomb, and apologizes. “I’m sorry, I should have told you. Just tell me what you want me to do.” Saul says that they should do the obvious—someone got hold of their plan, and he wants the station swept. He hopes that the station is bugged, “because if it isn’t, we’ve got an even bigger problem.” Allison tries not to pee her pants.

Quinn, eyes closed on his bed, can hear vehement conversations in some foreign language: two guys arguing about whether he’s a spy. Then one of the guys comes in and shakes him and asks him if he’s a spy. Oh, the time-honored investigation technique of directly asking the spy whether he is a spy. I like it. The other guy argues that no spy would just lie in the street bleeding and hoping to be rescued. Quinn’s eyes slowly open, and he hears his Good Samaritan saying that he didn’t know his friend was “coming back” (so I guess he’s one of the released prisoners), and that he transfused Quinn with his own blood because of Muhammed’s directive to honor one’s guests. Wow, this guy is a fucking hero. Too bad he hangs out with so many terrorists.

Carrie comes back into her warehouse and finds Jonas cleaning up. When she hears what happened she gives this pissy sigh and says, “Someone’s got to try to find him.” Jonas is insulted that she thinks he didn’t try already, and says no one’s seen him for twenty-four hours. “Which, by the way, is how long you’ve been gone.” Can “Poor Jonas” just be the title of every episode from now on? Jonas twists the knife: “He went off to die, Carrie. My guess is he’s done just that.” Awww. But Carrie doesn’t cry or anything, and Jonas rants that he hasn’t helped anyone, and that she swore to him that she wanted to leave the craziness behind. He wants to go to the authorities. Carrie says that she can’t because she doesn’t know who to trust.

Jonas finally leaves Carrie.

Jonas finally leaves Carrie.

And this is why these two won’t work: he still sees “the authorities” as a monolithic and universally positive concept, that imposes order on life when it gets scary or hard. But Carrie is living in the borderlands, where there is no authority. She asks him to wait and let her think. And she cries as she confesses that Saul won’t help her. Jonas yells, “Shut up about these documents!” and then says, “Quinn walked out that door bleeding to death to protect you, Carrie, does that register?” That was a pretty great line. Anyway, Jonas walks out on her. “So that’s it, you’re leaving?” Carrie says.

I love that ‘that’s it.’ Like, “All I’ve done is go off my psych meds, accuse you of being a bad lay, reveal to you that I’ve killed hundreds of people in my life, insist that I speak to angels, make you risk your sister’s livelihood to save a guy who a) I’ve made out with and b) had recently kidnapped your kid to get to me so that he could pretend to assassinate me, make you wait in this warehouse with a dying man for days, get visibly annoyed at you when the highly skilled spy in your care escaped, and then refuse to come back home with you to live a normal life, and you’re leaving me over it?”

Jonas confirms that yes, he is done, and walks out.

In the CIA building, people are using little walkie-talkie-shaped radar machines to sweep for bugs and writing “CLEAR” on Post-Its on the doors of rooms they’re done with. That seems like an easily hackable system, but OK. Anyway, Allison and Saul meet up again, and Allison is nervous: “Are you sure this is a good time?” Dar is pissed at Saul, but Saul wants to know why he didn’t order a sweep himself since their mission was compromised, and why he’s having Saul tailed. But Saul thinks he knows, and drops a little exposition for us: apparently he linked three terrorist names to “Mossad” during a bad time (“the inti-fucking-fada”) thirty years ago, and that Dar never forgave him. It’s times like this that I wish my American education had included things like “other countries” and “Middle Eastern history.”

Saul insists that Etai and Israel weren’t involved, but Dar wants to know why Etai was in Geneva. Saul says that it was the Russians. Dar doesn’t like this, and neither does Allison, who’s listening in. “You tipped off your Israeli friend, you’re screwing your coworker, and you are holding out on me right now,” Dar rants. He’s bringing in a polygrapher. Or Saul can come clean and say who he’s been talking to. But Saul won’t, so he has to take a polygraph tomorrow.

Believe me, you don't want a screencap of the closeup.

Believe me, you don’t want a screencap of the closeup.

Quinn, with great effort, stands up from his cot at the Good Samaritan’s apartment and gets dressed. He wanders down the hall to an incredibly grimy bathroom and tries to clean up a little. In the mirror, he frowns at himself and takes a look at his wound, which has a tube coming out of it. Wow, Good Samaritan has some skills.

But now Quinn can hear everything the terrorist dudes are saying, through the vents: “They’ll die in the thousands, ten for every one of us, not in Syria, here…” Good Samaritan wants to help him and puts his arm around him. But Quinn says, “You should tell your friends to keep their voices down, maybe plug up the vent.” And of course the scary bald terrorist dude can totally hear Quinn say this.

Nighttime again, and Saul enters his suite alone. He starts to look suspicious and closes the blinds, then starts checking the lamps for bugs. Maybe you should get one of those little walkie-talkies the people at the CIA were using, Saul. His door rattles. He dashes out, only to find a maid in the hall, with a linen cart. She stares at him while he gives her the crazy eyes and then tears apart the linen cart, looking, I guess, for a really tiny spy hiding inside. Then he apologizes to her and goes back into his room, looking freaked out.

