And just like that, Homeland may be changed forever.
Until the final scene on Homeland Season 5 Episode 2, it wasn't really clear to what degree the interpersonal relationships between our three lead characters had disintegrated. It doesn't appear there is any way to mistake that now.
Let's take a look at just how bad things seem to have become for Saul, Quinn and Carrie.
This episode is a bit of a segue between Homeland Season 5 Episode 1 and Homeland Season 5 Episode 3. It's not so much about adding story, serving as a catapult from one to the other, but thrilling and shocking nonetheless.
Allison showed Saul photos of Laura Sutton and Carrie, sharing her belief that due to shared employment by Otto During, Carrie could be party to the CIA data breach. It's a bit of a stretch, but there wasn't much of an argument either way.
Things got worse when Saul decided someone had to fall on their sword on behalf the CI and that someone would be Allison. She wanted him to give to her the same consideration he used to give to Carrie Mathison. There's a bit of hostility brewing between these two women that wasn't apparent when they met.
Allison: If I were Carrie Mathison, what would you be doing right now?
Saul: Excuse me?
Allison: You heard me.
Saul: Exactly what I am doing.
Allison: Bullshit. The gloves would be off, you'd be protecting her at all costs, no matter what she did, no matter how royally she screwed off. [Saul protests] Well guess what, she's gone Saul, so start showing some fucking allegiance to the people who stuck around to support you.
It seems even after two years, the stories of Saul and Carrie still reverberate throughout the CIA. Even so, Saul played dumb as he listened to Allison, almost as if he chose not remember how close he and Carrie once were. Looking back, however, you have to wonder how these two incidents together might have weighed on his decision to put an envelope into that box.
Quinn is a hunter. He takes envelopes out of a box, hunts down his prey and kills them. He doesn't bat an eyelash. He's cold and ruthless. It's very hard to love the man he is now, yet it's also impossible to forget who he wanted so desperately to become before he ran away again when given the opportunity by Dar Adal.
I had to wonder whether it was a conscious decision on the part of the showrunners to steer away from Quinn killing any of the three teenage girls, murdering only the ISIL recruiter. That was so cold. So calculating. Yet not at all brutal. He's just doing a job, as if he was doing any other. Were we ready to see Quinn that far gone?
It appears they were saving that dark and dreary path for a far more harrowing target. Carrie Mathison.
Like Saul is tied to Carrie, Carrie is still tied to the CIA and Saul. Running into someone in Lebanon, he was certain her job with the During Foundation was a Trojan Horse to drag her back inside. But when the man wanted information from her, she refused to compromise her CIA clearance. She's by the book now.
So Carrie found herself back in a war zone, and even with her spur of the moment planning and meeting with Hezbollah, Otto was still only granted an hour for his speech to present a $10 million check and a tour of the refugee area. She's more of a planner now, so you could sense her frustration, her hesitancy and anxiety.
But even being away from the action for two years, Carrie hadn't lost her instincts. When it seemed the shit was going to hit the fan, she felt it in her bones and sprung into action. Once more, she was sparkling with electricity being in the thick of it, but that didn't stop her from breaking down and asking God to help her through. This is definitely a different Carrie than we're used to seeing in the field.
But nothing could prepare her for being told that she was the target of the assassination attempt.
Saul, Quinn and Carrie
Was it Saul's inability to get out of the shadows of his relationship with Carrie and his belief that she may be involved with breach that made him put that envelope into the box for Quinn? Well, after a failed attempt to kill her in Lebanon, of course. While there is always the possibility that it could be Dar Adal pulling the strings, it didn't seem as though anyone had access to the box but Saul and Quinn.
As for Quinn, there was a fraction of a millisecond when he hesitated upon seeing the name he was writing before driving off. Nothing more. Mathison is just another name on his kill list.
Carrie, meanwhile, is going to be overcome with the need to find out who wants her dead, and in order to do that, she's going to go off of her meds because she's sharper and more focused, at least for a little while.
How did these three people, who once trusted each other with their lives more than any others in the world, get to this point? Who is this new Saul, so ruthless and cold? Quinn wanted nothing more than to find his way back to normal life, and now he may be too far gone to ever return again. Only Carrie, nine months sober and going to church, seems to have found an inner peace, but at the hands of these two men, it's about to be disrupted again.
This was a difficult hour to watch with a shocking conclusion, but you ain't seen nothin' yet. What did you think of the hour? Hit the comments.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.