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Review: ‘Homeland’ Season 5 Episode 1 ‘Separation Anxiety’ Catches Us Up After the Jump

Review: 'Homeland' Season 5 Episode 1 'Separation Anxiety' Catches Us Up After the Jump

Immediate Reaction

Realizing that the good (?) people at The During Foundation haven’t known Carrie all that long, it still seems rather foolish for them not to listen to an ex-CIA agent who’s known for going all out to get even the craziest plans accomplished when she says, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t go to a Lebanese war zone being overrun by refugees.” Philanthropic efforts that end up with dead people are rarely considered a success, after all. Yet even with this being the focal point of the Season 5 premiere — as well as establishing Carrie’s new life in Berlin —  writers Chip Johannessen and Ted Man along with director Lesli Linka Glatter do a superb job of foreshadowing the fateful events to come and illustrating where Carrie’s at both professionally and emotionally. “Separation Anxiety” may not be the most thrilling way to start Season 5, but it proved to be a telling and effective example of foundation-building. 

Best “Homeland” Twist

In an episode light on twists — as it’s hard to switch gears when you’re still establishing the post-time-jump landscape — two major developments stood out: The first was Carrie and Saul’s bitter dislike for one another, which we’ll touch on later. That leaves the somewhat surprising fact that Carrie’s coworker is also her…live-in boyfriend? Baby’s adopted daddy? Nameless sex slave? Heck, it could be all of the above. Jonas (Alexander Fehling), whose name I only learned via Showtime’s press site, is a strong indication for the normalcy Carrie seems to have brought to her once chaotic life. Considering there’s no way she’ll be able to hold onto such a peaceful status quo (and killing Carrie’s kid might cross a line), this also makes him No. 1 on the Season 5 hit list. What do you think? I’d put the over/under on Jonas’ impending execution at five episodes. 

Crazy Carrie Level: 0/10

Carrie rode a bike to work. Carrie showed genuine love and proper care for her daughter. Carrie spoke clearly, acted cautiously and engaged cheerfully throughout the first episode of “Homeland.” What the hell is going on? Where’s the jazz music? Where’s the drinking? Where’s the screaming, face-reddening mess we’ve grown accustomed to watching? The closest she came to breaking from her “Happy Happy Joy Joy” routine was when Laura Sutton (Sarah Sokolovic) — the reporter who published the data breach illegally linking German and American intelligence services — asked her to verify the documents. (Separate note: No legitimate reporter would publish this information after an argument with an ex-CIA official consisting of, “Don’t do it. Bad things will happen to Group A.” “But what about Group B? Bad things might happen to them, too.”) You could tell she was creeping closer and closer to her incredulous, pro-government surveillance stance of the past, but the sheer stupidity of the person she was dealing with cut the conversation short. So whatever catastrophe that’s going to happen next week — and something will happen — may be what breaks her. Until then, we should enjoy seeing “Happy Carrie” rather than “Crazy Carrie” while we can.

MVP (Most Valuable Performer)

It’s come time to discuss Quinn. Carrie’s former conscience (and lover) has spent the last two years of heartbreak on the ground in Syria heading up a special ops team and basically killing a whole bunch of people. As concerning as it was to hear that Dar Adal is worried about Quinn — who is arguably closer with the agent than Saul — that post-meeting exchange was more troubling for Saul’s lack of compassion than any amount of burn-out Quinn might be suffering. And, boy, is he burned out. There was a time when Quinn would’ve never shown that kind of sass to a superior, but being in the shit will do that to a man (as Saul pointed out) and, frankly, pushing the character to an extreme end of the emotional spectrum is a great thing for the audience. Quinn wasn’t much more than a body until late last year, and noting how he’s fallen into a “Drone Queen”-esque free-fall is an intriguing development for a very likable character (and actor). Rupert Friend is more talented than his role often lets him showcase, so here’s hoping his journey pushes the actor to his limits. Odds are his result won’t be the same as Carrie, but how and where his new assassination assignment pushes him should be fun to follow. 

Quote of the Night

“You’re being naive and stupid.
Something you never were before.” – Saul, to Carrie

Woah, Saul! Hold it right there. First of all, that’s too far. Secondly, it’s absolutely not true. Carrie has done plenty of naive and stupid things. Hell, she’s known for them! She hooked up with a suspected terrorist, fell in love with him, helped him escape U.S. authorities and had his baby. And don’t get me started about all that jazz music. So let’s just slow your roll with those prodding insults. Carrie’s fragile psyche can’t withstand your selfish, psychological attacks.

In all seriousness, the exchange between “Homeland’s” two remaining main characters was a tough one to navigate. On the one hand, Carrie has clearly shut down a part of herself that used to be the defining element. What she calls “good work” very well may be for anyone else — or not, if Saul’s suspicions about the foundation are based in truth — but Carrie was born to be a CIA field agent. She went too far two years ago, but abandoning it entirely may not be the healthiest choice. However, it does seem to be working. Even Saul would be hard-pressed to see Carrie’s life as worse off than it was when she was with the agency. Ultimately, his frustrations are with himself and his own failings, but that doesn’t mean his words won’t have an affect on Carrie. 

Grade: B+

READ MORE: Review: ‘Homeland’ Season 5 Delves Into Its Wild, Mysterious Roots

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