"I'll do it, but only if you're absolutely sure that's what you want."

“I’ll do it, but only if you’re absolutely sure that’s what you want.”

Otto brings his car into a parking garage and gets a text from Carrie, who’s waiting for him, complete with frumpy brown wig (and by “frumpy” I mean “highly resembles my hair right now”). She tells Otto she knows who’s after her and that she has to disappear. She tells him she has nowhere else to go, and needs a plane. His face is sweetly concerned as he asks where she’s going, but she won’t tell. He says he’s happy to help, “but I’m not sure putting you on a plane to nowhere is helping,” and that he’ll only do it if she’s sure that’s what she wants.

Carrie does the same thing she did with Jonas, where she takes in a teary breath and says that Saul won’t help her. Seriously, when Saul isn’t on her side, the bottom pretty much falls out of her world. She gives Otto a lot more information than she gave to Jonas, though, explaining that she didn’t know Saul hated her so much and that he’d always been on her side before; and she also cries and says that she should have taken better care of a friend, Quinn. “I bring down everyone around me.” She thinks if she goes away she can free everyone from her problems. Otto kindly says she’s not alone. But she drops that she broke up with Jonas, and says that she would like to leave today.

I really enjoy the dynamic between Carrie and Otto, now that I’m used to it. I really can’t tell if he has romantic feelings towards her, or just a lot of affection and professional respect, but it’s very touching the way he gets concerned about her.

Saul enters the polygraph room. The man asks if he’s ready, but Saul says just a second, and then goes to look for Ruben, “the guy who’s analyzing the data from the network breach.” He strides over to Ruben and asks how he’s doing with the data penetration, but everyone nervously shuts down the computers and folds up their papers. Saul, not noticing, jabbers about the Russians and asks if there’s any connection between the Russians and their agency personnel. Finally Ruben et al have to reveal that he’s not on the distribution list and they can’t show him the data. They revised the clearance list this morning. Yikes. Saul rushes to his office and tries to log in, only to find out that his password doesn’t work. He gets increasingly panicky as he retries it, but it’s definitely deactivated.

Saul goes rogue.

Saul goes rogue.

When he sees some people wheeling computer equipment around, he brings a bunch of random techies into a room and tells them to sweep again, even though they did it yesterday—and does it urgently enough that one of them leaves himself logged into a terminal. The techies get distracted, arguing about some cables, as Saul downloads the files. When the guy whose terminal it is comes back, Saul is just slipping out of the room, but the techie senses something’s wrong and can hear the door shutting behind Saul.

Quinn is lying in bed. Good Samaritan, rubber-gloved, tells him that it’s wonderful he can walk, but he should stay with him. “I’m pleased to help.” He reveals he and his wife were doctors, but their clinic was bombed and she died, and he can’t practice medicine here. His job is now managing this building. “I care for people like yourselves, who wouldn’t receive treatment otherwise. She would approve.” A couple people, not the scary bald terrorist from before, but people with brown skin that we are probably supposed to assume are terrorists given the usual M.O. of this show, demand for Quinn to come with them. The doctor tries to say Quinn’s too sick to move, but they don’t believe him, since Quinn was just walking around. “Hajik wants him, is that it?” the doctor guesses. I guess I have to stop calling the guy Scary Bald Terrorist now. “He was in here yelling and screaming… Crazy stuff. That man is a problem.” The two guys, lackeys of Hajik, I guess, look like they agree with this—but Quinn gets up to join them.

Homeland 506 quinn plays dumb

Hajik stands up when Quinn arrives and accuses him of being a spy again. There are like twenty guys in this room, none of them really differentiated except for Hajik, and I guess we’re supposed to assume they all met doing laps at the Young Men’s Jihadist Association gym or something, because—as I’ll mention later—their relationships to each other, and even their personalities and attitudes in most cases, are completely indistinct. All we know is that they’re all in on this plot.

The doctor tries to defend Quinn, saying that he wanted the guys to keep their voices down. But Hajik starts doing that thing movie villains do where they talk in low voices and walk circles around their prey. He accuses Quinn of having heard their plans for an attack. “I only heard a few words that didn’t make sense,” Quinn says. “You’re just out of prison, you think they don’t have you under surveillance?” He implies Hajik wants to get thrown back in jail so he won’t have to go back to Syria and fight. Hajik punches him, throwing him against a wall. Then Quinn announces that he’s a walking staph infection and needs to go, but that the police will see if they attack him. For some reason no one just kills him on the spot.

Allison’s in her office, when the techie comes in and says Saul Berenson accessed the files from his terminal. Dar Adal is in the hall looking for Saul because he blew off his polygraph. But Saul’s gone – and, the techie adds, he slipped his team and turned off his cell. Dar says, “You’re fuckin’ him. You must have a way to get in touch.” Classy, Dar.

