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Review: ‘Homeland’ Season 5 Episode 4 ‘Why Is This Night Different?’ Pulls One Over on Everyone

Review: 'Homeland' Season 5 Episode 4 'Why Is This Night Different?' Pulls One Over on Everyone

Immediate Reaction

With Allison (Mirando Otto) finally outed for the double-crossing traitor she’s seemed like from the start, the question then becomes, “Does Saul know about her secret operation?” Just as Carrie doubted her old mentor put her name on a hit list, it feels instinctually unlikely that Saul would want her dead. The “Homeland” writers’ room did a fine job setting Saul up as a more unlikable figure than he’s been in prior seasons — what with his harsh words for Carrie and icky relationship with Allison — but this is crossing a line, even for a man attempting to assassinate a Middle Eastern dictator (because that always goes well). 

If we’re to assume he’s being double-crossed, then we have to ask what Allison has to gain by getting rid of Carrie. For all intents and purposes, she’s out of the picture. Her only connection to Allison’s business comes with the data leak, but Carrie’s employer can only be associated with that through the reporter, Laura Sutton (Sara Sokolovic), who would be an easier and more obvious target. Even if Allison thinks Carrie is taking revenge on the CIA by orchestrating the data leak, why try to kill her before hauling her ass in for information? Plus, she had to know Quinn wouldn’t go through with it, unless her spy skills are drastically less thorough than we’ve been made to believe this far. 

I’m guessing an argument will come up when Saul is informed of her plan, and Allison will claim to have gone forward with the mission because she knew Saul wouldn’t do it. But why she had to is still the mystery I’m more keen to uncover.

Best “Homeland” Twist

Having already discussed the major twist that relates to our main character, Carrie, let’s turn our attention to the assassination of the wrong Syrian leader. General Youssef seemed to be going along with everything Saul (and supposedly Allison) intended, but then his plane lit up the night sky like a firework. The $10 million in cash to buy allies and the man meant to replace the existing Syrian dictator disappeared faster than Saul could say, “Well, that was a waste,” but who ordered the hit remains in question. Allison seems like the prime suspect, given she was at the scene at the time of the accident and she’s obviously working for someone other than Saul, possibly even a power outside the CIA. She also didn’t seem too surprised when the plane blew up, even if her mind was on another matter (Carrie and Quinn). So, yeah, it seems safe to say she planted the bomb. But that’s forgetting nothing can be assumed when it comes to “Homeland.”

Crazy Carrie Level: 3/10

Those eyes, man. When Carrie woke up from her chokehold-assisted cat nap, she was absolutely bugging out. I mean, who looks at a light bulb like that? Sure, it’s a high-efficiency thing with those weird curly-q’s, but it’s still just a light bulb, Carrie. Calm down! Thankfully, she did just that when Quinn walked in, even when the first thing he did was cut open his palm and smear blood on her face. A simple but effective ruse, for sure, and one right up Carrie’s crazy ally. Still, she remained pretty calm and collected throughout most of “Why Is This Night Different?” — but those eyes will always haunt me.

LVC (Least Valuable Character)

This week we’re going to go the opposite way with this section because, frankly, Laura Sutton is one of the worst characters in “Homeland” history. It has to be addressed. In a show stocked with talented actors portraying complex individuals, every so often there’s still a fly in the ointment. While it’s not actress Sarah Sokolovic’s fault (she seems to get how screwed up Laura really is), I don’t think we’ve encountered anyone this annoying since Dana Brody thankfully left the screen. Sure, Laura is the journalist who’s kicking tires and lighting fires over this data leak, but she’s also a frustratingly stupid individual for someone we’re supposed to believe is the opposite.

Forgetting her blindingly subjective viewpoints on everything — remember her circular reasoning when trying to get Carrie to help identify the leaked documents? — let’s examine her latest befuddling stance in Episode 5. In approaching Jonas for a favor, she asks about his girlfriend before quickly saying Otto (their boss) should “fire her ass.” Why? “She didn’t do her job, which was to make sure he was safe in the first place.” When Jonas counters with the obvious answer, “She advised him not to go,” Laura stares at him as if he’s so blinded by his love for Carrie, he can’t understand basic logic. Obviously, she has it backward, but the lack of this acknowledgment on screen makes her an infuriating figure. Apparently being a crack reporter and good employee means not knowing about the inherent dangers of the border crisis or doing exactly what your boss orders you to do. 

Moreover, her approach to finding her hacker contact is risking another hacker’s limited freedom. While visiting Sevina (Janina Biohm-Sievers), her roommate tells Laura one condition of the hacker’s house arrest is not speaking to reporters. If she does, she’ll go to jail. Jail, Laura! Does that not matter to you? Is that just a little side effect in your pursuit of a story already proven? Guess what, Laura? There are no computers in jail, and, oh, I don’t know, it’s a pretty terrible place to go just for introducing one anti-government, hate-spewing “journalist” to a source (Numan, played by Atheer Adel) who, for all she knows, doesn’t want to talk to her after having met her once before. I get it, Numan. I don’t want to see her again either.

Quote of the Night

“The last two years everywhere I went, I looked for you.
I never stopped trying to find you.” – Carrie

I gotta say, when I first heard the above line, my initial reaction was skepticism. Carrie is someone who can pretty much find anyone she wants if she sets her mind to it, but more importantly, Quinn represents a part of her past life that she needed to avoid. It’s not that Quinn is a bad guy — clearly, he’s not — but being a mother was her priority (as evidenced by that moving direct-to-camera address midway through the episode). That means she can’t go jet-setting across Europe, searching dangerous countries in political upheaval for a man she maybe, kinda loved. 

But then she went ahead and proved her commitment to Quinn at the end of the episode. Sure, even The Drone Queen would’ve helped Quinn up off the street and cleaned up his wound, but the fierce devotion professed in the line, “I’m not leaving. I’m not,” really sold her connection to him. That being said, I’m still not on board the Quinn & Carrie love train. It was a questionable call last season, and it remains lacking in romance this season. Hopefully, they don’t force it, even if Quinn & Carrie team up professionally (which would be great!).

Grade: B+

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