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Homeland - Separation Anxiety - Review: "The Calm Before..."

Homeland’s up to an incredibly slow start, with their Season 5 Premiere. “Separation Anxiety” wasn’t bad; it just lacked the anxiety portion the title hinted at, which I have come to expect and love from this show. Season Five starts off two and a half years after the closing moments of season 4, in Germany. This premiere, like the previous two, gives the impression of a set up for things to come, more than a storyline in itself. We were reacquainted with the characters, their lives and their motives, but it lacked the thrilling, heart-pounding moments or gut-wrenching dialogue which usually characterizes this show.

Although I’m enjoying the set-up, I’m hoping the pace quickens considerably by the next episode. Even though it seemed like a set up, I’m still hella confused about where they are going with it, but it seems they are taking the Edward Snowden real life storyline to the screen. This season seems like a different kind of war for the CIA. Is the war between the CIA and the terrorists over? Ha, kidding. I’m pretty sure it’s coming.

“You can take a girl out of the CIA, but you know…” –Laura Sutton

New season, new settings and new intrigue, but more importantly, new Carrie. The first episode of Homeland’s fifth episode showed us a more rounded, seemingly balanced Carrie, with a job, a healthy relationship with a lawyer boyfriend and red-head, considerably cuter, daughter, and more importantly a bike. Carrie Mathison on a bike definitely made me laugh. How long is this persona going to last? How long can Carrie Mathison really keep her sh*t together?

There are new characters, new settings, but also some familiar faces. Carrie’s out of the CIA but Saul and Quinn are in it more than ever. Back at the CIA Headquarters at Langley in Virginia, Quinn is about to brief the higher ups on his 28 month stint in Syria, with Saul, the European Division Chief, and Dal Adar present. For more than two years, Quinn was part of a Special Forces Team working through surgical interventions against the Islamic state. The meeting was simple yet powerful. There was no background music; a simplistic décor and a smooth flow of calm detached words coming out of Quinn’s mouth. It made the emotion, the dialogue even more powerful and showcased how much Quinn has evolved.

“What strategy? Tell me what the strategy is, I’ll tell you if it’s working… See. That right there is the problem because they, they have a strategy. They’re gathering right now, in Rocca by the tens of thousands, hidden in the civilian population, cleaning their weapons and they know exactly why they’re there.” -Quinn

The best moments of the episode had to be with Quinn. He shone in every scene he was in. The time gap definitely changed him, all he’s seen in Syria changed him. He’s colder, he’s detached and he became the person he was trying to run from last season. He’s ready to hit the reset button and pound Rocca into a parking lot, if that's what is decided. He became a hired assassin, a hitman. Without any protection form the CIA, working by himself, he just doesn’t seem to care anymore. Men, women or children, he's up to whatever Saul asks of him.

“Two years in the shit, Dar. What do you expect?” –Saul

Quinn was in the war zone for two years but after her last stint as Station Chief in Islamabad, Carrie, no longer in the CIA, works as a security specialist for a foundation. She's leading a considerably more normal and grounded life. Her newly developed troubles seem to come from her billionaire protégée wanting to march straight into a war zone, to a refugee camp in Lebanon. In trying to coordinate his safe passage, Carrie gets thrown into a car and blindfolded, but ultimately, gets the help she asks for. Adding to her woes is a visit from a one of her coworkers, a journalist from the Düring Foundation. The woman received from the “Douchebag” hacker introduced in the beginning of the episode, several top secret CIA documents that reveal how Germany is using American Intelligence to spy on its population. Carrie is stuck in the middle, fitting no-where, with the Saul calling her a traitor and Laura stating she still works for the CIA. Slowly Carrie is getting pulled back into her old life, and I have to wonder how it will affect her mental status. For now, my initial impression on a hacktivist storyline is that it will lack the thrill of earlier seasons, but marching into a refugee camp should up the stakes and heighten the level of heart pumping moments within the show.

“Well you’re not. You’re being naïve and stupid, something you never were before.” - Saul

The hack of the Berlin CIA Station brings Saul to Germany. The impromptu meeting between Saul and Carrie, who are no longer on speaking terms, was tense. It makes me eager to learn more about what happened between them. Saul feels betrayed by his long time protégé and I’m excited to see them mend the bridges between them as they will surely need to work together in the upcoming episodes because by the end of the “Seperation Anxiety”, Saul, Carrie and Quinn are in Germany so we all know its headed to a meeting of the power trio, in probable dire conditions. I'm anxiously awaiting this moment.

Right now, I’m not a fan of the new characters. I feel like they don’t bring anything truly tangible to the storyline. I hope they will grow on me. What’s your take on them?

What’s up with Carrie and church? Did I miss something?

I'm a fan of one part of the storyline, the other I hope dies off sooner rather than later. What are your thoughts on the new storyline?


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