Saul answers her call right away, hoping that the sweep found something, but Allison is like, uhhh, all our attention is kind of taken up with how you stole the documents and ran away. Allison tries to convince him she’ll square him with Dar. The techie whispers that they have Saul’s location. Allison tries to press him more: is there anything in the documents that they missed? Saul figures out that Dar is listening, and Allison admits it. Saul says: “Dar. It’s what I already told you. RUSSIANS.”

Saul's back on Carrie's side.

Saul’s back on Carrie’s side.

Saul finds Otto in some fancy club and says quickly, “I want to talk to you about Carrie Mathison,” before the bodyguards can stop him. Saul explains that Carrie asked him for help and he refused, because he didn’t trust her, partly because of Otto—but now he does believe her, and wants to give her something. “What makes you think I’m even in contact with her?” says Otto, but Saul is like, yeah I don’t have time for this, just give it toher. Then, rather too late I should think, he says that Otto and his people can’t see, and can’t “tweet,” anything in these files. Otto gives him a pensive look. Just then, CIA agents come in and say they’re investigating Saul, and did he give Otto anything. Otto asks what they’re talking about, but the agents want to search them both.

Otto protests that they have no authority here. Then he pulls an amusing stunt: he shatters the quiet of the club by standing up and announcing that the men are from the CIA, and that they’re insisting on a search even though they won’t even say what they’re looking for. But he will agree (he’s still saying this as part of his announcement to the entire club) as long as the men apologize if they don’t find anything.

I like that Homeland is spending a little time this season to remind us that while the citizens of America have often been more than willing to give up their rights in the service of slightly increasing their chances of stopping terrorism, other citizens have not been so docile, nor so gullible. The American way is not the only way, in other words. (The fictional actions of the German government, on the other hand, remind us that citizens have to remain vigilant – that passing laws protecting your rights doesn’t always mean your government will respect them.)

The agents pat Otto down carefully and then take Saul away. “We had an agreement, sir,” Otto says, and the agent mumbles, “Sorry for the inconvenience.” Boo. I wanted a real apology. And Saul gets shut into a black car.

Carrie’s going through her messages on her phone, looking at pictures of Franny from the birthday party, little drawings Franny did, pictures of herself and Jonas. Tears fill her eyes. She sighs and deletes them. Then a man knocks and says her car is there.

Homeland 506 quinn and doctor

The doctor is giving Quinn some medicine to take with him, but he says he can manage. “You are not well enough to leave. I will talk to that crazy man. … I will sleep outside the door. I’m not afraid of Hajik.” What a great guy. Quinn thanks him and says he has someone to look after him. I’m not sure if it’s because he thinks Carrie will still be there, or he’s just a good liar. One of Hajik’s lackeys suddenly appears to block the entrance, saying he knows Quinn’s not a spy and that Hajik wants to execute him. But they all know he was in Syria recently. Quinn says he was protecting some guy’s trucks and works for whoever pays the most. “A mercenary,” the lackey says. He reveals Hajik doesn’t know he’s here.

Otto is apologizing to the club staff for the disruption. He puts on his coat—and finds an envelope in its pocket.

Carrie is in the black car, wanting to turn off before the airport for “a quick detour.” She gets out at a pretty white building and stares into the window. It’s Jonas, in the kitchen. But she doesn’t say anything—she just creeps on him for a few seconds, then leaves.

The doctor bids Quinn good-bye, saying “God be with you.” They turn to see a whole bunch of Hajik’s friends waiting for Quinn. Quinn comes up to him and says he’s sorry for causing trouble and is leaving. “I have no quarrel with you, man.” He’s trying to play a guy who isn’t as cautious as he should be because he doesn’t understand the danger he’s in, I think. But as he passes Hajik whips out a knife, along with a pretty nasty threat about what parts of Quinn he’s going to cut off and stuff down which other parts of Quinn. They go into West Side Story stances, and fight; Hajik gets a cut in (wow, can Quinn really lose much more blood?) and Quinn fights back, yelling in pain when Hajik kicks his wound, and then he punches Hajik in the throat so hard that the guy just falls down, dead.

Quinn collapses onto a chair at a little plaza nearby, as Hajik’s friends walk up to him to see that blood is leaking from his mouth to the pavement. One of them asks another to “remove the remains of our martyred brother.” I think they might really be brothers, because he calls a different guy a “cousin,” but the show definitely doesn’t spend a lot of time bothering to establish personal lives for these guys, or even personal relationships among them—we’re supposed to just see them as Possible (okay, Probable) Bad Guys. The lackey who likes Quinn asks him to stay another night and promises he’ll be safe now. Quinn looks too tired to worry about this.

At the tarmac, Carrie gets out of her car. Otto is waiting at the entrance to the plane. In silence, they walk up to each other, as quiet, sweet music plays. Otto gives her the envelope and says, “From Saul Berenson. He said you’d know what to do with it.” Carrie smiles a little. Otto walks away.

Now that Saul's back, Carrie's going to come roaring back, I'll bet.

Now that Saul’s back, Carrie’s going to come roaring back, I’ll bet.

See you next week!

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