Homeland: Season Five Ends – Final Thoughts

Season Five of Showtime’Homeland has aired and is in the books. The season’s final episode, called A False Glimmer aired last night. To wrap the season, I thought I’d take a look at some of the major players for this season, and offer some analysis and some personal impressions. 

Please be advised that what follows are serious spoilers, so proceed only after seeing the episode yourself.

Carrie Mathison:

In the Homeland universe, there’s no doubt that Carrie Mathison was the sun around whom all the other major male characters orbited. While the list is not legion, there’s at least seven major players:

  1. Saul Berenson
  2. Nicholas Brody
  3. Peter Quinn
  4. Dar Adal
  5. Otto Düring
  6. Jonas Hollander
  7. Aayan Ibrahim

Of these, only one, Jonas Hollander (above), was outside of Carrie’s usual professional circles. However he did work for Otto Düring.

Carrie began this season as a mother and with her young daughter Frannie, was living nicely in Berlin. She worked for Otto’s humanitarian foundation (Otto is below), and was set up as a mother, and homemaker with Jonas.

As the finale for Season Five began, Carrie was entering a tunnel in the bowels of the Hauptbanhof – Berlin’s largest rail station. We knew what was at stake – she had to stop a pair of terrorists from releasing the deadly sarin gas.

Surprisingly, this event opened the episode, and it was less compelling than expected. But what it did was to release almost all of the tension that had built up. I’m not saying the placement of the scene was totally wrong. What I am saying, is that it kind of put the rest of the episode into a bit of a decompressed state.

From there, it was a matter of resolving the two still dangling story lines. One was the fate of Peter Quinn, who is now hospitalized and is in a critical state. He’s had brain surgery, is comatose, and the odds of him both recovering and recovering with all of his cognitive powers intact, is, according to the doctor, remote.

The second major plot line waiting for resolution is that of Allison Carr, who has absconded from the hospital as well.

And we will get to those, but for now let’s stick with the ephemeral Carrie. As this season began, Carrie would decide to go off her meds, survive an assassination attempt thought to be directed at Otto in a refugee camp, when in fact Carrie was the target, and then be placed on a kill list.

Carrie would have to go on the run for a while, and then follow a trail to Amsterdam. Then there was the stolen documents, and the circumstances of the ‘rogue’ reporter, Laura Sutton.

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Homeland: Episode 05-11 – Our Man in Damascus / Recap and Analysis

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Homeland raced toward its Season Finale with Episode 05-11 Sunday night. Next week, they’ll bring down the curtain on Season Five. In case you were wondering, Showtime has already announced that Homeland will return for a sixth season. Which is good news. The bad news, right now, is that some of the characters are already dangling from slim threads, some characters have become thoughtless dummies, the writers are lazy and/or inefficient, and that it will be left to Carrie, alone, to save Berlin from an impending cataclysmic event. Many spoilers ahead.

This episode was called Our Man in Damascus – and while that title has a certain strong hint or ring of espionage and derring-do to it, I’m not sure of either who that Man in Damascus might be, or more importantly, what it has to do with both this episode, and this season of Homeland (aside from sort of being snatched from the news events in Syria, Paris, and San Bernardino).

Now it is easy to award high points for the episode in the entertainment, excitement, suspense, stress, and tension categories. But this episode must get extreme low marks for plausibility, plus it lacked any semblance of being realistic, and to pound the nail of disdain in – this episode can serve as a horrendous example of lazy and poor writing.

Let me count the ways.

And I’ll start with Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend), who on paper, should be one of the strongest and most likeable and popular characters of the series. Yet Quinn’s role has been almost criminally wasted this year. He was brought back (from the Middle East) by Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) and tasked with performing off-the-books wet work. Meaning Quinn would be a hitman this season. He’d have no personal contact with anyone from the Company, and all of his assignments (target and kill instructions) as well as his pay would be handled via a dead drop in an out-of-the-way Berlin neighborhood post office. Which was fine, as Quinn is very capable. But things went south, when he received instructions to take out Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).

But it didn’t happen. And Quinn now had to be considered a danger to those who wanted Carrie taken out. So they tried to have Quinn killed. They succeeded in shooting him at the post office (Episode 4 I believe),

Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn

Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn

but not killing him. Since then, he’s been basically useless. Carrie had Jonas watch him for a while as he was just shot. Quinn flew the coop, and was then helped by a kindly Middle Eastern Doctor who treated his wounds. But Quinn was reduced to lying on a cot and dealing with infections. Then the doctor introduced Quinn to a terrorist cell who happened to live in the same building who wanted/needed Quinn’s help in getting to and into Syria.

Quinn then went from either being laid up in bed, to unconscious, to being tied and gagged in the back of a truck,

to being a guinea pig for Sarin gas, to being unconscious and almost dead, to being in coma in a Berlin hospital after being found by Astrid and Carrie, and then more torture came his way –  attempts to revive him from his coma to get the info about the terrorist attack that would come within hours.

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Quick Hits: The Good Wife, Homeland, Fargo, The Leftovers, & Quantico

Quantico, The Good Wife, Homeland, The Leftovers, Fargo, and Blindspot are all on my current list of shows that I try not to miss. However with my taking to the friendly skies in 16 hours. I’ll have to give these shows less than they deserve. Instead of full reviews, I’ll give you some highlights (if I can find any) , and mostly low-lights, as well as some golly gee moments  and mostly some gripes.[Edit] I am now in Minnesota, and despite the early beginning and the long day – these quick hits are still – a work in progress, and more meaningful, not so quick. Let’s start now,

The-Leftovers

The Leftovers –

Everybody is wondering what and where they all came from
Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain
And so it’s all the same to me
Think I’ll just let the mystery be

While those are the lyrics to the Iris Dement song, which also is heard behind the opening credits of The Leftovers second season on HBO,

I think those words are indeed at the heart of what this series is about. Which is to say and very much as the lyrics do – that I’m not sure, and I’m not in  a minority when I say this..

