After last week’s excellent episode, this was a little disappointing. Carrie is looking through the documents Saul smuggled to Otto Düring, trying to work out – as we all are – why something in them would make the Russians want to kill her. She finds a reference to herself under an old code name – Oriole – and gets in touch with an old contact in Baghdad, who tells her that he saw Ahmed Nazari, a presumed-dead Iraqi lawyer and CIA asset, walking about very much alive. With a swift assist from Numan Ahmed is traced to Amsterdam, although that gives office nemesis Laura the opportunity to aim more snark at Carrie.
Meantime Saul is being unsuccessfully interrogated by Dar Adal – doesn’t he have people to do that for him? – who then lets Allison have a go, because she’s such a fantastic spy that she’s completely fooled everyone. Once they’re alone Saul admits to Allison that he was taking the documents out for Carrie, because – guess what, Allison? – Carrie’s still alive. Whereupon Allison has a meltdown. Way to cover up your feelings, Allison.
Quinn – who, it will be recalled, last week killed the king to become the king – still has his merry band of jihadis in his thrall. He suggests they might be better calling off their Berlin attack and going to Syria, and they (a) totally agree and (b) offer him cash money to take them there. He relays all of this to Dar, who encourages him to go, as it will get him close to a CIA target. And Düring continues to give Carrie anything she wants, then tells Jonas that she’s unbalanced – fair comment, you’d have to say – and that her contract with the Foundation won’t be renewed. Is he appropriately discussing staffing matters with a senior and trusted colleague, or is he trying to put Jonas off Carrie so he can tap that?
It’s all a little ponderous. Things improve, though, later in the episode. Carrie goes to Amsterdam – always a pleasure to see it as far as I’m concerned – and hits up an old Iraqi buddy, now driving a taxi, who takes her to Ahmad’s house. She searches it and finds a laptop, but before she can take a good look at it she’s interrupted by two heavies sent by the Russians, also trying to get something out of Ahmad’s house. Meantime Ahmad himself, walking his doggie in Flevopark, is picked up by Team Russia; and Carrie’s taxi-driver friend has his throat cut. Ew. Carrie – who we might soon be able to take off the list of people who haven’t worked out what Allison is up to – phones Allison and they agree to meet.
Saul and Dar exchange some final pleasantries. Dar: “She finally brought you down, like I always said she would”; Saul: “Fuck off” – all for show? And Saul is being escorted to the airport when he’s snatched by a gang of masked gunmen. He’s incredibly un-surprised, though, which makes sense when he’s taken to his old buddy Etai, the Israeli ambassador. So, given that Saul swiftly alludes to the fact that he’s defecting, it was presumably a pre-agreed Mossad extraction.
Except I don’t buy it, not really, which is at the heart of my problem with this season. My persistent belief that someone’s at the long con is because none of it quite hangs together. Is Allison the spyingest spy in the history of spying, or the person who has a panic attack on hearing that Carrie is still alive? Is no-one troubled by the glaring conflict of interest which has Allison simultaneously investigating and shagging Saul? Are Dar and Saul – allies for thirty years – actually falling out, and is Saul prepared to invalidate his entire career and defect to Israel, all for Carrie’s sake? And can they really not see through Allison? Is Otto just driven by the thought of Düring the do with Carrie, or is he pulling strings that we haven’t seen yet? Why is Quinn trapped in the absurd jihadi plot? And, above all, what’s so important about the information Ahmad has? After all this, it had better be pretty darned good.