Homeland: The Litvinov Ruse
December 1, 2015 11:18 AM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The CIA and BND make a play, while Quinn reaches a terrifying discovery.
posted by roolya_boolya (7 comments total)
This was a great episode. I love extended sequences on spy shows devoted to what they call tradecraft - particularly counter-survalience techniques like we see Allison engaging in. It's great fun to watch.

Allison telling Ivan to think was a good hook, and I wasn't able to predict the plan they came up with, which ultimately made a lot of sense.

Carrie's reunion with Saul at the start was moving. So happy to see them reconciled. I do take serious issue with the AV Club's review:
Carrie and Quinn’s interactions in “Why Is This Night Different?” were moving and affecting, but Saul and Carrie will always be Homeland’s most shippable pair.
Either the reviewer doesn't know what shipping means, or they couldn't possibly be more wrong (or more gross), since Saul is her father-figure.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:13 PM on December 1, 2015

Allison and Ivan's ruse is superficially clever, but it doesn't bear scrutiny. It doesn't help Ivan at all. In the normal scheme of things, Ivan would be deported back to Russia and Allison would be arrested. This way, Ivan will be expected to provide intelligence, which his bosses would never, ever want him to do, and the best it would get him would be carefully monitored life outside of Russia where he would only be a liability for them even if he remained loyal. Meanwhile, it can't possibly deflect suspicion from Allison for very long because she's never actually been running Ivan and no one else at the CIA has ever known about this. If the show has an answer to this, it will probably be something dumb, such as that someone in the agency, perhaps the director who was killed in the bomb, knew about it.

It can't possibly fool anyone long enough to make a difference for Allison and there's no benefit at all to Ivan.

This show frustrates me because it occasionally gets some stuff very right -- when they want to, they do the tradecraft very well. (But they often do it poorly -- The Americans is much, much better and more consistent at this, probably because the showrunner actually worked at the CIA.) And it's pretty amazing that part of the arc this year is about a major ISIS operation in Western Europe. But then the show can be so dumb and contrived, too.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:00 PM on December 1, 2015

Not to mention that why would a "defector" ask his runner from the enemy org to arrive alone to a safehouse of his soon-to-be ex-employer to "bring him in".
posted by Gyan at 9:49 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, on what basis was the Russian arrested? The BND arranged for a warrant for Allison, because they are US allies and Saul asked for their help, but they didn't know who would be the other party. There was no exchange of materials that the surveillance captured. Can't the SVR station chief simply be receiving the CIA station chief for an informal tete-a-tete?
posted by Gyan at 10:07 PM on December 1, 2015

I liked this episode! Particularly liked Saul being able to play Mata Hari, his seductive ways allowing him to plant the (very effective) surveillance package on Allison. Agreed that while Allison's last minute save with Ivan was clever, it's not going to last very long.

The future is Quinn batting his Morse code eyelashes at the camera while spitting up sarin vomit... forever.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 PM on December 5, 2015

Lesson from Allison's predicament: beware of the lure of the high-end handbag.
Lessons from Ivan's: beware of welcoming somebody who is being followed by a drone.
posted by rongorongo at 5:52 AM on December 7, 2015

Chekhov's autoinjector.
posted by ubiquity at 6:45 AM on December 8, 2015

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