Sunday, November 1, 2015

REVIEW: 'Homeland' - A Protest Forms in Front of the Russian Embassy as Carrie Receives Some Clarity in 'Better Call Saul'

Showtime's Homeland - Episode 5.05 "Better Call Saul"

The hackers rise up. Quinn covers for Carrie. Dar and Allison assess the damage.

The odds are staked against the heroes right now on Homeland. Carrie and Quinn are just clinging to life as they try to find out answers as to who is targeting them. Saul is doing his best to find out what happened on the plane from last week before it exploded and is being surveilled by his own agency. They are being manipulated in many wonderfully dramatic ways. It's forcing them to act without any kind of support from an official organization. All three of them have contacts they can reach out to for information. But right now, they all have to rely on their skills as spies in order to survive in a world that is violently turning against them. That's such a compelling arc for the show this season.

Carrie is very grateful to Quinn because he saved her life. She is still in peril. But right now, the world believes she is dead which buys her some more time. The same cannot be said for Quinn. He survived his encounter with the hitman. He was injured. But the people who want him dead still know that he's alive. Carrie is doing her best to save him right now. His injuries are only becoming more severe. The bullet did go right through him without hitting any major organs or blood vessels. But now, Quinn is succumbing to septic shock. His body is turning against itself in order to survive. That leaves Quinn very weak and Carrie unsure of what to do.

Carrie calls in Jonas for help. His sister can provide them with the medical tools they can use to treat Quinn. It's not as good as the hospital though. That's the one place where Quinn can't go though because the organization that wants him dead could easily find him there. Everyone is very adamant that he can't go to the hospital. Jonas is still relatively new to this kind of life. Carrie and Quinn are dealing with life-and-death circumstances. Jonas is a part of that now too but he isn't as aware as the two veterans of this life are. He is horrified that anyone can life this way. He wants to do the right thing and get Quinn proper medical treatment. That's looking like the only viable option left. Even Carrie suggests that they may have no choice after hearing how bad Quinn has become. And yet, Quinn does not want to risk being killed in the hospital.

Instead Quinn decides to leave the safe house in order to wander the streets of Berlin hoping to treat his injuries and avoid detection by the many interested parties out looking for him. He is barely alive but he's not dead yet. Quinn is a fighter. He hasn't always been a character the show has utilized well. But he has proven himself capable of getting out of many dire situations. Nothing really compares to this though. It's hard for him to protect himself in such a weakened state. He tries to flee and runs into a man who wants to help him. He is now on the run with a physical threat to his life. The ending shows Quinn running out of places to go and the man catching up to him. But again, he's not dead yet. The situation looks very bad for him. But he has always managed to find a way out before. Hopefully he can do so again. And if not, his death could provide some fantastic material for both Carrie and Saul.

Additionally, it is revealed that Allison really is working against the interests of Carrie and Saul. Carrie learns that but is too busy trying to help Quinn and identify the hitman to do much about it. In the meantime, Saul is dealing with the aftermath of the plane crash and how Allison and the organization want the fallout to go. She creates a situation that divides Saul and Dar Adal without either one being made aware of it. Suspicion is thrown Saul's way when it's learned the bomb is similar to the ones currently being used by Israel - whose ambassador Saul talked with before the big trip to Switzerland. Meanwhile, Saul is led to believe that his ambassador friend was the one behind the bomb - which leads to a very compromising shot of the two that Allison can use to manipulate Dar. Her organization has really thought out how to divide the CIA during such a crucial moment in time. It's never abundantly clear why Allison is doing all of this. She is much more reserved and nervous than happy about these actions. That's an explanation that will need to come in the future though.

But things are starting to look up for Carrie and Saul. Carrie is able to connect all the dots after she learns that the hitman has worked frequently with the Russian government which is also at the center of the big intelligence breach story right now. A big protest is happening outside the Russian embassy that catches everyone's attention. It happens because Numan is trying to get answers as to who kidnapped his friend and killed his friend's girlfriend. Carrie puts it together that there was something in the leaked documents that could really harm Russia. That doesn't explain why they want her dead right now. But it's a good enough lead to follow up on. Unfortunately, it's one that will bring her back into the CIA fold. The place where she's not exactly welcomed right now.

Saul and Carrie are reunited in the end in the hopes of being able to share what they both know in order to better understand what is happening against both of them at the moment. It's a precarious situation because they aren't in the best place as friends. And yet, Saul still gets in the taxi because he knows things must be serious if he is warned to stealthily sneak out of his hotel to a vehicle with Carrie in disguise in it. He knows something is amiss. He wants to get to the bottom of it just as much as Carrie does. They may not have the help of Quinn anytime soon - if ever again. But the two of them are very capable agents. Sure, the job has ruined both of their personal lives. They are just doing their best to create a better life. Carrie is doing it for herself while Saul is doing it for the world. That may be a foolish goal for both. But they are much more capable of getting answers and staying alive together than apart.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Better Call Saul" was written by Ben Cavell & Alex Gansa and directed by Michael Offer.
  • Carrie reaches out to Quinn's police contact, Astrid, in order to identify the hitman. Astrid knows how Quinn works so she knows immediately that something has happened to him. But she gets the information nevertheless. The only problem is that her superior is brought in as well which could signal harm to both of them sometime soon.
  • It's great that Carrie and Saul are working together again and possibly working through their disagreements. However, did either of them realize that he was being watched by the CIA?
  • Jonas' sister is in the medical profession. Will that be important again in the future? And why wasn't she brought in to help Carrie when she decided to go off her meds?
  • All of this talk about the potential of living a better life feels like a final season story. The way that the story is being told right now, it definitely has that feel to it. This could be a satisfying conclusion to the show if it wanted to end right now. But I have serious doubts that Showtime would want it to end now considering the ratings and awards it still gets.