I am looking at the strange possibility that none of it will tie together. In Homeland episode 5.10, New Normal, we see all the players on the stage. We have Allison at her quick-thinking best, exposed but acting like she isn’t, probably genuinely concerned about saving Berlin. I mean, she’s totally self-centered and she’s in Berlin, so naturally she wants to save it. Her Russian handler, in a separate room, follows her lead because he sees how smart she is. We have the terrorist cell and Quinn, During and Jonas and Bitchy Reporter, all maneuvering their ways around the chess board.
And what does it amount to? At the moment, not much. And let me be clear, this was an excellent episode, standing alone. It was tense, it was scary. Carrie Mathison cried, Saul Berenson lost his shit, Dar Adal was a total calculating asshole, Scared Syrian got caught, there were plans to release sarin gas on the subway JESUS CHRIST…I mean, it was a thrilling hour, and when the hospital scene turned out to be the last scene, I was surprised. I wanted more. I expected more, which is the sign of a magnificently paced hour of television.
Yet I’m left with the feeling that there is no connection left to look for. The SVR connected to the terrorist plot? That makes no sense at all. Allison connected to it? Less sense. Meanwhile, if Otto During is a secret bad guy with motives yet to be revealed, does that mean he conspired with the German government to kidnap his client from his own hands, behind Saul’s back? Does that make sense? Maybe. That kind of money and power can create some crazy fictional scenarios if During is motivated enough, but does it tie in with the rest of it? How?
I’m left with the uneasy feeling that the three separate machines of this season: The Russian mole, the Daesh terrorists, and the During Foundation, will remain three separate machines. Which may well drive me mad.
It is remarkable to me that Carrie and Astrid studied the Quinn sarin torture scene over and over without ever noticing that he was still breathing at the end. On the other hand, the gentle camaraderie between the two women was really beautiful, and one of the very strong pieces of character work in a strong character episode. Yes, this episode was strong on character in every possible moment, even while being a thriller. Saul, Carrie, even Astrid and Jonas, were themselves, particular, personal, and revealing.
Problems? Sure. It’s Homeland, isn’t it? Why is Carrie, a civilian, on a secret German mission and carrying a gun? Why is Saul allowed to lose it AGAIN with no consequences? Why is access to Saul’s secret post office drop not being treated more seriously—it’s one of the few things that Allison can’t explain away with her reverse-mole ploy?
There’s only two episodes left. We should be finding out and freaking out and fooled and then finding out again. Right? But I don’t see it. I mean, there will be a magnificent rescue, and thousands of German citizens will not die. Of this, I am confident. Otherwise, I don’t see how this plays out. Basketcases? What say you?