Homeland 5.06: Parabiosis

 Posted by on November 8, 2015 at 11:40 pm  Homeland
Nov 082015
Homeland, Parabiosis, Saul Berenson, Dar Adal, Allison

Homeland © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

Homeland episode 5.06, Parabiosis, was a bit of a slog. It took us through a lot of exposition, a little bit of stupid, and a tad too much coincidence, to set up the rest of the season. At the approximate halfway point, I guess it’s time to shake down where we are, and where we’re going, and move some chess pieces around the board. Plus, we’ve had five nearly-perfect episodes, I guess we were owed a weaker one.

parabiosis (noun)
1. the natural union of two individuals, such as Siamese twins, so that they share 
a common circulation of the blood
2. a similar union induced for experimental or therapeutic purposes

I feel I am expected to take deep meaning from this? Carrie Mathison and Saul Berenson, joined like Siamese twins? Or Quinn’s benefactor giving him blood? I’m not sure.

I have a lot of frustrations this week. Saul was too stupid, or too slow on the uptake. Mandy Patinkin played it perfectly; in his confrontation with Carrie, we saw pride, arrogance, anger, and supreme self-confidence. His face said, Why should I listen? But that’s the thing about listening, your ears keep functioning whether you will it or not, and eventually, Carrie’s message got through. He was stupid to refuse to pay any heed to Carrie, and he’s stupid to STILL not recognize there’s a mole. Sweeping the station was an obvious move, I can’t believe Dar Adal objected, or indeed, that it hadn’t already been ordered. But there’s this other thing: Saul didn’t talk about the postal drop in the station. It was covert and unsanctioned, remember? A bug couldn’t have picked up that it existed, because there was nothing to hear. It was discussed outside only. Now, the plot to depose Assad Al-Bashar, yes, that was discussed, and that was what Saul was focused on in the sweep. But Carrie’s information gave him something more, and should have clearly pointed to a mole.

Dar Adal makes little sense as well. He’s angry at Saul, and suspicious of him, but surely in an operation of this size they should be pursuing multiple avenues?

Good riddance Jonas, by the way. Either he doesn’t believe that someone is trying to kill Carrie, which is crazy, since he saw the bullet hole that went through Quinn, or he thinks she can just go home and forget it all happened, even though, hello, trying to kill her, which makes him dumber than Saul.

Speaking of Quinn, his Good Samaritan is not only a coincidence, but two coincidences. Just happened to find him, and just happened to be the landlord of a terrorist cell the day they (third coincidence!) get released from prison. Just, wow.

In reviews, every week so far this season, I’ve expressed a certain level of astonishment that Homeland has been so freaking great, and so smart, and hasn’t collapsed into a pile of stupid. I was kind of feeling bad, like I was damning the show with faint praise, by being surprised at its excellence. Maybe it’s, y’know, excellent, and I shouldn’t be surprised. But somehow I knew an episode like this week’s was coming, and by “somehow” I mean, “past experience has proven”. Still, this was a pretty good episode, strong in a lot of ways, and I am by no means giving up on the show. Even the best shows have intermediate episodes, especially at the mid-season mark.

We’ll see what happens. What did you think, Basketcases?


  4 Responses to “Homeland 5.06: Parabiosis”

  1. Lots of coincidences, that’s for sure, but I’m interested to see how Quinn’s rehumanization goes. Given all the religious war and atonement chords getting hit hard this season, I like having a Good Samaritan in the mix.

  2. Just watched. I agree with you about Dar. I liked Jonas though. I think he could still come back, maybe. Hard to say with this show as the personal relationships/romances are always secondary to the work.

    Speaking of that, I’m trying to remember where they left it last season with Saul and his wife. I had thought they were doing better. Maybe I’m remembering wrong. I was surprised to hear him say (recently) that she had filed for divorce.

  3. I think the document scenes between Carrie and Saul and Saul and During were well-played and well-written. The entire history of Nobly Naughty Company Man Saul and Crazy Carrie Right-on Cassandra was in that scene about “the wall” between them — and Carrie did sound like an absolute nutter ranting about “something in the documents they don’t want me to see.” The scene of the CIA shaking down During and hauling off Saul from During’s club made a very pointy point about the heavy hand of an American secret police. Saul being set up as double agent for the Mossad is juicy.

    However much we might want to root for the Home Team, such clean lines are absolute fiction. This whole series seems to me to be about intuition, discernment, the value of bloody sweaty spunky humanity in intelligence work, and the toll on the humanity of those who do it. That, of course, is the Saul position. Dar Adal apparently couldn’t give a shit about any of that. In his world, people are chess pieces, tools, or targets.

    So what do you all think is in the hacked documents?

  4. […] I absolutely can’t wait until next week. This is getting more and more exciting, and for the most part, it’s very well structured indeed. I’m sorry, Homeland, that last week I doubted you! […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.