Homeland recap: season five, episode seven – Oriole

Carrie heads to Amsterdam, Allison has another clandestine meeting and Saul worries about his laundry

‘Touchstone seeks Oriole’

Carrie is holed up in Otto’s pad, poring through the hacked documents on the USB stick (the one that Saul slipped to Otto). My, what a nice place you have, Herr Düring. Yes, Carrie you’re just like me – you’re not earthbound either. Interesting point, hmm … hang on, this looks interesting. And so, we discover the secret that the Russians have been trying to stop Carrie from finding (it is the Russians, isn’t it? This season is getting even more confusing than normal). It’s a note from one of her old assets trying to get hold of her.

She makes a few calls; an old pal eventually gets back in touch. It’s Touchstone, who has been wanting to alert Oriole (AKA Carrie) to the fact that an Iraqi lawyer they thought had died in a bombing at the Ministry of Justice is very much still alive.

Some backup is required, and with Quinn awol and Saul busy being grilled by Dar, Carrie decides to turn to the next best thing: Laura the rogue journo, who brings another one of Berlin’s Most Wanted into the Düring household. Carrie meet Gabehcuod; Douchebag meet Eirrac …

Luckily, Gabehcuod really is a super hacker. “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” he bluffs everyone just to being polite (yeah, yeah, like he hasn’t cracked it in seconds). Anyhow, he’s able to track down the missing Iraqi lawyer’s wife, who is now living in Amsterdam. She’s not even using a fake name. Too easy.

‘That’s a lot of house for a hairdresser’

Carrie borrows one of Otto’s expensive cars from his handy fleet and drives off to Amsterdam, where we get more of the classic Mathison approach to international espionage. She hooks up with another old contact, who is happily studying for an MBA at night while driving a cab by day.

They stake out the house, wait for first the lawyer’s wife and then the lawyer to leave the house. He’s got to walk the dog. That’s not spy code. Carrie busts in, smashing a glass pane in the door with her gun. She finds a safe (locked) and a laptop (unlocked) before some goons storm in, spot the broken glass and deduce that there’s someone else there already.

Nimble as ever, Carrie jumps out of a window, ditches her wig and jumps back into her friend’s cab. Unfortunately, he’s met the grisly fate of any minor Homeland character who mentioned something about being happy. Carrie drives back to Berlin alone, placing a call to the one person she can totally trust to fill her in: Allison.

‘My bosses actually believe you will be director one day’

Are we any nearer this week to knowing what Allison’s motives are? When she’s alone with her Russian handler/lover Ivan Krupin, he seems to suggest that she thrives on the thrill of the lie: “That’s where you live, the double game.”

“There’s only one person Saul would go so far out on a limb for,” she tells him. “I saw a photo, not a body.” She’s worried, and smart enough to twig that Saul must be up to something.

Back in the CIA office, Dar doesn’t seem to believe her story about finding a USB stick “left in her drawer” with a copy of the missing documents on it. But Allison presses on. Maybe it’s because Dar is so wrapped up in his decades-long battle of wills, but it doesn’t take much to convince him that she should be allowed to interrogate Saul away from the cameras in the CIA offices and back in the softly-softly location of his hotel room (he likes his “creature comforts”, after all).

“Just because I’m sleeping with him doesn’t mean I’d perjure myself to protect him,” Allison reasons, a logic that seems to have just enough truth in it for Dar.

‘I’m loyal, most of the time anyway.’ Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson and Miranda Otto as Allison Carr.
‘I’m loyal, most of the time anyway.’ Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson and Miranda Otto as Allison Carr. Photograph: Stephan Rabold/SHOWTIME


Allison’s plan seems to be working. “I’m loyal, most of the time anyway,” she smiles, again covering a lie with the truth (or is it the truth with a lie?) as she charms Saul. Saul pulls the old “turn up the classical music and leave the taps running” trick to make sure no one can hear him confessing everything to Allison: Carrie’s alive and he has been waiting for her to get in touch.

‘I feel sick’

Allison’s panic attack is an interesting moment, though. She uses it as an excuse to buy herself a moment alone from Saul to text Krupin; it really feels as if she’s bluffing – the spy equivalent of having a headache in bed. But then, as she crumples on the floor, we see that it’s also real. The taps keep running; she may be a liar, but she’s still freaking out.

‘Like dogs in the desert’

Meanwhile, Quinn seems to have got over his suicidal tendencies (not to mention recovered from being stabbed), and has kicked back into CIA mode when the opportunity to get close to a money man in the jihadi chain of command presents itself. Dar, for one, is pleased. But would the gang really take in this “mercenary” who has appeared out of nowhere to get them into Syria, listen to his advice about the passports and pay his fee? Quinn and his accidental discovery of a Berlin jihadi cell is one of the odder avenues Homeland has taken us down.