In Episode 3, called Off-Ramp, we meet Laurie (Amy Brenneman). Nowadays, Laurie is out of the Guilty Remnant (GR). as is her son Tommy. Together they are working to destabilize the GR. Laurie is writing a tell-all book about her time in the GR, and Tommy ostensibly remains in, as an undercover. His job is bring out some folks from the grip of GR, and Laurie’s job is that she runs a group therapy which helps people deal with the aftermath of the departures. Her real task is to help those folks recover.

Laurie looks and sounds like she’s not only made progress herself, but the episode implies that the counseling work the group does is both meaningful and is actually helping people cope. Laurie may be out the GY physically, but she still has the silence of the GR, and the menace of GR, within her. So much so that it is almost as if the GR is choking the life out of Laurie.

There are three major shocks in the episode, and their interpretation is up to the viewer. Brenneman was great in this episode, and she finally has become a character in the fullest sense.

But the underlying theme, or what lies at the heart of The Leftovers is that all the remaining people still need answers, and are not getting them. I was disappointed in this episode as it showed that while Laurie may be out of the GR, she’s no where’s near being even close to being a fully realized person.

Speaking something else not realized at all this time, was Jarden, aka Miracle, Texas. So they spent two episodes setting up Jarden for us – with all of its scars, and blemishes, and secrets only to abandon the whole place this. Why?

I’ve no idea so I’ll just let that mystery be…

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Homeland: 5×02 – The Tradition of Hospitality

*****SPOILERS AHEAD*****

Homeland spun off its axis last night. That’s right – the very foundation of the show – Carrie’s bi-polar personality which constantly placed her in harm’s way was always balanced by the inherent trust we had in Saul.

But at the end of the episode called The Tradition of Hospitality, we see a startling message. Peter Quinn had been placed in Berlin, by Saul Berenson,

as the agency’s off-the-books, with full deniability (the agency will disavow – you’re on your own buddy) as the local hit-man on call. After completing a mission in which he was to take out a woman who worked in Berlin as an ISIS recruiter, Quinn went to the dead drop – a Deutsche Poste in a Berlin neighborhood. He opens his post office box and has received his instructions on his next target – Carrie Mathison.

How did we get to this point is the question I know you are asking.

So the nexus in which we find ourself in Episode 2 of Homeland’s 5th season on Showtime, begins in Berlin before heading out to Lebanon’s border for the refugee situation, and then to Beirut, where more serious matters are about to go down. And the episode ends in Berlin.

Last week we had the data breach by a couple of porn boys who had nothing better to do than to heckle the local Muslims with a doctored video. This came to the attention of the CIA, who just so happened to have a sub-rosa contract with the German Intelligence. Since the German constitution did not allow the Germans to spy on their own people – they got into bed with the CIA and the Americans do it for them.

Naturally there was a leak to the German press – and the shit really hit. Saul, on orders from Dar Adal was dispatched to Berlin to get to the bottom of this.

Meanwhile Carrie, now working as head of security for the During Foundation was asked by Otto During to amp up security for his visit to the refugee camp on the Syrian/Lebanese border. This involved Carrie making some under the table deals as well as securing an invite from the Hezbollah High Council.

Cash was paid (40K) to a Walid at the refugee camp – but he’s only guarantee an hour visit.

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Homeland – Separation Anxiety: Season Five Episode One – Recap & Review

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…

That’s the line originally spoken by Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather III (1990). But as it is fall, and TV is introducing the returns of some of it’s best series, this remark just happens to fit the character of Carrie Mathison in Showtime’s Homeland which kicked off its 5th season last night.

The only way out is back in – Homeland Season Five

**** MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD *****

Carrie has left the CIA for greener pastures – The During Foundation located in Berlin. She may have traveled a great distance from Langley to get to Berlin, but her new post at the Foundation is Head of Security. She sets up in Berlin with her daughter now about three and a new boyfriend. So despite the fact that we can say that the girl is out of the CIA, but maybe we can say she’s still in the business.

Speaking of the business, Saul Berenson is now the CIA European Division Director, and he along with Dar Adal are sill moving the chess pieces, aka assets, around on their turf. Peter Quinn is recalled from Syria where he has been stationed for the last 28 months performing the duties that only the sharp end of the stick can do.

He’s questioned about his work and he fires back at a room of powerful CIA suits when he tells asks them sarcastically – What strategy?  He’s upset, of course, and angry. You know, doing wet work can’t be all that much fun. And to be honest as only Peter Quinn can – the strategy isn’t working.

So he’s assigned to Berlin, where a situation has developed. Some wiseguys in Berlin have decided to prank a Jihadist recruiting site by posting a doctored but inflammatory video.

Little did they know that this would come to the instantaneous attention of the watchers at the CIA Berlin station. The CIA and Germany had a non-public agreement. Due to restrictions of the German constitution, the German domestic intelligence service was prevented from ‘spying’ or surveilling their own citizens. So the deal was that the CIA would do it for them.

Once this prankish video hit the net – the bells and whistles went off in the Berlin station. So using probes and pings and whatnot the CIA began to trace  the source of the video – you know locate the uploaders. But due to a security flaw that had gone unnoticed, this poking around by the CIA had made them vulnerable to a return probe.

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