Homeland: “New Normal” Season 5 Episode 10 Review

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Homeland stalls for time before the season finale.

This was, without a doubt, the most boring episode of the season, and that’s saying something considering a major character almost met his death. Homeland‘s pacing has been all over the place this year, meaning we’ll never know if an episode is going to have the breakneck speed of last week’s “The Litinov Ruse,” or if we’re going to get something agonizingly slow like this week.

“New Normal” is immensely frustrating, especially when you think of the high that season 5 started out on. There was a lot of potential in moving Carrie and her crew to Berlin and hitting the reset button, but episodes like this make me think that we’re not going to see it utilized any time soon.

No one buys Allison’s cover story for a second, except for Dar Adal. This, in and of itself, is weird because of how the show had previously positioned their relationship. Dar let Saul know when Allison went above his head to fight for her job, because their friendship has a lot of history. Now, all of a sudden, he’s the first one to side with her and overlook the discrepancies in her story (nice shoutout to David Estes). Yes, Dar and Saul have been on very thin ice lately, but Saul is able to bring proof that he was in no way involved in the plane bombing. To have Dar react this way feels extremely odd.

Saul himself is also un-characteristically emotional, making Allison’s comment about how he’s “the angriest man” she’s ever known carry a little more weight. He certainly is not someone who’s above raising his voice in a tense situation, but repeatedly shoving Allison against the wall was ridiculous, not to mention unprofessional. It also gives Dar even more cause to side with her, making the whole sequence a nauseating experience. Basically, everyone knows Allison is guilty, but is now being forced to act like everything is normal. Homeland is majorly spinning its wheels here before the finale, and it’s a shame to see the show try and kill time like this when it previously would go for the gut almost immediately.

Quinn’s fate is sort of kept a mystery until the end, when it is revealed how barely alive he is. I say sort of because there’s no reason this show would’ve included a scene where he gets injected with an antidote to the sarin gas if he wasn’t going to survive it. I will say that it’s nice to see his plot thread being given a sense of urgency, but the whole thing is handled pretty poorly, so he again is relegated to a storyline no one is that invested in.

Speaking of invested, Carrie’s return to caring for Quinn came off feeling very forced. Apparently she was checking hospitals for him, but since we never actually saw her do the work, it still seems like she forgot about him for a while (9 days, to be exact) and then went back to looking for him again. Yes, Claire Danes’ reaction to watching the full video of his sarin gas attack was well done, but the show hasn’t given their relationship much meat this season, so it’s difficult to get behind her heartbreak. The final shot of him in a hospital bed is quite lovely, but with everything else going on, who even knows if they have a chance at being together.

Overall, “New Normal” is easily the weakest episode of the season so far, which is disappointing since we’re so close to what I’m hoping will be a big finish. If this is the show’s new version of normal, then I’m not sure I want to stick around much longer. Grade: C-

 

Some Other Notes:

  • When Laura started her speech with “Fifteen years ago, my country was attacked…” I had to literally fight back the urge to break my screen. There are certain TV characters who are so terrible that you almost wish they were real so you could punch them in the face. Right now, I can’t think of any of them because Laura f*cking Sutton is just consuming my mind with rage. She is the worst.
  • Astrid’s “9 days?” reaction when Carrie reveals how long Quinn has been missing is exactly how I’d react. Like, what have you been doing this whole time, girl?
  • Also, Carrie’s random algorithm that helps them locate Quinn and the terrorist sell is a bit deus ex machina. Good thing she just had that one in her back pocket for this particular situation.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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