On a more serious note, I can’t be the only Homeland viewer relieved this week to see the storyline veering away from a plot involving an European bombing.

‘I’ve never defected before’

Saul grumpily calls for his “laundry”, which turns out to be code for “I’m a CIA director, get me out of here!” His old friend Etai stages a kidnapping, saving Saul from a long trip to Langley.

State of play

So, where are we? Carrie is driving back through Europe to hang out with Allison, Saul has defected to the Israelis, Quinn is heading off to the Syrian border and Douchebag knows Otto’s password: two words: “Pope Francis”. Wait a minute – what if Otto is like the rest of us and uses the same password for everything? Otto: there’s a security breach! Maybe Carrie will still have a job with the Düring Foundation after all.

Next week’s episode is titled All About Allison: Carrie needs Allison’s help. Quinn’s plans change (again).

Notes and queries

  • “Oriole had flown the coop.” Carrie sounds quite down about having left the CIA.
  • “Now they’re going to die like dogs in the desert.” Quinn is quite the poet when he wants to be.
  • “We won’t be renewing her contract. Of course, don’t let that influence your personal relationship with her. That’s your business.” Is Otto really going to fire Carrie or is there something else going on here? That line he feeds Carrie about Jonas being “earthbound” – “You’re either born with wings or not” – felt almost as if he was suggesting that Jonas wasn’t enough for her. (Here, drive one of my many expensive cars …)
  • “All too stupid and theatrical for words.” Hang on, is Dar reviewing the show or complaining about Saul here?
  • Carrie is a black coffee drinker.
  • “He’s being completely uncooperative.” Dar sounds genuinely surprised that Saul isn’t just spilling the beans on command.
  • “Without it you’d be a beached fish, dying of too much oxygen.” Ivan the charmer.
  • Nice call-back from Carrie to the Mathison family’s cabin in the woods (AKA the Brody shag-pad).
  • “I don’t care how brilliant she is, she’s not a fucking magician.” Ivan doesn’t believe the Oriole hype.
  • “Fuck off!” You really get the impression that Mandy Patinkin and F Murray Abraham have a lot of fun in their scenes together as Saul and Dar.


Richard Vine

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Homeland recap: season four, episode seven – Redux
Senator Lockhart’s back, Saul edges closer to Afghanistan and Carrie is off on a trip of her own …

Gwilym Mumford

23, Nov, 2014 @10:00 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season five, episode five – Better Call Saul
Allison starts the next phase of her covert operation, Carrie keeps up her range of disguises and Quinn takes drastic measures

Richard Vine

09, Nov, 2015 @6:29 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season three, episode seven – Gerontion

Rebecca Nicholson's episode blog: Javadi's murders reverberate, Quinn has fresh moral doubts and Mandy Patinkin brings new insights into Saul's past

Rebecca Nicholson

17, Nov, 2013 @10:00 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season three, episode five – The Yoga Play
Rebecca Nicholson's episode blog: A dodgy subplot creates a diversion from the increasingly vague main storyline and Saul delivers a dignified tongue-lashing

Rebecca Nicholson

03, Nov, 2013 @10:00 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season four, episode five - About a Boy
Gwilym Mumford: As the lines between the personal and professional become blurred for Carrie, Quinn becomes increasingly concerned. It’s not pretty, or entirely believable, but this show is still one to watch

Gwilym Mumford

09, Nov, 2014 @10:05 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season four, episode one – The Drone Queen
Gwilym Mumford: The Homeland ‘reboot’ means no Langley, no Brody (of course), a particularly dislikeable Carrie and a new location in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Are you glad to see it back?

Gwilym Mumford

12, Oct, 2014 @9:05 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season four, episode 11 – Krieg Nicht Lieb
Gwilym Mumford: The penultimate episode of the season saw both Quinn and Carrie reverting to type, despite their best efforts to change. But where does it go from here?

Gwilym Mumford

21, Dec, 2014 @10:15 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season four, episode 10 – 13 Hours in Islamabad
Gwilym Mumford: There’s a jittery energy to Homeland that’s unlike anything on TV right now, and this shocking, action-packed episode was the drama at its expert best

Gwilym Mumford

14, Dec, 2014 @10:00 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season three, episode four – Game On

Rebecca Nicholson's episode blog: A tense and claustrophobic episode with a whiff of David Lynch-style weirdness was an improvement on last week's antics

Rebecca Nicholson

27, Oct, 2013 @10:05 PM

Article image
Homeland recap: season six, episode seven – Imminent Risk
This show really hasn’t lost its ability to shock us, as Dar Adal’s unforgivable past comes to light and Carrie goes into a tailspin after a devastating day

James Donaghy

06, Mar, 2017 @11:26 AM