Homeland: “Parabiosis” Season 5 Episode 6 Review

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Carrie and Saul’s reunion is problematic, leading to the most frustrating episode of the season.

Saul Berenson is a huge prick. If we’re supposed to feel something for him, other than contempt, by the end of “Parabiosis,” then it was completely lost on me. I can see that Homeland is angling its various puzzle pieces into something big, and I’m definitely excited for it, but this episode was a hard pill to swallow. In a season that’s made great strides towards an intriguing new horizon, this was definitely a step back.

I think my distaste for Saul stems from the lack of knowledge we have about the rift between him and Carrie. When we last left them at the end of season 4, she was understandably appalled to discover that he and Dar Adal had been in league with Haqqani. The next time they appear onscreen together, it’s an extremely uncomfortable reunion after she left the CIA. Still, Saul trusts her enough to have her security clearances remain intact.

They haven’t spoken much this season, but the ending of last week’s “Better Call Saul” had me hopeful. These two are always better when they’re working in tandem, and I had anticipated a coming to terms in the face of a larger threat. Instead, Saul basically kicks Carrie to the curb. What. An. Asshole.

But maybe he’s not so bad. The problem is that we don’t really know what happened between the two of them in that large gap of time between season 4 and 5. Is there something that Carrie did that truly pushed him over the edge?

As it stands now, Carrie’s job change seems to have affected Saul so much that he’s decided to lash out at her like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Yes, I get that he was her mentor and that it probably hurt him to see her go. But after all Carrie has been through—after all they’ve been through together—don’t you think he would’ve understood her attempt to have a better life?

I’m usually not a fan of expository dialogue, but a few simple lines outlining how hurt Saul really was could’ve been majorly helpful. Alas, all we see is Carrie try to warn him of the Russians, and to get his help, and for him to flat out refuse. What follows is infuriatingly predictable, because it all could’ve been prevented had he just put his ego aside and listened to what Carrie had to say.

Saul is smart and cunning, but this episode proved that he can be just as blinded by his personal relationships as Carrie. Had he not been so cold toward her, and then later furious at Dar Adal, he might have started to suspect that the one person who connects Russia to the exploding plane to the hit on Carrie is the woman he’s been sleeping with. Notice how he barely bats an eyelash when Allison confesses that she knew he was being followed. He can’t see what’s right in front of him.

The one thing this episode illustrates is how much Carrie and Saul need each other, which makes Saul’s dismissal of her even worse. Both of them are losing allies left and right, though in Carrie’s case, the damage is more personal. Jonas has no more room in his life for her constant questioning and secrecy, and tells her he wants out. Quinn left—more on that in a minute—so as not to further burden her, and her last hope told her she had “put a wall” between them.

What’s interesting is how the two deal with their current isolation. Carrie has every right to be mad at Saul, but instead she blames herself. She feels she’s due some karmic justice, and this is how it’s being dealt. Saul, on the other hand, has too much pride. Eventually he comes to his senses and hands off the rest of the classified documents to Otto During. It’s a tense sequence, but what bugged me was the way Saul shrugged off admitting that Carrie was right and he was wrong. I suppose this could be read a different way; that time was of the essence and that he couldn’t sit and explain everything at that moment. But Mandy Patinkin’s performance indicates otherwise. Saul is doing the right thing to help Carrie move forward, but he clearly is still holding a grudge.

On top of all of this, we’re delivered a C-plot about Quinn being taken in by a group of men headed by Hajik Zayd, a terrorist released from prison because the leak of some of the documents (great f*cking job, Laura…). In an episode that deals with the isolation of its two main characters, this story feels like it exists in another universe entirely.

Quinn may end up being integral to the season’s larger motives moving forward, but it almost would’ve been better if he sat this one out. That would’ve amped up the suspense as to his wellbeing, and allowed for the episode to focus on what it really needed to do: show us why Saul is really mad at Carrie. Because right now, it just seems like he needs to get over himself. Grade: B-

 

Some Other Notes:

 

  • Despite the fact that they’re both playing right into Allison’s hands, the confrontation scene between Dar Adal and Saul is nicely tense. Great acting from both Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham.
  • The scene of Carrie deleting all her daughter’s pictures off her phone is heartbreaking. I love the development of her feelings towards Frannie this season.
  • Quinn is somehow still a badass despite being close to death. Also, legit can someone just take him to an ER already?

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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