To Beirut, then, with Carrie and Team Düring – this week with added Max Beesley. Although Carrie has already negotiated, in Berlin, safe passage to the refugee camp from Hezbollah – earning her some snark from the commander of the UN peacekeeping forces – she’s also experienced enough to have brought with her a backpack stuffed with cash money. So she gets Hez-hustled through the streets of Beirut, past some remarkably authentic-looking graffiti – I’m guessing the producers got someone in? – pays off the branch office, and they’re in.
There’s an important proviso, though: only for an hour, they can only be protected in the camp for an hour. One hour. No more. We get told this so often that, as in Cinderella, we know there will be repercussions if they miss the deadline by as much as a second. Which, of course, they do: Düring wants to do a bit of flesh-pressing, and when he’s eventually being driven away Carrie’s Spidey-senses tingle, so she stops the convoy; sure enough, a bomb goes off, and everyone survives because of Carrie’s instincts.
It’s assumed that Düring was the target, and plans are made to move him out of Beirut stat. Carrie announces that she’ll be staying behind, though, giving the frankly unconvincing reason that she wants to investigate who was behind the attack, because whoever it is could follow Düring back to Berlin. It’s logic which really doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, and my guess is that Carrie just can’t turn down an opportunity to get back into the field, particularly given that Frannie is back home being looked after by lawyer boyfriend Jonas (who might as well, incidentally, be wearing a red shirt, so doomed is he). This handily means that Carrie is in Beirut when one of her contacts tells her that she, not Düring, was the target. Of course, this would normally give her an even better excuse to get the hell out, but I suspect that Carrie will instead interpret it as the perfect reason to stay.
Two more Carrie observations before we head for Berlin: did I imagine there to be a few sparks between her and Düring, certainly more than there are between her and nice-but-dull Jonas? And can we surmise that old Company buddy Hank, who unsuccessfully approaches her looking for intel on Hezbollah, will be back ere long?
Meantime, back in Berlin, Carrie’s office nemesis, the strangely unlikeable Laura, goes on TV to brag about her scoop. This tests the patience of our old friend Astrid (the magnificent Nina Hoss), who as well as being an old squeeze of Quinn’s, is now leading the investigation into the leak. She orders Laura’s arrest in order to try and find out her source. “I’m an American citizen”, snaps Laura. “You have no right to hold me. I want my lawyer. Did you hear me? I want my lawyer!” Astrid is no whit abashed: “I heard you. You have a loud voice”.
Saul, too, is on manoeuvres: he is quite properly unconvinced that a photo of Carrie and Laura together proves that Carrie was in on the leak – they do, after all, work in the same place – but he knows that the Germans need a head on a spike as a consequence of the breach of security. The selected head is that of Allison, CIA bureau chief in Berlin, but she doesn’t go quietly: first, she wonders aloud whether Saul would have sacrificed Carrie in similar circumstances, or whether he would have fought to protect her; thereafter, she goes behind Saul’s back to Dar Adal, suggesting that Saul himself might be offered up. I’ve never been quite clear about Adal’s position in the CIA hierarchy, but he’s presumably senior enough to follow that suggestion: he certainly give every impression of giving it judicious consideration.
It’s Quinn’s plot, though, which in due course might turn out to be the most significant of all. For much of the episode it seems to be something of an afterthought: he’s following Fatima, suspected terrorist, around Berlin. He watches her apparently recruiting other terrorists, then puts a bullet between her eyes with a minimum of fuss; job’s a good ‘un. Thereafter, though, he’s given the name of his next target, and it seems to be Carrie.
Now, this throws up a few issues. First: as far as we (and Quinn?) are aware, it’s Saul and only Saul who’s identifying Quinn’s wetwork targets. Is there a universe in which Saul would order the killing of Carrie? And while we recall Allison’s accusation earlier in this episode, we also remember that, last week, Saul appeared to blame Carrie for his failure to become the Director of the CIA, and the photographs with Laura this week. But no, I’m not buying it.
Which means that someone else wants Carrie dead: is it the same person/organisation who was behind the bomb in Beirut, or yet another enemy? Where, for example, is the always-elusive Dar Adal in all this? But presumably he (and Saul, for that matter) would both know that Quinn, even amoral killing-machine Quinn, is just about the last person on the planet who would kill Carrie in cold blood…? I won’t pretend it isn’t intriguing, and it gave ‘The Tradition Of Hospitality’, an otherwise fascinating but often low-key episode, a memorable conclusion, even if I have misgivings about how the writers can plausibly get out of this one.