Homeland Episode 5.07, Oriole, was really a great episode, but Allison’s breakdown in Saul’s bathroom went on so long, and through so many changes, that I couldn’t help it. I turned to Professor Spouse and said, There’s Miranda Otto’s Emmy submission reel. And in truth, if I have time to say that, it wasn’t that great an acting job.
Perhaps the problem is simply we’ve never had reason to care about this character. When we found out she was a traitor, it was interesting, and kind of awful, but there was no pain, no “Oh, no! Not her!” If they wanted that kind of reaction, they should have made sure that the mole was someone we’d come to love. Allison is deeply trusted by those around her, but the Homeland audience has never been truly invested in her. That being the case, why should we be utterly fascinated to watch her freak out? I, for one, was not.
Professor Spouse and I have discussed Saul Berenson’s stupidity in trusting Allison, but at the terrifying twist ending—Carrie Mathison calling Allison, of all people, for help, I gave it all a second thought. I mean, I’ve written about how he should know better several times in the course of these recaps, but should he? She was in Baghdad before Carrie. She has risen through the ranks. She has the trust of Dar Adal, who is an asshole but not an idiot. Maybe she’s so deeply planted, for so many years, that it isn’t at all crazy to trust her. Maybe it’s crazy to suspect her. Although, fuck Dar Adal. If he is suspicious of Saul, he can afford to be suspicious of Allison and everyone else.
Dar Adal has his hands full now, being smug about Quinn’s new operation. Maybe this actually gives Dar and Quinn, by sharing information, the opportunity to figure out that Allison is the mole, but no one in the CIA does that—share information, I mean. It’s the ultimate plot device—everyone can remain ignorant in situations where normal people would catch on right away, because these people do nothing but deceive and withhold.
And Quinn’s situation? Still just one massive coincidence piled on top of another, but he played it beautifully.
The episode was a glorious cat-and-mouse play. Who is ahead of whom? Does Carrie get to Amsterdam in time? Does Saul get out of the CIA in time? Does Allison get away with it? Just one hold your breath moment after another, all perfectly played. Poor cab driver working on his MBA! I don’t even remember your name! Carrie is just not good for people who help her.
What about Otto and Jonas? Clearly, Otto is playing a double game, but what kind? Is he secretly working against Carrie, perhaps with the Russians? No. He can’t be with the Russians or he’d have told them she was alive. I think he lied to Jonas just to get a rival out of the way, but Professor Spouse thinks he has more nefarious purposes. I need Basketcases to weigh in, please!
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!