Homeland is a show that can break your heart, because it can be so brilliant, and then shatter your hopes for it to fulfill its promise. But with the Season 5 premiere, Separation Anxiety, that promise, that brilliance, is what’s in evidence. It’s as strong a premiere as could have been hoped for.
We already know that Lesli Linka Glatter delivers again and again. The muted color palette of Homeland brings us into the gray world of espionage and secrets, of enemies and compromises and trickery. There’s very little color, even in Berlin, with little Franny’s red hair being a startling exception. Instead, there’s a strong cast, a strong script, and a lot of mystery to uncover.
Separation Anxiety does a fine job of straddling the effort to be a reboot while still bringing back old characters and old relationships. I’m pretty sure the blonde German security agent we saw was someone we saw last season in a relationship with Quinn. We name-check Abu Nazir. I’m hoping some of the unresolved situations from Season 4 get resolved, because otherwise Season 4 was very pointless indeed. On the other hand, maybe this is Homeland admitting that Season 4 was hopeless, and tacking into a different wind. The more I think about it, the more I hope that. Do I want to see Quinn and Carrie resume their nasty romance? Do I want to see the return of Sexy Pakistani General? Not really.
On the other hand, I wish Saul and Carrie’s relationship made more sense, in reference to the past. It seems to me, the last time we saw them, that Saul betrayed Carrie. Why, then, is he the self-righteous one? Again, I’m guessing it’s kind of best to imagine this season as brand new, since, in the final analysis, Season 4 made no sense.
Ugh, have I talked myself out of loving the Season 5 premiere? Not really. It was excellent. Perhaps, though, I’ve talked myself out of strong hope for future episodes. Maybe it’s best to stop referencing past seasons and see where we are now. What did we watch tonight?
Well, we’ve got all the players on the chessboard working in Berlin (Saul will, I assume, move back and forth between Berlin and Washington and wherever else he’s needed–his job makes him pretty mobile). We’ve got three different plots: The hacker and the document leak, the refugee crisis, Carrie’s new boss, and an ostensible effort to get humanitarian aid into Lebanon (like that’s the real plan), and Quinn’s effort to shut down everyone in Germany that the CIA had until recently kept under surveillance. Obviously, these three will eventually intersect.
What else is in play? Quinn’s covert killing sprees have led him to a crisis of conscious in the past, making him volatile. He has a past relationship with a key German security official, not to mention his past with Carrie. Carrie has allowed herself to be kidnapped for the sake of helping her boss, potentially triggering past PTSD, not to mention that it just sucks. Saul is being a dick. Everyone has cards in play that might not be what they seem, and might come back to haunt them later. Carrie has a Bagdhad connection to the woman in charge of the CIA in Germany, and similiarly, a connection to the guy running Hezbollah at the Lebanese refugee camp. So anything from past operations could be a part of this.
What about you, Basketcases? Are you watching? Have you given up hope?