Homeland Recap Season 5 Episode 8: “All About Allison”

As it turns out, Dar Adal and I have one very important thing in common: we don’t believe in coincidences. I may end up being proven as wrong as Dar Adal (about Saul’s loyalty, about Carrie’s usefulness, about Allison’s information, about Quinn’s mission), but right now, nothing on Homeland seems to be adding up.

Taking Allison’s origin as a double-agent at face value, recruited in a variation on the honeypot scheme back in 2005, she’s had ten years to harden to her position. The incriminating photo on Nazir’s computer indicates that, however betrayed she may have felt, she did go to St. Lucia’s with him. Her relationship with Ivan suggests something more than, as other recappers have mentioned, Stockholm Syndrome. The fact that she’s attempted to kill Carrie on multiple occasions doesn’t square with the decision made by both Ivan and Allison to leave her alone; sure, Claire Danes gives great cry face, begging for her non-CIA life back, and I believe that Carrie actually did find something other than the addiction-to-danger in both Jonas and her daughter. But the Russians showed no restraint in garroting both Numan’s oily hacker friend and his innocent stripper girlfriend, so why not kill Carrie, other than for dramatic purposes.

We also have Quinn: accidentally embroiled in a terrorist plot after sustaining life-threatening injuries, he then ends up killing their leader in self-defense, joining their troupe en route to Syria, and then actually being set up and taken prisoner as the group returns to carry out their bombing in Berlin. If Quinn had been identified as an agent during the day-long stopover that they made in Kosovo to pick up biological weapons, that’d make sense, but Bibi suggests that their plan was never to go to Syria, which means that he’d been playing Quinn for much longer, and that makes the choice to let Quinn run free seem more like a dramatic invention from the writers–watch Quinn sneak into the farmhouse!–than anything necessary from the characters.

There’s nothing particularly bad about Saul’s plot this week–but that’s mainly because nothing happens. Given that he’s not at all serious about defecting, though, the choice to end his scenes in last week’s episode with a line about doing just that is an irritating one, an obvious ploy from the writers to drum up suspense. This week, the writers use Tova to foreshadow the fact that his friend Itai can’t be trusted, but that just seems like one more needless bit of drama, something to spice up the fact that Saul spends the majority of this episode sleeping in a safehouse. If there were the possibility that the Israelis had blown up the plane, there’d be more intrigue here, but we’ve seen Allison feeding Dar Adal false information about them and the make of the bomb, so it’s really just more of the same senseless roundabout.

You can read more thoughts and musings, as usual, over at Slant Magazine, and I encourage your comments, thoughts, and paranoia both here and there!

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