Homeland 5.04: Why Is This Night Different?

 Posted by on October 26, 2015 at 12:24 am  Homeland  Add comments
Oct 262015
Homeland, Why Is This Night Different?, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) shoots back

Courtesy of Showtime

If anyone is keeping track, placing Homeland episode 5.04, Why Is This Night Different?, on Passover means it’s the spring—if we are to believe it’s the near future, it’s April 22 or 23, 2016. I’ve been to over fifty Passover Seders in my life. Passover is the story of the Jews escaping slavery and fleeing to freedom. Messages of the night are about freedom, for the Jews and for all people, and about a homeland, a place of safety. The message in the Israeli ambassador’s home (his name is Üter, according to the credits), about overthrowing your oppressors and being willing to fight, are not the messages of Passover, and are meant instead to reveal his character.

He is willing to fight for his country, and he has no concern if Arabs are killed. Does that mean he is responsible for the spectacular explosion in the sky that Why Is This Night Different? ended with? (Well, that was different from other nights, for sure.) Or is Station Chief Eowyn, who seemed completely unperturbed by the development? Or perhaps they were working together. Or I could just be wrong.

Except I wasn’t wrong about who put the kill order on Carrie. I’m glad she was revealed this episode, as it seemed so obvious to me, I didn’t want to tolerate “suspense” about something I knew. It was also obvious that Korzenik had switched the thumb drives (the data for the bird-flipper), so, again, I’m glad that was revealed and resolved. I don’t feel at all sorry for Korzenik; there’s a bit of comeuppance for his arrogant sneering at “freedom”, and his belief that he can be a big man in the espionage game with no consequence. I do feel for his poor girlfriend, who did nothing but go home at the wrong time and get brutally murdered. Russian spies are meanies.

One thing I never guessed, though, was that Eowyn would put a kill order on Quinn as well, and I’m not sure I understand it. One idea is that she doesn’t trust him with the information that Carrie is on “Saul’s” kill list, so he has to be eliminated. If that’s the case, though, if she thinks he’s compromised where Carrie is concerned, why does she trust him to go ahead and kill her? And on the other hand, if she does trust him to follow orders, why does he have to be killed? Doesn’t going after him reveal her hand if things go wrong? Pro-tip: Yes it does, and we saw that in the episode.

It is no longer possible to believe that Saul and Carrie are in any way in cahoots on this—at least not on this part of it. They are not playing Station Chief Eowyn in order to get evidence on her or something like that. Carrie’s video to Franny was incredibly moving, and if that turns out to be fake by the end of the season, Homeland and I have broken up. Saul’s reaction when he saw the plane explode was pure shock, and there was no one looking at him.

That doesn’t mean that Saul doesn’t know some of it. Clearly not all of it. He told Eowyn previously that he was angrier that her play against him failed than that she went for it. He’s the spymaster, after all, he’s not going to hate on her for being one too. Which means, he could be sleeping with her out of genuine affection and regard while still knowing that she’s screwing him behind his back. Would that go as far as knowing that she put Carrie on a kill list? I don’t think so. Eowyn said in no uncertain terms that she’s jealous of how Saul protects Carrie, and I think she has reason to believe that. In fact, I think she’s right; he would not willingly allow Carrie to be murdered in order to let Eowyn twist in the wind.

So, Saul almost certainly knows that his redheaded girlfriend is betraying him, but he doesn’t know that she’s tried to have Carrie killed. He doesn’t know who blew up the plane—but if Redhead didn’t conspire to do it, I think she knows who did. Carrie genuinely is on the run, and so is Quinn—I don’t believe any of that is fake. And by the way, now we know that this is the first time Carrie knows what became of Quinn when he took off right after her father’s funeral and his declaration of undying love. I’m still mad at him for that.

So, broad strokes, we know a lot, and there’s new mystery to explore. We still don’t know the full story behind Angry American Journalist—she could be exactly what she seems on the surface, but maybe not. Something about the way she told Jonas that Otto should fire Carrie suggests otherwise. And we don’t know if Otto is a filthy rich humanitarian, or something more sinister.

FOUR EPISODES, people, and it still hasn’t pissed me off! This is a great season!


  7 Responses to “Homeland 5.04: Why Is This Night Different?”

  1. What a great episode, indeed! This season is really rocking and rolling, so far.

    I agree with you, Deborah, that Saul and Carrie are not in cahoots. (Not yet.)

    As for Redhead Station Chief, she is working for the Russians. When she answered her cell phone as the plane was taking off, she had looked at it and seen what number was calling–the guy who was supposed to have killed Quinn outside the Post Office. She stepped away from Saul, out of earshot, and quietly said “Da?” (Yes) followed by another word or two. It wasn’t “Ja?”, in German, it was definitely “Da”. t rewound my DVR and put the closed captioning on, just to make sure, and the caption said “Speaking in Russian”.

    The Seder scene with the Israeli ambassador was misdirection, as was his earlier statement that he did not support the US taking out Assad. Indeed he did not, but far more interested in keeping Assad IN power–and any American-chosen dictator OUT–are the Russians: Bashar Al-Assad is Putin’s puppet.

    The Russian bad-guy brutality with regard to obtaining the thumb drive functioned as foreshadowing. An idiotic hacker who agrees to meet with Russian agents/thugs on their turf and tries to pull one over on them by keeping a copy of the drive? You could see that bloodbath coming, definitely. But the blowing up of an entire plane, incinerating the general, his wife, his recently-operated-on daughter, and a pilot and some guards in the process? Just WOW, that was some next-level brutality.

