Homeland: “Oriole” Season 5 Episode 7 Review

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Season 5’s mysteries begin to unfold, and with them come a million more questions.

“Oriole” opens with a frantic Allison rushing to her SVR contact Ivan’s place to discuss the possibility of Carrie still being alive. She’s extremely anxious, because it seems that all her hard work could come tumbling down at the drop of a hat.

Really, though, I don’t see why she’s so nervous. She’s clearly got everyone wrapped around her finger. Saul confesses to her that he did indeed steal the breached documents and give them to Carrie, and later Carrie herself calls to set up a meeting between the two of them. Ivan actually believes this con has worked out so well that she could one day be CIA director. Hopefully, someone will wise up before that happens.

Miranda Otto has been fantastic in her performance this season, but what bugs me the most about Allison is out little we know about her. At seven episodes in, it still feels like she’s just doing Ivan’s bidding and it’s causing her to get serious stress headaches. Ivan, at one point, mentions that it’s this sort of elaborate scheme that she gets off on, but that’s not really enough of a reason for her to be risking her life in this way. I like the idea of Allison being the season’s villain, especially a morally conflicted one, but I need to understand her reasons for going as far as she has before I can really buy it.

A similar problem arises with Carrie as she uncovers a part of the documents that relates to her. Apparently an old Iraqi contact had tried to reach out to her five years ago, but she never got the message. He wanted to tell her that Abdul Nazari, an Iraqi lawyer who was presumed dead, is still alive. Carrie, with the help of Numan, is able to track him to Amsterdam, and heads there to see why he faked his death, and what he knows that needed to be kept a secret from her.

All of this plays out in a very exciting fashion, especially in the later Amsterdam scenes where Carrie narrowly escapes his estate and witnesses the unfortunate casualty of her cab driver accomplice in the process. The problem is, that we still have no idea who Nazari really is and what information he has that’s so vital to Carrie, so the narrative lacked a sense of relevance.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s thrilling to watch Carrie get closer and closer each week to solving this puzzle, and I’m certainly intrigued as to where this Nazari thread will lead. Still, we’re nearing the home stretch of the season, and I feel like there’s so much ground left to cover. The reason why “Super Powers” was such a stellar episode is because it forced Carrie to delve into her uncomfortable past. Introducing a new character this late in the game could prove ineffective, so I’m hoping that somehow Nazari is connected to something important and recognizable. For now, we’re all just waiting with baited breath.

Luckily, “Oriole” is much more tightly paced than last week’s “Parabiosis,” and even though I was left with a general sense of confusion, it doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down. It’s frustrating, of course, to not have a handle on where this season is headed—mainly because this is a series that has a history of going haywire at a moment’s notice—but the story isn’t any less interesting. Everyone continues to deliver captivating performances, and the writers certainly know how to build suspense. I just hope the payoff is worth the wait. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes

  • Saul has officially defected and has gone up several points in my book since last week.
  • Miranda Otto’s reaction when Saul tells her he gave the documents to Carrie is so perfect that I actually thought to myself, “this is exactly how I would react in that situation.” My next thought was then, “I think it’s safe to say I will never be in that particular situation.”
  • Off on his own again is Peter Quinn, who is working on a double agent mission of his own. His story feels miles away from anything going on with Carrie and Saul, so I don’t particularly care, although it is interesting that the show is choosing not to bring him back closer to Carrie for another shot at romance. Oh well, there’s always Jonas.
  • Speaking of Jonas, can someone explain to me the very bizarre scene between him and Otto Düring where Otto tells him they won’t be renewing Carrie’s contract at the firm because she’s too erratic? Up until that point, it seemed like Otto was encouraging Carrie to continue down the path she was on, even chastising Jonas for having “both his feet stuck on the ground.” Is Otto trying to push Jonas out of the picture and make a play for Carrie himself? It can’t be that simple, can it?
  • Most decent human beings, upon realizing that their truth-seeking efforts were getting people killed and causing terrorists to be released from prison, would probably change their MO. Yet, Laura Sutton, patron saint of the incredibly obnoxious, continues to whine about how the documents should all be published. SHE NEEDS TO GO AWAY.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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