Was it Quinn's plan all along to capture Carrie in the woods instead of kill her, or did seeing her up close kickstart his heart?
Maybe we'll find out, maybe we won't, but Homeland Season 5 Episode 3 sure gave us one hell of a thrill ride in our quest to that point.
We learned so much and absolutely nothing during this hour, and keeping the mystery alive is worth every agonizing second that we have to wait to get answers.
While we did get a little movement with the CIA data breach, that plot line seemed to suffer a bit amidst the drama of Carrie, Quinn and Saul. Whether or not they sell the data to the highest bidder can wait another day. Carrie being hunted like a wild animal by the best in the business and someone who loves her cannot.
It's still unclear whether somebody other than Saul put the envelope into the box for Quinn, but I see no reason to question it. He was on the hunt for Carrie the same as Quinn, just using the methods he had at his disposal, such as going to see her boss, Otto During.
Of course, while speaking with him, it sounded as if he wasn't certain who staged the attack in Lebanon, but Saul could have very easily been justifying his actions to himself by calling Otto a Nazi sympathizer and accusing him of funding Muslim extremists.
Taking out Carrie would certainly aid in his relationship with Allison, which was hidden very well until we saw her in the bathroom. It suddenly became very clear with whom she was speaking, even before she made her way to the bed. As I noted before, this is not the Saul we once knew.
And for what operation did Saul and Dar Adal get the green light? Was it to go full speed ahead with killing Carrie? If that's the case, then he might have moved a bit ahead of schedule.
On Carrie's end, she sent Frannie away for safety and then put her own in jeopardy by going off her meds. With all the progress she made over the last nine months, it was horrible seeing her descent into crazy town, but watching Claire Danes bring it to life is always a pleasure.
Jonas had no idea what he was getting into. When Carrie was describing it, I was thinking she was laying it on a little thin because it just sounded too easy. And sure enough, when the going got tough, Jonas ran for the door.
From what I could tell, although Quinn had a brilliant plan in place to pull Jonas away from Carrie so that he could get his hands on her, he wasn't so close for the duration that he should have been able to know exactly when to pull the ripcord on informing Jonas his son was kidnapped. It was serendipity that just when Carrie was at the heightened manic stage, Jonas was alerted and had to take off. Wasn't it? Or was Quinn really that good?
Regardless, of course Carrie sounded like a nut telling Jonas that his son was being used as a pawn and that she was the real target. She knows enough as a mother now to realize that won't fly. Children always come first, even if rationally you can understand the true danger might be to another. Still, discovering she was on her own was terrible.
Before I continue, please note that I have not seen trailers for the next installment. I have no idea what teases have been shown that will blow holes in theories I posit going forward. So here goes.
My train of thought now is that Quinn set out not to kill Carrie, but to save her while making anyone who was watching think he was trying to kill her. My reasoning is the syringe. Why else would he have that syringe? There were many other ways he could have grabbed and killed Carrie, but he lured her into the woods and did it in such a way that made it impossible for others to easily see what happened. Saul and/or Dar Adal, for instance.
That flicker in Quinn's eyes when he saw the name he was writing on Homeland Season 5 Episode 2 was the real deal. He may have been lost and a killing machine, but not with regard to Carrie. Whoever is pulling Quinn's strings placed the wrong bet.
That's my theory. It's not the greatest, but the only thing that kept Quinn going for a very long time was Carrie. I think she's what got him back alive, whether he admitted it or not. If there is a thread of humanity left inside of him, it is tied to Carrie Mathison, and he will have no intention of cutting it. His impassioned speech about what to do in Syria proved he's not a complete animal.
What do you think? Did you enjoy seeing Carrie take another walk on the wild side? What do you expect Quinn to do with Carrie now? What operation got the green light? 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.