Homeland Season 5 Episode 9 Review: “The Litvinov Ruse”

Homeland

Episodes like “The Litvinov Ruse” are powerful reminders of what Homeland can do when it’s firing on all cylinders. Sure, not everything in tonight’s hour works (there’s still the problem of Quinn’s storyline being completely disconnected from everything else that’s going on in the show). However, all of the material having to do with Carrie and Saul’s operation to take down Allison works like gangbusters.

Watching Carrie and Saul back together again, working as a team, is great on its own merits; Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin are never better than when they’re sharing scenes together, as proven by Carrie and Saul’s incredibly emotional reunion. The looks that both Danes and Patinkin give, before Carrie breaks down crying and Saul tells here to “come here,” are so simple and yet so powerful. It’s an almost wordless exchange, but in just a few moments, we completely believe that their broken relationship has been repaired.

The strong emotional scenes in this week’s Homeland continue when Saul, as a part of the plan concocted by him, Carrie, and the BND, visits Allison and lies, saying that he wanted to tell her goodbye before he leaves for Israel in the morning. It’s all a ploy by Saul to plant bugs in Allison’s purse and phone; however, it’s still clear how conflicted he is about the situation. Allison is a woman that, as Saul sincerely tells her, woke him up after he “was asleep for 10 years”; she’s been able to bring love and happiness back into his life after his troubled marriage with Mira came to an end. Saul doesn’t want to believe the worst of Allison, yet he knows that what he’s doing to her is necessary.

Saul’s interactions with Allison walk that fine line between real intimacy and “playing the part,” an area that Homeland excellently explored throughout a season-plus with Carrie and Brody. Here, although it’s a less significant instance with Saul and Allison, the series is able to recapture its ability to mine great drama from incredibly complex emotional situations. Every word that Saul says to Allison, every reaction he has to what she does while the BND tracks her packs more of a punch because of what we know about him as a character and his connection to her; it adds more depth to the tense scenes of Allison attempting to go on the run, which, even though no one is technically chasing her, are super exciting.

Ultimately, both Allison and Ivan end up trapped, as the BND team captures them at the SVR safe house, but as we see near the end of “The Litvinov Ruse,” the resilient double agent isn’t out of plays yet, trying to trick Dar Adal into believing that she’s actually been working to get intel for the CIA this whole time. Even if Allison and Ivan’s partnership was mutually beneficial for both of their careers (and possibly their governments), it doesn’t excuse their recent acts of violence. But since Dar has so must distrust in both Saul and Carrie, it wouldn’t surprise me if he bought into everything that Allison was saying and let her go. No matter what, here’s hoping for some more explosive emotional moments between her, Saul, and Carrie next week.

But will the CIA even have time to interrogate Allison if a major attack on Berlin occurs? The ISIS terrorists that captured Quinn have obtained sarin gas and appear to be ready to use it very soon after first testing it out on him in the final moments of this week’s Homeland.

Now, is Quinn dead? I highly doubt it, considering Qasim injects him with the counteragent (which is supposed to “limit” the effects of the gas), but Homeland will need to provide a good reason for why he ends the episode foaming at the mouth, seemingly having been killed by the gas. It’s a solid cliffhanger to cap off of a very strong episode, but the show is going to need to explain how Quinn is able to get himself out of yet another tricky situation. And furthermore, with only three episodes left in Season 5, Homeland is soon going to have to begin connecting its separate stories, hopefully providing a fantastic finish to what has been a highly enjoyable season of the Showtime spy drama.

What did everyone else think about this week’s episode of Homeland? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Stephan Rabold/Showtime]

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