    Of course Redhead Station Chief knew it was going to happen. Look at her face as the flaming airplane parts soar through the sky and fall toward earth. There isn’t a speck of horror–she isn’t even mildly startled. Saul, on the other hand, he is genuinely traumatized.

    So: given Carrie’s expression when she heard Redhead Station Chief answer the phone in Russian, I think we can be fairly sure that she knows who was behind the kill order. We, the audience, know this too. So will Quinn, in short order.

    But here’s the thing: I don’t think Redhead Station Chief ever knew who Quinn was, did she? I am thinking she only knew of Saul’s arrangement with an off-book special ops guy to carry out quiet assassinations, and she obviously knew the details of the tradecraft. How did she know? Pillow talk. That’s why they established that she was sleeping with him. It’s the classic way that intel gets out, even from an otherwise tight-lipped CIA high-up (remember Paula Broadwell spilling the beans about Benghazi being a CIA annex, not an embassy, and that four prisoners were being held there at that black-site-that-wasn’t-supposed-to-exist? She was sleeping with CIA head Petraeus and knew about significantly more things than she was supposed to. Not saying she was a spy, just that she’d been privy to classified information by dint of her intimate relationship with the general).

    Anyway, so Redhead knew the details of the kill-order setup, but wouldn’t have known that the assassin was a close friend (to put it mildly) of Carrie’s. She put the newspaper cypher in the envelope–possibly switched it out if there was another one there that Saul or Dar had ordered–because she wanted Carrie dead. I think it’s logical to conclude that she and her Russian paymasters were behind the attempt to kill Carrie at the Lebanese border camp, too. And given the Russians’ penchant for extreme brutality and viciousness, sledgehammered home (so to speak) in this episode, it makes sense that the guy that Hezbollah tortured and executed–the one who was more afraid of who was behind the hit than of death itself–felt that way.

    Why the hit on Carrie? That will become clearer, obviously, in upcoming episodes. But the During foundation’s big-money attempts to feed, house, and educate the Syrian refugees and, as he put it, “Enable you to return to your country and rebuild it with pride”, gives us a big clue. (It’s unsaid, but I bet During is quietly supplying them with arms, too.) The Russians don’t want that. They want Assad to remain in power, and a strengthened, well-fed, educated (and armed) populace returning home with a major score to settle would result in the opposite of that.

    • That is A-level analysis, Deborah! I completely missed the Da/Ja thing, but then, you’re European, more likely to pick it up.

      I’ve been trying to figure out how two separate plots on Carrie’s life tie together, because a kill list is one thing, but a suicide bomber is quite another. Your bringing the Russians in, though, pulls it all into one thing. Well done.

      I don’t think Saul is prone to pillow talk, because I don’t think he fully trusts Eowyn. However, I suspect the original kill list was put together with her input. The idea of the kill list was to take out all the people previously being watched by the cancelled surveillance program. The woman recruiting suicide bombers was a perfect example. Once they couldn’t watch her, they decided they had to take her out. The whole point of Quinn’s involvement was to wrap up the operation, and Eowyn was head of that operation.

      So, she and Saul work out that there will be a list, and maybe he then says “you can’t know more about this”. That’s enough for her to get to work. All she has to do at that point is fine a PO Box key in his pockets, it’s then easy enough to investigate where that key comes from.

      What gave her away, to me, was the cipher. It’s clearly one used by the CIA, so it means, de facto, an insider gave the kill order. Had to be her.

      • The idea of the kill list was to take out all the people previously being watched by the cancelled surveillance program. The woman recruiting suicide bombers was a perfect example. Once they couldn’t watch her, they decided they had to take her out. The whole point of Quinn’s involvement was to wrap up the operation, and Eowyn was head of that operation.

        That makes complete sense. I was fuzzy on the origins of the kill list–you’re right, it began in the first episode, after the secret spying program was exposed by the big hack (and Laura’s exposé). So, Saul flew over to Berlin, bringing Quinn with him, and worked out the list.

        Thinking about it more, it isn’t a big leap to imagine that Eowyn could get into the PO box itself and switch the envelope contents (or have someone do it), given that she had a plant in the post office who obviously let her know when Quinn had completed the latest “kill” and put the phone in the PO box (with the image of fake-killed Carrie on it), he texted her. We only saw him text someone, and initially, I thought it was the guy in the BMW who tried to shoot Quinn, but obviously he took his orders from Eowyn, once the Postal guy alerted her.

      • Also, I can’t remember if Eowyn ever met Quinn or just knew of him, but I’m fairly confident she did not know of their relationship. Obviously the dead-drop kill order was her Plan C to kill Carrie (and seriously deter During from getting involved with Syria going forward), once the suicide bomber failed to take her out, and the street bomb after that failed, too.

  2. The midday drive-by turned gun battle in front of a post office, school, and cafe was pretty bold. Why not trail Quinn and (try) to kill him in a less public space? Also, did that woman who bumped into Quinn in the post as he was exiting plant something on him, perhaps intended to be discovered after his death? Also, when that crime scene is processed and authorities begin to look for the dark-haired woman, Carrie’s fingerprints are on the door handle of the shooter’s car. Hm.

  3. […] screamed, “I know nothing about spying!” This season, he’s being completely played by Eowyn. I’m on record as thinking he knew part of the plot, at least, that he knew she was up to something; but no, […]

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